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Candidate Stories: Sophia Slater, Nine Lives Media

“Having people on board from different backgrounds sparks creativity,” says Sophia a former Creative Access intern at factual specialist Nine Lives Media in Manchester…

Keen to break into production, the University of Central Lancashire media studies graduate, who specialised in black identity and postmodernism, experienced several knock-backs before she finally secured a six month placement at Nine Lives Media through Creative Access in September 2015. Sophia’s first assignment was working on Channel 4’s Dispatches. Placed in the Manchester-based indie’s development department, she also learned the ropes in research and writing pitches.

“If we’re brainstorming about a TV show centred around marriage, a Sikh AP’s background is broadly different from that of a white middle-class researcher, or from myself,” she says. “This diversity adds different levels and layers to the discussion.”

Without industry connections prior to joining the scheme, Sophia valued the masterclasses, which she likens to “being plugged into a creative hub”. She says: “They were a central point from which to network – and that’s great when you’re just starting. Having attended sessions run by Google on how social media can elevate TV, I can return to my team and point out new ways of creating and monetising content.”

On completion of her internship, Sophia was offered an contract at Nine Lives. She wrote: “This week not only marked the completion of my Creative Access iInternship, but also the start of my extended time with Nine Lives Media. As I sit here feeling empowered having become part of your network, I want to take the time to say thank you! 

Thank you for providing me with a platform and enabling me to seize an opportunity a year ago I could not have imagined. 

Creative Access has fast tracked my career and charged me with an even stronger desire to achieve my goals. I have had the chance to learn, reflect and practice skills that will stay with me for a lifetime. 

Diversifying the media industry, in fact all occupational fields, is a matter very close to my heart. 

In providing ethnic minorities with platforms that project the voices of those from largely unheard corners of society, to me, the future has the ability to be creatively bolder, brighter and more culturally interconnected than ever before. 

I am a strong believer in always remembering where you come from. That said, I will continue to spread the word. I look forward to maintaining the great relationships I have formed, at future events as part of your alumni and throughout my career.”

Sophia’s ambition is to become a production director of factual observational shows and she is pleased that she was able to train in the north of England. “I’d love to make a series around my home town of Blackpool,” she says. “It’s so different from other towns in the north.”

Four years on and Sophia is still with Nine Lives in Manchester; an integral and highly valued member of the team. She remains a loyal supporter of Creative Access; organising social evenings for the Creative Access Northern cohort and continuing to be a fantastic ambassador for the creative industries.