Snooker Rooms, Somerset House Studios Photo ©Anne-Tetzlaff

Upgrade Yourself: Creative Industry Placements


Now in its fifth year, the Upgrade Yourself: Creative Industry Placements programme is open for 5 underrepresented people, ages 18 – 24, to be part of a paid 1-year placement specifically designed to develop, nurture and grow emerging talent. This one-year professional programme will give participants an insight into how a creative organisation is run, from day-to-day management through to programming and operations. For this year's programme, we are delighted that Somerset House Studios will host a one-phase (one x 12-months) placement for 1 participant on placement. 

Over the course of 12-month programme, the Studios Placement participant will have hands on experience working closely within the Somerset House Studios team, gaining a breath of experience supporting on our year-round public programme, along with opportunities to develop and contribute their own programme ideas in a supported environment.  

In addition to being an employee within a creative team, time on the placement will be dedicated to in-depth wraparound training, off-site trips, workshops and mentoring to support your personal and professional development and to facilitate connection with other young professionals. There will also be opportunities to connect with trailblazing creatives within Somerset House and our resident community.   This placement will take place at Somerset House will be paid the London Living Wage of £25,624 per annum.


Somerset House Studios is a space for experimentation in the centre of London connecting artists, makers and thinkers with audiences. The Studios supports artists across disciplines to push bold ideas, engage with urgent issues and experiment with new technologies. At the heart of Somerset House, the home of cultural innovators, up to 70 artists are resident at any one time for a period of between one and seven years, with a number of shorter term national and international residency programmes running alongside. The Studios develops ambitious cross disciplinary projects and creative collaborations on a range of scales, and powers Channel, Somerset House’s online space for art, ideas and the artistic process. 


A new position within the Somerset House Studios team, this Studios Programming Placement offers an exciting development opportunity for an early-career arts programmer interested in broadening their experience of developing and delivering cross-disciplinary programmes.

The Studios Programming Placement will work closely alongside the wider team, gaining a breath of experience supporting on our year-round critical programmes, along with opportunities to develop their own programme ideas in a supported environment. The Studios Programming Placement will actively participate in regular Studios programme meetings as well as the monthly Somerset House programme meetings to gain insights into larger scale programmes and processes.

Now entering its eighth year, the Studios aims to strategically build on its exceptional reputation for supporting artists working in London, to focus on commissioning and developing meaningful projects increasing in scale, ambition and impact. Alongside our year-round critical programme of talks and artist-led series, key recurring programmes include G31, our project space dedicated to the work of Somerset House Studios and its residency programmes; AGM, our annual artist takeover during Frieze London; and Assembly, our experimental sound, music, and performance series. 

While this opportunity is primarily focused on programming, over the year-long period the Studios Programming Placement will be embedded within the Studios team and activity, offering the opportunity to gain insights into the development and delivery of residency programmes, artist development initiatives, research and development opportunities, community engagement programmes, and the development of artistic projects across a variety of artistic practices, gaining a 360 understanding of year-round artist support and relationship management. 

Main activities and responsibilities:

  • Shadow and assist the Programme Manager and Artist Development Curator on the development and delivery of our year-round critical programme, gaining broad insights into programme management, curation, scheduling, budgeting and programme administration.  
  • Support the Studios Programmer on wider programme projects, gaining further insights into programming approaches, artist invitations, drafting copy and contracting artists etc. 
  • Contribute ideas to weekly Studios Programming meetings, supporting the team with actions and planning 
  • Support the Producers on a wide range of events, gaining hands-on experience of on the ground delivery and logistical requirements for public and internal programmes, including production schedules, tech requirements, booking staff, contractors and suppliers, insights into access considerations, issuing ops orders etc.  
  • Support with the coordination of rehearsals and room bookings  
  • Support with Programme administration including tracking audiences and KPI’s 
  • Participate in Marketing meetings to gain insights into programme promotion and audience development, supporting the team with press announcements and opening invitations 
  • Support with Somerset House Studios social media  

Essential skills, experience and qualifications  

  • This is an entry-level opportunity however we are looking for someone who: 
  • is highly creative and organised  
  • is interested in working collaboratively as part of a team 
  • has a proactive and positive approach to tasks, problem solving, and new challenges  
  • can demonstrate some track record of arts programming (could be paid experience, voluntary, community-based, extracurricular, within a learning environment, DIY etc.) 
  • can demonstrate an active interest in cross disciplinary programmes and artists 
  • has a clear interest and enthusiasm for the work of Somerset House Studios 
  • has some experience of using social media, in particular arts related activity  

The Studios Programming Placement will have regular one-to-one meetings with the Programme Manager and Artist Development Curator, with opportunities to ask questions, tease out ideas, gain insights, as well as connection with the rest of the team (Director, Head of Studios, Programmer, Producer, Resident Producer and Studios & Digital Assistant) for wider support.

Timeline for 12-month Studios placement:  

  • Monday 26 February 2024 - Participant applications launch  
  • Monday 18 March 2024 - Participant applications close  
  • Thursday 18 April 2024 - Participant Recruitment Day  
  • Thursday 9 - Friday 10 May 2024 - Placement Induction Days  
  • Monday 13 May 2024 - Placement starts 
  • Friday 9 May 2025 2024 – Placement ends 

Being a Creative Industry Placement participant means being part of a 12-month paid development programme. It means having the opportunity to be part of a team as well as to learn and develop skills from your colleagues, guest speakers, your peers and the wider Somerset House community.

Time spent on the programme will be divided as follows:   

  • One x 12-month placement with Somerset House Studios  
  • Twelve monthly Prepare & Promote workshops, delivered by trailblazing industry professionals   
  • Three off-site trips to arts organisations who host other internships and placement programmes  
  • Monthly mentoring sessions   
  • End of placement Celebration Event curation

By taking part in the Upgrade Yourself Creative Industries Placements programme, you will be supported in developing a broad range of personal and professional skills including confidence in the workplace, administrative skills, working in a team, day-to-day office management and planning your next steps. As a participant, you will be able to contribute to the running of an arts organisation, bringing your own opinions and a fresh perspective. You’ll be paid the London Living Wage and have the opportunity to connect with other young people taking part in placement/internship programmes in other arts organisations.

The benefits of being a participant include pastoral care and professional support from Somerset House, mentoring and wrap around training.  You will also receive all employee benefits from Somerset House trust. These include:

Discounts & Offers: 

Discounts, offers and free stuff

  • The list is endless and includes tickets to Somerset House events and entrance to other London Heritage sites including free access to a number of other galleries and museums 
  • Invitations to private Somerset House events 
  • Discounts in Somerset House cafes and restaurants 
  • Discount to local leisure centres 
  • One-year membership to the Exchange co-working space  
  • Holiday:  
  • Enhanced annual leave – 25 days plus bank holidays (pro rata) 
  • Birthday leave - additional day leave on or within a week of your birthday 
  • Festive day - additional discretionary day off around the Christmas period 

The Upgrade Yourself Creative Industry Placements programme is for underrepresented people aged between 18-24 who identify as belonging to a community that is underrepresented within the cultural sector* and who are interested in learning about creative industries through an entry level role in the arts. Please do not apply if this does not apply to you.

At Somerset House, we value talent, potential and willingness over experience. We are interested in your goals and how we can help you to achieve them. If you’re an ambitious young person looking to forge a career in the arts, this programme is designed for you! 

*The Inclusive Talent Engagement team at Somerset House acknowledges that particular people are underrepresented in the British creative sector. Particularly those who are:

Ethnically diverse and/or Global majority
Differently abled or Living with a disability
Working class and/or from a lower socio-economic background*
We also acknowledge the underrepresentation of those who self-identify as:
LGBTQIA+ and/or non-binary

We also acknowledge that people face barriers in many ways not mentioned above, and we are open to hearing from anyone who considers themselves to be underrepresented in the creative sector.

*Some questions that might help define lower socio-economic background:
Were you on free school meals?
Did your parents receive income benefits for a long period?
Did your parents go to university? 


Somerset House pay all of the participants the London Living Wage (£13.15 per hour = £25,624.50 per annum). Participants are paid monthly through the Somerset House payroll.


Participants are on the programme for 12-months. 


The Creative Industry Placements programme offers full-time work (37.5 hours) to all participants – this is broken down into five full working days a week (usually from Monday to Friday). Somerset House Trust offers flexible hybrid working with our current model split between working onsite 3 days per week and remotely 2 days per week, with flexibility around the needs of the role and participant, to be agreed with your line manager. 

Somerset House has worked with industry leading professional Dr Nicola Sim to produce a pioneering sector report, which uses the knowledge gained from two years of our Creative Industry Placements (formally Creative Careers and Upgrade Yourself: Kickstart) to offer insights into how we can move towards a more diverse and inclusive industry. 

Two placement places will be awarded to applicants living in one of the nine beneficiaries of John Lyon’s Charity: Barnet, Brent, Camden, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Kensington & Chelsea and the Cities of London and Westminster.

We also offer a two-phase (two x 6-months) placement, hosted by two creative organisations at Somerset House. For information about the 2-phase placements programme, please click here.

Here’s what previous placement participants have said about the programme:  

‘I feel more confident in both my abilities and using those abilities in the workplace. I have gained knowledge and experience in a wide range of areas and disciplines which has massively grown my toolkit.’ 

‘Having been introduced to impactful organisations and people both within and outside Somerset House has really helped to form my experience working within the creative industry.’ 

‘Doing marketing and exhibitions really opened my eyes to different parts of a project. Making my mark on the projects has been invaluable.’ 

The creative industry placements programme is generously supported by John Lyon’s Charity

John Lyons Logo

If you would like to know about Upgrade Yourself opportunities and to find out more about the work of the Inclusive Talent Engagement Team please subscribe to our mailing list for updates.