After the tense waiting game that is the highly anticipated first email, things actually felt real. That for my final year of University, I would be mentored by Alan Davey, previous head of Arts Council England and now the controller of BBC Radio 3. I was eager to get the ball rolling, so we arranged for me to come down to London for a face-to-face meeting at Broadcasting House.
When I arrived and had signed in, I was waiting in the lobby and was surprised to see that he was coming down to meet me himself. Thinking he would be too busy, I had expected to be picked up and taken to an office by a secretary. Straight off the mark, he made a good impression; I had been very nervous to meet him at first, but he was calm and friendly, which put me at ease.
As we were walking in he asked me if I’d ever seen ‘W1A’. It’s funny how close to reality the comedy series is; we spent a good ten minutes going up and down in elevators hunting for a free sofa to have our meeting on.
First of all he asked me about myself, my course and how it was going. Then, what I was interested in, in terms of my career. I had asked to be mentored by Alan Davey specifically because he has a background in Arts Administration. This is what I would like to do (hopefully), I explained I wanted to work in some sort of arts organisation, helping in an administrative way to create the events, and also that I was interested in being part of schemes that introduce people to the arts. I won’t really go into a lot of detail, but the important thing about the meeting was that I felt he really probed me. He asked me what I wanted to do and what I liked, and then asked me why, which can sometimes be difficult. Having to justify myself about my ambitions reminded me what drew me to Arts Administration in the first place. It can get monotonous to state your career goals and ambitions when you’re constantly applying for internships or work experience; you can lose sight of what really got you excited in the first place. I left the meeting with a renewed vigour to go out into the Arts sector and find myself a job.
Alan was very generous with his time, he made some really useful suggestions about where to take the first steps in my career, people I should talk to, and what post-graduate courses might be good to think about, if I go down that route. All in all, I think it was a positive first meeting.
3rd Year, English Literature and Music