It is hard to believe that 2017 marks my tenth year in my role as Arts Development Manager. It is such a diverse role which keeps me on my toes, ten years has flown by! I work for the Department of Education and Children and I am a Civil Servant. I always tell people I have one of the most exciting Civil Service posts because I get to work out in the community a lot, I meet lots and lots of people and it is inspiring and stimulating to work with creativity every day.
The majority of my time is spent working in support of the IOM Arts Council. The Arts Council has nine voluntary members who meet monthly. I am their professional advisor and link to the Department and Government as a whole. They grant funding for arts and creative activity on the Isle of Man from a budget entirely derived from tax receipts on Lottery ticket sales. They also provide advice and guidance to the IOM Government regarding the arts and implement some of their own events and projects, for example TheatreFest.
It is my job to ensure the Arts Council’s objectives are delivered. That means I can be writing strategy one day and managing a visit of The Hallé the next. It is also my job to liaise with funding recipients which can vary from the Erin Arts Centre or Gaiety Theatre to students, artists or bands. I have to ensure that not only are they giving us the correct information about their funding needs but that we are helping them in the best way we can. Overall we work to an objective of ensuring opportunities to participate and engage with the arts for everyone on the Isle of Man and this motivates everything we do and fund.
I never have a ‘typical’ day. At the moment we are working hard on a new joint arts and culture strategy for the Isle of Man with Culture Vannin. This means I am working closely with Culture Vannin as well as Arts Council members and Ministers. We are also planning for TheatreFest 17 and a major community drama project for 2018, both of which require my management and input. In 2018 it is the 25th anniversary of the Arts Council’s contemporary art loan collection so we are already working on what we might do for that and of course next year it will take a good amount of time to ensure we give it the exposure it deserves.
I also have responsibilities to my Department, which means I work closely with schools, the Music Service and Youth Arts Centre as well as contributing to Department plans and strategies. My job means I work with colleagues across Government in Manx National Heritage, the Cabinet Office, Department of Economic of Development and Health and Social Care.
My favourite part of my job is seeing what we can help people achieve. Whether it is a large scale event like the IOM Film Festival or the next stage of artistic studies for a young person, it is amazing what can be done with the right help and support. I count myself very fortunate to meet and work with some of the best talent we have on the Isle of Man and I am constantly surprised at the abundance of creativity we have here, generation after generation. I am looking forward to the next ten years in this job which I hope will see a growth in our thriving creative community and continuing, internationally recognised, excellence.
Emma Callin, Arts Development Manager