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Izzy’s Placement Reflection

Hi everyone, I’m Izzy – I’m a BA Geography graduate, currently exploring roles in the charity sector, both voluntary and in employment. I got involved working with Eastside after getting in touch with Matt (CEO / Artistic Director)  and Victoria (General Manager) and from there I was lucky enough to spend some time being part of the amazing work that they do. I love what Eastside do and having worked a lot with children, in and out of schools, I think that creativity is so important for their learning and development. During my placement, I was able to experience a range of the different initiatives and activities that take place. I was so excited to see how the programmes are planned and executed at Eastside and see just how far they reach to schools across the country. 


On my first day I had the pleasure of meeting lots of the lovely team at Eastside and the tech crew who were carefully setting up the cameras, sound and lighting for what was to follow. This was a trial run of Creativity Live, Eastside’s flagship livestreaming offer which delivers interactive creative workshops direct into classrooms around the country. I learned how to use the Creativity Live padlet, which is used by schools to interact with the artists during the livestreams, and had a good read through the artist’s script, which was truly very calming – the theme was finding a peaceful place to feel calm and relaxed, aligning with Mental Health Awareness Week this month (May). It was great to read how the presenters helped young people to imagine this. I was imagining myself as a child in a classroom and thinking about how cool it would be to be watching this and getting involved with all the interactive exercises conducted by artists Daisy and Joseph, and how fun it would be to have your school shouted out by the presenters on the big screen- like a moment of fame! Daisy and Joseph had been preparing for the run-through and Fliss and Rosemary (Eastside’s schools programme team), along with the tech crew, coordinated beautifully to get everything up and running. We did a few short practices and all took part chopping and changing parts that needed editing and amending, timing the run-through and partaking on the padlet so that Daisy and Joseph had prompts to work with for their run through. It was great to see how all this works and be behind the scenes of such an inspiring initiative. 


On my second day, I was lucky enough to be a part of an Away Day with Eastside which took place at UCL East where the whole board and the staff team all got together to connect and discuss their plan looking forward, launching into their 4th decade. The day was split up into different sections and was kicked off by a couple of ice breaker games. Throughout the day I felt lucky to listen to the care and thought that goes into the programmes and workshops from every member of the extended team, and to have a chance to participate in that was great. I was inspired by the passion that goes into each element of the delivery of the charity and the consideration and discussion behind everything, from fundraising initiatives to written values, aims and objectives launching into the 4th decade of Eastside. Monti, a young Trustee of the charity was unable to make the Away Day in person, but we had an AI introduction from him where we spoke to the Eastside Bot that he had created, which wrote us a poem, spoke to us about Eastside and answered our questions, and most unbelievably – could read our voices and faces. The day was hugely insightful to see how the initial planning for a new decade worth of work starts and is planned for and it was wonderful to meet the whole team and have the opportunity to speak with all members and hear about the inspiring work that they do. 


A highlight; I had a lovely morning on my third day accompanying Rosemary to a school visit to observe Eastside’s Artists in Residence programme where the children were working with an Eastside animator to make their own animations. The classroom was buzzing, and the children couldn’t wait to chat to us about their different characters, stories, and settings that they were later going to film and turn into their very own animation. Every child in the classroom was entranced by their story and so enthusiastic about this exciting creative challenge they were busy with. It was so wonderful to see in real-time the Artists in Residence programme and the pure joy this brought to all the children taking part. 


Approaching the end of my time at Eastside, it was time for the Creativity Live livestream. The set looked great, and the presenters were all warmed up and in place. I was able to watch and help to make sure all participants were able to watch via zoom or youtube and with nearly 30 classes joining both the morning and afternoon livestream, it was amazing to see this level of engagement around the country and to read the wonderful youth created poetry coming through on the padlet. Having never been behind the scenes on anything like this before, this was a great experience, but most importantly again, to see how far the Eastside programmes reach and the impact they have, is inspiring. 


I also got an insight into the Spoken Word Power programme which is equally empowering – through transcribing partner interviews into case studies – just through hearing stories from Eastside’s partners and their experiences of the workshops, school slams, events, and performances I was able to gain an understanding of how much these initiatives mean for the children and how important it is for them to have the opportunity to be a part of these programmes and the life skills and lasting memories they gain from the creative experiences that are provided.

I felt so included and valued by all the staff and am extremely grateful to be part of something so impactful. Every single person I met who is part of the charity is so committed to the values and aims and to be able to feel part of it, if only for a short length of time, was a treat. I look forward to keeping in touch with everyone who makes this wonderful charity able to do what they do, and reading about the exciting plans and programmes that Eastside will go on to facilitate going into their 4th decade. I can’t thank everyone enough for allowing me to be part of the team and explore opportunities that will most definitely help form what I go on to do in the future. Thank you Eastside!

Working towards a future in which all young people’s creativity is nurtured and celebrated