The countdown to the end of 2020 begins. It’s safe to say that all of us eagerly await its end, but it’s important not to forget the positives of this whirlwind of a year. Here at Be Extra, our silver lining has been our new teammates. Driven, talented, and caring, they all share our beliefs of providing for the arts communities and nurturing each other’s wellbeing. Current pandemic aside, we know that the arts industry puts high stressors on its individuals and demands a considerable amount of self-sacrifice. We share your concerns, and we want to help.
Over the past couple of months, we’ve been dedicating as much time as possible conceptualising new ideas and events to cover as much ground over wellbeing as we can. We are creating new online courses, sharing Wellbeing Live weekly, and providing a digital community for you to feel safe and supported. So, we thought that we would take the time to get to know our new recruits a little better so that you can too. Over the next couple of weeks we’re going to introduce each member of Be Extra to you; share their quirks and their experience. We want you to know the team who wants to support you and share in your experiences. So, let’s start by meeting our Social Media and Marketing team.
Marketing and PR
Originally from the Forest of Dean, Katie-Jayne loves cooking and her speciality is cheesecakes, but don’t ask her to include fruit – she only likes fruit in her smoothies. Katie-Jayne volunteers at a cat rescue centre in her spare time and is a sucker for a good crime documentary. After placing third in the UK for the Pitch at the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s excellence awards, Katie-Jayne is a one-to-watch in the world of Marketing.
Bridgend-born and Bristol-based, Nicole’s background in the arts began with drawing. After spending three years in Spain, Nicole moved back to the UK to study a Masters in Curating to marry her love of sharing and celebrating creativity with storytelling and engaging audiences. She has swum in the Dead Sea but rest-assured, Nicole’s career is alive and kicking and we’re ecstatic to be working with her.
Hoping to embark on a career in PR, Charlotte is a massive believer in using creativity to release bouts of stress. After struggling with her mental wellbeing during her teenage years, poetry, painting and meditation are her weapons of choice in combating stress. When Charlotte’s not engrossed in her studies, she’s a magnet for animals: walking neighbourhood dogs, stroking cats and helping injured pigeons. Her ambition and nurturing attitude is why she’s a great addition to our team.
A rugby fanatic and self-coined cake-connoisseur, Natasha is a classic Swansea girl with a dash of sass and a strong desire to support the wellbeing of others. With her working experience built in customer service, Natasha recognises the importance of the individual and how art helps to explore and assist a healthy mental wellbeing.
Cardiff born and bred; Chloe has a BA in Drama from the University of South Wales. Her main interests are in physical theatre, avant-garde and screen acting; and when she’s not at poetry slam, Chloe is probably practicing her yoga or trying out new instruments. Her love of which, you might say, came from her uncanny ability to play the recorder with her nose! Fun fact: she was offered a spot on the French ping-pong team. We’re just happy that she chose to bat for the Be Extra team.
Having studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Michael lives in Cardiff and works as a Freelance Orchestral Musician, traipsing around the UK on his two-webbed-toes. Recently, he’s been trying to teach himself the piano, but he also loves cycling and football and his cat (who tries to sabotage his team meetings by knocking over his internet router). We’re truly grateful to have his committed work ethic on the team.
Design and Content
With an MA in Ceramics and currently undergoing a PCET teacher training course, Hannah is from Cardiff and works part-time as a gardener. She’s interested in painting, pole gymnastics and spicing up her meals with chilli, and ideally hopes to set up her own pottery company. This proud plant mama and her nurturing nature is crucial in creating the right environment to promote wellbeing!
Kent resident Alice is mesmerised by the process of creating. With a previous job as a visual merchandiser, Alice is all about styling, curating and constructing. Crafty Alice’s favourite activities include what she likes to describe as “abstract mess” including painting old furniture, making handmade cards and commissioned artwork. We think her hands-on approach is vital in making Be Extra the best it can be!
South Walian, Jordan, is an artist otherwise known as MsBlackInk online. Using organic materials and Pagan influences she has created her own online art company that displays her connection to the natural world. With the help from her two pet Asiatic toads, Pacman and Tabitha, Jordan loves to tie-dye her clothes to match her colourful make-up. Her bright vivacity for life is evident in her work ethic and we’re so excited to have it reflected in our work.
Declan is a journalist by trade but occasionally dabbles in creative writing and likes to use his skills to help charities wherever he can. He grew up in the North of Ireland, studied and worked in Scotland, and now lives in Wales. Alongside traipsing up and down the breadth of the UK, he’s also been to the Arctic Circle twice! We’re just thrilled he discovered us on his wanderings: driven by his passion for creating a safe and healthy platform for mental health and disabilities, he’s a great addition to any team.
Ex-competitive Welsh sea rower, Rachel, likes painting and drawing and hopes to go back to university at some point to pursue a masters in Landscape Architecture. Inspired by her month in Beijing back in 2016, Rachel has been teaching herself Mandarin through lockdown alongside learning new songs on her Kalimba. Her keenness to learn new things is such an admirable aspect to have on a team that constantly wants to grow and develop with our community.
Every single one of our teammates is talented, and they work hard to do the best that they can in breaking the stigma surrounding mental wellbeing. We can only hope that by coming together and sharing our art and our experiences we can achieve a more well-rounded understanding of each of our communities within the arts. So remember, if you need us, you know where to find us.
Written and collated by Natasha Bowen