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DIG DEEP

Date: 14/10/20 - 14/06/2021 | Location: Blick Shared Studios, 51 Malone Road, BT9 6RY

‘DIG DEEP’ is Womenfolk’s new free creative enterprise support program that brings women from different backgrounds together in a supportive and nurturing environment over a 9 month period to help them build successful and sustainable creative industry businesses.

The 9-month online program created for young women (18 – 30 years) especially reaching out to recent graduates and young women from NI & BAME backgrounds. This program will help you ‘Dig Deep’, start and grow your own sustainable creative business. It will bring participants together to learn, share skills, knowledge, and experiences in a nurturing and supportive environment.

Taking a holistic view of starting a business, combining self-care and creativity alongside business skills and knowledge. It will be a tailored program to help you grow your creative business to meet your values, goals, and ambitions through a series of online workshops, resources, peer, and one-on-one mentoring.

This program is about sharing experiences, hearing other people’s stories from different backgrounds, and collectively working to help each other to grow and build in a supportive and nurturing environment. This course offers a creative approach to starting a business. Giving participants the practical skills they need, alongside peer inspiration, motivation, support and accountability, one-on-one support, and space and time to focus on your business hopes, dreams, and ambitions.

The program will consist of online content with weekly videos, worksheets, exercises, and resources alongside industry expert workshops, monthly one-on-one mentoring, and group peer mentoring sessions.

Topics covered will include:

  • Business planning – values, vision, aims & objectives
  • Finance planning & management
  • Branding
  • Social Media
  • Setting up a website
  • Sales
  • Confidence
  • Failure
  • Self Care
  • Habits
  • Work-life balance
  • Imposters syndrome.

Why take part?

This project will provide much-needed support and structure at a time of huge economic and social uncertainty. It will give you practical business skills and knowledge and the confidence and resilience to help you make your dreams of running a creative business a reality. It will give you the opportunity to meet people from different communities, build your network, and make new connections to help you build a sustainable future.

We have experienced and been involved in the creative enterprise sector in Northern Ireland for over 10 years and can see there is a need for a more holistic approach to entrepreneurship. We believe there is a need for support that helps women build businesses that fit with their values and the realities of their lives and responsibilities.

We also believe there is a need to challenge the traditional view of what a successful business and business owner looks like and the narrative that to be successful in business you need to grow your business at all costs and constantly be hustling and working long hours.

Most of all we believe there is a need for support that helps creative entrepreneurs manage their mental health, avoid burnout and become resilient and able to cope long-term with the stresses and challenges of running their own business.

We will provide all project participants with:

  • A welcoming space and a supportive environment
  • A nurturing and inspiring community
  • Weekly digital resources and exercises – including articles, opportunities, templates, and toolkits, as well as physical worksheets for relevant weeks
  • Bespoke designed self-care and business journals to mark your business journey

Project activity:

  • Weekly video tutorials – on a mix of business, self-care and creativity topics, designed to support creative entrepreneurs on their start-up business journey
  • Weekly online resources – a weekly compilation of useful resources to align with the theme of the weekly video tutorials
  • Weekly exercises – weekly exercises designed to encourage engagement, learning, accountability and business growth
  • 9 longer online industry expert skill workshops industry expert workshops on relevant topics to improve the skills, knowledge, and success of all program participants
  • Monthly one-on-one sessions with the program manager for bespoke, tailored support to help participants and to measure progress and impact of the program on participants and any additional support required
  • Monthly peer-mentoring sessions that bring together the group physically or online to share their progress, goals, and intentions and to brainstorm challenges or problems, as well as build networks and learn from other participants
  • Access to program Facebook and Whatsapp group – for sharing ideas, problems, opportunities, and building relationships and community

We are looking for determined women that want to succeed. You must be willing to commit to completing all aspects of the program, be happy to engage with other program participants, treat all other program participants with respect and empathy, and be happy to become part of the womenfolk community.

Are you ready to take the leap?

Our applications are open now!  There are limited spaces available.

Closing date for applications is Sunday 4th October at 5.00pm

Apply here 

This program is kindly supported by Ulster Bank

#blickstudios on
Looking forward to having our spaces filled with busy creatives again. Hopefully in the not too distant future
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We just wanted to wish everyone Merry Christmas and a Happy New year! ⁠
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What a year it has been, with everything going on. We hope that you all take the time to relax, and have a well deserved break and slow down over the Christmas season.⁠
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Spend time with your loved ones and stay safe! ⁠
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See you all in 2021!
Gorgeous sunny start to the week at our Hill St studios 🌞☀️
All 4 episodes of our @stbdpodcast audio documentary 'The World Turned Upside Down' on the impact of Covid-19 on the creative industries in Northern Ireland are available now for listening on Soundcloud Spotify and iTunes with full details on our blog (link in bio) 

https://www.blickstudios.org/.../small-town-big-dream.../

Big thanks to project co-creators and hosts @karishmasworld and @graeme_theory and academic partner Dr Brian Dixon and project funders FutureScreensNI and @northernirelandscreen
@belfastdesignwk took place from 2nd-8th November 2020 and included a Pop-Up Design Museum in venues across Belfast city centre with work by commissioned designers.

It was great to see such variety of work from designers & makers, the different types of people collaborating together and the will to keep going and showing up, despite how testing 2020 has been. 

The theme of Belfast Design Week 2020 was "Environment" and it was great to see the broad spectrum of how people interpreted the theme within their work. 

Thanks to everyone that joined us and supported us this year!
These are some of the highlights from this year's Belfast Design Week as filmed by @foreversocialweddings
We are excited to introduce our newest Blick Resident - @dannisimpsonart ⁠
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Danni is an Australian artist who specialises in Commercial murals and Illustrations. Her style is an urban fusion of detailed floral illustrations where wildlife clashes with architecture and typography, sprinkled through with dashes of art deco and mandala patterns.⁠
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Danni has a side project, The Creatives Market which showcases local NI Makers and Creators will be holding a virtual Black Friday Christmas Market to encourage people to Shop Small and local this year. ⁠
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Head over to her page today to check it out or visit her website at www.dannisimpsonart.com⁠
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Be sure to check out the full interview on our website https://www.blickstudios.org/meettheresidents/meettheresident-danni-simpson/⁠
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Filming this week in our main room in our Malone studios which is currently available to rent hourly or for the day or evening, prices and info on our website or get in touch for more info

#creativespace #creativeworkspace #coworkingspace #creativehub #workspace #studiospace #Belfast #southbelfast
We had some gorgeous light shinning on our Malone Road studio this morning! Feels like the last of those crisp autumnal mornings before winter arrives!
Monday morning vibes at our Cotton Court Studios! ⁠
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We love how different all of our different studio spaces are but still have the same feel about them. ⁠
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We make sure in all studio spaces that there is a relaxing communal place for everyone to come together ( socially distanced of course). ⁠
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#blickstudios #creativespaces⁠
We've got that Friday feeling at our Hill Street Studios! We hope that you all have a great weekend and keep cozy!
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact across the globe across all industries.

As a creative business-focused organization, we wanted to understand how other creatives have been affected by the pandemic as well as how they have coped with the situation that has been forced upon us.

The toolkit provides an insight into how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the creative industries in Northern Ireland and gives practical advice and guidance on how to stay positive during this period of uncertainty.

The toolkit was compiled by Dr. Brian Dixon Ulster University from evidence gathered from the Small Town Big Dreams audio documentary ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ about the impact of the pandemic on NI creatives.

To get access to the toolkit, click the link in our bio and it can be downloaded or visit our website at www.blickstudios.org
Very sad to see the Cathedral Quarter so empty on a Saturday evening 😥
The 4-part audio documentary series has come to an end. It has been amazing to hear different people's experiences and perspectives on how they have been navigating the pandemic. We wanted to revisit the 4 episodes which are available to listen to on our website - www.blickstudios.org⁠
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Episode 1 - The Great Disruption ⁠
Our guests - Jacky, Patricia, Noxy, Sean D, and Sean McC ⁠
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Episode 2 - Together Apart ⁠
Our guests: Aisling Rusk, David Moody, Nisha Tandon & Ryan Ward ⁠
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Episode 3 - Connection Lost?⁠
Our guests: Shannon Delores O’Neill, Emma Johnston, Andi Jarvis & Lauren Taylor⁠
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Episode 4 - Staying Sane⁠
Our guests: Paddy Raff, Tessa Ann, and Matt & Abby Bonner.⁠
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We will be releasing a creative enterprise toolkit designed by Dr. Brian Dixon on Sunday as part of @belfastdesignweek⁠
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We are looking back to our final episode of the 4 part documentary - The World Turned Upside Down in collaboration with @stbdpodcast

This 4 part audio documentary series of sharing stories of how the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the lives and livelihoods of people working in the creative industries in Northern Ireland. 

In part 4, we find out how creative entrepreneurs have attempted to maintain mental health and well-being during this very challenging time. 

Here is a snippet of comedian @paddyraffcomedy sharing his experience during the pandemic.

You can listen to all 4 episodes at www.smalltownbigdreams.co.uk
Belfast Design Week is starting next week from  2/11/20 - 8/11/20 and we are very happy to be involved again this year. 

The theme for Design Week this year is Environment. Design influences all aspects of our environment which in turn impacts our lives and surroundings and how we experience and live in the world. 

All of the events are now live on the Belfast Design Week website, so visit www.belfastdesignweek.com
Behind the team of Small Town Big Dreams - Dr Brian Dixon

Dr. Brian Dixon was our academic partner for Small Town Big Dreams audio documentary 'The World Turned Upside Down'. He worked with us throughout the series to shape the direction and select participants and to use the evidence gathered to create a Creative Enterprise Toolkit which we are launching next week as part of Belfast Design Week.

We asked Brian to tell us a bit about himself and share his experiences of the pandemic and its impact on University education as well as what he learned from the interviews for this project.

To read the full article, visit https://www.blickstudios.org/small-town-big-dreams/meet-the-team-small-town-big-dreams-dr-brian-dixon/
The World Turned Upside Down is a 4-part audio documentary sharing stories of how the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the lives and livelihoods of people working in the creative industries in Northern Ireland.

In Part 4, we find out how creative entrepreneurs have attempted to maintain mental health and wellbeing during this very unusual time.

With the world having been turned upside down, many people have struggled to make sense of the new normal. With so much uncertainty and when what’s at risk is as serious as people potentially dying, it’s no wonder that it has been so difficult to stay mentally well at this time, no matter how hard we try. 

But 2020 has also offered a pause for thought. It has forced us to re-evaluate how we live and work. Whether we really need to go to all of those in-person work meetings, or even have as many. Whether we need to buy fast fashion or whether we can do with consuming less. 

Whether we should finally do that thing we have been putting off, whether that is learning to cook or proposing to a partner.

But has 2020 fundamentally changed us as a society? Has it permanently altered the way in which we work in the creative industries? Or is it a glitch in time before we simply move on and Covid-19 eventually becomes just a distant memory?

In our season finale, you’ll hear from creative entrepreneurs Tessa Ann of the Sound Healing Spa, Matt & Abby Bonner from Forever Social - Film + Photo, and comedian Paddy Raff.

Thanks also to Alex McMillian, Katie Ireland, Chris Thompson, Dara Flanagan, and Meadhbh McIlgorm for their call-in contributions, reflecting on their experiences during 2020.

Presented by Karishma Kusurkar and Graeme Watson.

Produced in association with Blick Shared Studios, with support from Future Screens NI, Northern Ireland Screen, and Ulster University.

Supporting Academic Research by Dr. Brian Dixon.

Full Episode Details: https://www.blickstudios.org/small-town-big-dreams/audio-documentary-the-world-turned-upside-down-episode-4-staying-sane/
Behind the team of Small Town Big Dreams - Introducing Karishma Kusurkar who is one of the co-founders of Small Town Big Dreams, Co-Director of Belfast Design Week, and is a multidisciplinary designer based in Belfast.⁠
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We asked her to share her experience of how lockdown was for her, what impact the pandemic caused for her business and how she was able to get through the experience. ⁠
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Karishma's key takeaway from the guests she had on the series, was how resilient everyone has been.⁠
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This seems to be the key theme in all creative businesses in the current client. Learning how to adapt to the uncertainty and learning how to move forward despite the chaos of the world. ⁠
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To read the full interview, visit our website at https://www.blickstudios.org/small-town-big-dreams/the-team-behind-small-town-big-dreams-karishma-kusurkar/⁠
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We love to share the new residents that join Blick Studios. We are passionate about the creative industry here in Belfast because we get to learn and develop long-term, meaningful relationships with other creatives. 

We want to introduce our newest resident @jenny_eva_design

We got to catch up with Jenny a few weeks ago where she shares her journey of becoming self-employed, what keeps her motivated, and tips for other creatives that are just starting out. 

It is always lovely to hear other people's experiences because it can give you the clarity that you need, or just hear that other people share the same struggles. 

To read the full interview, please visit our website https://www.blickstudios.org/uncategorised/meettheresident-jenny-eva-design/
We are reminiscing about our Belfast Design Week Big Design Day Out 2019, where we had created an array of different events last year for both kids and adults throughout Belfast City. 

It was a magical time being able to connect with different people and celebrate all things design related!

Unfortunately, this year isn’t possible to run the same type of events as we have done in previous years, but there are still lots of exciting things coming up for Belfast Design Week 2020!

The program is being released next week, so be sure to keep an eye on their feed to see what’s coming up! 

Follow @belfastdesignwk or visit www.belfastdesignweek.com for details on this years festival 

Video by Ross McConaghy
Part 2 of our new Small Town Big Dreams 4-part audio documentary ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ sharing stories of how the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic has impacted upon the lives and livelihoods of people working in the creative industries in Northern Ireland is out now.

In Part 2 we look at how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected communities and networks. We speak to architect Aisling Rusk Studio Idir, videographer and fellow podcaster Ryan Ward Morning Coffee Podcast , film-maker David Moody, and arts organisation director Nisha Tandon Arts Ekta

Self-Isolation. Social Distancing. Herd Immunity. Working From Home. Social Bubbles. These phrases have all become synonymous with 2020 as we navigate the various relationships in our lives and how we can look after them even at a distance.

 People have rekindled their long lost hobbies and found newfangled ones too, from music to DIY to making poetry. What’s been more important than ever before is community – which can mean different things to different people, from our families, friends and work colleagues to the collectives we belong to. “We are all in this together” is a phrase we have heard many times before but this actually does ring true, both on a local and global scale for the first time this century.

The World Turned Upside Down is presented by Graeme Watson and Karishma Kusurkar with support from Future Screens NI, Northern Ireland Screen, and Dr Brian Dixon Ulster University.

Full episode details and info: www.smalltownbigdreams.co.uk or listen on Soundcloud Spotify or iTtunes