Reflecting back on all that I've done so far, I feel as though I have managed to explore many ideas and I have been discussing issues that have never crossed my mind before. I feel as though I am developing well and now able to criticise and take on different views. It has been so interesting reading the ideas of other students and to see how every individual is dealing and working with the set tasks. Engaging in the tasks and topics, I have been on time and focused. I have been enjoying the work and reading and am now fully aware of how good and quite essential critical reflection is.
From what I have learnt and researched in these three modules, I have summed up my current top 5 most important sources of information. They are as follows:
1. Personal contacts - As discussed in previous blogs, I have become more aware over the past couple of years that a lot of professional networking comes from 'who you know'. We can find out about many jobs, auditions, meetings etc through our friends or professional colleagues. Simply by discussing our similarities and the routine of our professional practices, we are able to further our knowledge and become aware of any events that we can attend to develop and improve ourselves as professionals. Personally, I have been able to discover jobs applications and possible opportunities through my friends. They have connections themselves which can help me out. Without these personal contacts, there would be several jobs that I would not have applied for purely because I would not have been aware of them and I would not have had those that I know to 'put a good word in' for me. It is so important to keep your options open and allow your network (both personal and professional) to continue to grow. You may meet someone through a friend that could be a potential employer or attend an event where you get noticed - you then keep that person as a contact/connection in the professional world.
2. Social networking (Facebook) - I know it may seem a bit odd to have Facebook in my top 5 but I have discussed it on several occasions and although it is known to be a 'social' network, I think it also plays a major role in professional networks. Through Facebook we are able to learn more about people, we can see the lifestyle they lead and whether there are similarities between them and ourselves. As mentioned on several occasions, we can all join Facebook 'groups' which allow us to share and discuss as well as view thoughts, ideas and images with people that have the same interests and live similar lives. These groups are an excellent way to communicate with those following comparable professional practices.
3. Interviews (auditions) - Having been to several auditions in the past, I learnt a lot from both the panel of judges and the other dancers that were attending. All being put in the same situation and all going for the same job meant that, naturally, you would talk to one another. The same applies in my professional practice now, with job interviews. Having been to two this week I became fully aware of the connections that you can make and just by talking with those who are there, I learnt more about the jobs themselves and what else is around. I spoke to an employee of the business and she was able to tell me more about the role and what it involved. I also spoke to others attending the interview and learnt that sometimes it is best just to make your face seen by handing in your CV personally to managers etc. Having been to the interviews, if I do end up being unsuccessful this time, the employers have now met me (and, in a sense, are contacts - point 1.), they may be able to remember me for possible future positions and opportunities.
4. BAPP students - Without all of the other students and their blogs, none of us would be able to discuss or be critical of one another's work and we certainly wouldn't be able to learn more about our individual professional practices. I have found it fascinating so far learning more and more about everyone and seeing how their work has developed over these three modules. It is brilliant both giving and receiving feedback because not only does it develop our critical reflection skills, we then are given responses which help us think of new ideas or look at something from another angle. (Thank you to everyone for your thoughtful comments!) I am already seeing a mixture of contrasts and similarities between mine and other's work. Claire Orlandi (http://orlandi1.blogspot.co.uk/) has recently commented on my 'Theories relating to networking' blog, she too has seen links between my thoughts and her own. She commented:
We can use it to network, advertise our talents on youtube, a website to show the world how amazing we are, source information about up and coming auditions (the stage, casting call pro, star now etc), research shows, blog, look at online magazines such as the stage, whats on stage, have our online Cv's on spotlight, the list is endless!".
I completely agree with this and some of her thoughts link to mine on Facebook and social networking. She also discusses that 'friends in the industry' are a key source of information, linking to my thoughts on personal contacts.