Like any other graduate of 2020, it was not Anthea’s anticipation to end university with a twist. After months of disheartening rejections from job searching, Anthea managed to reconnect with Look Again.
Thoughts after Graduation
In 2020, I graduated with an honours degree in Media at Robert Gordon University. Over the years of my studies, I invested a great deal of time, energy and tears to achieve my Bachelor’s degree. Up to this day, I didn’t imagine myself to be in such a situation. With the world on hold, everything slow-paced and the employment market becoming very different, I thought to myself, “what now?”
Is there a guidebook on ‘how to get a job during the global pandemic’?
In Filipino culture, art isn’t encouraged or taken seriously as a career. There has been a major disconnect as it is perceived solely as a hobby and is constantly undervalued. Growing up, I’ve always felt conflicted when I was asked what my dream job was. I am someone that enjoys and is interested in art and photography and I have often felt a wave of scepticism from people as soon as I mention building a career in a creative field. It was emotionally draining to prove myself and my abilities with all this negativity. It reinforced shame, negative self-talk and disbelief to the point where I didn’t know what career path was right for me.
Choosing the path to take has been a constant struggle. I thought I could follow my passion in the creative industry and let everything else fall into place, but that hasn’t been my experience. The harsh reality struck with endless rejections from companies that left me feeling empty, lost, and constantly looking for structure in my daily routine. A big reality check was that I wanted security as much as I want novelty.
Twelve-week placement with Look Again
Underneath a life where passion and purpose are intertwined, I was fortunate enough to have a twelve-week work placement with Look Again during my third year at Robert Gordon University as part of my course module. Not only did Look Again greet me with open arms, but they were willing to teach me and encourage me to explore the full potential of my skill sets. A typical day for a Social Media Coordinator at the Look Again Office consisted of research, writing, scheduling, managing posts and measuring the impact of PR and marketing activity whilst sharing ideas with the team.
But let’s get real, the most fulfilling part of the role was the workshops, exhibitions, talks and the biennial art festival that they organised, animating Aberdeen in such a colourful way. Documenting these events was very inspiring. It was amazing to see students, emerging creatives and well-established professionals present their craft to the public. I slowly recognised my newly discovered love of content creation as I collaborated with Look Again’s partners, artists, and cultural ambassadors. Those twelve weeks, plus a few more weeks helping out at Look Again Festival 2019, enabled me to grow and expand in my craft.
During my time with Look Again, I saw how diverse the art scene in the North East of Scotland is. It is a space for locals and aspiring creatives and there are no limits in fostering the creative sector. I realised that there was something different about me too, even though I’m still discovering what it could be, it gave me hope that there would be a place for me in the industry. I was slowly building my confidence and finding my voice.
Securing a job with Look Again
I never thought that I would be able to work with them again but Look Again offered me a job at the HAAN Design Pop-Up. They showcased some of the best makers and designers in the North East of Scotland. While I only worked for HAAN for a couple of days, I felt this boundless positive energy and joy that I found comfort in. Being surrounded by a supportive community of creative minds, especially through this challenging time, was a privilege.
The more I got to know the creators, the more creative I felt and inspired by what they were doing. They were all doing something so interesting and so unique. I took a lot of inspiration from that. I heard and saw them talking about the challenges they faced in this environment, and it was very reassuring to learn that I’m not the only one. The more I reached out to people, the more I connected with them with their past experiences. My appreciation for arts and culture has definitely deepened. Mhairi from Paper Houses Design and Karen from Bramble Graphics were probably the people who helped boost my confidence and gave me a different perspective on finding a job.
I will always be grateful to Sally, Claire, Hilary and Laura, the incredible women behind Look Again. I have met so many amazing people whilst working with them. They allowed me to explore and learn so many things that I never knew I was capable of. That is something I will always value wherever I go. I learned so much about myself. I learned that I am the most creative when I get to work in my own space, quietly, and whenever I have the freedom to experiment. That’s Look Again for me – they create space for you to grow and develop your career in the creative industry.
View Anthea’s portfolio – www.antheasaludades.com
Find out more about Look Again – www.lookagainaberdeen.co.uk