March

How EMERGE emerged

Intern Anna Malina finds out more about the origins of EMERGE – Bath Spa's new graduate creative practice.

EMERGE is a new creative practice at Bath Spa that provides residency opportunities and support for recent creative graduates. To find out more, I spoke with Barry Grey, Head of Careers and Employability at Bath Spa University and also the main force behind EMERGE.

The residency is the first of its kind of offered by the University. Barry explained, "The University has always been keen to find a space for new graduates where they could start their own business, because many of our students want to do that once they graduate.’’ The programme helps graduates take that first step, providing the space students need to work on projects and explore their ideas.

EMERGE is part of the pandemic recovery, encouraging recent graduates to continue and professionalise their creative practices, and supporting them to begin a freelance career, start their own business or apply for public funding. Barry says that when stepping into professional practice, "recent graduates realise that it is not only about the creative practice itself, but there is much more to it – relating to showcasing, promoting and selling their work".

Launching during the pandemic has brought challenges from day one. Perhaps most significantly, participants have not been able to physically access the studios and the programme has been delivered virtually. It has been challenging to keep all the residents engaged and build the community through laptop screens. However, every workshop and resident meet-up so far has brought new knowledge, interesting debate and most importantly the feel of connectivity. This has inspired everyone to keep doing, making and creating. This is testament to the incredible residents and creative mentors, who have been selected based on their creative practice work, and also due to their interest in cross-disciplinary collaborations and desire to be part of a creative collective.

Barry explains that the future vision of EMERGE "is about creating the whole ecosystem", and it's hoped that the residents will play an important role in forming and shaping the local creative ecology. Barry would love to see residents going out into the world and setting up shows, creative businesses, companies and community projects that future residents and the wider community can feed into and learn from.

EMERGE opens its doors from 16 March 2021.

Disclaimer: The Bath Spa blog is a platform for individual voices and views from the University's community. Any views or opinions represented in individual posts are personal, belonging solely to the author of that post, and do not represent the views of other Bath Spa staff, or Bath Spa University as an institution.

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