Paige Michel-Strachan has joined the Arts at University of Southampton team in a temporary role as Digital Marketing and Project Assistant. Paige is going to be helping out on our Connecting Culture project and with the Southampton Cultural Education Partnership with content creation, communications and much more!
We caught up with Paige to find out a bit more about her – her background, inspirations, hopes and dreams!
Read on to find out more.
Hi Paige – tell us a bit about yourself!
Hey everyone! I hope you’re well and looking after yourself during this lockdown. My name is Paige Michel. I was born and raised in London. My family are from the West Indies – Jamaica, Dominica and St.Lucia. I am a Care-experienced Person. A Libra. An aesthete. A Makeup & Hair enthusiast. A foodie – hence the double chin – LOL! A Cultural Creative. I am passionate about social action, diversity and inclusion. I am an upcoming Digital Marketer with demonstrated history working in the Beauty, Arts, Culture and Heritage Sector. I am skilled in Project Management, Social Media, Copywriting and Presenting. My mates would describe me as a fun-loving, innovative and hard-working person.
I came to the University of Southampton via the Access to Southampton Scheme (A2S) to study a BA History degree. History was my favourite subject throughout school, I got an A* in GCSE and I knew I wanted to improve my written and analytical skills. Some of my favourite modules included the British Atlantic World 1600c – 1800c., Histography of Gandhi, Whitewashing of The First World War: Merchant Mariners, Women and Gender in the Arab world and Ethnography of Latin America: The Politics of Race and Ethnicity.
Here I joined Surge Radio, working as a co-presenter on the Breakfast show. Then, I created a show with my two mates, Albert and Kaira, focusing on promoting and celebrating music of Black Origin such as Dancehall, Soca, Afrobeats etc. I was also writer and digital illustrator for Wessex Scene Magazine on topics such as race, sexuality, law, history, cultural attitudes and spirituality.
Whilst in Southampton, I also worked as a paid fundraiser for charities like Barnados who help vulnerable children and families, worked on a creative project in Human Resources at Mayflower Theatre and worked as Digital Marketing and Engagement Intern at the John Hansard Gallery, (if you scroll a couple pages back I’m sure you’ll find my JHG introductory blog there!). Being at the University of Southampton and exploring their Arts scene was pivotal in developing my interests personally and professionally.
Before this, I had completed the Tomorrow’s Talent internship. Shadowing an intellectual property lawyer at Taylor Wessing the first week, and doing work experience with The National Portrait Gallery the next. So, my interest in Arts and Culture was already ignited.
Now, I am very excited to announce that I am Digital Marketing and Project Assistant with the University of Southampton Arts and Culture team working alongside the amazing Louise and Jen…(well not literally alongside because we’re working from home – LOL!).
What do creativity and the arts mean to you in your life?
To me, creativity is somewhat therapeutic. It means freedom of expression, bringing visions to fruition, innovative problem solving, appreciating beautiful works, thought-provoking content, learning information in an entertaining and engaging way, the power to evoke emotion – usually HAPPINESS.
The arts are very important in my life, I couldn’t live without it. So, it is no surprise my main focus is progressing my Digital Marketing career in Arts and Culture. Aside from this I have an interest in Makeup Artistry, Journalism and Radio Presenting – all of which are creative jobs. My creative outlets, include reading books, listening to podcasts, listening to music, watching YouTube and Netflix. I love going to art galleries, museums, concerts and festivals. I also enjoy going to workshops and webinars by professionals in the arts. A life without creativity and arts, is no life at all – lol!
This year I completed the Media Trust: Creativity Works training programme which was such an incredible opportunity and enrichment experience. I completed several creative tasks like writing articles, press-junkets and voice over work. I learnt how to promote my work on social media and track insights on apps like bitly. I also attended several masterclasses by media companies in Digital Marketing, PR and Journalism, giving us tips on how to break into the industry.
What’s the best arts experience you have had within the last year? In-person, at home or online is totally fine!
The past year has been absolutely crazy with the outbreak of COVID-19, several lockdowns and the economic effects of that. However, adversity breeds creativity. Being home bound, did not stop me from making the most of the fantastic, arts and culture webinars and online events available. In fact, I attended more than I had ever before! I also completed some short courses, listened to and read some amazing content. Below is a round-up of my highlights:
- Media Trust Press Junkets with Kanya King – visionary and founder of MOBO Awards; Ashley Walters – Actor and rapper; Ibrahim Kamara – Co-founder of GUAP Magazine and Henrie Kuwushe – Host on Who We Be TALKS Podcast and Presenter of No Signal Radio.
- MOBO Awards Online with Maya Jama, Chunks and Zeze Mills Hosting. Performances from some of my favourite artists like Stylo G, Shaybo, Tiana Major9, and Davido.
- Notting Hill Carnival Online and Rampage Sound with the best Dancehall and Soca performances and DJ sets.
- Afro-Caribbean Hair Course with The Prince’s Trust. Trina Nicole was leading, we had conversation on afro-hair being very political, case studies of children being marginalised, how hair is linked to identity. We met with Nicola Smart – a Trichologist and Founder of Smart Hair Clinic. Also, had workshops with big brands like Treasure Tress…(And, I played with a dolly head lol – making her hair look fleeky for my presentation!).
- Professor Christer Petley on Universi-Tea Podcast talking about Black History Month, slavery and his time as a student in Jamaica at the archives.
- Dr Don John Black History Month Webinar talking about the History of Southampton – Black people are a legitimate part of the history that exists but this is not widely accepted or valued. The building of a Southampton Black Archives and how educational institutions can to more to reduce racial inequality.
- Know Your Caribbean Webinar hosted by Fiona Compton and led by Dr Morgan Dalphinis on the history and language of St. Lucia 1654-1915.
- The rebuild coalition on Clubhouse on the future infrastructure of the Dancehall music industry. Digital Marketers like Portia Clarke who is lead of Black Music at Warner Music and key players like Mr Play, Dj Nate and Gully B (being in a room with Jada Kingdom and Kranium was cool – love their music!).
- Viacom workshop for people interested in the creative media industry. The discussion was on how COVID-19 has impacted young people, especially care experienced people.
- Creative report by Dr Pathik Pathak, Nazneen Ahmed and Avila Chidume offering a practical framework to work towards racial equity.
We know you’ve been busy this year! What are some of your proudest achievements?
- Listicle on Dancehall and Soca Djs – well received by Media Trust leaders, online readers and by the Djs themselves. (Check my twitter, it’s pinned there!)
- Article Contributor for BLK PWR magazine by Wessex Scene and Ashamed Magazine – The History of Notting Hill Carnival. The sales used to donate to Free Black Uni and contributors like me.
- Commissioned by The Mayors Fund for spoken word on the social economic effects of COVID-19, racial equity and unemployment.
- Digital Artwork featured in the hARTslane Gallery for the Be Seen, Be Heard Project.
- Performed my poetry to a small live audience at Curmiah Lisette’s ‘Lakay’ workshop. (Lakay means home in St.Lucian creole).
- Recorded a video about how to stay busy in lockdown for BBC Radio London’s competition.
- Voice Over artist for Media Trust graduation.
- Featured in La Norme Magazine for winning a LAMBB (Look at My Black Beauty) competition. LAMBB is a media company who aim to redefine the images of black and brown people in the media. My pitch was based on using Makeup Artistry as a tool to promote diversity and inclusion.
- Featured on Do Your Thing Podcast with Mia Asante on Makeup Artistry being a creative outlet and form or artivism.
- And of course – this role working on SCEP and the Connecting Culture Project with Arts at University of Southampton!
Tell us a bit about your role with the Arts at University of Southampton team. What are you going to be working on?
My role with the Arts at University of Southampton team is amazing, my job title is Digital Marketing and Project Assistant (I’m convinced I have the best job in the world!). I will be assisting Louise and Jen with communications for the Connecting Culture project and the Southampton Cultural Education Partnership (also known as the SCEP). Both of these projects are all about promoting access to arts and creativity for children and young people in Southampton.
Whilst undertaking my excel internship with the John Hansard Gallery, I was lucky enough to attend the Southampton Cultural Conference. So, it is wonderful to see the creative ideas developed and big plans come to fruition through these projects I am working on. (My passion is my purpose. My purpose is my profit. Everything is coming full circle it seems!) I will be creating content such as blogging which is great! I will be interviewing and profiling some of the people and partners involved with the projects over the coming weeks, so watch this space – you don’t want to miss it!
What are your ambitions for the future?
My ambitions for the future are:
- Continue my History Degree at University of Southampton: Unfortunately, my studies were interrupted, but now I really want to finish. (There is a space on my wall waiting for the graduation picture lol). On the bright side – I’m older, wiser, research skills have improved, and my writing is more polished so I’m sure it will only benefit my degree!
- Progress my Career in Digital Marketing and Communications in Arts and Culture: I finally found a career that I love and am good at – so it’s time to focus on progressing in the industry. (I’m going to pick Louise and Jen’s brains, learn from them as they are my role models – goalsss). Media Trust gave me the opportunity to meet with Digital Marketer, Kubi Springer and Professional Writer, Ron Finlay. So I aim to use what I have learnt and maintain professional relationships in order to develop my career. I also e-met Digital Marketers from renowned companies like Adam & Eve DDB, Edelman, Snapchat, Facebook, Channel 4, MTV and Google. Google Skillshop have an accredited online course in Digital Marketing – so I will complete that this year.
- Self Improvement and Storytelling: Continue to attend workshops, short courses, webinars and events. Then, push out the information in a blog or podcast.
- Social Action: More involved in helping young people i.e. creative educational opportunities for children from an Afro-Caribbean background, children from low income background, children in care or care leavers. I aim to give back to causes close to my heart through mentoring and relatability through lived experience. After all, young people are the future!
Ultimately, my goal is to ‘live my best life’ using creativity to help myself and to help others. So, when my time is up, I can genuinely say I lived doing what I loved, leaving the world in a better place than I found it – win, win.
If you want to connect or pree, follow me on twitter @itspaigemichel or add me on Linked In – Paige Michel.