The age-old saying “knowledge is power” rings truer when considering the insight one needs to navigate contemporary creative spaces. As a young creative, I often recall times of feeling uncertain about the path I am taking due to the challenges I face along the way. Many of the challenges I have tackled I have not overcome alone, but rather with the help of mentors and other creatives in my community. I was fortunate enough to gain a lot of experience whilst studying and having access to mentors and like-minded thinkers who were always eager to help me through the challenges I faced. Unfortunately, one of the many consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the loss of face-to-face mentorship programmes, thus, making it more difficult for young creatives to gain knowledge about their respective fields. Through the national lockdown, the closing of learning institutions and the cancellation of many events across the creative industry, a lack of communication between creatives has arisen and created a gap between experienced industry experts and aspiring creatives, allowing the creative community to appear weakened. As a way to bridge this gap, British Council’s episodic networking and skill share initiative Creative Hustles was created.
Creative Hustles is aimed at problem-solving within and across creative industries and was established as a way to connect industry professionals with young creatives. With the worldwide effect of COVID-19, the workshop-style creative economy mentorship programme that provides young practitioners with an opportunity to work through challenges affecting their industries has gone virtual. Across each episode Creative Hustles takes audiences through a journey of problem-solving in partnership with creative leaders as mentors, allowing the knowledge the young practitioners gain to be accessible online to other creatives who may be facing similar challenges. Not only does this allow the real issues emerging creatives face to be to be spoken through with the help of experienced industry professionals, but this also provides a platform for other vital knowledge to be imparted by mentors when speaking through possible solutions.
Across the five episodes of Creative Hustles, multiple industry concerns are worked through, with the advice from mentors stimulating change and innovation. This is done through each mentor speaking through their own personal journey, sharing advice gained from experience and relaying how they dealt with similar challenges. Challenges that face practitioners in the textile, event curation, art, poetry and music industries are worked through with each episode focusing on an industry and its specific hurdles, preventing the loss of important know-how when it comes to each industries specifics. Creative Hustles creates a safe space in which the challenges faced by young creatives are acknowledged, rather than overlooked. Through hearing the thoughts and advice of mentors young creatives are encouraged to establish out of the box solutions they may not have thought through before gaining insight from mentors. Most importantly, as Creative Hustles is now online it presents an opportunity to build a collective understanding of how to navigate creative industries, as well as strengthen the creative community and encourage learning culture.