Our competition winners | Beth Houldsworth

Last month we ran a competition to give Creative Employment Programme participants a chance to win tickets to the Creative & Cultural Skills Annual Conference, worth £400 each. To enter, participants were required to write a blog, take a photo or make a short video explaining the best thing about their placement. Over the next few posts, we’ll introduce each of the winning entries – we hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Bethany Houldsworth got in touch with an incredibly insightful blog post on the nature of creativity, how it can be found in the least expected places, and how her placement has made her appreciate her own creative side.

There’s a lot to learn, being a Creative Apprentice in the Arts Development team for Lancashire County Council. It’s a bit like riding a bike… if the bike was on fire! You have to learn and learn quickly, from how funding works, to managing and promoting arts projects.

I travel all around Lancashire working on different projects. I go, see and discover people creating beautiful things in sometimes unlikely places. One day I’m in Accrington for a digital war memorial launch, the next I’m in Brierfield cleaning out an old mill for an artist’s organisation. No two days are the same.

I always thought that the label “creative” was only reserved for artists. I am not an artist. The closest I got to being one was when I painted a picture of a hedgehog and it was for a short time displayed in my local art gallery. I was seven.  After the five months of being a creative apprentice, I am starting to see creativity everywhere, in every different type of person. One of my main jobs working for the Arts Development team is to encourage people to develop an interest in the arts and show them how it can benefit and enhance their lives. We encourage people to the use the arts as a medium to express themselves and how they interpret the world around them.

I have realised that creativity comes in many forms and in its simplest form it’s about taking an idea and making it a reality. I am lucky enough that I get to do that every day. To help people get ideas out of their head and turn them into reality. It’s not easy, there’s always unexpected disasters or last minute changes. I’m lucky to have a supportive team around me. When we work together we can use our very different skills to overcome these barriers. Having people around who have great ideas helps. Sometimes those ideas come from my managers, other times the ideas belong to a group of young people in a youth forum and very occasionally they are my own.

These are the reasons why I go to work every morning looking forward to the day ahead. All ages of the community and all different types of people are brought together through the arts. Whether it is the elderly coming for a memory festival to talk about dementia or a group of children wanting to make magic wands for Harry Potter day. Whatever I contribute to a project no matter how big or small, I helped it happen. Knowing that gives me a deep sense of satisfaction.

I have done many different things. From working in bars, hospitals and a hairdressers but this is the first job I’ve had where I have thought to myself “I am exactly meant to be doing this!”. In five months I have learnt a lot about the arts but also about myself. Most surprisingly that I may be more creative than I think.

Follow Lancashire County Council on Twitter: @LancashireCC

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