A few months ago, I worked together with co-founder Kat Garner of Rye Here Rye Now, our networking group for creatives to write an article for Lecture in Progress on networking specifically for creatives and other people who find it a bit daunting and are not sure how to get started. I realised over the three years that I have been running the studio how much networking I have had to do to get things off the ground and running. I also noticed that so many people that we meet at Rye Here Rye Now mention how they almost didn’t come that night because they were so terrified to try meeting new people in a networking setting. They say that they were really glad that they did so this made my really think about how many other creative people who might be out there that were scared to try going to a meet up. The article has now also been published in the biannual newspaper called ‘Off’ that has just come out. Here are some pics of it. Here is a link to the full article online at Lecture in Progress.
A few months ago, Rye Here Rye Now received an Instagram message from Pempeople, asking if we wanted to get involved in a Southwark Untold project that they were putting together at Tate Modern. Pempeople are a community-based organisation working with residents and championing locals in South London, from Southwark to Lambeth.
The team at Rye Here Rye Now decided to take part. It marked the beginning of an intensive journey, planning and preparing for the event with Pempeople.
The Southwark Untold event offered an amazing opportunity for Rye Here Rye Now monthly regulars to showcase their stories, to do a talk at Tate Modern and to be involved with other Southwark creatives. The speakers at the event were a mix of local creatives and dedicated visitors to Southwark. We decided on a series of 10 minute talks, with a panel discussing their creative involvement in Southwark. We also contacted Lucie Russell of Drawing People Together, a regular to Rye Here Rye Now and discussed how we could incorporate sketches into our event. The result was a series of combined ‘Doodle Talks’, with the audience drawing the speakers. This idea was conceived by Lucie Russell.
We started Rye Here Rye Now in order to build a community with meaningful connections and to create strong networks of creative friends that we could hang out and work with, not just collect business cards from. So, we also wanted to show other aspects of Rye Here Rye Now, like the interactivity and the relationship-building. We developed a Rye Here Rye Now-specific ‘Networking Bingo’, with questions relating to the speakers, E.g. ‘Find someone who speaks more than one language.’ Many of the speakers in attendance on Sunday are from all over the world and often speak more than one language, sometimes even two or three.
We also included our ‘One Minute Portraits’, which are a firm favourite at Rye Here Rye Now events. Kat created a ‘DIY poster-making’ workshop so participants could have a go at putting together a poster and looking at the relationships between the different elements in the layout.
Next stop, prep
Our drawing boards were created from off-cuts of grey board. Our studio happens to be very near a large printer who kindly donated some off-cuts. We also printed and cut out all of the bunting, bingo cards and signs, and Kat did the poster workshop elements. This meant weeks of cutting paper but it was worth it to see all of the beautiful worksheets on display at the Tate. We also chose to print on coloured paper to coordinate with all the Rye Here Rye Now notices.
We were really pleased that most of the speakers that we asked were up for being involved in the Doodle Talks. We were a little worried that it might become a little chaotic at times, but everyone seemed ready to take on the challenge. It really says a lot that the speakers were committed to trying something new.
We promoted the event mainly through social media but we also sent mailers and a press release out to the London press. We were featured in Time Out London and we are also waiting on some pieces which should appear after the event.
Despite the worries of planning and organizing a rather big event, it turned out to be a resounding success. The event was packed. The speakers shared their amazing stories and everyone doodled, networked and designed their way throughout a very busy day. One of the highlights was witnessing the enthusiasm of the kids as they got involved in the activities.
Thank you very much to everyone who came down on Sunday. It was so nice to see you and to have your support. It was a really magical day. Thanks to Nicholas Okwulu at Pempeople for having the vision to create SouthwarkUntold and for inviting Rye Here Rye Now. Thank you to Julia Piekarczyk for her excellent coordination of the event. A big thank you to Tate Exchange for providing such a wonderful space. Thank you to Drawing People Together for collaborating on the Doodle Talks with us. A massive thanks to the volunteers who made the day run smoothly. Thank you to John the Unicorn for sponsoring the art materials. Thank you to Kat Garner, our Rye Here Rye Now co-founder. Finally, to everyone who spoke - you inspire us. You guys showed up and told some truly inspiring stories and we feel really humbled to have heard them.
Photo credit: Claudiu Joacabine
Being part of the creative industries can mean being involved in a lot of exciting and fast-paced projects and teamwork, but starting up at home alone like I did can be a solitary experience. So I had a thought, what if there was a community of creatives where we could share projects, exchange tips and just have an occasional pint? That is how Rye Here Rye Now was born.
Rye Here Rye Now is a meet up for London creatives organised with my friend Kat Garner. It will be hosted at John the Unicorn starting on 13 December from 7pm onwards. Full details here on the Eventbrite page.
Here are a couple of stop frame animations made in Indesign. Sometimes, you've got to improvise.