Event review of The Future of Creative Work: How can we inspire and support the next generation?

By Kate Jones

Where to start with the Camcreatives meet-up last night?

Let’s start at the end and a comment from the Q&A session: “This is one of the most inspirational evenings I’ve had in Cambridge.” I agree!

So, what did you miss?

Ruth SapsedKath Austin and Alex Hughes talked about the future of creative work and how can we inspire and support the next generation. We covered individuality, entrepreneurship, creative careers, aspirations and so much more.

Ruth talked about ‘art-scaping’. Children are having a hard time at the moment: mental health issues, climate change, and junk values. Ruth’s work helps children to grow and be resilient and to use creativity to respond to the world they live in.

I was really interested to hear how Ruth is giving children a voice in our city – from accessing spaces that are part of the University to working with planners of new developments so children have a say in what they want from public spaces.

Kath talked about Cambridge LaunchPad and taking children out of a prescriptive school environment to meet ‘near peers’ i.e. young entrepreneurs and other role models. The work to build aspirations needs to start in primary school before children put themselves in boxes about what careers are open to them.

Kath also takes businesses into school and runs, for example, a dragons den style day where children are taught the skills of how to build a business from scratch.

Alex works with Curious Entrepreneurs aged 16–24. 12.3% of 16–24 year olds are NEET (not in education, employment or training). Emerging leaders need to know that there are other career pathways apart from A-levels and University and Alex supports entrepreneurs for eight years to help them get their ideas off the ground.

We heard from some of Alex’s curious entrepreneurs, including 17 year old Seb who runs Cut Hub – providing festival haircuts. Seb is already giving back with haircuts for homeless people.

All the speakers agreed that young people need opportunities to embrace their curiosity, to be able to try different things and to make mistakes. That is part of the creative process.

Children need more freedom to experience the world on their own terms and to shape their own experiences. Ruth, Kath and Alex work with young people to open their eyes to the landscape of opportunities in front of them and give them the encouragement, skills, and support to embrace their creativity.

It is truly heartening to know that there is a future for creative work.

Next month

We’ll be joined by Nick Welsh who’ll be talking about ‘Creativity and conflict: producing art in Palestine’.

Camcreatives is free to attend, and if you get there early there’s a drink on us!