Jen Walke

Staff image: 
Staff role: 
Festival Producer, Inside Out Dorset
Staff about: 

Executive Producer

I have to wear a number of sometimes quite different hats as I might be asked for artistic feedback one minute and the most effective way to get an audience in and out of a site the next. But that’s what I love about the job. I have a creative input into the siting of work and, to an extent, what elements of the work should be highlighted, but I also have to know about what is needed to make the work happen, when it is needed by and how it is to be financed.

Before joining Activate in October 2013 I worked for the artist-led Pacitti Company, which not only creates work, it also produces its own festival of experimental live art and performance work in London and Ipswich, called SPILL. I started as an administrator and five years on, I was general manager, so the incredible world of Inside Out wasn’t entirely new territory for me in terms of managing big budgets and large-scale projects!

I’ve always wanted to work on large-scale outdoor events as there’s less of a gap between the art and the audience, everything is more accessible and there are fewer boundaries. It’s incredibly challenging but very exciting – as is this job, which is pretty much my dream job. It’s amazing.

Working at Activate is great. Although there are very clear objectives set with each project within our organisation, how we approach our projects and take decisions is very much up to each producer. There’s clear leadership and guidance, but also a great deal of autonomy given to everyone in the organisation, which is brilliant as it gives everyone agency and flexibility in delivering their work and that is empowering. It all makes for a very healthy working environment – and Dorset is a wonderful place to live, I love it!