Roshni Hirani was HAC's Young Associate from 2012 - 2013. During her Associate year, Roshni held her first solo exhibition, ‘Hidden Gems’ in The Gallery at HAC. Her education project, ‘Draw & More’, introduced young people to portraiture in a variety of media and included a trip to the National Portrait Gallery. We asked Roshni for her opinion of the Young Associate project, and any advice she might have for those thinking of applying.
I’d say it’s a years programme which allows you to distil everything that you are doing, in terms of workshops or projects outside of HAC, from your life outside, and bring them into the Associate Artist role to create new ideas for workshops and projects that you can run within the arts centre and for the local community of Harrow. It opens up loads of opportunities for you, like having your own art show, being able to run your own workshops, meeting creative people, and finding out about spaces around London which support similar interests that you might have, so without the programme you wouldn’t be open to it unless you found it by luck, but this is a really good gateway to that and it’s a great chance to get a qualification out of it too as the Gold arts is nationally recognised.
I’ve gained so much knowledge about how to communicate with young people, in different groups, not just one type of person! I’ve learnt how to keep them focussed in workshops, and transferable skills as well like communication skills, which are different in a workshop setting than in school for example, where there’s a traditional pupil-teacher relationship. This is really important and it does help when you’re trying to get a career outside, past this programme. The training opportunities have been great as well; I’d never done safeguarding training before or project management training, which was really interesting and really helped a lot in terms of going about managing my own projects outside too. I’ve learnt how to balance things as well and distil my learning in a critical way, so it’s useful for me when I go back over it. I’ve really learnt how to evaluate everything I’m doing in a really useful way. I’ve learnt so much to be honest, that’s just the tip of it!
I’m looking forward to having my solo show, that will be really exciting because I’ve never done that before and even just preparing for it, hanging, creating the fliers, the behind the scenes work that you don’t really appreciate or understand unless you’ve done it yourself! I’m looking forward to my own workshop as well that’s something I’ve always wanted to do, before coming here, and now I have the chance to do that. I’m looking forward to creating new work for the show too, I can merge my love of painting with the fact I have my own show, that’s a luxury. And when we go and celebrate afterwards!
The programme is really flexible, and the centre supports the Associate Artist and really encourages them to do things, even if it means not actually being at HAC, the more you do the more they support you. I thought I’d have to turn certain things down to make sure I was here every single week, but its not like that at all, I haven’t had to turn anything down, I’ve just gone for it and I’ve been supported. We had breaks when I was busy on other things.
It’s made me realise the different roles within the art world, such as workshop assistant and facilitator, planning projects; I never thought that I’d be able to plan my own project and apply for money that might fund the project I want to do. Now I’m thinking about planning my own project for 2014, after the project management training and learning about crowdfunding, that’s definitely opened the door in terms of the kind of stuff I can do after I finish here. Also having the contacts here as well, knowing that I could potentially be back to do a workshop too, there’s so many things happening here to get involved with after this finishes.
To anyone thinking of applying, I say you should definitely apply, it will totally open the door and it will also make you realise that there are so many avenues that you could go down. You have a really good time when you’re here, meeting other young people and working with them, it’s a completely different environment to school, it’s something else you can engage in. It’s supplementary to other things, and I think it’s important not to just stick to one type of experience, it’s good to have an extra thing you can delve in to. I would say it’s a really useful year in terms of having hands on experience applying your skills you’ve acquired in school and home and using them in a really positive way.