CAN Do Creatives
Gemima Mbuyi Tshimanga
Rashidi Neelam Mahmood
Introductory and playout music by Tagné Tebu with kind permission.
Video production and editing by Crossing Footprints/Kooj Chuhan
In 2020, CAN developed CAN Do Creatives - training for 18 artists and creatives to support their employability, career development and to help them grow more resilient creative businesses.
The project was devised before the COVID lockdown, and CAN had to respond quickly to a shifting landscape of lockdowns delivering training digitally, and then through limited in-person contact for some trainees which required strict social distancing and PPE.
The impact of COVID on the arts and creative sector has been devastating. With venues closed, tours stopped, and retail closed, many artists and creative freelancers have seen their income reduce or dry up completely. This new landscape made the CAN Do Creatives course even more valuable. The course featured a ‘Survival Skills for the Real World’ unit where artists talked about the new realities of the COVID pandemic on their creative careers and shared ideas to meet the challenges.
“The pandemic is having a huge negative impact on opportunities for artists and the sector is becoming even more competitive. This is a particular challenge for unemployed artists who are new to the UK, emerging artists, and those keen to reignite their careers.”
“The landscape of COVID means, that now, more than ever, there’s a need for artists to upskill, network, grow their profile, and share strategies and approaches.”
The artists came from a range of artistic disciplines and creative backgrounds ranging from performers, actors, and dancers to writers and poets to visual artists to musicians and people working in technical theatre.
The training included self-employment and finance, project planning, applying for funding and commissions, legislation including health and safety, marketing, and networking.
Trainer Linda Horsburgh delivered training on how to build self-confidence which mixed theory with practical exercises.
“Thanks for the session today. Confidence is something that fluctuates for me. I can go from feeling confident about my practice to feeling really low in confidence so today was helpful.”
Digital artist Kooj Chuhan supported the group to grow their digital skills to both deliver their work and market it. Trainees developed short videos to introduce themselves and their practice as digital business cards.
The project culminated in February 2021 with the group creating a digital sharing event compered by Director/Writer/Actor Yusra Warsama, joined by the CAN team, with special guest John McGrath, MIF’s Artistic Director.
CAN Do Creatives was funded by the European Social Fund.
See all of the artist films here