Why we’ve invested two years building Lecture in Progress — a free resource to help the next generation of creatives navigate their career options
Two years ago today we launched Lecture in Progress. A free resource to empower emerging creative talent with information and first-hand accounts that demystify the day-to-day workings of the creative world.
In that time, it feels as though the creative industry’s desire to support up-and-coming, diverse talent has only accelerated, further highlighting the need for the platform.
Having run It’s Nice That for over 10 years, we were staggered at the volume of questions we were being asked by young creatives on a broad range of topics about employment in the creative industry. It was clear that a hub of information about the world of creative careers was necessary, and that’s what we set out to build. We wanted to make sure exploring a creative career was exciting, not baffling.
Two years on, our initial belief that there should be a single, independent, free-to-access and unbiased platform to find out the breadth of careers you can pursue with a creative skillset remains stronger than ever.
Lecture in Progress is now a place where this belief has come to life. A place where you don’t feel stupid for not knowing what DOP stands for, or what an art buyer actually does. Where young people can see role models in the creative industry who look like them, who they could aspire to become, and amazing careers can be legitimised to people who didn’t understand them before (teachers, parents, tutors, advisors, friends).
In those two years here are some markers of what we’ve achieved. It’s nothing like the scale we want to get to, but we’re incredibly proud of the start we’ve made:
- We’ve profiled and explained over 80 different creative job roles; from Account Manager to Vision Mixer.
- We’ve interviewed over 300 people about their jobs and had over 550 people contribute to the site.
- We’ve visited 42 creative businesses to see where they work, how they work, and the breadth of roles they need.
- We’ve charted how 48 projects have been made, start to finish.
- We’ve interviewed over 70 creatives for our podcast and it’s been listened to over 55,000 times.
And most importantly to us, at a time where publishing business models are under threat, we’ve been building the project slowly and carefully, bootstrapped for consistency and longevity. Exactly how we built It’s Nice That.
The only way we‘ve been able to continue with this quality-driven, careful, sustainable approach is thanks to the people who have supported this project along the way. And this is as good a point as any to call those brilliant people out.
Firstly, to our brand partners who have been the driving force behind how we finance the project. The ones who’ve been there since the beginning and are partners to this day; The Paul Smith Foundation and G.F Smith. The ones who have helped for part of the two years, or come on more recently; Google, Sky Creative Agency, Hoefler&Co, Colophon Foundry and Squarespace. Also our agency partners ustwo Adventure, Animade, The Academy, Greenspace, Anyways Creative, Kaleido Grafik and Ogilvy.
All are smart, open minded and purposeful businesses who care as much as we do about the next generation of creative talent. Businesses who are brave enough not to focus on regular marketing ROI, but the longer-term goals of building deep, meaningful relationships with our community. Without them we wouldn’t have lasted this long, or been able to grow to where we are today.
Also, a huge thanks goes out to the hundreds of people we’ve interviewed, and our contributors who have been kind enough to tell their stories. To the tutors who point their students to the platform and make sure our newspapers get into the hands of the people who need them most. And to the institutions who have invited us to run workshops and lectures to introduce the platform to their students, as well as the young creatives who visit the site and make use of our content.
And a final, colossal thanks needs to go to internal team at Lecture in Progress who have done the most monumental amount of work over the last 730 days. There’s a small, dedicated team of three people who work full-time for Lecture in Progress; Indi our editor, Marianne our deputy editor and Anna our Project and Marketing Manager (alongside Will and myself). Every day they give everything they have to building something incredible and we’ve loved seeing them grow.
So, what’s next?
Now we have this fantastic bedrock of an editorial archive, filled with valuable, in-depth content, we can build on our ongoing quest to deliver tangible, life-changing impact to the next generation of creative talent. And the questions we’re asking ourselves next include:
- Once we’ve helped creative identify what kind of career they’re interested in, how might we assist them in finding active opportunities and get their first step on the ladder? (You’ll see our first attempt at this in the next few months)
- How might we introduce creative careers to a broader, more diverse set of people, beyond university students and those who already understand the creative world?
- How might we bring more value to our readers? What else could we facilitate for them or help them to understand? What else do they need to understand or learn?
And beyond those bigger questions, we need to keep doing what we do best; writing great editorial and continuing to add to the incredible archive we’ve started.
We know Lecture in Progress is useful now, but we feel we’ve only scratched the surface of what it can achieve and how it can further our group mission of Enabling Creativity to Thrive. We can confidently predict that opportunities for people with creative skills will only grow in the next 10 years, so it’d be crazy not to continue to invest our time and energy into helping in any way we can.
This is the start of the next phase of our journey, and if you’re interested in getting involved in any way, or have any ideas or feedback for us — please drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s to the next two years!