Ellie Cootes writes about her placement with Culturapedia

In September Culturapedia had the opportunity of working with Lancaster University Graduate, Ellie Cootes. She now has a ‘proper job’ working as an Activities Coordinator for Lancaster University Student’s Union. Here she writes a bit more about her time working with us.

“I am currently writing this from my new office at my new job, which I started straight after finishing my placement with Culturapedia as a direct result of my experience working there. Yes… I owe them a LOT of cake!

Basically, I think Culturapedia are fantastic. I think this for many reasons. Not only are they all lovely people, but they manage some amazing and unique projects! I was lucky enough to get involved in a couple of different things in my two weeks that I spent working there, but there is still so much more that they do that I didn’t have time to fully explore. As they say so themselves, they have their fingers in a lot of pies, and they love it! As a team, they are energetic, enthusiastic, passionate and really, really cool. It was a pleasure to work alongside everybody and have a hand in some of the work they do.

I started off by meeting Rob and Sue, the two Directors, at different times, in different places. I met Rob first at a networking event that was held at my University, and was blown away with the way he spoke to me which was so different compared to the other Industry people who were there. Rob was engaging and cheerful, and rather than standing around letting people babble on he really sold Culturapedia to the students who were speaking to him, and after our conversation he encouraged me to get in touch. Once I’d eagerly sent my email, Sue got back to me, and we managed to meet up in Edinburgh while we were both at the Fringe Festival in the summer. We had a lovely chat at the Udderbelly’s Pasture about Caravans, rural touring and New Art Club- who incidentally turned up half way through! By this point I was very excited to begin my placement in September.

I began my Culturapedia experience at Mint Fest in Kendal promoting somewhereto_, one of the projects run by Culturapedia for young people. Through rain and shine, Rob, Sue and I powered through (accompanied by Ellie the Caravan) and managed to sign up lots of young people to the scheme, which works by giving 16-25 year olds somewhereto_ do the things they love doing. I know- what a great idea! And lots of other people thought so too, which was nice.

After the weekend was up I arrived at the office in Blackburn and met a few more Culturapedists: Lyndsey, Claire, Eoin and Charlie Brown- the beloved Culturapedia dog. As the time passed I spent time researching, eating cake, blogging, promoting, drinking tea, as well as observing the team in their natural creative habitat, and watching them quite literally change lives. I was able to go on tour with Spot On Lancashire and Laura Mugridge, and spend three delightful days with Sue, Laura and Tom in beautiful rural locations across the North West with Ellie the Caravan and Joni the Campervan in tow! I saw the brand new Hothouse in Morecambe, a community building which is home to More Music, and a fantastic place for young and old people alike to go and make use of the brilliant facilities. One of the highlights for me was witnessing the somewhereto_ team arrange for two lads from Accrington to go Free-Running in Number 10 Downing Street. It was a fairly stressful operation trying to sort everything out against the impending deadlines, but they did it! And it was so great to have been there, the finished video is fab! When Rob called me to tell me that the story was on BBC North West it was fantastic, and I am so pleased for everyone involved. It just goes to show what a great project somewhereto_ is and the amazing things that it can achieve. Watch this space!

I honestly learnt so much from my placement at Culturapedia and it gave me so many valuable experiences to talk about in the interview for my internship- it was definitely a major factor in getting me the job and I’m very grateful for that. Before securing my internship, I was having a conversation about the future with Lyndsey on the way home one day. We spoke about how I was getting on and what I wanted to do after the placement, and I told her that I wanted a role which challenged me and enabled me to make a difference to people through the Arts. Lyndsey replied by saying that this is what the Culturapedia Team are all about; working with people and the community in order to promote the arts and get everyone involved, and I think they are great at it.

Thank you Culturapedia. I miss you!”