Press Release: VIP creatives set to inspire next generation of South West talent

The Creative Society’s THIS IS IT! comes to Bristol: arts industry professionals to coach local 16-24 year olds

Award-winning Producer Sarah Cox, President of Music at Virgin EMI Records Mike Smith and acclaimed performance poet Sabrina Mahfouz are among top industry professionals to take part in a creative youth careers day on Wednesday 2 April at The Engine Shed.

THIS IS IT! Bristol will bring 16-24 year olds together with industry professionals, giving them the tools and knowledge to fast-track their careers in the creative industries. As well as inspirational speakers, the day will include practical workshops on career-boosting skills such as freelancing, entrepreneurship and digital marketing, and offer a platform for them to create their own professional networks through collaboration with peers whilst receiving expert support and advice from leading industry professionals. Bristol venues Watershed and Bristol Museum and Art Gallery are among those involved on the day, engaging in Dragons’ Den-style creative challenges, prizes for which have been donated by creative guru John Hegarty.

THIS IS IT! launched last year at London’s Sadler’s Wells, and up until now has only been open to interns and apprentices employed through the Lottery-funded and Creative & Cultural Skills-run Creative Employment Programme. In Bristol, the event has been made accessible to the public for the first time, and is presented in association with the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership’s Creative Skills Hub.

Martin Bright, Founder and CEO of The Creative Society expressed his excitement ahead of the event: “This national network of events, which foster greater collaboration and new artistic communities amongst young people, is a vital part of our work. As a creative community rich in entrepreneurial spirit, Bristol is the perfect place to extend this network and work to develop the next generation of creative talent.”

Sabrina Mahfouz will perform a piece of live poetry at the event, as well as giving a speech on her career so far. She said about her involvement in the event: ‘It is only with the support, encouragement and wisdom of practising creative professionals that I was able to gain employment in the creative industry. So this opportunity to offer some kind of support to others is something that I feel excited and honoured to contribute to.’  

The Creative Society is an arts employment charity that helps young people into jobs in the creative and cultural industries through a diverse range of projects. The charity has supported over 1000 unemployed young people into placements in the arts.

THIS IS IT! events are about recognising and developing the potential in young people regardless of where they come from and democratising access to careers in the creative industries. We are working in partnership with Arts Council England, Creative & Cultural Skills and UK leading arts organisations to deliver a series of live and interactive events across the country for over 6,500 unemployed 16-24 year olds from a variety of backgrounds.

The Creative Employment Programme is a £15m fund to support the creation of traineeships, formal apprenticeships and paid internship opportunities in England for young unemployed people aged 16-24 wishing to pursue a career in the arts and cultural

Sarah Cox is a multi award-winning animator and producer, who set up ArthurCox with Sally Arthur in 2002. Using a combination of Live Action and Animation , they work closely with Aardman Animation for commercials and branded content; winning a British Animation Award in 2007 for The Peculiar Adventures of Hector. She recently produced her first live action feature film, 8 minutes idle, with BBC Films and Matador Pictures.  She also directed The Tate Movie Project for Aardman, which has won numerous awards including a Children’s BAFTA.

Mike Smith is President of Music at Virgin EMI, Records. He started as an A&R man and has signed Blur, PJ Harvey, Elastica, Supergrass, Teenage Fan Club, Doves, Starsailor, The Beta Band, The Avalanches, Gorillaz, The White Stripes, The Libertines, The Scissor Sisters, The Arcade Fire, and Arctic Monkeys. He was previously Managing Director of Columbia Records and President of Mercury Music.

Sabrina Mahfouz writes plays, poems, films, articles and stories. She produces workshops, theatre and events with the aims of making the arts more accessible for all and creating awareness of social issues through creative engagement. Her creative work has been recognized with a number of awards.  Most recently, these include receiving the 2013 Sky Arts Futures Fund Award; an Old Vic New Voices Underbelly Edinburgh Award; a UK Young Artists Award; The Stage Award for Best Solo Performance; an Old Vic New Voices TS Eliot Award and a Westminster Prize for New Playwrights. Her first book, The Clean Collection, is available from Bloomsbury.

Images from This Is It! Sadler’s Wells launch:
THIS IS IT Facebook page /
@creativesoc #ThisisitEvent
For high resolution images, contact



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