Artsmart 2015 Review

Students and alumni flocked to London College of Communication on 09 July for a creative industry careers festival despite the potentially world ending tube strike. Apparently there are buses and other forms of transport like bikes and also legs that get you where you need to be – amazing.

Things kicked off in The Podium Lecture Theatre with The Dots Founder, Pip Jamieson talking less about how to get your dream job – which was the title of the talk – and more about how to get a job full stop, which was probably more appropriate given that most of the attendees were not in the enviable position of bagging their dream job. She talked in detail about how The Dots came about and how you can use it to your advantage. It’s designed to be a network for creatives, but is mainly a really good place to find jobs in the creative industry, it feels a lot more curated than other job sites and the positions they advertise usually have real value. Andrew Parker, Talent Acquisition Lead at Levis followed her, talking about his unconventional route from working on the shop floor to working in a leading role on recruiting for Levis in Europe.

Pop-up mastermind We Are Pop Up then talked through the benefits of starting up with a pop-up. One of the key observations was that you need to make sure you’re attracting the right footfall, by locating your premises somewhere your target market occupies, which sounds obvious, but in a way, isn’t until you hear it clearly and concisely out loud. Daniel Peters from BBS Clothing joined We Are Pop Up and left us with this piece of wisdom: “You have to make your customers feel part of the journey”.

A few moments later, artists Silvia Baz and Rosalind Davis and lawyer Lubna Gem Arielle all agreed that you should always consult Own It and Artquest’s Q&A section for all your copyright related questions. Lubna was particularly engaging with observations such as: “Clients don’t always go for the freelancer with the lowest price.” Naturally for a lawyer, she told attendees to get all agreements in writing, you never know when you might need to call on it –  it’s precautionary.

On to Intern Magazine Founder, Alec Dudson’s talk after a quick stop off at Fiona Buckland’s life coaching creative resilience session. The room was packed with attendees eager to find out how they can navigate around internships, or look at alternatives. He reckons that internships in London cost the average person £926 a month. A figure, which is so hard to believe every ounce of me wants to challenge it – how is that even possible? Are these interns eating at Michelin-star restaurants every day? Are they getting a helicopter to work? Where are these interns commuting from? Anyway – maybe Alec can tweet us back and explain this figure.

The from startup to success talk was next on the bill with a range of entrepreneurs and self-starters raring to inspire young UAL minds. Their stories ranged from inspiring to very practical and therefore not particularly mobilising. The two key things to take from the talk were: hard work is an essential if you’re going to get anywhere with a startup and an insight from Majestic Disorder edit, Sean Stillmaker which goes like this: “Just because your idea has been done before it doesn’t mean it won’t be successful.” He then pointed to the success of Instagram – does anyone remember Hipstamatic? No.

Helen from Just Got Made then talked a bit about DIY bespoke manufacturing. It was all a bit specialist for this non-design based blogger but there were some good points about what the pros and cons are. The most engaging speaker of the day was Luke Drozd who injected his character and humour into the day. Before his talk started he heckled people leaving the auditorium in a completely inoffensive manner that was intentionally self-deprecating. He talked candidly about how difficult working as an artist was, but how it is possible if you’re diverse in your approach, through the allegory of his eclectic mix of work collaborating and holding exhibitions in his living room. The final speaker of the day, John Hill from Lucky PDF (party and art collective) member, was fascinating, down to this wonderfully eye-opening diagram. It’s basically this concept called hybridity whereby when you have no money and no commercial interests your art is really good, which in turn interests commercial parties which means you make more money, but this starts negatively affecting the quality of your art, so you start doing less commercial stuff and your art gets better (as do the parties) but then you have less money so you realise that you’re broke and the process starts all over again. Depressing, refreshing and brilliant concise in equal measure.