You might know what a development associate’s job description includes, but what does a week in their life actually look like? Michaela Nutt reveals all.

Photo of Michaela Nutt with NTW logo

Wednesday 21 October

This afternoon I’m at Volcano Theatre in Swansea for National Theatre Wales’ WalesLab Huddles programme. These sessions focus on arts management and producing skills and are a way for artists to access advice and networks to sustain their arts practice. A few months ago I ran a session in North Wales on fundraising, but today I am just here to have ‘one-on-ones’ with individual artists. Huddles are so great – I love that they are always full of artists at all stages of their careers who are just looking for that little bit of help to keep them sustainable. Today I spoke with a young couple at the beginning of their careers, and a more established theatre producer from West Wales. We’ll stay in touch – part of the National Theatre Wales (NTW) ethos is to be generous – so I look forward to giving them advice and feedback in the future.

Thursday 22 October

Such a great day today! Travelled to Bradford with two of my colleagues, Simon Coates and Gavin Porter to see Common Wealth’s new show: The Deal Versus The People. Common Wealth make extraordinary political theatre in site-specific spaces, and this show was no exception. NTW often works with one half of Common Weath, Rhiannon White, so I thought it was about time that I saw some of her work! In development, we are often working a couple of years ahead – looking for funds for a project that may not be entirely cemented yet. This is why it is important for me to stay up to date with what Welsh artists are creating – you never know what I might be working on next! The show was amazing – it is theatre like this that reminds me why I do what I do.

Friday 23 October

I’m working from home this afternoon after a long drive back from Bradford. My rescue cat, Poety (after Edgar Allan) is snoring beside me – egging me on to get back to work so I can take a nap with her. I’m working on a couple of applications for NTW TEAM today, inputting some notes from the Head of Collaboration and the Managing Director. I often work on multiple funding applications at once which means I can have one with the others for feedback whilst I am working on another. Sometimes this works well, and I get into a great routine; other times, like today (due to wasting time in traffic back from Bradford!) I end up with a bit of a backlog of changes to input and applications to submit! Oh well – working late on a Friday isn’t bad when it is for something I care about!

Monday 26 October

Today was more of a standard day compared to the last three! I’m continuing with the applications I was working on on Friday. I’m working on five applications at the moment, all for TEAM but very different in approach. A large part of working in development is being very good at research and ‘reading between the lines’. Many funds don’t publish much information about what kind of projects they like to fund, but by analysing their annual reports and researching the organisations they have funded previously, you can begin to get a very good idea of their priorities. Whilst a lot of the applications I write may seem similar, it is really important that I take the time to make sure each one addresses the funders’ priorities and ‘speaks their language’. So today I am reading annual reports and analysing accounts – super glamorous.

Tuesday 27 October

I had a great day today collaborating with colleagues on some applications. Often I find I am working in a silo in my little corner of the office, but today everyone pitched in and contributed. I was also in some meetings about a web project we’re working on and our Christmas show, The Insatiable Inflatable Candylion. But now I’m home, catching up on some reading that has been neglected for the past week. It isn’t part of my role, but something I make sure I do outside of work is stay up to date on cultural policy here in the UK and back home in Australia. New research is always being published in this sector, and I find it easy to fall behind if I don’t read at least a couple of nights a week. I love it though – it is an exciting time for arts advocacy and cultural policy; there are lots of changes happening and I think the arts sector is really being heard!

Michaela Nutt is an arts manager from Australia with a background in theatre and community cultural development. She works as a Development Associate (grants) at National Theatre Wales.

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Michaela Nutt