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Kick Start: Cardiff

International Creative Entrepreneurship Professional Exchange Conference

16 – 19 October 2017 Cardiff, Wales



Number of selected delegates: 30 from the EU and the rest of the world
Total attendees: 100
Number of participating countries: 20
Kick Start: Cardiff, the international creative entrepreneurship event produced as part of the Creative Tracks programme, brought together over 100 attendees from 20 countries including a delegation of 30 inspiring creative changemakers in Wales from 16 to 19 October during Sŵn Festival and celebrations for Creative Cardiff’s Second Birthday. The conference encouraged exchange around the role and value of the creative entrepreneur and how the arts and creative industries are driving regional/ rural economies.
Visiting Arts was delighted to partner with the Welsh Government, Cardiff Council, Cardiff University, Arts Council of Wales and its international arm Wales Arts International, Creative Cardiff, British Council, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Geldards LLP, Swn Festival, and Park Plaza Hotel.
Cardiff is Europe’s youngest capital city and home to 2,788 creative companies/ organisations and freelancers. The Creative Industries sector is the fastest growing in Wales, employing more than 24,000 people and contributing around £465m to the Welsh economy. Around 84,000 people work in the creative economy in Wales.
The programme included an Arts, Creative Industries and Law Seminar in partnership with Geldards LLP, workshops, case studies and masterclasses with industry experts, and a special Creative Entrepreneurship Expert Panel Breakfast.
Additionally Creative Europe Desk UK ran meetings regarding their Cooperation Projects.
We were also treated to a celebratory evening at Creative Cardiff’s Second Birthday Show & Tell, a memorable screening of the #Swn10 documentary, an outstanding Swiss Ambassador’s Award Concert at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and an enjoyably enlightening tour of Cardiff Castle.
We were honoured to have many inspiring and insightful speakers including music lawyer and author Ann Harrison, designer Ross Lovegrove, author on creative economy John Howkins, Leader of Cardiff Council Huw Thomas; Ken Skates AM, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure; Sara Pepper, Director of Creative Economy at Cardiff University; Mark John, Co­Director of Tramshed; Fiona Stewart, Director of Green Man Festival; Graeme Farrow, Artistic Director at Wales Millennium Centre; Donna Makin, Partner at Geldards LLP; Gareth Jones, Director of Wales Innovation Centre for Enterprise; Gareth Loudon, o­Founder of the Centre for Creativity Ltd; designer Angela Gidden MBE; John Rostron, Co­Founder of Swn Festival; Alexandros Kontogeorgakopoulos, Partner for EASTN­DC.
An illustrated summary of event hightlights by Ian Cooke-Tapia
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-­ Illustrations of event highlights by Kick Start: Cardiff delegate Ian Cooke-Tapia

“We chose to hold this event in Cardiff both because of its established strong creative industry presence in music, TV and film production and also because of the burgeoning new industries that are developing in the region ­ creative hubs in the Valleys and the City are providing spaces for designers, digital artists, performers and creative businesses of all kinds. We want to offer the opportunity for international collaboration and networking and hope that this is the start of productive joint ventures between creative entrepreneurs in Wales, the UK and internationally.” ­ Yvette Vaughan Jones, Chief Executive, Visiting Arts


Creative Cardiff Show & Tell (16 Oct)

Once delegates had arrived and received their welcome packs and lanyards we took them for a light dinner to meet for the first time and the Director of Creative Economy at Cardiff University welcomed them to the city and the event. This was followed by the Creative Cardiff Show & Tell, which was a great opportunity to learn more about the art scene in Cardiff and hear from local creatives who made pitch presentations to the audience followed by Q&A.

Professional Exchange Workshop Day (17 Oct)
The workshop day was held at a local tech and creative co­working space and the delegates received an introduction from the space founder. Visiting Arts made a presentation of Creative Tracks and then invited the delegates to present what they do and how they’d like to connect with the group through elevator pitches. The group was split in half with two workshop leaders to explore international networking and how to increase accessibility within creative workspaces. Both groups explored the barriers to their creative work such as time, funding, resources, and ways to solve these issues. Both groups then fed back their findings. The event culminated with case studies from established creative professionals with insights and advice such as being true to yourself and that sometimes keeping things at a smaller scale is better for business and creative integrity. Groups could break out to speak in smaller groups with the speakers if they wanted to continue the conversations.

Arts, Creative Industries and Law Seminar (18 Oct)
This session, held in partnership with Geldards LLP who generously sponsored the use of an inspiring venue at the catering for the event was designed to be relevant for both UK based and international delegates. Speakers focused on the topics of General Data Protection Regulations, charitable status, and intellectual property. Artistic Director of the Wales Millennium Centre introduced the event and related the importance or the law within their work.

Masterclasses (18 Oct)
Small groups of 10 were able to meet with notable experts from the creative sector to discuss their specific creative business queries and learn more about these experts journeys and first hand experiences. The delegates found this particularly valuable to have the opportunity to meet these influencers and receive more in depth advice.

Creative Entrepreneurship Expert Panel Breakfast (19 Oct)
This discussion and networking session presented the chance for the delegates and speakers and partners to reflect on the week and the topics being explored around creative entrepreneurship and the city of Cardiff. Two international delegates were able to speak to the attendees and then the masterclass speakers spoke candidly about creative economy and the challenges that creatives faced in Wales and internationally. There was a particular focus on the music industry. We discussed the importance of these kind of convergences and international exchange, the relationship between policy makers and creatives, and what role creatives can play in impacting their local area for greater good.

Closing event at Cardiff Castle (19 Oct)

Following the Breakfast, delegates received a tour of the Cardiff Castle where they learnt about it’s history and then were greeted by Council Leader Huw Thomas who gave a passionate and enthusiastic speech about why the arts and creative industries matters so much to him and to Cardiff and how the council continue to support creatives and the local scene. The event was supported by British Council. Delegates felt inspired as they said their farewells.

Site visits

Delegates also arranged independent and group visits around the capital city to see spaces from local delegates including an artist work space and the Cardiff School of Art & Design.
How has the event benefitted the network?
Building and sustaining an international network of creative professionals:
We carried out a post event survey and questionnaire with attendees and were very pleased with the impact this event had and the positive response. In terms of networking at the public programme events 80% of attendees made over 5 new contacts and 20% made over 20 new contacts. Respondents were keen to follow up with these new connections made also. Responses suggest that the event was particularly successful for networking purposes and identifying challenges faced by creative entrepreneurs. The event created the right environment for networking with 80% finding it fairly to very easy to approach and meet new contacts and attendees only complaint being that they felt a week was not enough time and they’d have loved the event to be longer!

Encouraging collaborative artistic work/ Outcomes and legacy:
We were pleased to learn of a number of collaborative projects that are taking place because of this events and bringing together these creative changemakers, for example:
Taina Laaksonen’s association will exhibit Finish Craft at the Craft in the Bay gallery in 2019.
Working with colleagues in the Art Academy of Latvia on inter­institutional bilateral agreement within Erasmus+, Janis Gailitis hopes to start a mobility program between Cardiff School of Art & Design and the Art Academy of Latvia.
Gabor Pinter is connecting a welsh creative with the scene in Hungary to develop new links and his organisation is thinking that they might make a step towards street art / graffiti art as an outcome of meeting this creative and visiting his workspace.
As for international contacts they are looking to widen their dance film activities and maybe contribute to contemporary dance mobility.
Kate Armstrong is collaborating with Ian Cooke-Tapia for an Australian project she’s launching in the UK and has received lots of great content about climate change works from different people. The visit has also very much inspired a new project supporting team building, networking and collaboration between diverse groups.
Mohab Masoud is considering working with Sandra Coumans from Belgium and Dance Wales.
For Pedro Affonso Ivo Franco there are some projects in India that are likely to happen regarding creative clusters as well as another collaboration he is fostering with partners from Wales and England.
Sandra Coumans has connected with KEA on creative industries policy making and sustainability work.
Andrew Tripoli is working on two programs working with African artists.
Local partners are very pleased with the impact of the events and the discussions covered. We are discussing the potential of an regular event of a similar nature and the possibility to tie this in with a prize. A number of the delegates were keen to reconvene and continue the exchange.

What people said: 

“Once again, thanks for everything. It was an amazing organisation, a very tight schedule though but I’m sure it will set up a precedent as a collaborative incubator­event for creative changemakers in the future.” ­ Rodrigo Ghattas
“Such an enormous pleasure to meet everyone and hope that we can continue to talk and meet as often as possible. Axx” ­ Alison Woods
“The event was perfect to put Cardiff onto my cultural map. This intense program full of great presenters made me think about the future of my creative “business”, strategies, concept, partners, etc. Some basic “truth” had been said by people I met, and still these words or in my mind. I have already started to talk to Bryce, and trying to connect him with a Hungarian street art organisation I know very well. With Alan we talked about a film idea related to hip­hop landscape project. I would like to share some ideas with Beza, Vikram and Lomorpich. We have already touched some topics. First of all I would like to say a big thank you for inviting me to Cardiff and organising such a great networking event. I have learnt a lot from each of the sessions, and met nice people not just from Wales but from all around the globe. Hopefully this 4 ­day intense program will result in exciting projects, events, exchanges for the future. I think it was a perfect event to place Cardiff onto our art & culture map, and to think in Cardiff in terms of potential partnerships. We, international delegates will serve the role of intermediaries as well, who tries to match and connect art practitioners from Welsh with the ones in our own country. Thank you for your work, enthusiasm and support!!!!!” ­ Gabor Pinter
“Good to meet you all today. It was a very interesting mix of people, talks, ideas and discussion.” Gareth Loudon
“Thank you all for putting together, managing and delivering such a dynamic program. I appreciated how tangible the program made the global topics in discussion and how the program used the context of Cardiff to illustrate challenges and possible solutions to a range of issues.” Kate Armstrong
“A huge thanks to you and Yvette for the amazing job you did for us. It was really a special experience everyone of us will keep in heart for a long time. I met beautiful and brave people and had really important conversation which help to review my research and focus. Thank you for all of this. I hope I will have soon the opportunity to see you again.” ­ Olga Trevisan
“Just writing to say what an enormous honour it was for me to be part of Kickstart Cardiff and thank you both for doing such a great job at putting it all together. I had a great time meeting you both as well as everyone else and I’m sure that some long­lasting connections have been formed. Hope you both enjoyed it as much as we did. Massive thank you again as it really was a special week.” Rob Nichols
“It was great to host the final sessions of the Kick Start: Cardiff International Creative Entrepreneurship Programme at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and to have an opportunity to welcome such a distinguished group of delegates to the National Conservatoire of Wales. I hope that we’ll be able to develop our relationship further. We’ll always be interested to discuss potential projects in support of the excellent work of Visiting Arts and Creative Tracks.” John Cranmer, Director of Music, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama
There was a worrying subsuming of the arts and creative industries and the market. Stopping to think about these separately and where the frictions lie between them is vital if the arts are to remain the arts and not become services provided to answer business needs. Exchange workshop, masterclasses were very useful events, such as Creative Tracks presentations on the 17th. The GDPR lecture was important to call our attention to the issue. I was pleased to meet international delegates as well. Very good choice of people. Great group resonance. I believe that all aspects of the event was very smart organized, satisfying and fruitful.
Online communication always lacks the true spirit of innovation; ideas are far more agile in face­-to-­face discussions.
I believe that I had the opportunity to meet people from countries for the first time to interact with. I’m starting to open new partnerships as an outcome from the event. I met an artist who have been working with collaboration with India from past 25 years, this can be taken further for more collaborations in near future, Making creative spaces more inclusive session was very beneficial to me. The mentor Mr. Gareth Jones was very effective. I have met few more people who might be helpful for the collaborations and would be helpful to each other. Thanks
I felt a synergy with many of the delegates ­ where they were in their own careers, what they believed in, etc. And met people from regions of the world I have not encountered before. I have started conversations about at least 3 different projects with people from three different countries. And several other conversations about strategy, resource and idea sharing, etc continue in informal ways.