Film maker and musician Jolene Crawford calls herself an urban crofter. Read on to find out what that entails and what she’s done in the past.

I’m going to get to my first five jobs in a minute, but would like to explain that my job title ‘urban crofter’ is due to the fact that I currently do around 5 jobs (paid and unpaid). My main employment is producing films for the company I run with my husband, as well as freelancing for others. However I am also: co-founder of a drug law reform charity ‘TDPF Scotland’ that campaigns for the regulation and control of all drugs, in a band, a volunteer for the architectural charity Skirmishes, a founder member of the Garnethill Woman’s Institute, and I blog about creative life in the east end of Glasgow. Oh, and I have 2 wee kids that are around most of the time too.

So I am very lucky to be able to lead this varied and interesting life, but how did it end up like this?

My first five jobs:

1) Fiddle player in ceilidh bands: From the age of 13 I spent my weekends in pubs and village halls earning good money while my friends hung out at youth club. This financially sustained me right through university too. The experience of mixing with interesting folk from an early age really helped set me up for lots of the things I’ve gone on to do since.

2) Work experience at Wark Clements Production Company
In my 3rd year at university Alan Clements (Mr Kirsty Wark) came to speak at my history department and I decided that TV production sounded interesting. I’ve never been a big TV watcher, and now (shhhhh) we don’t even have a TV, but I do love the detailed research, hitting deadlines, working with people, story telling etc involved in production. I never did work for them afterwards, but it was a great start to my CV.

3) My second job in television was as a presenter at Grampian TV. I am VERY thankful that there is no evidence of this on youtube or similar. Despite my outgoing personality, I was the worst presenter ever, but it was a great training ground: low budgets meant we had to research, write scripts, direct and present, and I went on to get loads of interesting freelance work over the next few years. AND I met my lovely husband in Aberdeen – what more could I ask for from a job?

4) Having my children / getting older. OK, not a job exactly, but key to how I live my life now. Having the girls forced me to get off the treadmill and find a new way of making things work so as to allow me to spend time with them, but also keep myself connected, fulfilled and earning a living. And getting older….. now that I’m in my 30s I just feel more sorted, confident, sure of my strengths and less worried in general than I was in my 20s. This allows me to try things / suggest things and just go for it.

5) The influence of those around me. So again, this isn’t a job but in a sense it’s much more important to what I’m doing than listing the various jobs I’ve done in the past. I think getting out there and mixing with people is the best way to keep motivated and inspired, and to find out what you really want to be doing. Glasgow is an amazing city for creative and interesting happenings and people so it’s really easy. Bruce Newlands (of Kraft Architecture) and all the other talented people involved with Skirmishes; and of course all the lovely ladies who come to the Garnethill Women’s Institute are just two examples of inspiring and uplifting activities in our fair city.


We’ve asked professionals in creative industries what jobs they have had in the past to get their foot through the door (or at least pay the rent). For more in the “My First 5 Jobs” series look here.