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An Intro to '5 Ways to Survive….as a Creative Practitioner'

By John Holmes and Cath Ralph of Advantage Creative

John and Cath have worked together for several years in different strategic roles delivering support for creative industries. From large scale City wide interventions, funding and support, to 1:1 coaching and mentoring – they have amassed a wealth of experience and over the years have developed numerous approaches backed by research, and evolved through application.

The 5 Ways to Survive… is a concept that recognises the Creative Practitioner at the centre of their practice, and looks at interconnected income generation strategies that can increase financial wellbeing as well as increase life satisfaction more generally.

This survival guide has never felt more relevant than in these unordinary times. With the creative and cultural sector “on the brink of devastation” (CIF 2020 The Projected impact of Covid-19 on the UK Report) - as organisations and individuals try and navigate the new post Covid-19 outbreak landscape.

“The 5 ways” emerged in it’s first iteration many years ago when both John and Cath played key Cultural Development roles in Stoke on Trent. John Holmes, working for the local authority at a senior level and Cath Ralph, a partner in the City’s regeneration consortium running what was then an independent culture centre and creative industry development organisation (The Burslem School of Art).

In a City that couldn’t naturally provide the appropriate development infrastructure for emerging artists and culture professionals through “cultural assets” (like multiple mainstream theatres, a consistent and connected music scene for a range of established and emerging artists etc), the work to create that support, those networks and much needed social capital, commissioning opportunities, funding and investment – had to start from the grass roots.

Over the following years between them, and other local and national partners they launched many different approaches to supporting and growing local Creative and Cultural Industries. Some large scale programmes like the European funded “Factory” programme which ran for many years supporting well over 300 creative companies and professionals, working closely with local Universities and other key agents for change.

This particular reflective learning approach stood the test of time. It also stood the test of a half year-long funded research programme to challenge, and authenticate the ideas behind the concept.

In short the concept starts with the Creative Practitioner in the middle. It seeks to take a holistic view to the ways in which they create, sell, teach, share and of course earn. This session adapted for the WebinArt online programme is open to the widest range of Creative Practitioners. We will introduce some of our case studies which have been gathered from a cross section of Creative Industries but with one thing in common, they recognised some key strategies that have supported them in their work, and continued to do so over many decades, through difficult times and in unordinary circumstances - in some cases.

WebinArt members and collaborators are invited to join our webinar on 25th August at 10AM so that we can share these strategies and insights with you. Check the link on the portal to register now!


Find out more about Advantage Creative are and what they do -


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