NN Associates is a tailored Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme for artists and creatives at any stage in their career. Participants gain hands-on, sector-specific and wider employability skills within a leading contemporary arts organisation that can help individuals forge a career path within the arts, cultural and creative industries.
NN Contemporary Art (NNCA) operates the programme from our offices and artist studio community complex in the heart of Northampton’s Cultural Quarter, with guidance and support from experienced NNCA staff members. Participants are encouraged to grow their professional network and to develop specific arts-related interests in-situ at NNCA, an Arts Council England (ACE) accredited National Portfolio Organisation (NPO).
Each year the NN Associates curriculum is devised by an experienced arts and culture professional and for 2023 the programme will be led by Simon Wright. Simon is an independent creative producer with over 15 years’ experience designing and delivering multi-arts programmes, projects and commissions. He was previously Curator of Public Programmes at MK Gallery, and is a co-founder of Pooleyville, a multi-disciplinary creative agency that works with a range of commercial, cultural and community partners. In 2017, he co-founded the Outlands Network – a commissioning body and national network specialising in experimental music and interdisciplinary performance – which is now also an NPO organisation.
At NNCA Simon recently curated and programmed several critically-acclaimed projects as part of our Sensing Place programme, which included significant artist commissions with RESOLVE Collective, Musarc, and Joe Moss.
Through a mix of supporting NNCA’s live performance events, researching new projects, archiving, and attending guest artist talks, NNCA is committed to helping create opportunities for our Associates to pursue careers in the arts or open up routes and avenues to becoming future cultural producers and creatives. The training and skills development embedded within the programme will prepare participants for seeking and securing employment, and NNCA will provide guidance throughout the scheme.
The NN Associates programme is made up of five key development pathways:
Mentorship: Each participant is supported by a professional mentor, in 2023 this is Simon Wright, to ensure that they can contextualise their learning and implement actions that will support pathways into further employment, training or education in the creative sector.
Industry and employment knowledge: Participants are able to extend this knowledge of career opportunities, pathways and routes into employment through networking with and talks from artists and industry professionals.
Practical skills development: Hands-on experience that develops skills and knowledge that can be transferred into employment and personal development.
Self-managed development projects: Participants undertake self-managed projects, supported by a mentor that facilitates training and skills development.
Placement activity: Focused placement activity to develop a track record, a body of example work, employability skills and confidence.
:: Expectations for Potential Candidates ::
Each participant within the programme will be expected to undertake a minimum of 30 hours development, equating to approximately three hours per week. This is a combination of organised sessions and self-managed time so the programme can work flexibly for you.
The programme is open to any person living in Northampton or within a nearby commutable distance to Northampton, as participants will be required to come in-person to the NNCA office.
We offer reasonable travel and lunch expenses for each participant, materials needed to participate in the programme, and equipment where necessary.
Note that this programme is intended for people looking to develop their careers in the arts and culture sectors.
:: 2023 Curriculum Overview ::
Setting personal goals for the programme: undertake a development session with your mentor to talk about yourself and find out more about your interests. Learn more about developing careers, applications and networks in the arts to kickstart a career path.
Develop your own self-managed projects to explore more of what you want to do and contribute to the gallery programme. With a particular focus on helping to shape the Civic Reading Room programme in 24 Guildhall Road in Northampton (our new home!).
Work as part of the NNCA team to get a better understanding of roles within the arts and develop your skills. This includes volunteering at forthcoming events/exhibitions and some desk-based research and archival work.
:: 2023 Programme Events and Projects ::
Diasporas Now 23/24 Tour
Diasporas Now is a platform for expanded performance art by the Global Majority. Supported by Arts Council England, they are undertaking a UK tour in 2023/24. As one of the tour partners, NNCA will be staging a live performance event on the 2nd November featuring artists drawn from a national open call.
Northamptonshire Black History Digital Archive
The Northamptonshire Black History Digital Archives is a project developed by NNCA in partnership with the Northamptonshire Black History Association involving a digitalisation of the archival material assembled by the Association and three artist residencies responding to it. The project will provide a platform for preservation and analysis of the historically significant material documenting past Black histories in the region and facilitate the creation of artistic research relating to the contemporary experience of Black communities.
David Panos – Gothic Revival
Panos has been commissioned to produce a new audiovisual work as part of the Sensing Place programme. Entitled Gothic Revival, the work explores Northampton through its physical, social and political landscape with a particular focus on the persistence/importance of musical subcultures (Goth) in regional towns.
Giles Round – Civic Reading Room
Round is an artist who works across disciplines including art, design and architecture. Round’s works often takes the form of long-term, open-ended projects in which exhibitions themselves become the medium. An ongoing work, ‘The Art Direction of the Noguchi Museum’ (2018–) is an inquiry into the role an artist might play as an embedded part of institutional and design teams, but also of society’s infrastructures and organisations at large. NNCA have commissioned Round to design a new Civic Reading Room space that comprises a community kitchen, reading room, café-bar and co-working and learning hub at 24 Guildhall Road in Northampton’s Cultural Quarter.
:: How to Apply ::
To apply please complete the application form HERE. The deadline for applications is Friday 13rd October 2023 at midnight UK time. Candidates will be contacted once applications have been assessed.
:: Frequently Asked Questions ::
Who is the NN Associates programme for?
It is aimed for artists and creatives at any stage in their career.
When will the programme take place?
The 2023 NN Associates programme will take place between October 2023 and February 2024.
How do I apply?
For the 2023-24 programme, complete the application form by Friday 13th October 2023. We will then notify you if you have been accepted onto the programme and send you further details.
Can I apply if I don’t currently work in the arts or cultural sectors?
Absolutely! The programme is designed for emerging and aspiring artists and creatives so whether you currently work in the arts or cultural sector or are hoping to soon, this programme will hopefully allow you to learn vital skills and gain confidence.