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Small Town Big Dream: The World Turned Upside Down

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The latest season of our podcast project Small Town Big Dreams co-created by Graeme Watson and Karishma Kusurkar presents a 4-part audio documentary. Exploring the personal stories of how the Covid-19 crisis has impacted on the work, communities, networks and health of creative entrepreneurs, freelancers and workers within the creative industry sector in Northern Ireland.

All 4 episodes are available now to listen to via our website Small Town Big Dreams, Soundcloud, Spotify or iTunes


EPISODE 1: THE GREAT DISRUPTION

The New Year’s Eve of December 2019 seemed to most of us, just like any other. In cities and towns across the world, people took part in their familiar rituals to see out one year and welcome the new one. Maybe they went to get lost in a crowd watching spectacular fireworks at their city landmarks; maybe they gathered with friends or family, to drink and dance in warm conviviality. Or maybe – maybe they went to bed early with a notebook of plans and designs for the year ahead, which would start with a run at dawn. (Wait – do people actually do that? Apparently…

Episode 1 – The Great Disruption kicks off our 4 part audio documentary exploring the stories of creative industries entrepreneurs during coronavirus. It takes us back to the very beginning of 2020 and our guests – Jacky, Patricia, Noxy, Sean D and Sean McC – tell us their stories and experiences from the start of lockdown.

EPISODE 2: TOGETHER, APART

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.

EPISODE 3: CONNECTION LOST?

The restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic have escalated the adoption of digital communication technologies into almost everyone’s work and personal lives in a way that was unthinkable just a year ago.

In Part 3 of the World Turned Upside Down, we hear stories of how creatives have adapted to a life lived (and worked) almost exclusively online – the successes and challenges, disappointments and surprises. We’ll meet Shannon Dolores O’Neill from punk band Sister Ghost, stationary designer Emma Johnston, Newry-based American artist Lauren Taylor, and marketing expert Andi Jarvis.

EPISODE 4: STAYING SANE

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. For people living alone, this time has potentially been one of the most lonely experiences of their entire lives. For the introverts, this has been a chance to share their tips on how to enjoy solitude. The haves and have nots have been those with gardens and those without, those who can work from home and those who work front line, those who have good health and those who have underlying health conditions. In some ways, this time has highlighted the stark differences between people’s lifestyles.

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.

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 Paddy Raff, Tessa Ann (Sound Healing Spa) and Matt & Abby Bonner (Forever Social).

Thanks also to Chris Thompson, Meadhbh McIlgorm, Katie Ireland (Katie Ireland Designs & MALA), Dara Flanagan and Alex McMillan for their call-in contributions, reflecting on their experiences during 2020.


COVID-19 TOOLKIT FOR CREATIVES

Throughout this project we have worked with Dr Brian Dixon from Ulster University who used the interviews and research gathered to create a practical toolkit for creatives to help them cope with the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

 

Kindly funded by Future Screens NI and Northern Ireland Screen as part of their ‘Rewriting the Narrative’ project.

#blickstudios on
Here at Blick we aim to support and promote local creatives in Northern Ireland. 

A number of our fantastic residents are crafting, painting and illustrating artwork that would make a perfect christmas gift for your loved ones! 🎁

@roryquiggillustration
- bespoke illustrations 

@dannisimpsonart
- Northern Irish themed illustrated prints, homeware, clothing 

@autumn.aurelia
- whimsical acrylic jewellery

@wee.nuls
- homeware, accessories, illustrated prints 

@nineteenthirtyatelier
- bespoke men’s shirts and unique accessories

@gallery545online
- contemporary art 

Read more on the blog 👉 link in bio!
Meet Ray Walsh, our newest resident in 46 Hill Street!

Ray is a Graphic Designer working remotely for a design studio based in Birmingham. He shared some brilliant advice for creatives working remotely in our interview on the blog - link in bio!

Check out his passion projects on his Instagram @ray_walsh.jpg

#meettheresident #newresident #blicksharedstudios #hillstreetbelfast #studiolife #sharedspace #coworkingspace
If you're heading to Belfasts Christmas Market, stop by our resident @dannisimpsonart's amazing stall and #supportlocalartists! 

#blicksharedstudios #belfastchristmasmarket #christmas #spendlocalbelfast #illustrator #artist
Some brilliant new street art on Hill street in the Cathedral Quarter. 

If you know the creator please feel free to tag them!

#supportlocalartists #belfastcreatives #belfastcreatives #belfastcathedralquarter #blickstudios #streetart #mural #northernireland
Even with the days shortening, we still get to enjoy the sunset reflections here in the Cathedral Quarter!

#belfast #reflections #cathedralquarter #sunset #blicksharedstudios #sharedspace #studio #belfastcreatives
Did you know our Hill Street studios has a mezzanine level, letting in plenty of natural light for our residents and extra workspace. On the ground floor we have a lovely lounge, kitchen, WCs and more deskspaces.

Hill Street is a beautiful narrow cobbled street that was first dipected on a Belfast map in 1757. It was originally named Pott-House Lane as it housed a pottery shop, meaning Hill Street has always been home to creatives!

#blicksharedstudios #hillstreetbelfast #studiospace #belfastcreatives #belfasthistory #naturallight #workspace #coworkingspace #sharedspace
Autumn has arrived in the Cathedral Quarter ☀️

#blicksharedstudios #autumnlight #autumn #autumncolours #greenspaces #buoyparkbelfast #lunchtimewalks #coworkingspace #studiospace #belfastcreatives #belfast
BELFAST DESIGN WEEK. 

BDW21 theme this year has just been revealed and is "What's on my block?" centering around design and entrepreneurship✨

Sadly we aren't helping to organise the event this year, but our fabulous resident Karishma Kusurkar @karishmasworld is!

Check out the @belfastdesignwk week programme for The Sustainabitilty Series, Meet and Greet events, guest speakers and much more to be revealed. Link in their bio!

BDW is running from 1-7 November and beyond. Get your tickets now!

#belfastdesignweek #blicksharedstudios #design #designentrepreneur #belfastcreatives #celebratedesign #localdesign #spendlocal #spendlocalbelfast #belfast
Happy Friday when you get to play with plants as part of your job
Cobbles, sunlight and flowers ☀️🌸

#hillstreetbelfast #blicksharedstudios #belfastcathedralquarter #cobbledstreets #sunlight #flowers #autumnlight #belfast #studiospace #belfastcreatives
Gorgeous morning light streaming into Cotton Court. Happy Monday!

#blicksharedstudios #morninglight #sunnyday #mondaymotivation #belfastcathedralquarter #belfastcreatives #coworkingspace #cottoncourt
A warm welcome to our newest resident Lyndsay Walker ✨

Lyndsay is a freelance presentation designer working in the pharmaceutical industry who loves the challenge, flexibility and freedom of being her own creative director and has been self employed for almost 20 years in various creative industries. 

We are delighted to welcome her into our Cotton Court Studios.

Read more about Lyndsays business and what inspires her on our blog - link in bio!

#meettheresident #blicksharedstudios #belfastcathedralquarter #belfastcreatives #freelance #studiospace #coworkingspace #welcome #belfast
What a beautiful sunny September evening ☀️ hope everyone is out making the most of it before the winter
The perfect spot for lunch in the Cathedral Quarter surrounded by lots of lovely colours 🌿🌸🌼

#buoyparkbelfast #blicksharedstudios #belfastcathedralquarter #belfastcreatives #greenspaces #lunchtimewalks
Our beautiful main room is now available for hire! 😍

This evening its being used by the wonderful @lp.physio.pilates who is adding a splash of colour. 

Get in touch at christine@blickstudios.org for more information

#blicksharedstudios #roomhire #belfast #maloneroadbelfast #pilates
Calm corners in our Malone studios
To celebrate Good Relations Week 2021 ‘Brighter Days Ahead’ for Young People, our resident  @creatingaspace have teamed up with @allnationsbelfast to create a project called "How They See Us'.

'How They See Us' is a project that investigates how people from different backgrounds navigate their lives.

The project explores how people think society sees them as an individual, and what labels and stereotypes have been placed upon them based on how they look, their race, their ethnicity or where they are "from".

In this season, we have interviewed 5 amazing individuals from different cultural backgrounds, who shared their experiences of what it is like being a person of colour in NI and what their experiences have been like growing up here.

We talked about the struggles of navigating identity, representation, grief, belonging, race, discrimination and self-love & acceptance.

For this event, we will be having a panel discussion with some of the people that took part in the project.
We will be asking them about
- How they felt about sharing their story
- What they have learned about themselves throughout this project
- How they see their future

Stay tuned for the release of the full project!

Grab your ticket via @creatingaspace's link in bio!

This project is funded by Community Relations Council.
✨Post services✨

Are you seeking a professional image for your business but are currently working from home? Blick's virtual post service offers a confident and professional city centre address from either our Hill Street or Malone Road studios.

Interested? Get in touch 👉 info@blickstudios.org

#virtualservices #post #belfastcitycentre #lovebelfast #blicksharedstudios #belfastcreatives
Introducing our newest resident Eoin O'Shea! 

Eoin is a Chartered Architectural Technologist and runs his business PIM smart.

Take a minute to read the interview on our blog with Eoin and find out more about how he stays inspired, the current projects he is working on and his advice on starting your own creative business. It's a really inspirational read!

Link in bio 🔗

#blicksharedstudios #meettheresident #coworkingspace #belfastcreatives #belfastcathedralquarter
#hillstreetbelfast
We are delighted to welcome Tom Mathews to our Cotton Court studios!

Tom is a digital artist and animator with a focus on video games and interactive software. He is currently working with Level 91 Entertainment who are based in Northern Ireland.

Find out more about his creative work on our blog where chatted about his inspirations, software and advice he would give to anyone starting their own creative business. 

Link in bio!

#blicksharedstudios
#belfastcathedralquarter #cottoncourt #waringstreet #studio #coworkingspace #belfastcreatives #gamedesign #animation #meettheartist #meettheresident
Did you know that the Merchant Hotel is opposite our Cotton Court Studios?

This distinctive building was originally the headquarters of Ulster Bank and was transformed into the 5 star hotel in 2006. It's so nice to have it on our doorstep! 

#belfastcathedralquarter #cottoncourt #waringstreet #lovebelfast #belfasthistory #merchanthotelbelfast #blicksharedstudios #coworkingspace #studio #doorstepviews