Sheffield will soon be introducing its very own Creative Guild, which will promote, connect and support creative people across the city by providing a platform for them to work across, as well as raising the profile of the sector. We spoke to Jane Dawson from the Guild, who told us a bit more about the organisation, what its aims are and how it’s going to work.
What is Sheffield Creative Guild?
Sheffield Creative Guild is a membership organisation for creative individuals, companies and networks across the Sheffield City Region. The Guild will connect, promote and support its members and raise the profile and status of the sector across the city and beyond. As a member, as well as being part of the Guild community, you will have access to other huge benefits, like promotion to reach new clients and audiences, a wealth of advice and resources to support you and access to events, from networking meets to workshops and training opportunities. The Guild will also be providing direct support through the website by giving members access to a wealth of useful resources and advice, as well as offering a creative timebank.
How will the Guild help promote creative people?
Each member will have a profile on the Guild website, through which they can promote their work and what they do. Anyone will be able to search the website to find certain skills or services. For example, if you are looking for a photographer, designer, poet or any kind of creative skill or service, you can come to the Guild to find them, contact them directly and begin working with them. The website will act like a directory for the creative sector in Sheffield. Non-members can find the services they require and members can find exciting collaborators for projects they are working on.
Tell us a bit about the creative timebank and how it will work.
Timebanking is a means of exchange where time is the principal currency. One credit equals one hour and everyone’s time is equal. Members can choose what skills or advice they want to offer and by doing so earn credits, which they can then spend to develop their own projects, learn a new skill or make something happen.
Can anyone get involved?
Yes! This is not ‘my’ Creative Guild – this is very much ‘our’ Creative Guild, and we are open for everyone. There is no membership criteria or application process. Whether you are a student or have 40 years of industry experience, whether you are creative or whether you facilitate creativity in some way, the Guild is for you. We are also working closely with both universities to offer the best support to students, which includes plans for a programme of masterclasses for final year students, networking events and connecting students directly with businesses as part of work placement opportunities or graduate roles.
How much is membership and will there be concessions?
Standard individual membership will cost £79 a year which can be paid in instalments of £20 a quarter. There are two concessions. One is for full-time students at £20 a year and the other is for people on a low income at £39 a year, which can also be paid in instalments of £10 a quarter. It was important for us to offer a concession for people on a low income, which is defined as people earning less than the tax bracket of £11,000, as we want to make sure that the Guild is affordable and accessible to all. There is also an option to join now before the launch and receive a discounted membership of £59.
Will there be a launch event on 20 May?
Oh yes, we are planning a party to mark the occasion at ROCO on Glossop Road. The event will involve music, performances, poets and films. It’s going to be a great event and will be free to attend.
What other kind of events can we look forward to after the Guild launches?
We are already planning a number of other events, from networking meets to workshops and training opportunities. We will put on at least four large events a year, as well as many more, smaller events, all of which will be free to members.
What effect do you think the Guild will have on the creative sector in Sheffield?
The aim of the Guild is to really raise the profile of the sector. We want Sheffield to be known as a place for creativity, both inside and outside the city. We want to attract new talent here as well as retain the talent we already have. We want to make it easy for graduates or people new to the city to access opportunities and make connections. In fact, we want to make everyone’s life easier, everyone working across the whole sector, by coming together, supporting each other and building that self-sustaining ecosystem that we need.
Words: Ben Platt
Images: Sheffield Creative Guild