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Creative Roundup: Slow Business, Inspiration, Funding & Support & More

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Here is a roundup of some of our favourite things for creatives, upcoming funding and support, events, opportunities and inspiration this week.

INSPIRATION

Slow Business Movement – we are starting to plan our new programme of events, activities and support, so I have been looking at what’s already happening in Belfast and globally. We want all our business support to be meaningful and never want to replicate what’s already available. When doing some research and seeking inspiration this week I came across the slow business movement which immediately fascinated me and seems very different to most of the business stuff in Belfast which seems to mostly be about growing and scaling and as quickly as possible.

I have always been interested in both living and working differently. I have very varied interests and am very passionate about both my work and my hobbies. I am very fortunate and love working and love my job, but also love lots of other things. For me a big part of why I wanted to work for myself was so I could have more flexibility to accommodate my work around my hobbies. However I still find myself getting sucked into the common narratives around busyness and often feel guilty when I do those hobbies during working hours even though that was always the plan and one of the main reasons I wanted to work for myself. I find it very hard not to feel that I have to be available and sitting at my desk from 9 – 5 Monday to Friday, whether I’m actually being productive or not.

I would love to not feel this guilt and actually find ways to be more productive and less busy and in turn enjoy both my work and life more. So the slow business movement and the idea you can still be successful, but do things differently really interested me. I like the idea that you can be ambitious and driven yet still work around your values. That you can do work because it is enjoyable, that you can build a business around things that matter, work to live not live to work and you can start a business with the aim to build a business that is sustainable and resilient according to your personal values. For some this might mean employing 10 people, for others 100 or maybe even just working for yourself and by yourself but doing work you love and having time for hobbies you enjoy. Hopefully we will bring some of these ideas into our new programme of support.

Here are a few things I found interesting.

Slow Business Manifesto

An interesting article

Some great free resources and exercises


FUNDING & SUPPORT

Slow Entrepreneur – Some great free resources and exercises around doing business more slowly

WEBSITE: https://www.slowentrepreneur.com/

 

Craft NI Gallery – call for application for their retail gallery in Royal Avenue, Belfast

WEBSITE: https://craftni.org/call-for-applications-craft-ni-gallery/ 

 


EVENTS

Bernadette Doolan Are We There Yet Exhibition – The first Belfast solo exhibition by award-winning Co Wexford-based artist Bernadette Doolan is currently running at 35DP, a new city centre arts space in Donegall Place.

Presented by Haller Clarke, a local consultancy working to promote culture and arts, Are We There Yet? features 36 original paintings in oils and acrylics which showcase Doolan’s trademark combination of vulnerability, humour and intrigue.

It’s almost over but in a really convenient location in the city centre and in a really beautiful space so definitely worth a look if you are in town on Saturday.

DATE: Until 18th June

TIME: 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM

LOCATION: 35DP Donegall Place

WEBSITE: https://bernadettedoolan.com/

#blickstudios on
Like many others we have been slowly rebuilding our business following the pandemic. Doing a lot of work behind the scenes and trying to be more intentional with both what we put our energy into, but also how and why we are doing things.
As we continue to get busier  I want to continue this process and plan to begin each week with a question for reflection for myself. I thought some other people might also find it a useful exercise so if i get time each week I will share them here. 
I love this week's question "what did you enjoy working on most last week?" We so often forget why we started a business and what we used to feel passionate about as we get bogged down in the day to day work. We forget that it's possible and also ok to enjoy our work and to try to create more of that joy.
Monday what a beautiful sunny start to the week 

#blickmalone #blickstudios #creativespace #creativehub #summer #belfastcity #belfast #southbelfast
What one thing could you do today to push your business forward and get your week off to a positive start?

#mondaymotivation #creativestartup #creativebusiness #creativebusinessowner #creativebusinessowners #creativeentrepreneurs #creativeentrepeneur #noprocrastination #justdoit #betterbusiness #betterdonethanperfect
We hope everyone had a lovely July break and a chance to enjoy the good weather.

We are back in the office this week and wanted to share this podcast series that we were very kindly invited by @agencyofnone  to be a part of. The series is all about buiding sustainable creative workspaces for creatives and designers. The series focuses on Dundee but includes insights from throughout the UK. We feature on episode 3, talking about our journey from the initial concept for a shared creative workspace in Belfast back in 2007 to where we are today. It was really nice to reflect back on our journey, sometimes you forget how far you have come and the obstacles you have overcome and lessons you have learnt along the way.

The values of bringing creatives together are huge, particularly following the events of recent years when people are more isolated than ever. There is a lot of work to be done reconnecting and rebuilding networks and communities. Creative workspaces can be a very effective way of building these networks and communities. Working alongside other likeminded creatives gives you the opportunity to share ideas, collaborate, innovate and learn from each other as well as make valuable social and business connections. The challenge however is finding ways to run these creative workspaces sustainably. This is particularly difficult in the current climate with rising running costs and property prices and organisations still rebuilding following the pandemic so there is lots to learn from this podcast series, if you are interested in creative spaces its definitely worth a listen.

Details and links to listen on our blog (link in profile)
MEET OUR COMMUNITY: MALONE RESIDENT ALANNA OFFIELD SEASIDE BOOKS 

I love reading and I love books, I also like to support local creatives and buy local and independent, so I was very excited this week to get to chat with our newest Blick resident Alanna to find out more about her business @seasidebooksni

Tell us a bit about yourself and your business?

I’m Alanna, the owner of Seaside Books. I moved to Ireland from New Mexico five years ago, looking for a change in career after years of working as a social justice campaigner. I write poetry and have always loved reading. When I became disabled in 2018, books and reading were an escape from long days in bed and trips to the hospital. As a bookworm, I had always dreamed of owning a bookshop, so I decided to give it a go during the pandemic.

Seaside Books is an independent online and traveling bookshop stocking books from Irish authors and/ or published by Irish publishers. We travel to markets and community events across the country. We also offer writing workshops and help authors prepare their books to be published.

Any projects you’re currently working on?

Seaside Books recently turned a year old. I’ve got a long list of ideas for things we could do to celebrate all the fantastic writing happening across Ireland. Currently, we are planning to start a magazine to highlight emerging writers from underrepresented communities. We have been working with local authors and lovers of excellent writing to bring it to life. We are still in the very early stages, but I’m excited to move forward.

What was the biggest hurdle for you starting out and how did you overcome it?

The learning curve for starting a bookshop was steep. I didn’t have anyone who had experience starting a business in my life, so I had to do lots of research to know where to start. Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing (I still feel that way sometimes). I started planning Seaside Books during the pandemic, which was sometimes isolating. Finding a community of other folks who were starting businesses was a lifesaver.

Full interview on our blog link in profile
---- Room Hire ---- 

Video of our lovely Main room in our Malone studios that's available to hire

Did you know you can hire out the ground floor of our Malone Studios. We have two rooms available to hire. Both rooms are situated off our lovely glass roofed atrium which can be used to gather for events or classes or as a breakout space during classes or events. 

- Affordable rates of £15 per hour and additional marketing support for long term bookings in our Main Room. We currently have availability on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons for long term booking in our Main Room 

- Affordable rates of £10 per hour for our meeting room for regular bookings. We currently have availability on Monday and Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons for our Meeting Room. 

- Main Room fits 10 - 12 for yoga or similar activities, seats 15 boardroom or classroom, 25 as a lecture theatre and about 40 people standing 

- Beautiful space with high ceilings and original period features 

- Free use of beautiful breakout space and communal kitchen 

- Safe, well-lit, vibrant location close to Queens University in leafy South Belfast 

- We wehave a small team ensuring you a friendly, personal and professional service  

- We are a local social enterprise meaning your money goes back into the local economy and to support the creative industries in Northern Ireland 

Full details and all our prices for both spaces are on our website (link in bio)
This week we had a quick catchup with our newest Cotton Court resident creative freelancer @emanuela_mae_agrini_art who told us a bit about herself and her creative work

Tell us a bit about yourself and your business?

Hey there! I am originally from Genoa, a seaside city in Northern Italy; my business was born there about ten years ago and bounced around a bit before moving to Belfast. My idea has always been to offer written communication for companies and individuals, but over time my core is moving more and more in the direction of a mix between visual and written communication. Although I still deal most of the time with content writing and copywriting (both in Italian and in English), I am developing some projects that can combine visuals and words, in the context of graphic facilitation, graphic recording and illustrated content.

What was the biggest hurdle for you starting out and how did you overcome it?

When I started as a freelancer ten years ago, the main obstacle was to convince companies and clients that remote work is still work: the mentality was very different from today and there was a lot to work to do on it. I always supported remote work and for long periods I have been traveling while working between the countries. Today luckily things seem to have changed.

How do you stay creative/inspired?

I pass pretty much all my free time reading books, drawing, and painting and when possible, I travel to see new places and meet new people. I love also to be around the city the more I can to listen to the stories of random people I meet. When I want to recharge, I go to the sea, which is my happy place.

What’s your top tip/piece of advice for anyone wanting to work for themselves/ start their own creative business?

Just make sure you are into it with all your energies and passion, and love every moment of it 🙂

You can read the full interview on our website (link in profile)
Don't forget to take a break for the long weekend. It can be hard when you're self employed to justify taking time off to relax and rest and not feel guilty about it and for many if you arent working you arent earning. But there is always more that could be done so take as much of a break as possible and enjoy the peace of these extra couple of days when people don't expect you to be answering emails or phone calls

#worklifebalance #bankholiday #longweekend #balance #rest #relax #smallbusinessbelfast #selfemployed #freelance #smallbusinessowner