Early Career Team
freelance artists
with barriers to employment

Meet the team

ExploreTheArch’s mentee scheme recruits early career artists with barriers to employment in the Hastings and surrounding area with supported, paid work across the exciting array of inter-disciplinary, creative projects that the company undertakes.

Performers, graphic designers, musicians and visual artists work in a variety interdisciplinary roles in 1:1 mentor artist partnerships. Four mentees, Yasmin Aishah, Maya Coombs, Esme Fisher and Tatenda Michael Manyarara are directors of the company.

The scheme is long term, recognising that the mentees who come to the programme have experienced a lack of support elsewhere, either falling between agencies or finding agencies have not supported them appropriately or at the right time to be of help in keeping careers going when challenges impact.

Managing a freelance portfolio and acquiring the multiple skills needed to support a freelance career are central learnings.

To qualify, mentees must have selected a freelance career in the cultural sector as the best fit to their challenges and career aspirations.

History of the Scheme

The scheme was set up in pilot form in 2019 with SECCADS funding, two years after ExploreTheArch originated the annual ATownExploresABook festival; work offered was geared to festival output. The mentees are now fully integrated into the company, working across all projects. Donations are gratefully received.

What the Scheme offers the Industry

In supporting early career artists who would otherwise struggle to forge a career in the cultural sector, ExploreTheArch is generating a diverse future workforce of cultural sector practitioners with under-represented perspectives. Thus the scheme supports the long term health of the UK’s arts industry. The outlook is international, encouraging the early career cohort to engage with the world and navigate the UK’s emerging identity post-Brexit.