Growing up I didn’t feel defined by my class, and was even unaware of it at times. I had free school meals and remember the embarrassment of admitting that my family did the weekly shop at Netto and Aldi (this was before Aldi had become ‘acceptable’ and Netto met its demise), but it was always a part of my identity that I took for granted. Both my parents encouraged me to educate myself – if you work hard, you can get where you want to be.
I didn’t really connect with being working class until I got older. Social class is one of the biggest barriers to those looking to break into the arts, and working class people often struggle to get footing in this industry. This was made obvious to me when I eventually forced myself into the job hunt in my last year of university. If you want to break into the arts world, you need to work in London. Opportunities ‘oop north’ for full-time work are difficult to come by, which means northerners are effectively forced to travel far afield for their careers. For working class people this is often not a viable option.
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to apply for the Digital Marketing Internship at New Writing North last year, and luckier still to actually land the job. This is especially so when you take into account the wealth of talent in the north. It’s vital to have these entry-level prospects (and more) available to encourage working class applicants and cultivate the arts industry beyond London.
Working here has given me a brilliant opportunity to see just how the arts world ticks without having to completely abandon hearth and home. I’ve done nigh on everything, from day-to-day office admin to designing posters, curating social media and being part of the boots on the ground team for Durham Book Festival. It’s been amazing working at New Writing North because I’ve not had to completely uproot myself to do work I genuinely enjoy (and I get paid to do it, which is also pretty nice).
If you’re a Northumbria graduate interested in marketing and literature then make sure to apply for our Digital Marketing Internship here. Deadline Friday 24 May.