Fiona MacGregor, Head of Art at The Mary Erskine School, discusses the inaugural ESMS Creative Directions event and plans for the future.
"On Friday 12 October 2018, we welcomed over 300 pupils and exhibitors to the first ESMS Creative Directions careers event held at The Mary Erskine School. The main aim of the event was to inform and inspire young creatives towards a future career in the creative industries. University and art school representatives, students, guest speakers and industry professionals were on hand to answer questions about the diverse and exciting courses and careers available to them in the future. As Joseph Chilton Pearce said, 'To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong', so pupils were encouraged to ask anything, without any fear.
To quote Sir Ken Robinson, 'Creativity is the greatest gift to human intelligence'. Recognising this gift, for a number of years the Head of Product Design, Mr Kevin Bowen, and myself have been taking S5 and S6 pupils to an event in Manchester called Create Your Future. This annual event is attended by thousands of pupils who are interested in studying a visually creative subject at university. Exhibiting at this event are hundreds of representatives from UK based and overseas universities and art colleges who offer creative degree courses in anything from graphic design, costume design and landscape architecture to film production, special effects, animation etc. Short seminars are provided on topics such as “What should I put in my portfolio?”, “What careers are available in the fashion industry?” and “How to be a successful Graphic Designer”.
The event proved very useful for S5 pupils considering applying for courses and for those studying Fine Art and Product Design who want to make a successful career in the industry. During the ten hour round trip to Manchester, Creative Directions was born after I asked myself ‘Why isn’t there an event like this in Scotland?’. Working with Edinburgh-based brand, design, digital and marketing agency D2 Collective, we created the event concept and brand and got the ball rolling. I reached out to former ESMS pupils working across the creative industries and decided on a timeline for the day, which included a range of inspirational and informational speeches to kick us off, followed by time for guests and pupils to browse university and art college course stands and the chance to speak to industry professionals about their careers.
One of my main motivations for organising the Creative Directions event was to educate pupils and parents about the opportunities which exist for our creatives today and to enforce the idea that 'creativity is not just a 'nice' activity; it transforms, connects and empowers” (Paula Briggs). The UK economy can expect to rely increasingly on the creative industries in the future, with the Creative Industries Federation (2018) stating that 'creative exports are the UK’s ‘calling card to the world’…an expression of our culture and values and are recognised across the globe.' An independent review carried out for the UK Government in 2017 stated that looking toward our future economic success, the creative industries are of vital importance to the UK’s productivity and global success in every scenario!
Creative Directions was a resounding success and I am extremely grateful to everyone who helped me organise the event. I am particularly grateful to our three fantastic speakers on the day who were; Ewan McIntosh, Founder of No-Tosh Global Innovation and Creative consultancy, MC.Yasmin Sulaiman, Director Creative Edinburgh who spoke passionately about why creativity is important and Charlie Bell, Creative Director at Whitespace Design Agency, who gave an inspirational presentation about what kinds of jobs are available for creative people. I look forward to organising the next Creative Directions event in the future, with the aim to grow the event and welcome schools from across the whole of Scotland.
If you would like to be involved in some aspect of the Creative Directions event next year, please get in touch!"