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“You are the value. You are the talent. You are important.” – Our best ever showcase…

“You are the value. You are the talent. You are important.” – Our best ever showcase…

What a night! Not only did our new Chair take up the reigns, but for the first time ever our annual showcase was hosted by a panel of superstar Creative Access alumni; a huge reflection on all we have achieved since setting up; that our community are rising to senior levels and become stellar ambassadors for the creative industries. We are bursting with pride…

A full house of aspiring creatives, inspired interns and leading industry professionals gathered together for our annual showcase. This particular showcase was a special one, not only because it marked our eight consecutive showcase at Channel 4 but because it was led entirely by Creative Access alumni. Hosted by the brilliant award-winning comedian Sophie Duker, the panel led an incredible night of wisdom, encouragement and laughter.

The showcase was kicked off by CEO of Faber & Faber and our new Board of Directors’ Chair, Stephen Page, who recognised the “brilliant interns” Creative Access has brought in after welcoming our guests. Chief Executive of Channel 4, Alex Mahon, also came to the stage to introduce the night, acknowledging that Creative Access brings “the brightest and the best” to the creative industries; people who are “are changing the pipeline”. Alex was proud to announce that Channel 4 are advocates for this change and diversity in television.

Hosting the event, the wonderful comedian Sophie Duker imparted both wise wisdom and brilliant comedy. She introduced herself as a “triple threat minority”, as a “person of colour”, “cis woman” and “bendy”. Getting serious, Sophie revealed that once she got her first internship through Creative Access – back in 2013 at Hat Trick Productions – a lot of the work could be “unglamorous, a lot of it was hard, tiring, working in these industries.” However, she stressed that success isn’t running yourself to the ground but about “working hard and working smart- take care of yourself.” Sophie encouraged the audience to stay motivated, telling them that, “I have no doubt that everyone here is exceptional. You are the value in your organisation. You are the talent. You are important.”

Next up was documentary maker Matt Kay. One of Creative Access’s first trainees who interned at Sky News in 2012, he felt inspired to see all the young creatives in the room. Reflecting on his time in the film industry, he shared that “a lot of places at my career weren’t very diverse”. He felt that he had to fit into a mould in order to succeed. However, Matt emphasised the importance of “being proud and be confident in who you are”. Diversity is not only great but necessary, as “these industries need revamping and keeping fresh”. Matt was shy to announce his recent achievement, that his Neflix documentary, Little Miss Sumo, had made the Oscar long list!

Theatre director Atri Banerjee was up next. Atri interned at the National Theatre as a Press Assistant in 2015. While he always knew he wanted to get into directing, the opportunity allowed him to meet someone who encouraged him to do a masters in directing, resulting in the incredible opportunity to direct Hobson’s Choice. Atri admires the “spirit of collaboration” in theatre as well as their political importance. “Theatre and the arts change the narrative, they shape how people see the world, it’s important to tell diverse stories and people of colour.”

Digital Channel Manager at Facebook, Lauren Whilby took the mic next. She revealed her difficult journey into her professional career. Her “biggest piece of advice” for the audience is “not to give up”. One of the most important things about excelling in the creative industries is remaining motivated and committed. She had “literally applied for hundreds of jobs… one day those people you applied to will be asking you for a coffee”.

Next up on stage was assistant editor at Pan Macmillan, Simran Sandhu. A lifelong lover of books, Simran always knew she wanted to work with books, whether it was writing them or publishing them. She told our crowd to “go in with a ridiculous amount of enthusiasm – I did everything I could to show how passionate about the publishing industry” when reflecting on her first internship through us. Simran encouraged interns to spark change at their companies: “In publishing its the list that’s important… of authors of all the books they have published… then I realised some voices were missing. It’s all about pushing for what you want, making your voice heard.”

Head of Editorial at Gal-dem (and former Creative Access intern at the Financial Times) Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff took to the stage next, starting off by telling everyone about a failure; her first interview for ITV was “terrible”, reflecting on her “shocking interview” and the fact she fell off her chair when she sat down! However, she remained persistent and committed to pursuing her career, pushing herself to overcome her own shyness. Charlie aspired to get into journalism because she “believes it can change the world”. Talking about starting Gal-dem, her “main piece of advice is don’t be afraid to shake the boat”. Inspiring change was a brilliant theme of tonight’s showcase.

Last up was freelance TV producer Dean Webster who first started off in entertainment television as a Creative Access intern at Shine TV in 2013. He had some light-hearted yet very helpful advice for the audience: “Working hard and doing so with a smile, doing television is serious… a lot of money goes into it, the people who work in television are really great, creative and fun”. He not only loves the industry he works in but the people he gets to work with, encouraging everyone to “become a person you would want to work with”.

The formal panel proceedings were followed by a buzzing Q & A, expertly chaired by Sophie and then drinks and speed networking.

With massive thanks again to our panel of talented speakers for sharing their stories, knowledge, and advice; and to Channel 4 for their continued support. We look forward to seeing you all again next year…