COMMUNITY: Joanna Vasanth from MVP Workshops

By 20/07/2020August 18th, 2020No Comments

MVP Workshops is a Community Interest Company that provides successful accredited personal and social development programmes in the creative arts to young people in London and across the UK.

We caught up with Jo Vasanth, Director of Partnerships and Recruitment, in Creative Works’ chill out area to find out more about some of the organisation’s recent projects and how the team is helping to inspire the next generation of creatives.

Jo Vasanth from MVP Workshops

Hi Jo! Firstly, can you tell us a bit about MVP Workshops and its mission?

Sure. First of all MVP stands for “Most Valuable Players” – the idea being that our young people are our priority. We offer creative courses and workshops for young people in gaming, music, visual arts and everything in-between!

It’s all about encouraging personal and social development through the medium of creativity in a professional environment. We have what we call the “Five Major Keys to Success”: Determination, Teamwork, Confidence, Attitude & Behaviour and Punctuality & Attendance.

We teach our young people that they can achieve whatever they want to if they follow the Five Major Keys to Success. We equip them with new creative skills, of course, but they’re also learning the transferable skills they need to thrive in their career.

What exciting projects are you working on at the moment?

We’ve just received funding from Peabody to deliver a new music project called Go Live 2019. We’ll be shooting a music video, recording two music tracks that we’re going to publish on all major streaming platforms and our young people will be performing at the 2019 Walthamstow Garden Party.

We’re working with professionals and young people who are passionate about music to help them kick start their career in the music industry. Our aim is always to provide young people with real life opportunities.

Go Live group photo

What are some of your best success stories? 

We always try to maintain a working relationship with our young people. For instance, we met some amazing 14 and 15 year old producers two years ago and we’re still in touch. They took part in one of our workshops and showed incredible talent – we’ll be putting them on the payroll soon so that they can work for us.

We’ve just finished a project called Grime Waltham Forest in conjunction with Beetroots which was funded by the Borough of Culture and the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project was a documentary exploring the history of grime music in the borough.

It focuses in particular on DIY culture and how the genre’s pioneers made something out of nothing. It’s been great – we had a screening a couple of weeks ago and the Financial Times published an article about it!

Do you think that “DIY culture” is becoming popular among young creatives?

Definitely. There are so many opportunities out there for young people to do it themselves – things that grime artists couldn’t do 20 years ago. But I do think it can be difficult for young people to navigate the world nowadays which is why it’s important to have a DIY culture embedded.

A music video created by MVP’s young people (aged 11 – 15) at the Go Live programme.

It definitely feels like Waltham Forest is the place to be right now…

It’s very exciting. We’ve got the Borough of Culture status, so many new people are moving in and the whole area has changed – in a good way.

We’ve even got a Nandos!

That said, negative things have happened in borough too, which is why the kind of projects we run are so important. It’s one of the ways we can get young people off the streets and into something that they’re passionate about and want to do.

You can’t force young people to do anything – that’s another thing I’ve learnt!

What does your role at MVP Workshops entail?

I’m Director of Partnerships and Recruitment, so I recruit young people onto our programmes but also liaise with partners. I work with two other people: my best friend, Justin – he’s the Creative Director, and my brother Sam who’s the Business Manager and responsible for applying for funding and growing the business.

The MVP Workshops team

What’s your relationship with Big Creative Education (BCE)?

I started working with Alexis at BCE as a Marketing and Recruitment Manager when it was called DV8 Training – I helped to grow the company by introducing new courses and helped develop Big Creative Academy. I still manage external projects for BCE.

Getting creative!

What do you like about being based in Creative Works?

We were super excited to move into Creative Works. It’s been an amazing experience – you meet so many different people. There are lots of opportunities for collaboration and we’ve already started working with other members. There’s a real culture of productivity – you see people working hard and the coworking area is spacious and light.

Everyone’s on the same journey trying to make it on their own so there’s a really supportive community feel.

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