Meet our Partners: Creative Lancashire.

We work with a number of organisations and groups in and around Preston and Lancashire. Our relationships with these groups are invaluable to us and our community. We are taking some time in our blogs to introduce our members to the partners we work with. This week we focus on our relationship with Creative Lancashire.

We met Ed Matthews-Gentle, from Creative Lancashire, back when we first opened nearly three and half years ago. Ed is the Senior Project Officer for Creative Lancashire and is truly passionate about championing creative businesses across the region. Creative Lancashire works on a number of projects to raise the profile of creative businesses in Lancashire. They support these businesses primarily through events, support infrastructure via the website and sign posting to help for finance.

We have worked with Creative Lancashire partnering on a number of events at Society1. We co-host a regular evening called ‘Let’s Talk’ these evenings are aimed to bring the local creative and digital communities together. There is always a guest speaker, someone who has a great story to tell, and a person who can inspire the evenings conversation. We are looking forward to hosting one of our Let’s Talk evenings again soon. The current situation will mean we will have to do them slightly differently, but we plan to do it when they can be as successful as they were before.

We really value our relationship with Creative Lancashire and in particular Ed Matthews-Gentle. He has been a huge support and champion for what we have set out to create at Society1. Our ethos and aim to build a supportive and collaborative community made up of a diverse mix of businesses has had support from all our local partners. We want to connect and support the local creative and digital sector with not only a great space to work but a support network of people, events and connections to local organisations. Creative Lancashire has been integral to achieving this goal.

The Creative Step.

Creative Lancashire also supports a programme called The Creative Step.

The Creative Step is a hands-on, practical, interactive course where you work directly on aspects of your business. Through a deep understanding of the needs of creative entrepreneurs, the programme has been carefully structured to support you and your business, whether you are starting, are planning for your next stage of development or responding to changing market forces. It builds on leading tools and techniques that support creative businesses globally, including aspects of the Creative Enterprise Programme run by Nesta and the British Council.

We have been lucky enough to take part in this programme run by Jonathan Ball and Catherine Docherty. It was a fantastic experience and so valuable to us as a team and for our business. It has helped us focus on what we need to do to achieve our long term ambitions. 

We recently caught up with Creative Lancashire as part of our Instagram Meet our Partners series. We asked them to share a bit about things from their perspective. Here’s what they said:

Tell us a bit about Creative Lancashire

Creative Lancashire is dedicated to helping raise the profile of creative talent and harnessing the economic potential in those working in the sector. We encourage collaborations, facilitate networks and connect the sector in Lancashire to opportunities with national programmes, and institutions.

What is your current focus?

Almost all our conversations and activities are still very much viewed through a covid lens. We form part of a service provided by Lancashire County Council so we’re working with colleagues to respond to business needs, formulate the response and explore ways forward for the county. We’re still striving to understand more about how the pandemic has specifically affected the sector in Lancashire, including where businesses and individuals are falling through cracks in support, where we need to prioritise activities and where we need to advocate for the sector so that it is not forgotten in strategic plans and investment. Some of the creative sectors will be the last to return and most affected. We’ve been part of the campaign spearheaded by the Creative Industries Federation calling on government support for freelancers, theatre and the arts.

As advocates for creative enterprise we’re encouraging our partners in all sectors to proceed with projects and creative collaborations (where appropriate), and consider how creatives can help them innovate and adapt to the new conditions. We’re about to launch our next series of Creatives in Residence blog posts sharing kitchen story tales of Lancashire’s creative community coming out of lockdown. So far we’ve featured artists, designers, filmmakers and creative practitioners from across the disciplines. More recently we’ve been developing our Creative Step business support programme to understand how we can best deliver the programme at a distance (online).  The programme has already helped organisations with readiness and resilience.  We will soon announce our call for the next cohort aimed at organisations who will need to develop new models to be sustainable in the in the ‘low-touch’ world.

How do you work with Society1?

We are looking forward to working with Brendan, Cat and Chris to host our next series of workshops and Let’s Talk creative conversations. It will be different. We may not have a full room of audience contributors but Society 1 works well for us as a stage to broadcast to our networks on Zoom or Skype. I’ll also be based there more frequently as a way to maintain a physical connection and visibility with those I work with. I can’t wait!

Thank you Ed for the opportunities and support you have provided us over the last 3 years. Now more than ever relationships are important. We value our connection with Creative Lancashire and look forward to working together as we navigate our way through our ‘new normal’.

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