Tasnim Siddiqa Amin
- Age: 25
- Borough: Tower Hamlets
- First placement: Stratford Circus Arts Centre
- Second placement: London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC)
- Role: Creative Learning and Marketing Intern at Stratford Circus Arts Centre, Summer School Officer at LLDC
Born in Bangladesh, my mother and I relocated to Stepney Green when I was two years old. As a child of immigrants of Muslim heritage my existence has always felt political. Growing up in relative poverty and in a climate of Islamophobia you would perhaps expect a sad story about my childhood, but it wasn’t because, we lived in a community which was steeped in pride of multiculturalism.
My challenges came with the death of my father when I was twelve, homelessness at nineteen and a mental health breakdown a year later. Nonetheless, I still managed to thrive thanks to young people’s schemes such as Shakespeare Schools Festival and the Brady Arts Centre. I tell this story because it is inextricably linked with my love for the arts and my dedication to participatory arts. The arts was a means of escape for me. It served a powerful way to express myself and I discovered it to be the most effective way of lifting marginalised voices by conveying our shared humanity.
I graduated from Birkbeck University with a degree in Politics, Philosophy and History in November 2019. At university, I immersed myself in creative projects; I co-ordinated exhibitions, directed and performed theatre, attended life-drawing classes, started a salon, and wrote for student newspapers. I have also worked as a cleaner, a waitress, a tutor, and a teaching assistant. Arts and education were my main commitments and so, when this opportunity came, I felt like it was made for me!
As part of STEP I am most looking forward to learning how arts organisations are run, and giving back by assisting communities through the arts, especially those who come from similar backgrounds as myself: BAME, queer, and working class.
What are you doing next?
I have been offered to stay on at my current placement (London Legacy Development Corporation) for a further nine months! It will be the same role of Summer School Officer which is such a privilege as I enjoyed designing, programming, and delivering the first ever online summer school so much, I look forward to doing it all over again with the skills I developed and the lessons we learnt from the first time. As this placement ends in August 2021, I have also decided to apply to do a masters at Central Saint Martins in art and philosophy.
What was your highlight of the programme?
The best thing about STEP is being part of something bigger. Usually when you think about internships you have this image of some poor girl making everyone’s coffees trying to get their voice heard and catch a break. No one has her back. At STEP we had two whole organisations, Create Jobs and Creative Access, and all the great people who work for them, and we had each other. Thirteen other 18-30 year olds from similar backgrounds to yourself who are eager to make a career for themselves in the creative sector. I have never felt so supported.
Describe your experience in one sentence
“The biggest, most varied, most exciting, most supportive, most challenging, and most rewarding learning experience of my life took place this STEP year”
Find Tasnim on Instagram: @tsiddiqaamin