This post is a short summary of a Peer Learning Session hosted by Pollinators, focused on Professional Development for our Design and Creative professionals.
Designers and creative professionals are highly-skilled, generate significant economic and cultural value, and contribute disproportionately to the look and feel of our regional. Participants included landscape architects, textile designers, arts teachers, graphic designers and marketing professionals. In this session we discussed a range of topics including professional associations, tourism branding, local government tendering, collaboration and ethics.
Some of the particular observations and themes of discussion included:
- The very business-like approach most of the creatives took to their work, even if coming originally from a more artistic or craft background,
- Differences between the more ‘corporate’ agencies compared to a potentially more collaborative, ethos amongst many freelancers,
- Creative professionals in the regions rarely accessing capital-city-centric professional networks, associations or development opportunities,
- Relatively low levels of awareness amongst creatives (but also amongst procurers) of the breadth and depth of talent already in our region,
- Challenges with the time and expense of production, manufacture or distribution of products (e.g. textiles) from regions,
- Being inspired (and contributing to) FORM, Creative Corner / Emergence Creative and the Regional Arts Summit are doing in the regions (and also being aware of the significant cost of those events or projects),
- Being a little disappointed in the coherence and quality and even procurement approaches for government branding and design in our region.
Perhaps the most unifying idea was that of an annual, local ‘showcase’ that would serve multiple purposes for multiple audiences:
The first part of the day could be for the designers and creative professionals themselves:
- Enable participants to showcase some of their recent projects or products, in very efficient presentations e.g. Pecha Kucha
- Facilitate networking, discussion and collaboration amongst the professionals,
- Provide the foundation for a directory or some level of professional association.
The second part of the session could be open to the public, and particularly government and corporate procurers:
- Being educated about the skills, approaches and projects of local creatives,
- Meeting and learning a range of local providers for future projects – in open networking, but also booking one-on-one conversations.
The commitment at the end of the session was to discuss these ideas further. There is already a discussion forum in the member’s area on this topic. And, since the Peer Learning Session there have been some very positive developments to try and make the Showcase happen.