The Future is Northern, but can it be rural too?

We were delighted to be invited to present at the Screen Industries Growth Network (SIGN) conference, the Future is Northern on 22nd March 2023.

The conference explored the concept of The Future being Northern, but we wanted to make sure that the voices of young creatives from rural backgrounds were included in the debate too.

SIGN Funding allowed us to run two very different The Artery business support programmes for young creatives. We used screen story telling and AR and Animation as the vehicle to deliver business skills.

We invited young people who tend to get overlooked, from less affluent backgrounds, from rural backgrounds, or those who lack the connections they need to be visible in the creative sector. We worked with actors, film makers, animators, illustrators and concept artists. All have great stories to tell, great connections to place and diversity of experience.

The young people who joined the programmes are talented, hardworking, often award winning but being in a rural location presents very specific challenges including:

  • Physical isolation
  • Few if any medium or large creative companies to provide their first jobs
  • Access to equipment and networks are both issues
  • Subsidising creative work with poorly paid jobs as carers, in cafes or even milking parlours
  • Their only option to get experience is to create a business.

There is a real need for:

  • Considered ‘placemaking’ activity created for, or even better, with or by young people.
  • Support around self-promotion, how to communicate with businesses, how to tell their stories to attract customers or audiences
  • How to access organisations who can provide support, how these organisations can reach out to this cohort of young people.

We found that The Artery programme had an impact. Participants reported, the programme:

  • Built confidence in my abilities.
  • Made me think and realise what it is I want to do.
  • Helped me to work out my business brand.
  • Made me more confident in my abilities and has helped me with my planning and organisational skills.

As a result, participants now:

  • Feel they received good industry and creative advice
  • Approach work strategically
  • Are more focused.

It was a pleasure to work with the young creatives who joined us and a benefit of the programme was introducing them to a small but supportive network.

You can watch the conference video below. The Artery features in Part 4 from 26 minutes.

To find out more about The Artery programme, click here.

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