Don’t Give Up the Day Job

27 January 2018 / 10-5

Have you got a job or paid employment that supports your creative practice? Does it get in the way of you making work? Could it nourish it instead? In partnership with Manchester Craft and Design Centre and Redeye, the Photography Network, we present a day of talks, discussions and workshops encouraging artists, photographers and makers to draw inspiration for their personal practice from other paid and commercial work.

The day will include short presentations from creatives with advice on how they ensure that their day job feeds their practice both creatively and practically. Throughout the day there will be a chance to network and get fresh perspectives on what your “bread and butter” work can offer to your creative practice, while also learning top tips from the latest research offered by support organisations such as a-n.

Our aim is to encourage people to keep sight of their artistic dreams and to shed new light on how working a day job in parallel to your creative ambitions can benefit both.

Ahead of the event, we are carrying out a survey to give us a clearer understanding of the ways in which people support a creative practice, and identify issues that might need further research If you have a creative practice which you support with other paid work, we’d love to hear from you at Please complete the survey by 20th January, in order to give us time to collate the responses in time for the event.

About the Speakers

Andrea Allan
Andrea Allan is an artist and writer based in Newcastle; her practice explores the real and the imaginary and the gap between subject and object in an attempt to better understand the links between our past, present and future. Allan is also the editor of Entitle magazine.

Sam Curtis
Sam Curtis is an artist, educator and curator based in London. With a conceptually driven practice that he makes manifest through various forms such as events, video, performance, text and sculpture, he is interested in art’s social function and it’s accessibility. For over 10 years he has used his day jobs as platforms or starting points from which to develop practice and projects. This has been a useful way to navigate precarity and has become a vehicle for inhabiting the grey areas and permeable boundaries between art and life. Informed by two years working as a fishmonger in Harrods, he now runs the Centre for Innovative and Radical Fishmongery, an organisation that explores how fishmongery intersects with art, individuals and society.

Susan Jones
Susan Jones is a visual arts researcher with specialist knowledge of artists’ practices and employment. Her PhD at Manchester School of Art aims to identifying a new rationale for the interrelationship between artists’ livelihoods and arts policy. She is an artists’ mentor and contributor to artists’ development programmes and conferences.

Julie McCalden
Julie McCalden is an artist and Paying Artists campaign Project Manager for a-n The Artists Information Company. She will provide a brief introduction to the campaign, its resources and the Exhibition Payment Guide, which recommends four core principles for artists and organisations to follow in their working arrangements around payment and gives a set of suggested payments (ranging from £150 to £6,000) to cover a wide range of exhibition scenarios and guidance for implementation.

Amy Wilkinson
Amy Wilkinson is a jeweller based at Manchester Craft & Design Centre. She predominantly works in silver, drawing shapes and patterns with wire to produce linear, simplified shapes. Amy also works as an armature maker at Mackinnon & Saunders, making stop-motion animation puppets. She’s worked on puppets for films and TV adverts including The Corpse Bride, Fantastic Mr Fox, and Frankenweenie.

Who is it for?

This event is for artists, photographers and makers who are currently juggling their day job with their personal practice but feel they need more advice and support.


Saturday 27 January 2018 from 10:30am until 4:30pm. Doors open at 10am


This event takes place at Bridge 5 Mill, 22a Beswick Street, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 7HR. The venue is fully accessible. For more information on Bridge 5 Mill including how to get there please follow the link here.


This event is £17.50 for concessions and £20 full price ticket. Please note that lunch is not provided with the ticket but guests are welcome to bring their own food into the venue.

In an attempt to get an even spread of artists, photographers and makers for networking opportunities we ask you to select at the time of booking which group you feel most fits your personal practice. If none of them, pick the one you know most about.

Bookings are being administered via the Redeye website (nb it is not necessary to join Redeye to buy a ticket for this event).

To book a place for Don’t Give Up the Day Job please follow the links below:

Please note Redeye’s terms and conditions including their refund policy.


Image: Centre for Innovative and Radical Fishmongery, Drawing of fishmonger with cup by Louise Byng