Our Mission Is Too Big for Us to Achieve alone
Improving access to the creative industry for emerging talent needs true collaboration - if you’re working in this space, let’s help each other.
After four years of being ‘Lecture in Progress’ — we re-launched as Creative Lives in Progress last month. We have a new name, a new look, a re-focussed strategy, and a steadfast commitment to our mission of improving access to the creative industry for emerging talent.
If you’ve never heard of us; we do three core things
- Demystify creative careers by writing original editorial showcasing people currently working in the industry, from all backgrounds.
- Encourage connection between those starting out, and those already in the industry through our monthly digital events; Pep Talk and Portfolio Reviews
- Aggregate and promote entry-level opportunities in one centralised hub, to help emerging talent find their first steps into the industry.
Three important things, but let’s be honest, not enough. That mission is clearly too big for us to achieve alone (we’re a four person, bootstrapped team with only so many hours in the day, and only so much expertise and experience).
For challenges as fundamental and systematic as the one we’ve set ourselves — there has to be radical collaboration with so many other organisations, individuals and partners for any change to be truly made.
In building It’s Nice That from a one-week project to a media company with the notoriety it now has has taken 14 years of graft, and the collaboration and openness of a countless number of people.
But It’s Nice That was never on a mission to try and solve anything as challenging as we are with Creative Lives in Progress. The problem the industry faces is clearly colossal.
A problem that will take years (perhaps even decades), not months to solve. We also have no idea on whether there will ever be a finish line. What does an equitable, accessible to all creative industry even look like? But we do know for sure that we’re not there yet.
That’s why with our new look, feel and focus — Creative Lives in Progress is fundamentally set up in a way that aims to support and celebrate other organisations who are trying to improve access to the creative industry, not become competitors.
There should be no competition when trying to make a dent in such a fundamental social need.
We’ve built our offer around being collaborative and open. Around trying to help other organisations in our space grow and be seen, and make it as simple as possible for the emerging talent looking to understand the industry and get their first chance to work in it. We have our vehicle now; it’s there, it’s not perfect and will need improving regularly as we grow and understand more about it.
However, it is full of rich, engaging content and useful information about creative careers and how to get them. It’s free. It’s accessible and its necessity has already been proven by the tens of thousands of people who use it each month.
We know how to build brilliant archives of editorial content, and grow audiences through our work over the last 14 years. We feel confident there. However, there’s so much we aren’t doing that’s vitally needed in order to achieve our mission. Just for starters;
- We’re not creating our own employment opportunities at any scale.
- We aren’t currently delivering our own courses, or our own workshops to help bridge the skills gap needed to enter industry for those without formal education.
- We aren’t reaching and connecting with every community or young person who needs help demystifying and getting started in the creative industry.
- We aren’t based all over the UK; so need to rely on local knowledge, insight and help making sure we reach all corners of our nation.
We aren’t ever going to be able to do it all.
We need so many others to help, and this article is a plea for exactly that — help in achieving a mission so many feel so strongly about.
We need to promote and collaborate with other organisations who share our mission, who are doing brilliant things; so that the audience that needs them can find all that is on offer, regardless of whether we are offering it ourselves or not.
We need to grow our network and audience. We already attract a healthy under-represented audience, but need to expand that audience further, and away from our comfort zones.
We need community leaders, or those with connections to the emerging talent who need our platform to be generous enough to share it with their networks, and give us feedback where it is and isn’t working for them.
We also need creative companies who employ and offer entry-level opportunities to emerging talent to tell our audience. Companies who are committed to more inclusivity in their own workplaces who can use our platform to promote those opportunities, or become company partners and learn with us, and join the incredible group of 30 who have already come on board.
We have a colossal amount of respect for all of those out there who are with us in this space, many who have been doing so for much, much longer (and more impressively) than we have to date. These include, but are in no way limited to;
Accumulate, Arts Emergency, Brixton Finishing School, Commercial Break, Create Jobs, Create Not Hate, Creative & Cultural Skills, Creative Access, Creative Equals, Creative Mentor Network, D&AD, Design Can, The Dots, Diversify, Diversify Photo, East Side, ERIC, Fearless Futures, FWD-Doc, Fuse, Hustle Crew, Intern, Just Runners, Media for All, Mentor Black Business, Shades of Noir, Shadow to Shine, Shape Arts, Sour Lemons, The Elephant Room, The Other Box, The Sutton Trust, ThisAbility, Uprising, We Are Stripes, You Make It and many, many more.
Apologies in advance for everyone I’ve forgotten — please let me know who I’ve not included here so we can get on their radar and help spread their word too.
TL;DR — you want to help — what can you do?
- If you’re working for an organisation doing something to improve access to the creative industry for emerging talent for underrepresented communities in the UK — Tell our editor Indi and help us make sure you’re on our radar and we’re on yours.
- If you are connected with a community of emerging creative talent that would benefit from our free resources, please tell them! Forward our site. And get in touch with Ahsan our community manager and let us make sure we send you our updates and alert you to opportunities, content and events that will be beneficial to your community.
- If you’re a company who has an opportunity (big or small) for emerging talent — post it on our Opportunities Board please! It’s free! And if you’re interested in embedding in our platform more deeply — reach out to Jessica about becoming a company partner
- If you’re a company who is working in the same space as us who sees us as a competitor — please don’t! Get in touch, reach out, and let’s work out how we can help each other.
If we’re going to truly solve the challenges the industry faces; we have no alternative but to get there together.