Melanie’s Placement Experience
6th January 2016
I’m Melanie and I worked with LIFT as their Creative Europe placement between September and December 2015.
I first came across LIFT in the summer of 2012 when I was a volunteer performer in Unfinished Dream. The project made me aware of LIFT’s love of London, how it truly brings every corner of London to life with theatre, and of its passion to present a mirror to ALL the voices of London, not just the commonly heard. This is a big part of what makes LIFT such a fantastic festival, but also why it is such an engaging and fulfilling place to work.
My role at LlFT was focussed on their four European Co-operation Projects: Imagine 2020, BeSpectACTive!, House on Fire and Urban Heat. I assisted across these networks: helping to fill in financial reports, and with administration, marketing and producing.
The role was simultaneously very general, as I was working across LIFT, engaging in different departments, but also specific, always concentrated on the European elements. I think this duality is partly what made the experience quite so valuable for me, as not only did I gain specific skills, but I also grew to understand the organisation at large, and how it operated. My role felt truly international. I was regularly communicating with venues and festivals across Europe, giving me a much clearer idea of how decisions are made and things operate on a European scale.
The highlight of my placement was almost definitely organising a project meeting for the BeSpectACTive! network, and having the opportunity to sit in and document this meeting. Watching the project meeting provided me with such an insight into how decisions are made at an international level, and also honestly developed and contextualised my understanding of why international work is quite so important.
In the meeting a project was pitched that divided the room: some venues were very interested, while others were concerned that the piece simply wouldn’t appeal to their audience. Over a conversation it became clear that each venue’s audience was so different and issues that were considered vital for some audiences, were barely of interest to others. Not only was this humbling in the understanding of quite how much cultures can vary, but also made me realise the importance of international work as it allows us to express these ideas to one another. Issues and questions that simply aren’t present or being asked in one country can be asked by another through the sharing of international performance.
The LIFT team were wonderful, welcoming me straight into their family. The role provided a wonderful balance of guidance and agency. I would recommend a LIFT placement so highly, and am very grateful for all my time there – thank you LIFT!