Had a lovely conversation with a young(er) director yesterday. She was asking me about leadership in the arts, specifically regarding women leaders.
And when she asked about ’emerging’ practitioners, I just checked if she saw me as emerging or emerged. Her answer was definitely the latter.
And yet … I have never produced anything before (discounting small shows in NZ and own work over the years), I hadn’t directed other than on and off until the past 7/8 years when I have done so more regularly, I have never been mentored officially (though I’ve secretly appointed several who didn’t realise it, until I told them!) and I’ve never once had support in running a business/company/org.
And yet … I AM new to all this.
The Fun Palaces stuff is hugely new to all of us making it. So new I’m not sure what help would help, what with no-one ever having done something quite so simultaneously nationwide and all arts and community-led.
But I really wish people would, with the best of intentions, stop equating ’emerging’ with ‘young’. I work with loads of younger people, and I’m all for supporting them, I often support them, but support is not just age-relevant.
There were no under-26/under-30 schemes at all when I was young, and that’s just how it is, too late to mind, but some support for the 50/60-something’s ALSO making big new leaps wouldn’t go amiss. (I say this noting that I actually feel very supported re the scary parts of Fun Palaces – by people we have asked to support us, people who have generously agreed to support us – but there is nothing formal, organised, nothing ‘out there’ to help us be better/stronger, nothing we have not made up ourselves.)
And yet I know so many people making huge and different life leaps in their 50s and 60s. There are so many (odd) assumptions around being older, as if age equates with everything being sussed and not worried and sitting back enjoying it all, when, if anything, I’m just more aware of how much more there is to take on!
(And yes, I am merely 51. I fully hope to look back from 85 and complain about the lack of support for 85 year olds embarking on their new careers. Looking forward to that.)