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Featured Temp: Jyotsna Shelley – inspiring the next generation of students 

Jyots outdside her home in north london
  • Written byArts Temps
  • Published date28 August 2021
Jyots outdside her home in north london

Jyotsna Shelley (Jyots) has worked for Arts Temps since she started her Foundation Diploma in 2012, in that time she has inspired a range of young people to take creative pathways and study at UAL. We spoke to her about how working with Arts Temps gave her the passion to help guide other creative students and has shaped her career.

Hi Jyots, so how would you say your work with Arts Temps has affected your career?

Arts Temps has played a vital role in shaping my career. So back in 2012, I think on my second day of Foundation I was invited to be a student ambassador at the open day. I jumped at the chance to get into some paid work straight away and it gave me a great opportunity to learn everything I needed to know about the Colleges! I have to be honest I was winging it at first because I hadn’t even had my first lesson yet, but it was great to meet prospective students and their parents, share my portfolio with them and advise them on applying to art school.

Even in those early days assisting students really resonated with me, there was one prospective student and her mum that stuck with me. I was chatting with them about her portfolio, she wanted to study at UAL but wasn’t too sure which College would be the best fit. From looking at her work I recommended Camberwell and felt the programmes there would best suit her. Roll on a year later when I was working another Open Day and this same girl comes running over to me thanking me for my recommendation. It was such an amazing experience, especially to really see the impact that you’re having on someone’s life.

That sounds great! Have you continued with this type of work since graduating? 

Yes, it kind of laid my basis for providing creative knowledge and support to young people. Throughout uni, I had lots of temp jobs here and there, I worked on widening participation events in the summer, which mainly involved advising GCSE and A-Level students on what Foundation is, how to apply, how to prepare a portfolio, things like that.

Since graduating I got a job as Young Artist Programme Manager at the Royal Drawing School where I was working with young people. Then I went onto working freelance as an Engagement Coordinator going to job centres to talk to young people about getting into the creative industry. It was great working with prospective students who would love to work in the creative industries but didn’t quite know how to go about it.

So, at almost every point going back to that first Arts Temps jobs in 2012 I’ve been working with prospective students who would love to work in the creative industries but don’t know how.

What do you think draws you to this type of outreach work? 

I went to quite an underprivileged school in North London that was quite science and technology focused and there wasn’t that much information for people who were interested in a career in the creative industries. Even my art teacher wasn’t that helpful when I asked them for advice about going to art school, so I really had to do my own research.

I think this type of work appeals to me because I’m reaching out to kids who are like me and giving them the resources that I so desperately wanted, transferring the knowledge that my 16 or 17-year-old self really needed.

There are a lot of kids who think that you just go to art school if you want to become an artist, but it actually opens you up to such a broader range of opportunities. I don’t think it’s something you should just overlook. For the past few years I’ve been visiting underprivileged schools and giving presentations to parents and students about the opportunities that the creative industries offer – I do believe it’s really important.

So what type of skills do you think you’ve developed through Arts Temps? 

Ah I’d say there are so many layers of skills! When I first signed up in my Foundation year it was one of my first experiences managing my own time, money and responsibilities. Whilst, the outreach work, helped develop my presentation skills when I was promoting the University to prospective students.

I think it really prepares you for the type of life a lot of UAL graduates have, you learn how to balance your studies and work in the same way that you have to balance your practice with your various side hustles. Also, things like checking your payments are correct and submitting timesheets is also great as you really do need those skills after graduating!

If you hadn’t done these roles would you have gone into widening participation?

It’s not something I would have thought of or had the skills for if I hadn’t tried out these roles with Arts Temps. Finding what you like is a lot of trial and error, that’s a great thing about Arts Temps is that the roles are temporary and you can try things out to see what you like. I knew I liked talking to people about their portfolios and creative development and through doing jobs like that with Arts Temps I’ve found this career in advising and assisting creative students.

It has been three years since I graduated and with that hindsight I can really see how broad the positive impact Arts Temps has had on me. You know looking back I really don’t think I would have gone down this pathway if it hadn’t been for Arts Temps; which is astonishing really.

Well I’m glad we were able to give you you’re start in this career.

You can check out Jyots’ work on her website and make sure to check out all the great opportunities available with the Arts Temps.

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