May 25, 2017

Is Liverpool “creative”?

So last week I was on a panel (I know, me, ha) to discuss Liverpool’s creative skills – after I took a course back in Jan. I had no idea there was a problem, until noticing I’d been studying here for 3 years, yet always gone to London or Manc for experience. Liverpool is famous for music, art, history! Why not here?

Well the creative industry in general used to be for the middle class. Usually young men would finish uni, and go work for some uncle of theirs in an agency. You didn't need training because tech wasn't really major, it was purely about creative thinking. But a few things happened.

First, mass production - when you can produce lots of product, you can sell to lots of people, the majority, the working class. But to sell you must get on your audiences’ level, yet creatives were middle class.

Second, who loves shopping? Girls. Who’s trying to sell the products? Boys. There weren’t enough women in the industry.

And finally, technology. Agencies began to do more than one thing. But with technology changing rapidly, training, like graphic design, was expensive. Uni’s didn't really teach it either, and things got muddled from there.

It’s getting better everywhere now, but Liverpool seems behind. No one really knows why. The work Liverpool produces is great, yet people still struggle to secure proper employment. Luckily, there’s many projects aiming to solve this so Liverpool stay on the creative map. For instance, Robyn Dooley's Innovators Hub have set up a course called Catalyst, with over 40 agencies – and we all came together last week to question the problem.

Chelsea Slater, Founder of Liverpool Girl Geeks, said schools really need to incorporate IT and creative from a younger age, to remind girls that no subject is gender specific, and to never doubt these roles as a potential career.

Andy Kent, CEO of Angel Solutions stated “we're not as interested in a degree as we are raw awesome talent”.

Tim Heatley from Capital&Centric pointed out that "Talent is here, they're just not being given the support for lifespan”.

Hayden Evans, CD at Ripple Effect reminded us "It's easy to ask applicants for experience but we must look at potential too”.

It proved a super successful event, trending second on Twitter for a while (Theresa Mays' manifesto launch in my home town Halifax was trending first, kinda stole my limelight but whatevs). Everyone networked with breakfast afterwards, as even more agencies and creatives signed up to get involved in the next course. Watch this space, Liverpool's back.

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