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Creative Boost

Creative Boost was a year long programme led by Skills East Sussex and developed with the backing of the Creative and Digital Sector Taskforce, a group established by Skills East Sussex to strengthen connections between schools and the sector.

Schools accessed a range of opportunities designed to strengthen their arts offer and to help young people recognise their own creative thinking and how these skills relates to the way they learn and work. These included support from Towner to develop Arts Award and a series of Creative Café events delivered by Culture Shift.

What happened?

Creative Cafés are our well-established facilitation model for connecting young people with employers and professionals. It rests on creating an environment where young people and professionals can connect and converse in a structured and informal way. With this project we applied this strategy to develop a teacher CPD event.

Who was involved?

84 students attending the Creative Cafés came from:

Ark 6th Form, Ark Helenswood Academy, Bedes, College Central, Frewen College, Saxon Mount, Rye College, St Catherines College

Teachers attending the Creative Café CPD event came from:

Ark Helenswood, Bexhill Academy, Roberstbridge Community College, Saxon Mount, St Richards Catholic College

Professionals across the 3 events included:

  • Fiona Allman-Treen, web designer, FAT promotions
  • Hannah Deeeble, singer/songwriter, music producer
  • Jane Greenfield, Live Art and Events producer, Home Live Art
  • Dan Matthews, TV and video producer
  • Ashley McCormick, Head of Learning, DLWP
  • Michaela Ross, artist and curator
  • Matt Royston Bishop, sound and AV specialist
  • Rachel Heavens, Illustrator
  • Richard Hogg, games designer
  • Sally Lampitt, producer, Applause Rural Touring
  • Felicity Truscott, visual artist
  • Marie White, singer with Sally Greig, Eggtooth
  • Sian Williams, digital engagement, Vincent Dance Theatre
  • Suzi Antink, theatre technician, DLWP
  • Jehane Spier, designer and artist licensing agent
  • Jenny Miller, director of Barefoot Opera
  • Tony Dillon, media lawyer, ex BBC
  • Clare Playne and Ade Mills, Playne design
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Outcomes for students

91% of students who filled in an exit questionnaire thought the event ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’. Asked to rate the extent to which students felt informed and aware of careers in the creative industries pre- and post- event, the answers showed significant change. There was a 68% rise in the number who now themselves as aware or very aware and a 51% rise in those who now felt informed or well-informed.

[I enjoyed] meeting new people and having the confidence to talk.


[The best thing was] finding out you don’t have to stick to one thing.


Everyone was very friendly and helped people believe in themselves lots.


[I learned] that careers in creativity can take different forms.

Students attending the event

The students  [were]  given  an  amazing  opportunity  to  meet  so  many  creative  professionals.  It was  brilliant  that  they  were  able  to  meet  with  more  than  one,  and  to  be  able  to  choose  the  professionals  that  they  wanted  to  work  with.  I loved seeing  our  students  engaging  so  well  with  so  many  different  people  and  activities… They need  a  lot  more  creative  careers- based  events  as  they  do  not  get  to  see  this  side  of  the  creative  subjects  very  often.

Participating teacher

Outcomes for teachers

Outcomes for teachers were very similar to those for students. The key value for them was ‘interacting with professionals from all disciplines’.

It was a chance to meet professionals and see how industry changes.

Participating teacher

The CPD event highlighted the challenge teachers face in promoting careers in the creative sector in schools, despite evidence that suggests it is one of the fastest growing sectors. They requested more networking events like this and more input for parents to raise their awareness about potential careers in the sector.

Outcome for professionals

For professionals these events serve to highlight the value of simply meeting young people or teachers for a half day. The benefits can work both ways.

[As a result of this project, I] resolve to devote a bit more time personally to always consider the  inclusion or potential learning opportunities in every appropriate project I work on.

Matt Royston-Bishop, sound engineer

It’s inspired me to want to engage further in education and help young people engage with the cultural sector. It’s also helped me see my own work more clearly and given me an extra drive!

Hannah Deeble, singer/songwriter, music producer

Creative Boost was funded by Artswork