Students inspired to look into creative industries

Designer Stewart Walton talking to Year 8 students at St Leonards Academy, at the Creative Cafe event
Designer Stewart Walton talking to Year 8 students at St Leonards Academy, at the Creative Cafe event

ONE HUNDRED year eight students at the St Leonards Academy had the chance to find out about a career in the creative industries at an informal event.

The Creative Café took place on Wednesday (May 16), and the students spent the morning chatting to local creative professionals and trying their hand at a range of new crafts.

The focus was on enterprise and setting up a business, as the academy students were about to embark on an enterprise project.

Catherine Orbach, co-director at Culture Shift, which ran the event, said: “The students were all really into it.

“They were completely respectful and outgoing in terms of asking questions.

“We think that young people need that chance to see the different routes that people take in the creative industries.

“The notion of it being a cafe is about creating an informal and social environment.”

Ten artists, designers and makers were on hand to meet and work with students. All of whom gave their time for free.

These included textile artist Claire Buckley, designer Stewart Walton, artist Penny Hobson, print-maker Esther Johnson, sugar craft artist Dee Harrison, painter and printmaker Alex Leadbetter, printmaker and illustrator Fiona Pienkowska, graphic designer Andy Willard, felt-maker Sue Johnson and jewellery designer Helen Rawlinson.

Mandy Holbeche, curriculum leader creativity, at St Leonards Academy, said: “Our students come from a very strong background in the arts and creative subjects but what this project offers is an opportunity for them to see how the skills they develop in school transfer into the real world.

“Following this event the students will set up their own creative enterprise designing, making and ultimately marketing their own arts and crafts products as part of the schools enterprise day in June.”

There was a range of activities from ‘speed dating’ to presentations, and practical challenges.

At the end of the morning the students came together to share what they had learned.

One commented: “The best thing was learning how things are made and having a chance to have a go making things ourselves.”

The Creative Café is a new programme from Culture Shift, supported by Arts Council England, designed to get young people excited about working in the creative and cultural industries.

Culture Shift plan to deliver 32 Creative Café events over the next 18 months across Sussex and Surrey.

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