The NICE Programme

Programme leaders Nicola Golightly and Vicky Holbrough with Nicer Paul Murray in 2012

NICE aimed to bridge the gap in the provision of ‘hands on’ creative education and training for early stage visual artists in 2012 and 2015. It was designed to engage, inspire, and inform participants – increasing their employability as arts professionals through a six month programme of mentoring, training and support.

The programme addressed how early stage artists have a role within the creative workforce, investigating opportunities and progressions with the assistance and guidance of arts professionals. Visits to and from curators, arts officers, arts project managers/directors were selected for their ability to offer an insight and practical knowledge of the arts to develop industry related knowledge.

NICE offered an authentic context and a genuine pathway for creative and leadership development through the showcasing of work and the delivery of events and workshops created by early stage artists to engage the public, potential employers and the arts community.

We focused on the ‘unseen’ elements of being a freelance practitioner; writing proposals and applications, invoicing, tax, insurance, risk assessments etc… in order to develop and strengthen good practice and to support the employability & retention of talented artists in the region.

Participants were given studio space via the programme – encouraging self-led development of creative practice and enabling collaboration and networking with other artists as part of the wider arts community in the region.

The programme had a structured framework, but was flexible to suit the needs and interests of the participants, who directed much of the content.

“Nice has been really important in helping me to establish my creative career… The programme has given me the confidence to market myself as a professional artist. It has shown me numerous career opportunities within the creative sector, most of which I wouldn’t have recognized as possible avenues of income… NICE also provided me with good networking skills… Without NICE I would still be a struggling arts graduate…”  NICE participant

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