There was a time when, mostly those living within the M25, would say there’s no life outside of London; and in some respects that was true. For many people wanting to pursue a career in certain industries, there simply weren’t many spots outside the Capital where you could really flourish. The creative industry was just one which relied on its talent flocking to The Big Smoke, vying for limited roles and competing with thousands of other skilled candidates
Those were the days before the internet, an innovation that has facilitated remote working, changing the traditional framework of many industries but particularly impacting the creative landscape. In the past decade, Leeds has become one of the UK’s new creative hotbeds, with some of the industry’s most talented players finding themselves drawn to the country’s third most populated city.
The prolific creative scene in Leeds is just one of the driving forces that led Creative Life founder Matt Essam to begin running bi-monthly networking and skill-sharing events. Matt, whose background is in digital marketing said:
“One of the first things we did when we got through the Entrepreneurial Spark programme was a Bootcamp, which was all about getting an idea through your head and validating it. Lots of that was really useful and I thought it could be applied to an event.”
Creative Life Think Tank was the first of these events, held on November 10th at the Entrepreneurial Spark Leeds headquarters, and aimed at bolstering the thriving creative scene. Conceived with the admirable aim of bringing creatives together and giving them an opportunity to network, attendees also get the chance to learn new problem-solving techniques that can be applied to the day-to-day creative process.
The format is simple, Matt explains:
“The idea is that each time we’ll introduce different creative thinking techniques that people who are creative, but maybe work on their own, or in an agency without a specific process, could use to come up with solutions to problems.”
Matt notes that Leeds was the ideal city to start his new venture, but, like his passion for nurturing creativity in others, his ambition is boundless:
“Leeds creativity is great. There are a lot of independent creative outlets; but that can also be a problem as people tend to work on their own projects, doing cool things independently. That’s part of why I wanted to try this, to get everyone together to work towards the same goal. For example, how does digital art interact with traditional art? How can illustrators add more value to their work by collaborating?”
While the events will initially be run in Leeds, Matt hopes to eventually get a platform up and running that will provide creatives around the world with resources, mentors and access to a collaborative online community. He describes the future of Creative Life as ‘a bit like Entrepreneurial Spark, but more online and specifically aimed at people in the creative industries.’
You can find out more about Matt and Creative Life here creative-life.co.uk