JD Hawksley, audio visual technician

 2 August 2012

JD, from Manchester, has worked as a technician since he was 21. He has no formal tech qualifications but has built up a wealth of experience.

"I like working with makers and performers to come up with a final production."


Originally I'm from Hertfordshire, but I'm now living in Manchester.

What job do you do?

I'm a lighting, sound and audio visual technician at the Greenroom arts venue in Manchester.

What previous jobs have you done? 

I've been a technician for about 15 years. I recently went full-time. 

I started out as a performer, maker and curator. I was a performer and technician for numerous independent live art events. Then I was a technician for the Frog and Bucket Comedy Club

After that, I worked as a freelance artist technician and project manager. I did technical stuff at independent club nights, independent live art events, and an arts co-operative.

What qualifications do you have?

I have a degree in fine art from Manchester Metropolitan University.

What do you do at work?

My job involves lighting and sound design, stage management, and media production. I also provide guidance and mentoring to emerging performers.

I attend meetings to help plan forthcoming events, and I manage the building. We have a very flexible space that is used in different ways. We use it for live music gigs, experimental sound events, and club nights, but it also gets used as a gallery, installation space, and film screening venue.

I'm responsible for rigging sound, lighting, and audio visual equipment. I also operate lights and look after sound during shows.

"Your past experience is your toolbox of ideas."

What’s the best thing about your job?

Having creative input in the shows, from a technical perspective.  I like working with makers and performers to come up with a final production.

And the worst thing about the job?

Cleaning up and de-rigging after messy shows! Events I've worked on have involved water, sand, feathers and a dead pig (but not all at the same time).

How do I get into music? 

Get real experience doing this kind of work, so that you know what works for you in practice.

Your past experience becomes your toolbox of ideas and solutions, which feeds into your new work. 

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