In September, we’re hoping to start out first ever Sputnik Intern Scheme. You may have heard of this already, this may be new to you, but just to bring us all up to speed, we thought we’d get Jemma Mellor, who’ll be leading the intern team to explain the plan.
Hello Jemma, tell us a bit about yourself…
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. Dilemmas like ‘Should I join a life drawing class or the banner making class at church instead?’ become a really big deal. As I excelled at my art in education and 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 a Photography degree. I really enjoyed it and got a first. The three main things I loved about my degree were exploring a brief, learning to communicate visually powerful messages and working with people in a way that led us to discuss why we did what we did and to have real conversations about it.
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.
Also, during this time, my husband and I founded Sputnik…
Sputnik, eh? That rings a bell! So, what are the plans then for this Sputnik Intern Scheme and how does it fit into what Sputnik is up to at the moment?
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 along similar lines to a traditional church year out, 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).
What kind of person would this internship be for?
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.
Just to be clear though, we are looking for practitioners not just enthusiasts. We’ll want to see examples of work you’ve done and evidence that you’ve already been pushing doors in these areas, not just that you have the desire to do such things.
To finish then Jemma, why would you recommend this opportunity to someone?
I’d recommend this year because God is able to speak powerfully into our country, our society, our communities and our friends through the arts. At various times in history He’s done this and we believe he wants to do it again in our lifetimes. We think that’s really exciting and we’d love for you to be involved in that.
Thanks Jemma. If you’d like to apply to join the Sputnik Internship scheme or would like further information please follow this link to find the application form or if you have any questions, please email Jonny or Jemma at Jonny@churchentral.org.uk.