In our latest series of conversations with Arts Temps, we wanted to hear more about the personal stories at the heart of these roles. We’ve commissioned a series of blogs to hear these stories. Zonaira Chaudry tells us about her experiences of using Arts Temps to boost her journalist experiences whilst studying for an MA.
Studying abroad and moving to London was a dream come true for me. It was an overwhelming experience that came with its own sets of challenges and opportunities, especially during a pandemic. There are a million things to take care of including studies, accommodation and of course finding part-time work.
I registered with 3 or 4 employment agencies and having some prior journalistic experience I was confident in landing a part-time job. Unfortunately, I never got a reply from the countless applications I had submitted, and I had completely given up on looking for work, but then Arts Temps gave me a ray of hope!
I knew about UAL Arts Temps through friends but to be honest I was a bit sceptical at first thinking that a university employment agency probably won’t have a lot of jobs. Never had I imagined that by joining Arts Temps I will be given the chance of working, interacting, and learning in so many ways. Being a university employment agency exclusively working for UAL students and graduates makes your chances of being selected out of an exclusive pool of candidates greater than other agencies.
The feature which I feel makes Arts Temps distinct from my experiences with other employment agencies as it puts diversity and inclusion at the heart of the service; they make sure that the right talent is represented. The selection process is fair and confidential. You are selected based on your experience rather than your name or skin colour.
Arts Temps is also going to be your first contact with an employment agency. It will prepare you to interact with any kind of employment agency in the future. You will know what questions to ask and how to give interviews. The recruiters at Arts Temps also give you constructive feedback, discuss your strengths and weaknesses and are keen to know about your experience working with a partner organisation.
Applying for different jobs at Arts Temps also made me explore other employment avenues outside my comfort zone. While working on different jobs, I was also able to develop a creative community network with other UAL graduates and students and learn from their expertise. I have worked as a content writer for the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, a feature writer for a business magazine, a digital assistant, participated in an online discussion group and tested an employment application.
However, the turning point in my journey with Arts Temps came with 23 - an arts and culture magazine highlighting Southwark’s cultural venues as it emerged from lockdown. I worked as a content editor alongside a talented team of current students and recent graduates from the journalism and photography department headed by our tutor Simon Hinde. It was a collaboration between Southwark Partnership and the University of the Arts, London. My team was involved in every aspect of producing this magazine from its inception to finalising story ideas, commissioning writers and photographers, editing, graphics, social media, printing and distribution. This print project with its hands-on experience taught me how to apply the concepts we learned in class and also learn leadership skills and managing a publication.
The excitement of producing a magazine, being involved in the decision-making process and seeing the finished product in your hand is a surreal experience. Now, I am more interested in applying for editorial positions and starting my own arts and lifestyle platform.
I would strongly urge students, especially international students, to be a part of Arts Temps because you never know when and where an opportunity might arise. This will also give you a chance to put some London experience on your resume. You will develop your portfolio, get to meet some wonderful talented people and let’s not forget you will be paid for it!