Through a proposal for a series of workshops, intended to be delivered to Doncaster Council, I explore how working-class creatives are struggling to be heard within the creative industry. The proposal encourages the council to give space and funding for the workshops which are tailored to soon-to-be school leavers.
People from lower socioeconomic backgrounds make up just 12% of the workforce in the creative industries despite being 44% of the UK population.
A proposal for a series of workshops introducing residents of my hometown, Doncaster, to a variety of disciplines to reveal the potential of a creative career.
The 12% proposal is supported largely by the primary research I conducted in the early stages of the project. While quantitative data is included to give context to the issue, I found that the human stories I had documented emotively expressed the experience of working-class designers and demonstrated a holistic view of the issue of visibility in design.
In the initial stages of this project, I reached out to creatives in Doncaster, to learn whether they believed there to be an issue accessing the creative industry. In a particularly insightful conversation with Mike Stubbs, a Creative Director of an Arts organisation in Doncaster, he outlined that our weak economy dictates the level of arts education students can access.
This research impacted my decision to target school leavers in order to fill in the gaps of their knowledge before progressing to higher education or work.
As the project developed I conducted a workshop which asked the students at Kingston School of Art to feedback on their creativity. They responded to prompts such as ‘What kind of spaces do you go to to be creative?’, ‘or What makes you feel secure to experiment within your creative practice?’.
This feedback formed the details of the workshops, for example, a surprising bit of feedback was that people generally felt more creative when in unusual environments which tended to be outside. Therefore, I developed the workshops to be flexible, with the option to be conducted outdoors.
Above is an example of my sketchbook pages. In these pages, I consider how furniture can aid the workshops, not only as a physical table to work from but also as a tool for experimentation. Here, I am considering: What is a table? What can a table be?
The table became fundamental.
Once I had established that the outcome was to be a proposal, I began to prototype how this might visually manifest. I wanted the proposal to physically resemble the table and a way was through the materiality. In the wood workshop, I trialled various dimensions to be sure that the proposal would fit nicely in the hand and be an appropriate size to read from.
Another resemblance to the table is revealed when the proposal has been presented and the pages are spread out. Laid out in full, the proposal creates a 1:1 scale of the table, as seen in the image below. Again, prototyping helped to establish the correct size for both the table and the proposal.
The 12% was definitely a project which required a lot of copywriting but this quickly became one of my favourite activities. Balancing between professionalism within the context of a proposal but also dipping into Doncaster slang to speak in a familiar language to my audience. It was important that the tone of voice was approachable but it was also very freeing to speak naturally, not selecting every word to mask my northern vocabulary. This activity further demonstrated the demographic of people within the creative industry and how I have learnt to speak in an amended manner to be taken more seriously.
Grab A Seat At The Table
This copywriting encapsulates the aims of the proposal as it has connotations of proactively taking up space within the creative industry as well as illustrating the table within the workshops.
When I began to feel comfortable with copywriting, I found myself easily slipping into personal pronouns which makes the proposal feel much more authentic.
The 12% workshops are facilitated by a multi- purpose kit, the default configuration of which is a table. Other forms the table can take include a sandwich board, to promote the event and an exhibition space. The kit is purposefully versatile to encourage active experimentation during the workshops but it has other benefits such as the mobility to move between venues and meet accessibility needs and be reused for years to come.
Now the proposal is complete, I am looking forward to presenting it to the council and, hopefully, realising the workshops. Overall, I think the workshops would provide a great opportunity to unite the creative community in Doncaster and help inform the next generation of creatives of their power within the industry.