Panic! 2018 – It’s an Arts Emergency!

May 17, 2017

Who makes and consumes art? Who works in the arts? How do they get in, and get on? And what are the consequences for culture in the UK?

These questions form the basis of an ambitious research project led by sociologists from the Universities of Edinburgh and Sheffield, investigating artistic, workforce and audience inequalities within the creative economy and arts & cultural sector. For the first time in a decade, researchers will compare large-scale national datasets on social mobility with industry-specific information, including almost 300 hours of interviews with creative professionals collected following a national survey in 2015 as part of the first Panic! project.

Create London is partnering with Arts Emergency and the Barbican to share the outcome of these investigations with the wider sector and the public. Over the next year, a series of concise working papers will be published, exploring a range of themes, including: Meritocracy; Unpaid work; the ‘London effect’; Cultural consumption; Attitudes and values of cultural workers; and The Meaning of Class in the Arts & Cultural Context – these aim to provide a timely opportunity for reflection and discussion on issues of exclusion and inequality.

As part of Panic! 2018, an artist will be commissioned to make a new piece of work for the Barbican’s public spaces. This commission will take the above findings as its starting point. Additionally, Panic! 2018 will also comprise talks, a creative careers project for young people, and a publication on research findings.

Panic! 2018 is a continuation of the nationwide survey and events programme in 2015. Delivered by Create London, Arts Emergency and the Barbican. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, with support from Arts Council England and Creative Scotland.

Creativity Works: Visual Campaign

November 27, 2015


I’m Kiåra Nicole a participant of Creativity Works: Panic! an employability programme that provides new routes into the arts and creative industries for young Londoners.

The programme aims to enable 18–24 year-olds to break into the creative industries by providing work experience and training in a creative communications role, diversifying the workforce.

Inspired by Peter Saville’s Panic! visual campaign, I have created an alternative visual campaign for Creativity Works: Panic! I have taken headshots of some of the participants and added their aspirations and future goals across the bottom of the artwork, instead of their parents’ job titles, used in Saville’s original campaign. I also decided to keep the photo in colour rather than black and white as I wanted the images to look more vibrant and project a positive message.

As part of the programme we have also been working on a series of media projects to gain our Arts Award Silver, which have given us a platform to have our say on the important themes explored through Panic!

This blog will chart the podcasts, zines, vlogs and blogs that we have produced. I hope you enjoy!


Review: GRIT

November 27, 2015

Rebecca Legister-Anderson reviews the second in our series of Panic! panel discussions, GRIT:

Rebecca interviews Sam Friedman from LSE -GRIT copy 2

Is there enough diversity within the arts? Can you make it without coming from a privileged background? These were the burning questions at the Panic! Grit event, which I attended at the Barbican on Monday 29 November, a debate about how a career within the arts now only seems to be accessible for those from a white, middle class background.

On the panel were:

It was easily agreed that it has become more difficult to pursue a career in the arts or media if you’re from a non-privileged background, with 44% of those within the TV, film and music industries being privately educated.

Competition is fierce for jobs and experience is key to getting your foot in the door. Unpaid internships are now the most common way to gain this valuable experience but prove to be a barrier for those from a non-privileged background; to take on these internships without a paid job to fund living costs. I can easily draw from my personal experiences as an aspiring journalist and friends who are seeking to kick start a creative career, having to instead balance working a full time or part time job to support themselves while working on a creative project.

The panel also discussed the unfairness of unpaid internships; in which one member of the audience became heated at the fact actors are not paid for student films. Members from the PANIC team also shared their stories, including Symphonni, an aspiring journalist who had to leave college to look after her ill grandmother, Lizzie, an unemployed graduate from a Film and Television degree at LCC and Nadia, a non graduate looking to gain experience and find work in journalism and broadcasting. When the panel asked the team whether they think they will make it into their chosen careers, it was responded to with mixed feelings and an overall pessimistic tone that it is looking unlikely.

This is the state of the creative industry today. It’s become an exclusive club for those with money, and often with the bank of mum and dad paying for your entry fee – while it’s become a pipe dream for those outside. Unsurprisingly, there are also some people who believe there are no such problems. This was evident with another member of the audience who seems to come from a privileged background, claiming people “just need to get off their arses, not wait around for help and just get on with it”. Having stated beforehand that he runs his own business and bankrolls his own daughter through her creative career, he is happy to stay in his own bubble, not fully understanding challenges that the non-privileged face.

But it is time for change and bubbles need to be burst. The arts industry needs a shake up. As a result, some would say that the arts and creative sector has lost its edginess and grit, due to everyone in the industry coming from a similar background.  Actress Julie Walters, who hails from a working class background, also shares a similar view stating that “working class kids aren’t represented [within contemporary dramas]” and that she would have struggled to make it as an actress if she had started her career today.

The debate was well worth going to. It is obvious that more diversity and equality is needed within the arts and it is brilliant that programmes like Create Jobs can help those access opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

Rebecca Interivews Frances Corner London School of Fashion - GRIT copy 2

Lizzie makes her point at GRIT copy

Student Debt

November 27, 2015


Are students being ripped off? Is it even worth getting into debt to go to University these days? Is it fair to have to pay to study second-rate courses to get a degree and still join the queue to get a job? Recent Film and Television Graduate Lizzie Cope investigates.



From Underground to Overground

November 27, 2015


Mr Shemzy and MC Angel drop by the studio for a chat with hosts Tasmyn and Kiara to talk about the highs and lows of being and up-and-coming artist.



“Compare the times” Rare x Fiona Cartledge

November 27, 2015

Blog by Summer-Pearl Foster:


Today I interviewed Fiona Cartledge. Fiona used to put on raves back in the 90’s, she has been in the club scene since she was 15. From 1991-1996, Fiona put on her own events.

I also interviewed Nathalie Miller, Constance Power and Sumara-Laika, a few members from up and coming collective Rare. Rare put on events, live music performances and raves around London. Collectives are a movement right now. Everyone is working together and collaborating to create something special. Something big.

I thought it would be interesting to ask both Fiona and Rare the same question and hear the differences between then and now.

I asked Fiona the question: Does popular culture offer the same opportunities for young, ambitious artists as it once did?

Fiona: In those days (the 80’s and 90’s), it very much was a DIY culture. You would just go to a club and ask them if they had a free night, and you’d put on a night, promote it yourself, there was no internet, so we used to do flyering. Flyering was the big thing. You used to get up in the middle of the night and go and stand outside clubs at 4 o’ clock in the morning and go and hand out flyers to people coming out the doors.

It was very cool to be a DJ, they didn’t have agents in those days, well very few of them did, so you would literally phone up the DJ’s direct or maybe one person and you’d say, “well I’ve got a party on the 29th, would you do it?”, they would say yes or no, they usually said yes if they liked you and that was it. It was that simple. It was really that simple. There wasn’t all this middle-men stuff, all these PR’s. Even mixmag had only just started, so this whole sort of corporate culture that’s grown up around the music industry in that way wasn’t there. Record companies were there obviously, but the record companies were more band orientated then. Funny enough I’m doing the book (sign of the times) on the 90’s and the environmentalist and artist, Jeremy Deller took some of the pictures at my parties, and there’s hardly any pictures of DJ’s. People took pictures of the crowd, all the pictures are of really gorgeous girls, and cool clubbers and stuff. There are some pictures of the DJ’s, but I noticed a big change when I booked Sasha, this big house DJ from the North and that was in 1994 at a party we did at Brixton Academy and I noticed that he brought these fans with him and they were these young boys and girls who were just taking pictures of him round the DJ booth, and we were all like, whats going on? Because we had never seen this before, this was like a new thing you know, people were taking pictures of a DJ, why would they do that, you know? And that was when it really started to shift and then magazines like mixmag and all those sorts of mags would start to build up the DJ’s as stars themselves and then suddenly, the DJs became bigger than the party. Because before people would say I’m going to Boys Own, I’m going to Shoom, I’m going to sign of the times which was me, they would say I’m going to all these parties, but now people were starting to say I’m going to see this DJ, that DJ, so the DJ actually became bigger than the party. For me that sort of became difficult because DJ’s who were asking for 300 quid a gig, suddenly started to ask for a thousand pounds a gig because they had an agent so the agents were pushing up the prices, which I understand, they were worth it but it made it difficult for people like me because my parties weren’t that big and we spent a huge amount on decor and all these other things so the profit just went like that, it became harder. At first I combated it by promoting new talent all the time, but the industry started to get quite big and suddenly everyone had an agent. It just started to become harder and harder for smaller operators like me.

The really big shift happened in the new millennium. DJ’s that I knew that were getting a thousand pounds a gig were getting 15 to 20 thousand pounds a gig and being flown all round the world because that was the other thing, the rave scene in the 80’s and early 90’s really was London, Manchester, Glasgow, New York obviously, Chicago, Detroit and Tokyo really. It wasn’t this global thing and now you look on Soundcloud and they’re from everywhere. This may sound stupid, but I didn’t see that coming, because it was so London-Centric you know. This is where everything happened first. We didn’t think globally you know because the Internet wasn’t there.

There was a lot of money in the club business in the 90’s. The other thing, there’s this group you should join on Facebook called Bring The Noise. It’s an amazing group because everyone’s posting up things from the 80’s and 90’s mainly and some 70’s. It really shows how many venues there were. So many venues! Someone said that there was apparently over 100 live venues in Soho. Now there’s only about 6. I just heard they’re about to close the Coronet in 2017. So all these historic venues are shutting and when you go on Bring the Noise, scroll down and you’ll see all the venues that held garage DJ’s and house DJ’s. It’s just the amount of venues and we just took it all for granted. As a club runner it was easy to get somewhere and what I’m seeing now, it’s all these bigger stadiums, but that means its controlled by the corporate world. So as a small promoter, you can’t hire the o2 or anything like that and yet that’s where all the actions happening. The whole thing happening is much more controlled by the corporates that way.

I mean somewhere like Shapes, that whole area of Dalston is probably how it was and same with Deptford, and I mean, you know like round here (Soho), its changed forever which is really sad. But things change.

The good thing about the internet for me, was that suddenly for an older person who doesn’t go out much I could suddenly listen to everything that’s happening so that was good, but obviously I can see how much competition there is.

One of the things that occurred to me when I was doing this book is this collective thing funnily enough. I think, in the 90’s there were a lot of collectives. It wasn’t as easy as probably I’m making it sound in the 90’s, basically, the culture was underground. There was very little overground culture apart from the record companies and so we had to form collectives to support each other really. That’s what I think people should do now because you are much stronger as a group and you also have all those different skill sets when you have a group. A lot of collectives that formed in the 90’s are still operating as groups now. I was reading an article on Lethal Bizzle and he was saying that he has only just started making more money off his music than his t-shirts believe it or not. He also said, you really need to build your own audience. Which is why it’s good we have all this social media stuff now. If you build your own audience, they’re always there. So it gives you a bit of power, you know? I’d say that’s essential in all businesses now. The thing with social media is, I really think it’s important to be authentic. Instead of all these crafted, curated sort of record company images of what you should be like, or fashion images, you actually get to see all flavours of something.

I asked Rare the same question: Does popular culture offer the same opportunities for young, ambitious artists as it once did. 

Nathalie: In the UK, we’ve lost funding anyway. So of course there are less opportunities for young artists now.

Nathalie: Every single person that won an award this year, apart from FKA and Shakka, won a Mobo last year.

Nathalie: I think underground artists will get the opportunity to do well when it is popular for underground artists to do well, it’s sort of getting there.

Sumara: But then there is a difference between underground and sub-culture. Like the music that Connie makes is very much subculture. Soundcloud is maybe the one platform that is very good for subculture to come to mainstream. Because if you think about it, Soulection would not be who they are now without Soundcloud.

Nathalie: But then, if we’re talking about underground artists in general, Soundcloud has become the home for a certain genre of producers to blow.

Sumara: It depends on taste

Nathalie: Soundcloud’s doing a lot for all the “futurebeatsy” people that want to make that new neo soul sound stuff. It’s become a really big platform for producers.

Sumara: So you see gentrification? It has definitely persuaded and kind of tainted the way people view music and the arts and anything creative, anything subject to opinion, because it’s like anything can be popular if there are more than 20 people. So I think, the time of Dalston has kind of fucked up the cycle of what pop culture is, because it is now no longer. Back in the day, pop culture actually did make a platform, like my mums era, when she was our age and on the club scene, she was basically doing exactly what we do now. Everything that they were doing was for the first time. They lived in the time where to wear a tracksuit into a club was really like, “oh my god, who are these people?” They were like the original Vivienne Westwood hat wearers. Club culture promoters were coming out of the woodwork, it was cool to be a DJ, and I feel like nowadays, everything’s just being recycled, so you have to be doing something years ahead of the time we are in now for popular culture to give you anything.

Nathalie: Everything is influenced by something.

Nathalie: Notting Hill Arts Club, Box park, they have Busk the box every Sunday, Boiler Room. These are all really good movements of our time now. The promoters that Notting Hill Arts Club allow to go into their venue bring new art to the table. No matter who is there and because it’s so established as a venue, it’s good for anyone that comes there. Boiler Room creates a platform for producers and DJ’s. DJ’s and producers, those are underground job descriptions. As a producer and DJ, you are always going to be in the background of someone else’s stuff, it’s like being a dancer or a performer in a show. You are never at the forefront of the product. So that’s why I think Boiler Room is good for that. Creating a platform for producers and DJ’s.

Sumara: What I think, is just, our generation.

Pearl Morris: You had the punks, the mods, they were underground movements before. We do have underground movements now because underground movements is just something that is not in the mainstream. We see it as more mainstream because of the people that we are involved with, but if you think of the general public, they don’t have a clue what’s going on.

Sumara: Tumblr, Instagram all the social networks just takes all the substance out of everything.

Summer’s Summary

How fascinating to have two very different perspectives and first hand experiences of making things happen in popular culture and the difference between the 80’s and 90’s then, and now. It seems to me that neither popular nor underground culture offer us the same opportunities anymore. We are very restricted as a generation. We may have all these social networks such as Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, which is good for networking and self promotion, but as Fiona said, back then you could go into a venue and ask if they had a free night and it was just a yes or no answer. It seemed simpler before, and there was more freedom and less people judging you and therefore less to lose. You could do whatever you wanted. Money was also an advantage back then. Nobody is willing to back you financially now until you have a huge following. You need to have over 1000 followers to promote something in order for people to come to what you are promoting. Nowadays, it’s a long process. You used to be able to flyer an event back in the day, which you can still do now, but if people don’t know who you are, they won’t go. There also are not enough venues for people either. As heard from Fiona, some of the most historic, beautiful, creative spaces are shutting down which means now, everyone wants to use the same space, which means it’s more expensive.

However, popular culture does offer different opportunities for young artists today. Today we have reality TV programmes and performing arts schools such as The BRIT School, Sylvia Young, Italia Conti and many more. Artists such as Amy Winehouse, Adele and Jessie J attended these school and they have had huge success. We also have many distribution platforms such as Soundcloud and Youtube which allow people across all art forms get “out there”, it allows unsigned singers put on huge gigs and have enormous followings without being signed to a label. Nowadays, the creative, less well off, young artist can have just as big a following as someone who grew up with everything. But then again, although we have these reality programmes which may mean more opportunity, it doesn’t necessarily mean longevity as we have seen many times on programmes  such as ‘The X Factor’ and ‘The Voice’, young ambitious artists today believe in these programmes, but do not realise the outcome, which can eventually make them not believe in themselves although programmes like these are usually fixed. Our DIY culture is very different to how it was back then.

We are sat behind screens. There was more “doing” back then, and more productivity. As Sumara from ‘Rare’ said, maybe social networks are taking the substance out of everything.

Read more of Summer’s writing over on her blog Mutherapy.


To Uni or Not to Uni ?

November 27, 2015

Aminur and Lewis ask a group of graduates whether they think their degree has helped them getting into their dream job in the creative industries? They also talk to musical expressionist and grime artist Mr Shemzy about why he left his degree course to start making music and videos on his own.




November 27, 2015

Blog by Symphonni Smith-Evans



“The only thing they can’t teach you at art school is art”
– David Bailey

If the only thing they can’t teach you at art school is art then why do young people even bother going to these world class arts institutions to study art?

What is it about these institutions that make young people think, ” YES, I want to come here?”

The number of students accepted onto a Higher Education course studying creative arts has risen from 38,770 in 2012 to 43,050 in 2014.

So another question that arises is: Why are young people applying to study an arts qualification? Is it that they believe they will learn to hone their craft or is it just so they have a fancy qualification, which will help them to pursue a career after the 3 or 4 years they spend “learning” in these institutions.

So what is it that arts schools teach?

Well, I have spoken to a few people and the response has been somewhat mixed. Some believe that art school does teach its students art. It teaches them how to use different equipment and a variety of techniques they may have never thought of or known about. They help you to expand your portfolio of work to help you become better at your craft and polish your skills. But is that really enough?

On the other hand some believe that art school doesn’t teach you art. It doesn’t teach you how to be creative because before you apply you must already have a creative flare. It doesn’t teach you the basic skills to be an artist because you must already have a foundation to build upon before you apply. If you want to draw, they don’t teach you how to draw. They teach you how to draw better. Before you can even attend any of these world-class arts institutions you would have already jumped through many arts hurdles to get there. Whether that be Art GCSE and performance and production arts or any creative A levels. You must already have a portfolio of work they already believe is well rounded before they even think of accepting you as a student.


That is what I wanted to find out when I interviewed Christian Cassiel.

Christian is a freelance photographer who specialises in Fashion and Portrait photography. He moved to London two years ago to study BA Fashion Photography at The London College of Fashion. However, after 3-4 months he dropped out.

SSE: So, why did you drop out?

CC: “ It wasn’t really for me. I think university is good if you think you’re going to get the most of it and use all of the resources. But for me I’ve never liked people telling me I have to do things a certain way. I’m just good at doing my own thing and contacting people and free flowing things. I just like to make things up as I go along and everything just works out for me. It’s really about If you have the dedication to the things you need to do or you don’t.

SSE: Why did you apply to go to LCF?

CC: I looked at LCF as my ticket out of Huddersfield. I was studying a Foundation Arts Degree in Huddersfield and i felt like i needed to get out and try something different. I just thought of LCF as my way of getting out and my way of leaving.

SSE: What is it that you learned whilst at LCF?

CC: I learnt a few things. Well rather than learn I met some good friends there that led on to some good links. I met some really interesting people there that I’m still in contact with.

SSE: Do you believe that it was a good experience?

CC: Yeah it was a good experience. It such a long process: applying and sending off your application, going in for the interview and getting accepted. It was such a big thing for me at the time. But you have to go through that long process to realise whether it’s for you or not. You never know until you actually do it.

SSE: Was the experience worth it?

CC: Yeah it was, it was definitely worth it regardless [of dropping out] I did learn some things from tutors that was there. They taught me some things about myself, some things that I’m still addressing to this day and things that can help me move forward as a photographer. It was worth it. It was worth it.

SSE: What are the skills required for a career in photography?

CC: Dedication and patience. There are a lot of photographers out there, a lot of people doing the same thing. You’ve got to be very persistent. You’ve got be really confident in your work. People see different things and there are different styles. The more you get out there the more you have to keep on top of things. You have to keep being in people’s faces. The more visible you are the more people will start to notice you. You have to put yourself out there. You can’t do something good and jus chill for a bit. You’ve got to keep hitting it, hitting it, hitting it and getting out there.

SSE: Are there any negatives to a career in photography?

CC: You could be broke as hell, like me (laughs). Not really, it just depends how you’re doing things and your perspective on life. It really depends on where you’re at. I love photography and I love what I do. Not many people these days get to do what they love to do. Anything that’s worthwhile doesn’t come easily.

SSE: Do you think world-class arts institutions prepare young people for a career in the arts?

CC: I feel like it can but maybe they need to assist young people a bit more because of the way they do things. They cover a lot of bases on the courses they provide but I think the need to nail down the more basic and simple things like contacting people, agencies and publications, etc. There are a lot of people on my old course who are in their 3rd year and they find it difficult to contact people and email people. They expect their tutors to do everything for them and they think their tutors are going to get them work. It’s important to do your coursework but you should also be working on your own work outside of university because I feel like a lot of people are going to graduate at not know what to do next.

SSE: What route did you take to get to where you are in your career now?

CC: I just really free flowed and just made it up as I went along. I was really blessed, and fortunate to have-met the people I have done so far. When I first moved to London I was just walking around. I had some business cards printed, I went to some independent people, I just dropped in and introduced myself and handed them my card. This was 2years ago and some of the people I met in some stores are now my closest friends today.

SSE: What advice would you give to a young person trying to get into photography?

CC: Tell them to do what I did. To be persistent, to be confident in your work. There’s not really a right or wrong way. You will naturally find yours. If you love what you do everything will come your way.

SSE: Is there anything you would do differently?

CC: I used to think it was all about having the best equipment. It’s good to have the best equipment and cameras but it’s important to know how to use the things you have already. I feel like I have wasted time and money thinking that I need more equipment but it’s important to get your craft down before investing in certain things.

SSE: What is it like trying to break into the creative industries?

CC: Well I’ve still got a long way to go and I haven’t gotten in yet. It’s like breaking down barriers and I’ve still got an extremely long way to go.

SSE: Do you think world-class arts institutions such as the University of Arts London or the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, would enjoy their current reputations were it not for the contributions of students like Alexander McQueen and Vivien Westwood?

CC: Yeah no doubt. I think all of that helps. When people ask me what university I went to and I tell them London College of Fashion they react based off of the name. It’s just a name. But you never know until you go there and experience it. It’s just like any other university it has all the same resources. I think the famous students help when it comes to international students because they can put a name to the place it makes them want to come over to London to study in these particular places.”

This interview with Christian was very insightful. It gave me the inside information from someone trying to break into the arts, who went to the London of College of Fashion and left because they were not teaching him what he believed to be relevant for him to have a career in the arts.

We both agreed that international students are more likely to apply for these arts institutions that have had famous students such as Alexander McQueen and Vivien Westwood as these are well known names that they can use to link to the school and use to judge whether they think it would be a good place to attend. Whereas students based in the UK are not really looking at the reputations of the Ex- Students as much.

If you would like to see more work from Christian please look at his website for more information.


University is a good option for some, but there are loads of other options…

If you want a career in the arts without having a degree an apprenticeship could be a possibility as you have the opportunity to Earn while you Learn. You can find opportunities on the Direct Gov Website.

Alternative arts schools such as ALT MFA, which is an alternative to ‘Master of Fine Art’. It is a free alternative to studying at university established by artists for artists. Their only criteria for membership, is time and attendance.

Or you could do what I did:

I got my foot in the door by working for UAL- Awarding body and learned a lot about Arts qualifications, Specifications, Grade Matrixes and how arts qualifications are developed. Then when I left, I heard about the Creativity Works: Panic programme from my Princes Trust Advisor because I went on a Facilities Management course to gain some skills and knowledge so I would be more employable. However, my advisor knew and understood I enjoyed the arts and sent me the link to apply for a place on the Creativity Works : Panic programme. I filled out their application form and explained to them, Why I liked the arts? Why I like books? And why I like to write?

I was one of the lucky ones and I managed to get a place on the course. Whilst Working on the Panic! programme, I have been given the opportunity to work towards an Arts Award Silver I had a 3week work placement at the Barbican. By working with the Creative Learning department at the Barbican I’ve had the chance to visit many arts establishments such as the Tate Modern, Young Vic, Southbank Centre and The National Theatre. I have also been able to visit the Charles and Ray Eames Exhibition at the Barbican itself. I never thought I would have enjoyed an exhibition on furniture as much as I did but it opened my eyes to the many possibilities there are, for what can be labelled The World of Charles and Ray Eames Exhibition as art.

I was also able to apply for an internship at English Pen through Create Jobs. Two days later, they called me back and told me they wanted to offer me the position, which was a great boost for my confidence. English Pen is a charitable organisation, whose work is dedicated towards the ‘Freedom To Write and The Freedom To Read’ for all. Their work is something I believe in and I hope to have an amazing experience there.

There are many opportunities out there even though sometimes it may look sparse, new things are always coming up so it’s down to you to decide whether you want to go to University or if you want to pursue another route to a career in the arts.

Then and Now

November 26, 2015

A blog by Ernest Kwabena:

How easy is it for young people to showcase their talents to mass audiences these days? Does technology help? Does heritage and who you know play a part in how successful you become? Are the same tools, training, equipment and opportunities available to all young adults, looking to start a career as a creative?

An 18 year old from North London certainly thinks so. This Londoner goes by the name of Ernest and reckons that you have a right to be whatever you want to be and a responsibility to make that a reality.

I often get asked, ‘is the world an unfair place’ and I respond, ‘not if you live in London it’s not’. Of course there are a minority of people who have unfortunate circumstances throughout their lives however in the grand scheme of things; your demise is someone’s breakthrough opportunity.

We live in a world of hierarchy, which is enslaved within disproportional democracy. We humans are a metaphorical food chain of people and states that consume and are consumed by other things

suppressive to us. I’m British and would therefore consider myself to be on the upper echelon of proceedings, and have a different ladder to climb in comparison to someone across the globe. Perhaps a creative career is not as luxurious as we first envision however.

 I consider myself a creative and have a strong passion in music and art, particularly illustration. I will be contrasting my experiences in this era to another Ernest from the past to see if we are really at a disadvantage or, better off than we think we are.

blog post pic

One legend by the name of, ‘E.H Shepard’ may also agree that opportunities have progressed since his lifetime (1879 – 24th March 1976). The other well celebrated; Ernest, (Howard Shepard) was an artist and illustrator before he joined the army in October 1915.

If the war hadn’t come along, I think we can safely assume that young Ernest wouldn’t ordinarily have considered a profession as a soldier. He studied Fine Art in Chelsea, won scholarships and became a successful illustrator. The advent of WW1 did set him on a different path, but even under those circumstances, he still managed to make his skills relevant.

While away in Europe, he was commissioned by magazines like Punch to create cartoons and other illustrations for publication. Most of his work was a direct translation of his time in the trenches and at war. He had a satirical approach to some of his work, which wasn’t always welcomed by everyone, but provided good subtle humour in less than ideal times.


Contrast Ernest’s WW1 experience to this day and age. Many would and perhaps should consider themselves privileged, not be fighting a war and also having all of the new technologies that are available to them. This equipment and technologies provide untold opportunities for us to create our work and to promote it. Many of us now have access to all kinds of software packages like the Adobe Creative Suite and more traditional mediums like acrylics, watercolours etc.

So, do you believe young people still have the same opportunities to bring their creative talents to mass audiences?

I believe it’s possible.

Perhaps that’s because I’m a positive person who likes to think anything is possible/attainable, even when the odds may be stacked against you.

Honestly, the answer to this question is very suggestive and may be interpreted differently, based on your experiences, for instance. I find that you cannot definitively steer to one side whilst looking at the other point of view.

If you are a successful young person within the creative industry, you are most likely to say that we as young people still have the same opportunities to bring their talents to the mass audience. Someone contrary to this situation would be saying the complete opposite.

The main reason why I believe young people can still attain a career in the creative field is because of technology, or the rapid growth of it. The idealism is; anyone is potentially one e-mail away from securing their -dream vocation.

Contrast this to Shepard’s period for instance, where connections were even harder to establish and hand written letter would take weeks or months to reach the desired recipient.

The reality today though, may often vary from both likelihoods.

Most individuals end up somewhere in between these two scenarios; not being a complete failure and not also achieving everything they wanted to accomplish from this life. This conclusion is irrespective of the generation, technological advancements or lack thereof, population, demographic etc.

The rise of technology has enabled the masses (who now have access to an internet connection), the chance to share and distribute their work via an online portfolio. That’s approximately 40% of the world’s population, the highest it’s ever been

(Internet Live Stats). For UK, it’s a staggering 83% of the entire population (2013).

For an artist and/or photographer, this opportunity is golden. A portfolio of visual work is approximately half of the requirements you need to become recognised in your chosen endeavour. Promoting work has now become easier than ever via the use of viral (social media) outlets. The other necessity is having some experience or qualification

Hadrian Garrard – Interview

November 26, 2015

Interview with Hadrian Garrard Director and Co-founder of Create – simon poses the question Does a Career in the Arts Leave you Forever in Debt?

Simon Zhao Panic! short Vlog interivew with Create Director and Founder Hadrian Garrard – Careers in the Arts and Debt from CREATE London on Vimeo.

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