The Creative
Coalition Festival 2022

Holly Cowley
Holly Cowley

February 22nd, 2022

Keep an eye out for their next event!

A couple of weeks ago, the Tell team attended the 2022 Creative Coalition Festival, hosted by the fantastic Creative UK, who are a leading independent network providing news, events, and opportunities for creatives in the UK. The event boasts an impressive lineup of webinars, guest speakers and virtual workshops which are completely free to attend! As a company made up of young creative individuals who work alongside an array of different brands, companies and personalities this festival provided us a fantastic opportunity to network and learn. In this blog I will share some of my personal highlights from the event, delving into what I was left thinking about for days after the festival finished!

Almost immediately, perhaps as little as minutes into the first session, I felt very affirmed as a young creative. Many of us who work in industries such as media, theatre, art, music, are too used to having to justify our career choices at every family gathering. All too often you feel the need to defend your work as more than just a hobby, or as a genuine means of making a living. The Creative Coalition Festival brings together creatives from all over the UK and is a safe space for creatives to feel that their chosen industries are viable and successful.

I was able to fit the sessions around my work and attended ‘The Fundamentals of Starting a Creative Enterprise’, which explored the best business structures and practices for creative startups. This was an extremely informative session hosted by the owner and creator of Lola Media Ltd, Erica Wolfe Murray. This talk equipped you with a wealth of information and was delivered clearly, while offering practical, actionable steps to success. Some of the key takeaways for me was the importance of building your IP (intellectual property) and a reminder that you “always have more than one target market”. Erica was a fantastic speaker and had loads of wisdom to impart. Lucky for those who missed the festival, she also has a book, ‘Simple Tips, Smart Ideas; Build a Bigger, Better Business', which outlines a lot of her commercial practices in much more detail.

While there was a lot of advice regarding business strategy, freelance advice and funding applications, some of the most interesting talks at the festival were those that confronted social justice issues and equality deficits that still exist in the creative industries. I was able to tune into 'The Class Debate' talk at 11 am which was panelled by Heather Carey, Dr Liza McKenzie, Natasha Carthew and Faye Hannah. The talk highlighted the very real issues still preventing working-class creatives from entering the industry. From Liza’s work on a literary festival, they were able to reach an audience where 70% of patrons “had never accessed theatre or a literature festival before”. Key themes ran throughout the discussions such as the tenacity required by working-class creatives to be seen, and the fight to create new spaces as opposed to trying to force your way into existing ones. I think that for us at Tell, it is important to make sure we are listening to these discussions and begin trying to embed these themes and issues within our own practices.

There were a whole host of talks drawing attention to the issues faced by marginalised populations. For example, ‘Breaking Down Barriers’ discussed creating safer spaces for disabled artists and workers, and ‘Black Lives Matter, What Next?’ challenged attendees to consider how they’re sustaining meaningful change instead of falling into a performative allyship. For our producer, Kat, she found there was a lot of really interesting points on “how POC/Disability programmes are not what people want, [as] by separating they're saying you can only get [in] through this scheme”.

With performances of poetry, music and theatre running throughout the festival, as well as many fascinating seminars and workshops, the Creative Coalition Festival really was a must-see event. I couldn't recommend getting a ticket for their next event enough and I cant wait to attend again in 2023. I found the event to be extremely inspiring and I’d advocate for all creative newly-grads who find themselves thrust into the professional world to attend. It can be easy to feel little sense of direction or purpose straight after uni, but I came away from the festival feeling excited to be a creative person putting out original content in 2022.