Would you like to spend a year growing in knowledge of the Bible, love for the church and also in excellence in your creative talents? If so, our friends at Sputnik have something that may be just up your street. We caught up with Jemma from Birmingham to find out what plans they have brewing…
Hello. My name is Jemma Mellor and I have been involved in the arts in one way or another for my whole life. My dad was a talented amateur painter, but his father had told him that a career as an artist wasn’t a real career, and so he ended up becoming an engineer. Probably because of this, he enthusiastically encouraged me down the path that he’d not been able to take himself.
As any artist with a Christian faith will know, you are struck almost immediately with decisions about how to integrate your art and faith. As I begun to excel at my art in education, this appeared to take me further away from art that would be displayed in church buildings or meetings, I began to ask myself whether I was doing the right thing.
Therefore, after my A-Levels I took a year out to do what was then called Frontier Year Project, feeling a bit lost and hoping God would straighten me out and put me on the right path. He did! On my year team, I wasn’t being asked to produce art each week and I realised that I missed it, and in fact started creating my own self initiated work throughout the year. I also had the privilege of meeting loads of Christians involved in the arts who were practising their work out in the world, not just in church meetings, and for the first time I could see a way that art could start conversations that led people towards God. Because of all this, I did a Foundation year, leading into completing a Photography degree.
Since university, I’ve had the privilege of exhibiting work at various places across the country, of working with some fantastic artists and more recently, throughout my time as a full time mum, enjoying the steady drip of regular artistic work in one form or another that continues to excite me and financially provide to a degree. It was during this time, my husband and I founded Sputnik, the network of artists based in our family of churches.
Over the last 5 years, Sputnik has been supporting and encouraging artists who want to make work for those outside the church. We’ve run networking events and hosted exhibitions across the country and we are still expanding. One of the ways we wish to do this is by offering our first Sputnik Internship Scheme.
The plan is to run a year team very much like the traditional Impact/FP year, but with lots of time given over to the interns developing their own artistic practice, being mentored by other artists in their field, and helping Sputnik in its day to day running. Of course, the year will also help you get to know the Bible more and get stuck into the local church, but we will be putting aside significant time to help you to develop as an artist in whatever creative field you work (painter, song writer, poet, writer, film maker, whatever).
We are looking for self motivated artists who are looking to develop their practice, and grow in excellence in their craft. I think this would be a perfect opportunity for at least three types of people:
- If you’re just finishing at university and want to grow in your artistic gifting. Maybe your degree was in the arts (for example music, film or creative writing), maybe you’ve just maintained an interest in a specific artistic field and have started to practice that in different ways alongside your education.
- If you’ve put your art on the back burner for a while but now want to pick it up again. Maybe you’ve got a possibility for a break in your career or perhaps your career is coming to an end, and you feel like God is prompting you to pick up where you left off in your creative practice.
- If you’re already developing your practice well but want to take things up a notch. We are increasingly working with artists who are at the top of their game, and a good number of these would love to give their time to any of you guys who would like to move from being good at what you do, to being excellent.