Building a Professional Network

Building a network is the key to keeping yourself in work. Make alliances with individuals within organisations and build a long-term relationship. Most often it is not the organisation that will continue to support you over the years, but the individuals within them. Build a list of people you can trust and keep them up to date with your work. Your network can include people in organisations, universities, trusts and foundations, art councils, media and the industry. Your network will be unique to your work and the way in which you support your practice.

To figure out who is in your network, take note of all the contacts, individuals and organisation that you work with for each project. These people will already be familiar with you and your work. Your network can include your professors, tutors, employers and fellow artists. They will be important for the development and sustaining of your career and practice. When short of work you can refer to these people and ask them for recommendations.

Check the Creative Living site for ways to build up a network and make contacts: http://www.careers-creative-living.co.uk/building_networks

Collaboration and building a network of partnerships will help support your practice. Take time to figure out the people and organisations who would form the basis for your work.

Case Study: Bill Fontana

Words of Advice

I think it is important to collaborate with people who think as you do and share your passions and outlook. Some collaborations I have undertaken have not worked well when this hasn't been the case. For Sound Collective I look for people who share the aims and ethos of the group. In this world you can't be in it for the money, so when you work with someone or another organisation, bear in mind that you could well be working incredibly hard to achieve what you set out to do – so you need to be singing from the same songsheet. Our collaborations have ranged from the short-term – ie. one performance in a festival, through to ongoing, such as our relationship with Trinity College of Music (where some of our players act as mentors for post-graduate students). Often we find we collaborate once and wish to do so again in the future, as with our projects with Jackdaws Music Trust.

– Tom Hammond, Sound Collective

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