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From podcasting to songwriting: Birmingham’s creative youth explore new avenues with TikTok Creative Academy

A woman wearing a hat presents to a group of young creatives who would like to start a career in a creative industry. The photograph is taken from the back of the crowd.

Passion, creativity, and diversity were the hallmarks of the TikTok Creative Academy: Birmingham Pop-Up event. The event offered young creatives in Birmingham a chance to network, attend creative workshops, and connect with industry experts. Over 150 participants turned out for this free open drop-in day, making it a resounding success. Catch22 Events Coordinator, Ilke Yilmaz, summarises the highlights and key takeaways below.

The TikTok Creative Academy is a programme that is committed to boosting access to the creative industries for young people, aiming to support over 2,500 young people who are not in education, employment, or training to get closer to a creative job by 2024. The Birmingham Pop-Up event was a great start to the touring series of TikTok Creative Academy for 2023, with over 320 registrations and an incredible turnout from local young people looking to break into the creative industries. DropShot, the hip venue that hosted the event, was the perfect place for young creatives to come together, have fun, and learn from industry experts and local artists.

Andy Street, the Mayor of West Midlands, acknowledged the challenges faced by young people trying to break into the creative industry, saying: “There is talent is everywhere, but opportunities are not evenly spread.” Speaking about the TikTok Creative Academy event, he emphasised how it was designed to help break down the barriers and provide opportunities for young creatives in the Birmingham area.

The day was filled with a variety of creative workshops designed to inspire and ignite the participants’ passions. DJing, podcasting, and songwriting were just a few of the workshops that were offered, led by experienced professionals such as DJ Martyn, Capital FM Breakfast Presenter Dan Kelly, and singer-songwriter Tara Chinn. Participants were thrilled to have the opportunity to learn from these accomplished creatives and explore new avenues for their own artistic pursuits.

But the event wasn’t just about workshops and learning new skills. The speed mentoring sessions provided a unique opportunity for participants to connect with top UK creatives from various professions and industries. Speakers included filmmaker and social entrepreneur Daina Anderson Mpunzi, Artist Manager Jess Monroe, Movement Director and Choreographer Steady Steadman, and Theatre Director and Poet Odd Priest. These guests shared their invaluable experiences and journeys to success, inspiring participants to pursue their own creative dreams and passions.

One participant shared:

“This event has taught me about understanding my power as a creative. If I had one word of advice for my fellow young creatives, it would be to be bold with your creativity.”

This sentiment was echoed by many attendees, who left the event feeling empowered and inspired to continue pursuing their passions.

Our top three takeaways from event:

  1. Network, network, network! Participants had the opportunity to connect with industry professionals, and the speakers emphasised the importance of building relationships and keeping in touch with contacts. Networking can lead to potential partnerships, collaborations, and job opportunities, as well as expanding knowledge of the industry and staying updated on the latest trends and developments.
  2. Explore different paths to find your niche. The workshops provided participants with the chance to learn about DJing, podcasting, and songwriting, and the panelists shared their own experiences of exploring different creative paths before finding their niche. The creative industry is diverse, and there are many different paths to success.
  3. Support and uplift fellow creatives. The speakers emphasised the value of collaborating and working together, rather than seeing each other as competition. They encouraged participants to share their work and support each other’s projects, building a community of like-minded individuals who can help each other succeed.

As Rene, the founder of one of the creative partners, noted: “more than ever it’s important to bridge the gap with our younger generations. If we want to see a change in our youth, we must be the change they need to see.” The TikTok Creative Academy is doing just that, providing young people with the resources, skills, and connections they need to pursue their creative passions and achieve success in the industry.

The Birmingham Pop-Up event was the second event in our touring series for the TikTok Creative Academy. Stay tuned to hear more about our upcoming events – we’ve got lots planned for 2023!