Graduation 2021

No ceremony but still celebrating.


January 2021 was supposed to be my graduation month. A day where I would walk across the stage and shake hands with the chancellor and receive my certificate. A day where the family gathered, we’d take pictures and mum would say, “I’m proud of you child”—a day of celebrations, food, drinks and a little laughter.


BUT COVID!

So, like 99.9% of all class of 2020 graduates, we’ve had to improvise and find new ways of celebrating our achievements. Whether that’s been digital dinners, same household parties or bubble extravaganzas, we’ve found ways of adapting and unofficially commemorate how far we’ve come.


In my previous blog, The Morning After the Night Before, I spoke about the aftermath of post-dissertation blues and the toll it took on my mental health. Today, I’m proud to say, I’m (semi) back on my feet, (after all, we are still navigating the creative and cultural sector while in a global pandemic). But, following a few therapy sessions, lots of rest, prayer, wine and beautiful friends who intentionally celebrated me and my achievements. It’s rewarding to look back and see how far I’ve come.


On this day, I stand before you with a Masters in Culture Policy, Relations and Diplomacy.


The last two years of part-time study, while freelancing and navigating global chaos, was made a little easier through the support of Dancer’s Career Development and Equity Charitable Trust.

I stumbled upon Dancer’s Career Development (DCD) several years ago, during a One Dance UK conference held at Trinity Laban.


I attended because a role model of mine, Ingrid MacKinnon - an artist and co-founder of Movespace, participated in one of their panel discussions.




“People, representation matters”

I remember listening to the panellists talk about their transition stories and an overwhelming sense of relatable relief engulfed me. It was incredibly impactful to hear of how others overcame, how they dealt with insecurities and where they went to seek help.


Long story short, I got in touch with DCD, attended their EVOLVE workshop(s), had one-to-one sessions with Isabel Mortimer and went to a few other events, which eventually led me to apply for a retraining grant.


The financial support received by DCD offered me a moment to breathe and confidence in my new research area. Not only because someone else believed in me, but also because they were willing to invest in my future - this was paramount for me and propelled me forward with a spring in my step.


(Image by Nicole Guarino Photography at DCD Evolve workshop)


I crossed paths with the Equity Charitable Trust (ECT), through DCD. They additionally support “industry professionals with educational grants to retrain, re-qualify and obtain valuable new skillsets for those wanting to leave the profession or develop a second income stream.” They offer welfare grants, retraining grants and during the pandemic, COVID-19 support.


The financial support received by ECT during my second year of study was invaluable. Particularly as work was tentative, school deadlines approaching, and continuous academic research was of the essence. I’m extremely grateful for their support.



To all current students navigating the virtual learning world – you are not alone.


To all professionals looking to retrain and try something new – there’s lots of support out there - reach out, don’t go at it alone.


To everyone else – WE GOT THIS!



"Here’s to a future that demands us not to give up and offers us a chance to adapt, unlearn to relearn, step out of our comfort zone and build each other up!"


- Best, Sara.






(Photo of ICCE Students Class of 2019 & 2020)



Resources/ References:

Dancers Career Development - https://thedcd.org.uk

Equity Charitable Trust - http://www.equitycharitabletrust.org.uk

One Dance UK - https://www.onedanceuk.org

Trinity Laban - https://www.trinitylaban.ac.uk

Goldsmiths University (ICCE) - https://www.gold.ac.uk/icce/aboutus/

MoveSpace - https://movespace.org.uk



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