This week we speak to Jayaprakash Sukumaran for our #memberinfocus feature: “The Challenges and Opportunities of 2020”. A very warm welcome to JP who has joined the Community Calling team to focus on collaborative opportunities, particularly in relation to non-profit events. Thanks goes to Ulster University for this internship opportunity.
Q1. If you could describe the year 2020 in one word, what would it be?
Q2. What was happening in your life when the pandemic struck?
I went to Wembley, London with my family to attend the graduation ceremony of Oriental Fine Arts Academy, London which promotes academic studies of South Asian Art and Music. During those days we have had the news of Coronavirus from China, Wuhan. Whilst we attended the meeting, the first COVID-19 case was reported in Belfast.
We have never taken the coronavirus so thoughtfully. After I came back from London as usual, I went to University for the final modules. But in a week’s time, everything became virtual. All the real-world personalities started to come up on my screen like fictional characters of ‘magical realism’- Lockdown.
Q3. Why and when did you decide to get involved with community-based support?
My ambition is to pursue an events manager job in a public sector non-profitable events company. I have had many years of experience with non-profitable festivals and events from 1995 to 2020. I have a keen interest in culture, art, history and current affairs.
My values are in line with Community Calling in terms of its services and other artistic engagements. I got to know via Ulster University about Community Calling. Furthermore, I motivated by the aims and objectives of Community Calling with a shared goal to “get the right support to the right people at the right time, without duplication”.
Q4. What is the biggest challenge you have faced since the world went into lockdown?
After working in a carpet company as a machine operator for a long ten years, I restarted my studies for a career change. But, when I completed my studies with first-class honours, the hospitality and event industry got struck by this global pandemic. As all, we know the main aim of events is social cohesion, and the lockdown means social distancing. So my career dream has been postponed.
Besides, I always engaged with the voluntary work of Karma Kalakendram, which is a registered charity for promoting multicultural arts and events in Northern Ireland. This year we committed to hosting a few events supported by Lisburn Council and Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council, but everything has been in a catastrophic situation. Therefore, this pandemic lockdown affected personal, professional and social life.
Q5. Are you excited about any opportunities that have arisen this year?
This paid internship opportunity with Post Graduate level study modules made me excited. I was eagerly looking for an organisation for my career progression with similar values to mine. In other words, this is an opportunity that my dream comes true though it is for six months.
Q6. How are things looking for the remainder of 2020?
I am looking forward to the days when science will defeat this global pandemic. We shall overcome.
I may need to be fit physically and intellectually to get ready for Post-COVID life that may bring an eventful professional life.