Creative Futures week 2017

This year I attended creative futures week which is an annual event that takes place at my university each year. Its a full week of an array of lectures from all sorts of people that come to visit our university to give their lecture. Its a chance for students to get a better idea of the subjects they choose to go and hear about. There’s usually many guests ranging from professional animators, People who work within the gaming industry and entrepreneurs that give their experience so we may benefit from it.

Monday 27th of February

Welcome: Dr Claire Taylor – Deputy Vice Chancellor, Wrexham Glyndŵr University 
Everything you wanted to know about a creative future (but were afraid to ask):
Prof. Alec Shepley – Head of the School of Creative Arts, Wrexham Glyndwr University



On Monday it started with the keynote address which is compulsory for each day, its the first lecture of the day and was given in the William Aston hall.

To begin with it was the welcoming open address which this year was given by Dr Claire Taylor, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Professor Alec Shepley, the Head of School of Creative Arts at Glyndwr university.

In August 2016 Dr Claire Taylor joined Glyndwr university as the deputy vice chancellor, Her responsibilities are for academic provision and the quality of student learning opportunities across the university, overseeing the work of the academic schools; strategic planning; communications, marketing, recruitment and admissions. Professor Alec Shepley is the Head of the School of Creative Arts and Professor of Contemporary Art Practice at Wrexham Glyndwr University. Link < Website of creative futures.

Throughout this talk we learned that The creative industries is one of the fastest growing sectors in wales and its a chance to work collaborately with others. Its a chance to explore and reflect and think what can I bring to the table. Its a safe place for students where they can learn

  • Key skills
  • Personal qualities and cultural enrichment
  • Intellectual skills
  • Understanding in the workplace

The industry is worth 36 billion a year and £70,000 a minute for the economy. 1.5 million people are employed.

What’s your idea of a journey? Visualise where you want to be and work towards that goal as a whole. Set objectives, find a flexible approach and don’t be afraid to explore and ask questions to help with your journey.


Collaboration in the creative industries – a panel discussion:

Tamara Harvey – Theatr Clwyd
Alfredo Cramerotti – Mostyn

Gareth Jones – Welsh ICE
Andy Cheetham – Cheetham Bell

Jo Marsh – Oriel Wrecsam
Chaired by Mike Corcoran (all students to attend)


At 10:30am we had a panel discussion from a range of people in the creative industries.

Everyone’s got stories and a journey of how they got from A to B, Opportunities are when you least expect them and sometimes it helps to be in the right place at the right time. We were told to try and speak to a stranger by the end of the week and this is something to keep in mind always. It never hurts to meet new people and talk to them, you never know what that may lead to.

Gareth Jones

Gareth Jones used to study at Glyndwr, he said that its up to us to take opportunity’s when they appear and he told us of a site called Welsh ice, Twitter: @welsh_ice. Its a site that can help people that are wanting to start off. It offers co-working spaces, office space and meeting room hire for people. Gareth also quoted “Small is the seed of greatness”.


He then went on to tell us more information about Welsh ICE (Innovation Centre for Enterprise) and how its a sense of community, everyone supports each other, Its based in Caerphilly and their developing and expanding their business;

  • New locations
  • Online platform
  • Increased investment
  • Broader range of people.

Tamara Harvey


Tamara Harvey was there to speak to us about Theatre Clwyd. She went on to inform us that Theatre Clwyd is the largest producing theatre in wales and it has lots of resources. It is the home of a highly acclaimed producing company, which also presents much of its work on tour throughout Wales and the rest of the UK. The company produces mainly in English, but also in Welsh. Theatr Clwyd was created through the vision of Flintshire County Council and its Chief Executive T.M. Haydn Rees.

Tamara Harvey has been the artistic director at *theatre Clwyd from 2015 to present,
She directed in the West End, throughout the UK and abroad. She was Associate Director at the Bush Theatre from 2010 -11, a director for the 24 Hour Plays at the Old Vic and on the panel of the George Devine Award. She is a board member for the National Student Drama Festival and a trustee of the Peggy Ramsay Foundation. *link directs you to the history of theatre Clwyd where I found this information on Tamara.

Jo Marsh

Jo was there to talk about Oriel Wrexham, Oriel Wrecsam is the premier venue for Contemporary Visual and Applied Arts in North East Wales. Their main site is on Chester street which is right in the middle of town. Here is the link to the Oriel Wrexham site that can give you more information on it and what they are all about. I think it is quite interesting what is currently being developed where the peoples market used to be and that there will be an arts hub in its place. Its a way to rejuvenate the art industry into everyday life. General admission into Oriel Wrexham’s exhibits are also free.

Andy Cheetham


Andy Cheetham is the Chairman of Cheetham bell. He founded Cheetham Bell in 1992 with partner David Bell. Cheetham Bell soon became Manchester’s creative hot shop winning over 250 local, national and global awards in an eight year period. Andy was there to talk to us about his experience and his journey of how he achieved what he did. He told us to always keep an open mind and told us of “the power of simple“.

Alfredo Cramerotti

Cramerotti is a curator at Mostyn and also a writer. He was there to talk to us about Mostyn and what he does. Mostyn has a reputation as the foremost contemporary gallery and visual arts centre in Wales. It is also based in Llandudno. Its open to everyone and its free admission. Mostyn can also accommodate groups of up to 45 people for meetings whether it business or even students.

After each panel had, had their time to say their story and what they worked for and how they got there they then all took part in letting us know about an array of things such as the following, telling us about EDA, its an idea that you can pitch to others. They told us to be open and get ourselves out of our comfort zones and to try and encourage others to get out of their comfort zones. Try and strengthen relationships between yourselves and others, work out your common goals and to make friends, we’re all human at the end of the day. To be successful with others you need to share your thoughts and ideas and work together. Help will always come but you need to be careful as someone could rip you off. Its also important to say no if you don’t agree with someone or something as saying yes to everything wont get you very far and wont help you on your journey. Its important to have a clear vision and to have a shared passion on what your doing. Its also valid to recognise artists over the money makers and never be scared of people that are better then you and to surround yourself with good people. Its not always about money, its about feeling great with what your doing.


Ioana Pioaru – Between Art and the Creative Industries

3:00pm- 4:00pm

This lecture took place at the Nick Whitehead theatre. Ioana Pioaru is a London based artist and illustrator, Her recent work explores the boundary between drawing and sculpture and the ability of sculptural drawing to generate optical illusions. From 2012 to 2015 she worked with David Goldenberg (British artist), Their work has been exhibited in international events such as the Venice biennale in 2013 and the Caspian biennial convention Baku in 2013 also. Recently her work has been shown at Annart gallery in Bucharest, at the Romanian cultural institute in London. as well as developing her practice in the arts she is also collaborating with various publishers, illustrating children’s books, school books, short stories and drawing manuals. Pioaru is a PHD student and she is from Romania. She is an artist and a illustrator, one of her main things to do is life drawing and she likes using unusual body structures and doing very repetitive work. She told us to be constructive and make the most of drawing. Do what we think is lacking from our work in our own time. Its good do your own interpretations of characters. She tries not to think too hard when she draws and fills the open space, she doesn’t like to pre plan it, she likes to do it in the moment.


Tuesday 28th of February

Keynote Address: Doug Fishbone – Making things happen: building opportunities after graduation.
10:00am- 11:00am
The keynote address took place in the William Aston hall. That morning we had a lecture from Doug Fishbone who is an American artist based in London. He teaches Professional Practice at the University of Westminster, as well as teaching in studio practice at Middlesex University, and London College of Communications. His work is influenced by stand-up comedy, he’s been described by a critic as a “stand-up conceptual artist”. Fishbone explores problematic aspects of contemporary life in an amusing way. In 2010 his film Elmina which was made with revele films in Ghana had its world premiere at the Tate Britain.

Below is a image from his leisure land golf at the Venice Biennale in 2015.

Alan Mealor – The Games Industry: What it is and how to break into it.
11:30am- 12:30am
This lecture took place at the catrin finch theatre. Alan Mealor was there to talk to us all about the gaming industry, what its about, what drives the industry and how we as students can get into the industry.  This was a good seminar considering we haven’t had many people from a games industry come to talk to us about the gaming industry world.
Mealor works for Lucid games and is environmental artist.
The gaming industry is worth
996 billion worldwide
  • 40% mobile gaming
  • 30% Pc gaming
  • 30% console gaming

UK only 3.8 billion

  • 50% console gaming
  • 30% mobile gaming
  • 20% pc gaming

The Uk has 2000 video game companies and 250 studio company’s.

The brexit vote didn’t slow down tech investment.

So what’s driving the industry?
Middleware- is a computer software that provides services to software applications beyond those available from the operating system. It can be described as “software glue”.
  • Unreal engine and unity that small companies can work and produce games on.
  • It is also quicker and simpler nowadays to create a prototype which is vital for a games pitch
  • It also allows you to learn the skills needed to be in the industry, if a company can employ you without training you, that is most preferable.

How to get a job?

The biggest advice Alan Mealor gave us was to be different, separate yourself from the rest. Make a great portfolio and make sure you have a good CV. Less is sometimes more. Quality is better then quantity. Its better to have a few great pieces rather then a few great pieces surrounded by ok pieces. Try and get your work to suit the company your wanting to join, make sure you know and show your research and don’t just show the final piece, show how you got there, the process. Remember your portfolio gets you the interview then its up to you from there.
Put yourself on;
  • artstation
  • CGsociaty
  • Polycount


Alex Jones and Pete Griffith (BBC) – From Hacksaws to Hollywood

1:30pm- 2:30pm

This lecture took place in the Nick Whitehead theatre. This lecture gave an insight into the Design Trainee Scheme at the BBC. The presenters, both working at the BBC, will outline some details about their own career paths and what their roles in design and UX design entail. Alex Jones is a Senior Designer at the BBC and a part-time PhD student at the University of Chester and Pete Griffith is a Designer at the BBC and a graduate of Glyndwr University, with over 8 years experience in the industry. – A link to Griffith’s LinkedIn.

BBC online/TV has 2 to 3 million visits a week, 20,000 people work at the BBC, They said that there’s no right path to follow in life, you just have to follow your passion. Design today is evolving, don’t worry about having all the skills needed. Good things can happen when you least expect it, make stuff yourself and don’t worry about failures (I’ve noticed this to be a common theme among talkers). This channel was built from the ground up, if you treat people well, work hard and commit to an idea success can come. Its fulfilling to see their channel grow.


Wednesday 1st February

Keynote Address: Barry Purves – What is Art?

10:00am- 11:00am

As this lecture was the key note address it took place in the William Aston hall. Out of all the lectures of that week this one was my favourite. Barry Purves has become a huge influence of mine and I will be using him in my Dissertation next year. I love his work and its style and it was amazing to have a very professional stop motion artist talking to me and the rest of the hall in person. Purves spoke about how important it is for all of us that the arts and storytelling are encouraged, and what the purpose of such things are. Barry aimed to answer ‘What is art’. Purves tried to help us find ways in which we could tell our own stories no matter what our background and resources are and why it is important for us all to have our voices heard in our own ways.

Below YouTube video of Barry Purves short film Achilles which was made in 1996.

Barry Purves has been in the stop motion business for 40 years now and it is still his main passion. He has directed just under 300 short films for children such as Wind in the willow and Rupert bear but his own much eerier films are what draws me in such as Achilles, Screen Play, Next, Rigoletto, Plume and Tchaikovsky. Barry Purves has won many awards including lifetime achievement awards and has also been nominated for Oscars. Purves was involved with Tim burtons mars attacks until the stop motion got swapped out for CGI. Purves leads workshops around different university’s. One of Purves passions is theatre which you can tell has influenced a lot of his own work and he has directed and designed several dozen theatre productions.

He told us when we leave university to make sure we have a showreel and to only put work into it that we know is our best work, little is sometimes better. Its better to show off our best pieces of work then to clog it up with okay pieces of work.

Below is Barry Purves showreel and its lovely how the music fits perfectly to it too.

He said how important it is to tell stories and how all of us have a story we need to tell. we all want people to know we’re here and when we’re gone we want people to know we were once here. Whether your stories about disability, gender, politics. We need our voices to be heard. We want to tell stories of our time here and to be noticed. Our job is to find the device that makes telling our story possible and to tell it safely.

He then went on to tell us that Shakespeare was good at finding the devices necessary to tell his stories. Like when cave people created cave paintings, they were telling their stories, they were here, they existed.

Donald trump is a godsend to artists, the amount of artwork that has been appearing whether politics or comedy has been astounding.

He also explained how stories worked within this principle for example;

  •  Hamlet was one of the best plays written, full of devices that allow us to understand the characters. Like when hamlet thinks he knows his uncle killed his father he stages a play similar to the plot we’re already watching and the plot explains the murder of his father.
  • How Pinocchio needs to know what its like to be a boy before he can become one
  • How ET comes from somewhere to a broken family and heals them and then goes as if he was never there to begin with.
  • Mary Poppins goes to a damaged family as the children write a letter that goes up their chimney then the day after Mary Poppins appears. It would of been a dry film if we didn’t know anything about her so her name is the title and we’re given a device (the umbrella) that allows her to speak.
  • David tenant playing hamlet in a play, has the skull (one of the most iconic and important props) by having the skull (the prop) he has the license to talk.
  • Soap operas- they have loads of props in which they base to talk from, to tell the story such as tea, they’ll sit down with a cup of tea and have a chat, a shared experience and a reason to talk.

Its important when writing a story to bring audiences into the story, get them intrigued and interested. Art is an illusion and it only works when you believe it.

and I’ll finish this with a quote of what Barry Purves said at the end of his talk

“Give a man a mask and he’ll tell you the truth”

Original quote from Oscar wilde.


Simon Macro, Gwenno Angharad and Lorraine Hopkins – How  an Artist/Designer can work successfully with a Business.

11:30am- 12:30pm

This lecture took place in the Nick whitehead theatre. In this lecture Arts & Business Cymru’s North Wales Partnerships Director Gwenno Angharad will give an informative introduction into how artists can work with businesses in a range of ways. A case study presentation by Simon Macro of Freshwest Design and a local based business, Tesni Properties will illustrate how artists can successfully work with a business.

Tesni commissioned an art installation by FreshWest design in a partnership that used the arts to promote debate in environmental issues, help demonstrate Tesni’s commitment to the environment and raise awareness of how arts and the environment can merge in creative ways. A background in renewables has led this new business activity towards building eco-friendly homes across the UK and business values of creativity, innovation and design. FreshWest worked with Tesni homes to create a bespoke lighting pieces inspired by global temperature changes.

Gwenno Angharad is the Partnerships Director for Arts & Business Cymru. she did a degree in Textiles and Jewellery Design and then Gwenno followed a career in arts administration and project management. Having worked for the Arts Council of Wales, Wales Arts International, Welsh Government and MOSTYN Art Gallery, she has experience in project management, fundraising, collaborations and partnerships working. Simon Macro who works at Freshwest gained first class honours in fine art from Manchester Metropolitan University and University of Brighton. Lorraine Hopkins is a Marketing Manager at Tesni, a privately-owned property development company based in Mold. Her role is to lead the development of marketing, PR and sales and build the customer focus side to the business.

Gweno Angharad mentioned that she enjoyed helping artists and fostering dynamic relationships between art and business. Profile raising has mutual benefits.

She can support arts through working closely with business interests in art through marketing which can help business’s and using funding to enhance.

Simon Marco then went on to tell us his story of how he got to where he is now.

He studied fine arts and sculpture and was involved in design, went from art galleries to peoples homes. He didn’t know anything about design. he worked in London in a internship and then got employed. He had to learn the business of making a design studio and after 3 years of hard work moved to Cambridgeshire with his friend Marcus and started making traditional furniture for people. as well as having separate work.

They teamed up and used their tools and knowledge and started to build peoples kitchens and found time to spend on their own work. They came up with a thing called “creative Fridays” where they got together each week on a Friday and came up with ideas together . They had no idea how to sell their designs and after 2 years eventually had really good designs.  Each September they’d display their stuff at a London event and used a paid for space as it was a 3 day event. They had 3 pieces of work;

  • table- inspired by 1950’s surfboard and took washed up wood from storm to create it with. It gave the table a story.
  • Plate- bird eye view of people on the beach, date and time of each photo used to make a plate displayed on the back of each plate.
  • Cabinet- Inside out

The cabinet was their first piece that was took up by media which was the first press from Germany and soon after they got their first commission.

They had to design seating for a gallery and just after they had friends that worked for a clothing shop “Howie’s” and their friend was a graphic designer and with him created a proposal and they went to meet the shop owner and was given the job to design the interior of the shop.


It was their first design that went from concept to reality. It involved 6 months of work without being able to make kitchens on the side lines. They won an award and it helped draw attention to them.

Soon after a guy approached them and they got their first private commission from a creative director who wanted an eco table to fit in his kitchen, they didn’t want any screws or glue and wanted it to be made out of local oak.


At anouther display they had they had created a chair (that you couldn’t sit on) but it would fall down and then slowly build its self back up. This is a link so you can watch the chair do its magic.

World famous designer from MOOOI saw their chair and was really interested in their lamp that they’d created. They received an email to go to Holland to see about putting the lamp into production, the top design brand had the lamp made in china and they received royalty’s for each lamp sold. The value of the lamp in production is worth more then the royalty’s. To make a profit they needed to make more products.


They were then looking at getting work into galleries, they needed to be proactive and being cheeky sometimes can get you far as it doesn’t hurt to ask people.

Here are some of their other work we learned about;


It was really interesting hearing Marco’s story and it really helped knock up our confidences into the fact that everyone has to start somewhere no matter how small but its always possible to achieve big things if you set your heart and mind to it.

The last part of this lecture was hearing from Lorraine who works for Tesni. A eco friendly architecture place. She worked with Marco and his friend to build a eco friendly light to enhance one of the newly builds she’d been working on.

All images I’ve used on this lecture you can find at where you can even look at the rest of Simon and Marcus’s work. Its worth a look even if its not your type of thing, some of the things are so inventive and unique.


Heather Wilson- Self-motivated work and the importance of sketchbooks

1:30pm- 2:30pm

This lecture was in the Nick whitehead theatre. Originally it was supposed to be talked by Johnathon Edwards but he was unable to attend so a lady named Heather Wilson took his place. This lecture focused on Wilsons work as a freelance illustrator and a graphic comic artist. she also spoke about the lessons she had made throughout her journey and shared what she thought was important to keep in mind on this journey.

She has worked on the body matters project as well as thought bubble, ladyeez matter comics and has also had paid jobs doing web comics and she’s also had experience as a workshop facilitator.

She told us to look what was right on our doorstep in Wrexham such as;

  • Oriel Wrecsam
  • Undegun
  • techniquest
  • library
  • Erdigg
  • Museum

She told us to get into student politics if we could or if it was something we felt like doing, we could write a manifesto, make a poster and create a short speech.

She told us the importance of volunteering and said to do this only with stuff you feel strongly about

  • do you care about the organisation/charity? (if not why do it?)
  • what will you be expected to do?
  • How will you benefit?
  • will it look good on your CV?
  • How will it inform your arts practice?


Learn how to speak in public;

  • Gets you some cushy speaking jobs
  • forces you to think about your practice from the point of view of others
  • helps you to feel more confident in big groups of people
  • helps you to make ties in various communities
  • helps you to be good at making PowerPoints

How to make yourself do stuff!

  • Playlists the length of the time I need to work for (6-8 hours)
  • keep a schedule and a to-do list
  • set achievable goals
  • keep computer time to as little as you can (easier said then done!)
  • Create a work space (ideally different room to where you sleep)

Do what you want to do

  • Do the type of work that you want to be known for doing

That’s the work people will ask you to do!

Dealing with dark periods;

  • Find something to do that creates structure in your life (meeting with friends on same day each week)
  • Try to balance your media consumption (just binge watching Netflix and playing video games isn’t good for you, neither is always working)
  • Keep on top of your ‘always work’
  • be honest when your struggling that might mean telling employer, parents, friends or doctor that your not coping, there is no shame in this!

and always remember you don’t need to have an amazing award by the time your 25 to be a decent human being. That doesn’t mean cull your ambition just don’t let it rule over your life.

Oriel Wrecsam- life drawing is every Thursday 6-8pm and costs £7.


Thursday 2nd February

Keynote Address: Thom Gulseven, Tom Jenkins and Laura Rankin – Channel 4, All 4 and the future of On-Demand.

10:30am- 11:15am

This was Thursdays key note address so it took place in the William Aston hall. Thom Gulseven, Commissioning Editor of All4 talked about Channel 4’s ground-breaking digital platform and told us about his career and offered his view on the value of collaboration. Thom was joined by Tom Jenkins and Laura Rankin who respectively commission and edit content on the All4 sub-platform, ‘Mashed’. we heard about the inner workings of one of the UK’s biggest broadcasters – and considered how Creatives with multiple-skill-sets are collaborating within, adapting to and seizing opportunities across the digital landscape.

What is all 4?

It is basically 4od but tons more content, it became 1# destination for premium content for young and young minded people in the UK, it also now includes commissions and its presented differently with curated themes and no genres.

The all 4 brief- TV isn’t what it used to be, Its now so much more.

  • New romantics
  • freaks and uniques
  • leading edge music and culture

Gulseven then gave us his story of his journey

his background was music journalism in university he did most of it all online and after he looked for internships and took admin jobs while he searched, he still wanted to do music and things were getting big. He saw the opportunity to start reviewing gigs so he did just that and started working for a website, he saw his chance as a door opened and he finally ended up in a job that he wanted. He had to look at what worked and didn’t work and not a lot of producers understood what they were doing, eventually they found stuff people were interested in and were actually watching and it got their work out there.

Something important we were told was “Make your passion your hobby”. and stay in contact with people you get on with, you never know what opportunity’s will open.

We also had another guy called tom speak to us about mashed and the video’s they work on usually making videos on small-big stories that happened throughout the year. We were told that failure is good and that you learn more from it then success. after a while they pitched a different approach to mashed with uploading funny content about games and game culture and they worked with big talent and up coming talent to make these videos. they remember celebrating 2000 views on mashed and now they have roughly 500,000 views.

Here is a link to the youtube channel mashed.


And that sums up my experience at creative futures week 2017. I had a good time, its always a good experience and its great getting to hear so many peoples different stories of how they got to where they are today. Its really inspirational and its good seeing even big business people or professionals in an industry really are just like us.

Images and information used in this blog can be found in the links I have added throughout the article. Other text is stuff I wrote myself taken from my own notes I wrote at creative futures week as well as some notes taken from other notes.










Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s