Monday, 9 June 2014

As long as I work, so long do I learn.

Source:, taken from 'An Education' (2009), directed by Lone Scherfig

There are three things that I learned from this last, stressful week:

a) In the Cultural and Creative Industries you need to feel comfortable working on your own, but you should also not be intimidated by working with a big team. Communication might be relatively tricky but on the bright side, there are so many things you can learn from people that come from different backgrounds, and even countries. Employers expect you to be able to work autonomously, but also willing to cooperate with others, since nothing in the CCIs can be planned, organised and executed thoroughly without somebody's assistance. For instance, film festivals require people that acquire different kinds of expertise. You need to have someone in control of marketing/social media, content (online and physical), print traffic, press, hospitality, awards, venues, transport, graphic design, events, sponsors, and so on. It is physically impossible for one person to deal with all of these, but it is also highly unlikely for anything to work without the smooth collaboration between employees from different departments. For example, the one responsible for hospitality needs to talk with the Head of Programming and find out who is invited to the festival, then work with the marketing team in order to advertise the guest's arrival, and so on.

b) If you wish to work in events, you really need to master your time management skills. In my case, One Stop Film Shop appeared in the last minute, and it's incredibly stressful to organise a full week of activities just a week before they are actually launched. I had to brainstorm for ideas of activities, including screenings and talks, then find the contact details of people that we wanted to invite, email them with our idea, or even call them if they fail to reply to us quickly. Since I was not really working there full time, I had to arrange everything perfectly time-wise, and luckily everything turned out just fine, at least as far as programming is concerned. It remains to be seen if this venture will turn out right. By the way, the space is absolutely stunning. Judge for yourselves here.


c) One of Alison's advises during my research for speakers for One Stop film Shop, was to look for people that work at the Tech City, since most of the talks we were planning had to do with film and technology. I was not really familiar with the fact that London had its own version of Silicon Valley, let alone that it was located in East London. According to this infographic from MIT Technology Review (n.d.), it turns out that Tech City is one of the largest technology clusters in the world, that expands from Old Street to Stratford, with most of the companies concentrated around Shoreditch (BBC, 2010)

That realisation was particularly interesting due to the act that I feel like I am applying things that I learned from this MA in practice. According to Porter (1998), a cluster is a geographic concentration of companies, suppliers and institutions that specialise in specific sectors, and are competing but also co-operating with each other. It is like a city within a city, a place where cultural products are created and consumed at the same time.

From an academic perspective, Tech City is quite interesting, as far as theories of co-location are concerned. As Comunian and Chapain has stated (2010), through co-location the CCIs create a network that provides networking opportunities, the advantage of geographical proximity that allows workers to check out their competition and interact face-to-face with colleagues from other companies, thus giving a strong sense of belonging to the CCI workers, who connect their creative work with a specific place. It would be really interesting to explore how that particular part of London came to be the centre of technological advances of the capital, and how it adds to the city's marketability in a touristic sense. It is too late to change my dissertation topic now, right?

  • BBC, 2010. Cameron reveals Silicon Valley vision for east London. BBC, [online] 4 November 2010. Available at: [Accessed on 8 June 2014].
  • Chapain, C. and Comunian, R., (2010). Enabling and Inhibiting the Creative Economy: The Role of the Local and Regional Dimensions in England. Regional Studies, [online] 44:6, pp. 717-734. Available at: [Accessed 9 June 2014].
  • MIT Technology Review, n.d.. World Innovation Clusters. [infographic online] Available at: [Accessed 8 June 2014].
  • Porter, M.E. On Competition. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1998.

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