Dance graduate Bakani Pick-Up started work at Dance4 after landing a place on a prestigious nationwide programme supporting people from low income backgrounds into arts careers.

Bakani is one of just 40 recent graduates from around the country picked to receive a Weston Jerwood Creative Bursary and he will spend 12 months working on a paid placement.

Paul Russ, Artistic Director and Chief Executive at Dance4 said: “We’re really excited to have Bakani working with us and to be part of the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme. Making sure we have access to the widest pool of talent and new perspectives is absolutely vital to the success of individual organisations like ours and to the arts as a whole.”

Bakani recently completed his MA and BA Honours degrees in Choreography at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance and Falmouth University respectively. He has worked with choreographers Russell Maliphant, Theo Clinkard, Jorge Crecis and Freddie Opoku-Addaie; and most recently he has been chosen to participate in 2016’s Turner Prize winner Anthea Hamilton’s Tate Britain commission.

His practice focuses on improvisation techniques for composing choreography as performance. Exploring his experiences growing up in Zimbabwe he aims to create performance art that serves as an entwining of the two cultures. He is also part of Late Collective, a group that works with themes of gender identity, queer culture and perspectives on race.

The Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme was set up to give graduates from low income backgrounds an alternative to the unpaid internships which act as a gateway into the sector for up 88% of young people working in the arts today. Now in its third edition, the programme has proved hugely successful, with 60% of employers in the programme’s second edition extending contracts once the bursary ended and 98% of hosts considering ways in which they can target future job opportunities towards graduates who may not have the means to work for free to get into the arts.

Graduates who have already completed their placements have gone on to a range of senior jobs within the arts, including Artistic Director of Birmingham’s Fierce Festival and Executive Director of Chisenhale Dance Space in Tower Hamlets, London, while others are developing successful freelance careers in the arts.

Bakani said: “I’m really proud to be selected and to get an opportunity like this, since Dance4 is a great place to start my career. I believe this organisation is the best place to challenge and encourage experiments and the team is great in supporting emerging choreographers.”



About the Jerwood Charitable Foundation

Jerwood Charitable Foundation is dedicated to imaginative and responsible revenue funding of the arts, supporting artists to develop and grow at important stages in their careers. The aim of its funding is to allow artists and arts organisations to thrive; to continue to develop their skills, imagination and creativity with integrity. It works with artists across art forms, from dance and theatre to literature, music and the visual arts.

The Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries 2017-19

The Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme provides talent development opportunities for recent graduates from low-income backgrounds. Through it, Jerwood Charitable Foundation and its partners seek to change the socio-economic barriers that skilled graduates entering the arts workplace are facing. The programme provides paid entry-level jobs at leading UK arts organisations, supported by a structured programme of ambitious professional development and peer mentoring.

The Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries 2017-19 programme is designed and managed by Jerwood Charitable Foundation in partnership with the British Council. It has been made possible through the combined support of Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation, Jerwood Charitable Foundation, CHK Charities Limited and PRS Foundation. Under the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries, host organisations pay 25% of the placement’s wage, with the remaining 75% coming from the bursary fund. All placements will be paid the living wage. The programme will end in February 2019 and the final evaluation of the programme will be completed in summer 2019. The arts organisations hosting bursary graduates this year include Curve, Leicester; Yorkshire Dance, Leeds; The Place, London; Scottish Dance Theatre & Dundee Rep, Dundee.


Please find a National Press Release about the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries attached here.