Investing in a creative future

Spring is a time for new beginnings.

So, I’m taking some time out from the usual hustle and bustle of running a creative business to make some plans for the future.

Creative Calligraphy is heading towards its eighth birthday on May 27, 2022.

According to business data platform Statista, 42.5% of businesses established in 2014 survived five years to 2019 – and that was before Covid-19 hit.

creative with notepad
Taking some time out to plan for the future of Creative Calligraphy.

Getting rid of ‘imposter syndrome’

I’ve always struggled to give myself a job title, although I have moved on from describing myself as someone who “does calligraphy”.

But having worked with organisations like The Cultural Spring, Tyne and Wear Museums and Sunderland Culture, I do feel more comfortable talking about myself as an artist, tutor and creative practitioner.

As a result, I’ve also been more confident signing up for things I would have talked myself out of even just a year or two ago.

One of these things is a series of events organised by Create North and South Tyneside Cultural Partnership Group to help artists, creative practitioners and creative micro-businesses make the most of South Tyneside.

Making the most of South Tyneside

Make the Most Of… has four themes – the coast, the river, our heritage and our towns and villages – and I’ve signed up for the final two sessions.

The workshops aim to inspire new creative and commercial opportunities and help generate ideas for creative products and services for different audiences.

There will be opportunities to network with and learn from other artists, find out about funding and commercial opportunities and meet the local movers and shakers.

Create North says: “This event will create space to get away from the all-consuming routine of keeping your practice running, and help you think afresh about new ideas for products and services, and new routes to markets.”

Investing in culture and creatives

South Tyneside seems to be flying the flag for culture at the moment – and rightfully so.

The borough has been named as an Arts Council England Priority Place, attracting much-needed investment and support for the cultural sector over the next three years.

The South Tyneside Cultural Partnership Group has also just published its new cultural strategy, Making Waves 2022-27.

During lockdown, a group of freelancers also formed a group called South Tyneside Creatives to support each other and share opportunities.

There are now 150 members.

Crafting creative connections

The other programme I’ve signed up for is Crafting Connections, led by Creative Fuse.

Aimed at craft and design businesses in the North East Local Enterprise Partnership Area, it will encourage them to think about their innovative potential.

Ideas will be developed through the process of exploratory making and creative activities.

Participants will also have access to the craft and design collections at The Shipley Art Gallery and the FabLab at Sunderland University.

Creative Fuse says: “The aim is to build new connections with others working in the region and develop unique products or ways of working that enhance the craft and design sector in the north east.

“You will leave the workshop programme with new networks, ideas to move your own business and the craft sector forward and a strategy for making your new ideas a reality.”

Be sure to follow me on social media to see how I get on!

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