Say hi to Sophie Ludkin, our new Arts Engagement Worker. The arts are really special to the former radio journalist, who grew-up in Norfolk. After her media detour, she’s looking forward to helping communities tackle their different challenges creatively.
Sophie said: “I’ve spent the last few years working in community outreach and I spent my childhood dancing and pursued drama all the way to university. I wanted to bring together my passions for arts, performing and community.
“I really love collaborating and I think now, more than ever, the arts are really important and the need to make them as accessible as possible is crucial. This role offered a really exciting opportunity to grow and collaborate with the community of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk.”
“I headed to Kingston upon Thames for a few years when I was studying drama at Kingston University, and I always imagined that I’d move away again. But I think everyone feels that way in their early 20s, right?
“I think I just dreamed of different. I started a Broadcast Journalism masters at UEA and then got work in local radio here. That has made me invested in my communities.
“I actually used to freelance with KL.FM in King’s Lynn so I feel familiar with the area through reading the news. It’s really nice to be back and I luckily know the names of roads most likely to have bad traffic, ha!”
Sophie found herself to be too chatty (maybe nosey) and quickly realised she wanted to do more longform content than quick clips for news bulletins. She liked hearing people’s journeys and having the time to talk at length.
She said: “That job combined lots of passions. I’d produce radio, but also get to head into the community and meet people, do workshops and help them create projects. Alongside that I also started freelancing as a podcast producer.
“I listen to SO many podcasts (all genres, always up for recommendations). Through that I’ve predominantly been working with the UEA on politics podcasts reflecting on the changes between the UK and the EU since Brexit and the impact of the digital world on political ideologies. Obviously other people are bringing the research and expert views to that, I just make it sound good!”
Despite taking a little detour away from drama and performing after her degree, Sophie has continued to be an avid audience member and goes to the theatre as much as she can.
“I’m really appreciative of the opportunities I had for performing and being creative as a kid and I know that it gave me some of my most valued qualities in life now. So it feels wonderful to have made my way back here as an adult. To get to work in the field is a joy.”
She added that working with young people and creatives more broadly, she thinks the reward is getting to see them find their voice and platform something they’re proud of.
“It’s really special when you get to witness people growing and stepping into themselves and their ambitions with confidence. I know a challenge I face is that I’m walking into a new community (although I’m currently house hunting, so fingers crossed it shall shortly be my community).
“We have to get to know each other, and people can be hesitant around change and something new, but it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to.”
When asked why arts engagement is so important, Sophie says where does she start?
“The arts are crucial to survival if you ask me. How would hope exist if we didn’t have the ability to imagine better? I could go on about the importance of the arts on our mental health, our physical health, our education, our economy. But ultimately why can’t it just be important because it brings us happiness.
“This is why I feel passionate about arts being accessible to all. We should all have moments in life that are purely for enjoyment. Unlocking a young person’s imagination through the arts allows them to develop aspirations and have the confidence to action them.”
One part of her new job role is to re-instate a Referral Network so that groups, organisations and individuals can refer young people facing challenges towards a new programme that she’s in the process of creating.
She said: “I’m really looking forward to creating a network that can be a part of a community, and support one another to talk through challenges, share advice and resources.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what’s needed and collaborating with others on how to combat that and take care of the community. And, of course, I’m looking forward to getting creative with our participants.”
Sophie’s already working with our Community Ambassador Programme members from King’s Lynn Academy. They’ve been working hard all year to create a wildlife garden at their school and hosted a summer fete to show it off.
“I’ve loved getting stuck into talking to them about their eco-passions and seeing their hard work to plan the upcoming event.”
Sophie’s working on a podcast project after receiving a creative bursary from 1 Degree East, which is going to feature exclusively on creatives from different disciplines in West Norfolk. You can listen to them chat about their artistic journeys and then get creative together in a workshop.
“The call is out and I’m patiently refreshing my inbox to see who’s going to get in touch,” she added.
Throughout July Sophie will be co-leading confidence building workshops with our participation manager Dan for NEET (not in education, employment or training) participants in King’s Lynn.
“I’m really looking forward to that. It’s a real privilege to be able to support young people to take their next steps.”
Sophie said her first few weeks have felt hectic, but she’s so inspired by all of her new colleagues across The Garage and The Workshop.
“Everyone is so enthusiastic and galvanised towards making a difference through our work and that is such a thrilling atmosphere to step into. The Workshop team is raring to go, and I can’t wait to be involved in making it an innovative space for the community.”
Our autumn term of classes runs 12 September to 9 December. General booking has opened.
Our friendly front-of-house team is happy to answer any questions. Give them a call on 01553 277919, email email@example.com or pop into our space in New Conduit Street, King’s Lynn.
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