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Interning with Strike A Light: Aimée Lewis

Aimée interned with us for 2020-21 as part of a cultural leadership trainee role in Gloucester. We asked her about her year…

A photograph of Aimee Lewis
Aimée Lewis

What’s your name and where do you come from? 

I’m Aimée Lewis and I live in Cheltenham but went to university in Gloucester and aim to keep working in the city. I want to be part of the huge cultural changes in the city that aim to make an impact in the surrounding communities.

What were you doing before joining Strike A Light?

I was fresh out of finishing a film degree at University and working in a coffee shop, striving for something more creative.

In March 2019, Gloucester Culture Trust launched the Creative Leadership Trainee Programme. I was accepted on to the programme and began working for Gloucestershire Libraries as a Cultural Leadership Trainee. My role allowed me to experiment and challenge new ideas for arts and culture in libraries, bringing new ways of approaching projects and events for communities. Then I was offered the chance to do part of that role with Strike A Light.

I still can’t believe how lucky I am to have got the experience to work with Strike A Light because I wanted to still stay in Gloucestershire. It was the perfect opportunity to move into for me.

How did you hear about the opportunity and what made you think it sounded interesting?

My mum actually tagged me in a post on Facebook! That’s how I heard about my cultural leadership trainee role. At first I didn’t really understand what it meant because it was a completely new role for myself and the organisations but it was exciting to have a creative job opportunity pop up right on my doorstep at the perfect time for me. 

I had no idea that Strike A Light existed before and wasn’t involved in the creative Gloucester community. All I can say is that I was impressed with what I learned, and honoured to have memories of taking part in events and supporting artists for exciting things happening in Gloucester!

Can you remember what your first day was like?

Yes, mostly because I hadn’t met anyone prior from Strike A Light so I really didn’t know what to expect. I remember Jess opening the door to me and making me feel so welcome. I remember the office vibe being so chill and bright. On my first day, Jess talked me through everything and I felt super comfortable to get on with stuff right away, even if I didn’t know what I was really doing at first.

Any particular highlights or lowlights?

Highs 

So many but I’ll keep them breif! 

  • Front of House 

I really enjoyed being chatty and welcoming to audiences. It really helped with my confidence and also being able to watch every performance was a bonus. The time spent with Jess and others on front of house was so fun and there’s a few memories I’ll cherish forever (like that one time I thought a pigeon needed saving so went to pick it up to move it but it totally mugged me off and moved right back)

  • Producing a show for Jonny Fluffypunk 
Aimee produced ‘The End of the Pier Show’ with Jonny Fluffypunk

Working with Jonny and Christina has been such an experience that was really enjoyable but difficult at times because I was in a new environment. I noticed the support that everyone had for each other straight away and it was something I definitely needed at times. It was magical to see the show come to life and to see first hand how those experiences were really enjoyed by children and their families. Even though lockdown ruined live performances, I still got to see how far the show developed and had fun working on the audience facing interactive parts of the project like the workshops plus we got to create a digital copy of the show.

  • Filming with Barney/Fluxx Films

The time I spent directing some videos for Strike A Light with Barney was awesome. I got to interview audience members and really understand their experiences with the events that we put on. It was great to be a part of putting it together into a video to shout about what Strike A Light do best. 

Lows 

  • Lockdown

What a downer!! Working from my bedroom all day wasn’t great. I quickly noticed that not being in the office with people being easily able to turn around and ask for help was hard. I got a little bit more of responsibility with producing Jon’s show in lockdown so the pressure of being stuck inside along with it wasn’t the best. However, I’m proud of myself that I stuck it through and it was really useful to have those 1:1 conversations with the team about it all in the end. 

Was the year how you expected it to be?

I didn’t know what to expect at first because when I applied for my trainee position it was focussed around libraries and Strike A Light was a sort of extension. Therefore, I had no clue how the two organisations were going to click together but in some cases they did. I look forward to keep crossing the Gloucestershire Libraries & Strike A Light bridge. 

When I started, I had no idea that I’d be working on a new children’s theatre show and later on producing a digital version in lockdown. I didn’t think I’d have as much control and freedom in the role which has been nice but also terrifying at the same time. 

I didn’t expect everyone to be so welcoming and friendly or to be sometimes watching the team take part in 30 second planking competitions! I also didn’t imagine myself enjoying front of house at events so much but it’s really helped with my confidence over the year. I loved talking to communities about the exciting stuff we were doing! 

Favourite and least favourite things about the work?

My favourite has to be meeting all of the team and working with them to put on awesome and exciting events in Gloucester! The least is working from home during lockdown and leaving without a proper goodbye however, I know the journey hasn’t properly ended yet and I look forward to working closely with them again in the future. 

What are you going on to now?

I’m going to continue my journey at Gloucestershire Libraries as part of the development team and keeping supporting and perhaps push for more exciting events and activities to happen inside our libraries. I also hope to keep in touch with exciting projects happening in Gloucester and get involved as an individual for self growth and making new connections.