Creating opportunity in adversity

Creating opportunity in adversity


Four months ago, the rules that governed society turned inside out. This left communities isolated, lead to freelancers losing their income and forced organisations to reinvent themselves.

Below we celebrate four inspirational initiatives born to support talent in our sector and society at this time.

Supporting communities by commissioning talent

With schools closed, parents working from home and the elderly under lockdown, families have either found themselves alone in isolation or under one roof with no chance of escape. This situation is worst for those with little to no digital access.

By creating activity packs and making them available at food hubs, Cambridge City Council sought to take off some of the pressure from households needing the most support.

The Council went one step further by commissioning four local freelancers through an open call, giving talent in their region the ability to earn some additional income.

Blending the real world with the digital realm

With their main festival cancelled this year, the Festival of Thrift opened submissions to commission new work celebrating sustainable living and connecting with their communities.

Entitled “One Beautiful Moment”, the commissioned piece will be presented online with a particular interest in projects that include a live participatory element.

Despite cancelling their main festival, modifying their original commission of public artworks has created an opportunity for the Festival of Thrift to maintain their charitable objectives and continue the vital dialogue around sustainable living.

Telling your lockdown story for a good cause

Having time in isolation is challenging, but having time to reflect on our lives can also lead to positive changes and generate value for others.

The Turbine Art Fair, seeks to capture the richness of experiences South Africans are currently going through by inviting photographers across South Africa to submit their stories visually, capturing their challenges, ability to adapt and the kindness that flourishes in times of adversity.

Winning images will go to auction, with all proceeds going to artist relief grants.

Creating a new platform for talent

Some artists have taken it upon themselves to create opportunities for others through competitions.

The Sequested Prize was built to recognise the purpose of artists at this time, and support those working to establish a professional art career. The prize has attracted some of the biggest names in the industry as judges and aims to showcase 15 artists through a prominent selling show in London.

Submission fees for the prize have also created an income, helping to support the very same creatives whose cash flow has been negatively impacted by the lockdown.

Necessity is the mother of all invention

The organisations above are a testament that when the world changes, our creativity allows us to identify new opportunities, evolve and grow in new environments.

I hope that in some small way these trailblazers inspire you to embrace new ideas to support you in your mission and those that you serve in this brave new world.

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About the author

team-member

Guy Armitage founded Zealous to simplify access to opportunities in the creative sector. He was voted Guardian’s Creative Entrepreneur of the Year in 2013, has discussed the world-changing potential of creativity at TED and in Forbes; and is a proud trustee of Firstsite (Colchester) and Arebyte (London). Prior to Zealous, Guy kept the London Stock Exchange open during the 7/7 bombings and founded a creative startup in Cairo. Contact Guy

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