Creative Coalition Virtual Festival | November 9-11

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So, just like that, our final (*sob*) day of Creative Coalition 2020 arrived. But what a day it turned out to be. Once again, we welcomed awe-inspiring speakers, as well as thousands of attendees from across the world, for an inspirational day of creative thinking, workshops, discussions and networking.  Taking ‘reignite’ as its theme, day 3 of the festival was dedicated to fuelling creative passion, with a forward-facing programme of events that would leave us all feeling inspired and empowered. 

Kicking off at 9am, The Summit stage opened with The Leading Women, bringing together four women who are challenging expectations of what a leader looks like: Lucinda Hicks, CEO of Banijay UK; Kate O’Donnell, founder of TransCreative; Preena Gadher, co-founder of cultural PR agency, Riot Communications; and Dawn Butler MP, the UK’s first ever black female minister. Their lively, insightful discussion covered everything from imposter syndrome to the impact of Covid to the need for diverse role models in all parts of our sector. As Kate O’Donnell surmised: “If you can’t see yourself, you can’t be yourself”. Absolutely, Kate. 

From one inspiring panel to another – Decolonising Creative Industries brought together an impassioned line-up for one of our most energised discussions of the week so far. With Jude Kelly CBE (WOW Festival) chairing, the panel brought togther The White Pube’s Zarina Muhammad, radio presenter Swarzy Macaly and Channel 4’s Babita Bahal, to cover everything from the impact of the Black Lives Matter movement to the need for a rethink across all parts of the creative sector.  As Swarzy so aptly put it, “If you’ve got a finance problem, you bring in someone who can understand finance management.. So, if you have a cultural problem, do you not go to the source of those who are creating the culture, rather than just having conversations within the same room?” With everyone in our room wishing the session would go on and on, time was ticking and so Jude Kelly brought the event to a rallying close: “It will be an absolute shame if our industry isn’t different in 10 years’ time. So shall we just get on with it?” We think so. 

Truly harnessing our future-facing theme, the next event featured an inspiring discussion between the interconnectivity of art and science, supported by the Royal Society. This was followed by the day’s first live performance-  an incredible spoken-word poem by NHS Nurse and Performance Artist, Molly Case, streaming live from her home. 

We all know the creative sector has been hit hard in recent months, but it has also been an incredible time of innovation and creativity. In the next event, supported by the BEYOND conference, four panellists at the cutting-edge of innovation discussed the great new ideas and inventions that have come out of the pandemic. Simon Reverly, CEO, Figment Productions, pointed out that the pandemic has been a “massive levelling up for us in terms of technology” whilst Founder of the Big Telly Theatre Company, Zoe Seaton added that, with the democratisation of digital, a medium such as theatre was now much more accessible than it had ever been before. 

In our lunchtime slot was the fourth – and final – Pigeonholed interview, this time with the brilliant and hilarious writer and mental health advocate, Ruby Wax, in conversation with best-loved presenter, Konnie Huq.  Ruby talked about everything from her early days at the Royal Shakespeare Company (“no one could play wenches like I could!”) to the launching of Girls on Top with Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, to how Covid has helped her connect with people and with nature (“I want to live in a five-star forest!”), all of this with her natural charm, wit and lovability. What a truly inspirational lunchtime date. 

And then, on into the afternoon – and who better to inspire us than Anne Mensah, VP of Original Series at Netflix, in discussion with journalist Boyd Hilton? Anne gave a valuable insight into the Netflix commissioning process and touched on what future programmes might come out of the Covid pandemic over the next few years.

As the afternoon progressed, Dazed founder Jefferson Hack discussed the importance of space with Appear Here’s Ross Bailey on the Summit stage, whilst over on the Factory, 18-24 year olds discussed what they would like to see for the future of the creative sector, as part of a reverse mentoring session. Immersive For All saw some of the UK’s best innovators talk about the highs and lows of immersive technology, whilst over on the Big Screen, Sam Sam Bubble Man and Amelia Sparkles were just two of today’s mesmerising performances (you can still catch all the Big Screen performances here).

After an awe-inspiring musical performance from Polly Money, the final panel on The Summit stage saw Rebel Creatives’ Amrit Singh in conversation with Tik Tok’s General Manager for the UK, Richard Waterworth, to talk all things Tik Tok. Covering everything from culture, to education, to how to amplify a movement, this lively discussion provided a unique insight into the Tik Tok revolution. 

As events continued on The Factory stage, the Summit was brought to a close by a spine-tingling, deep listening experience from Pitchblack Playback, taking the audience on an auditory journey that provided creative nourishment for the soul. 

With networking continuing into the evening, day 3 was a truly fitting close to Creative Coalition 2020, packed with energy and inspiration. Across the three days, we’ve welcomed almost 8,000 of you to reimagine, redefine and reignite the creative sector and, most importantly of all, to come together at a time when many of us needed this more than ever.

To everyone who attended and took part, thank you. We truly couldn’t have done this without you. With inspiration in overflow, we can’t wait to see what we can achieve next. 

Find out more about joining the Creative Industries Federation here.