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Bow illustrator secures Plaistow cultural arts internship through enterprising scheme

PUBLISHED: 08:53 07 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:10 07 December 2017

The Bow resident is a winner of the Quentin Blake Narrative Drawing Prize 2017

The Bow resident is a winner of the Quentin Blake Narrative Drawing Prize 2017

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A young artist says a place on a creative industry internship has opened new doors for her career.

Olivia Mathurin-Essandoh on her work placement at the Rosetta Arts Centre Olivia Mathurin-Essandoh on her work placement at the Rosetta Arts Centre

Olivia Mathurin-Essandoh, from Bow, is one of seven people aged 18 to 30 currently on two paid six-month placements at leading London cultural arts organisations.

A New Direction, STEP (Shared Training & Employment Programme) was set up by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) in partnership with participating organisations Bow Arts, Sadler’s Wells and UAL’s London College of Fashion.

Its purpose is to get more Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) individuals, people with disabilities and those from low socio-economic backgrounds into the creative and cultural sectors.

Olivia, 25, is midway through a digital creative marking internship at Rosetta Arts Centre, Plaistow, involving graphic and web design, communications and event organisation.

She said: “I have really enjoyed the communication aspect and speaking to some of the students,” adding, “it doesn’t feel like work”.

The illustrator, who is a winner of the Quentin Blake Narrative Drawing Prize Winner 2017, often examines issues of place, the mundane and overlooked narratives in her work.

She said her varied role has seen her designing posters for art exhibitions and “reaching out to the community and developing different methods of bringing audiences in” to the centre.

“It has developed my professionalism and opened my eyes to how many opportunities there are out there,” she said.

Olivia said seeing people who are not “traditionally expected” to be in the creative sectors “enjoying such positions in the arts makes me so happy”.

Prior to starting the placement, she completed a masters degree in Visual Communication - specialising in Illustration - at the Royal College of Art.

After completing her second programme next year, Olivia hopes to work at a large gallery such as the V&A museum.

She said: “I feel like my CV feels much stronger than before and it has given me the confidence to apply there - also to develop my own craft as an artist.”

The seven people selected are from the four neighbouring boroughs of Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

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