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Digital skills

TikTok Creative Academy: Manchester pop-up event

A group of panellists present at the TikTok Creative Academy event.

‘Acceptance, culture, history and diversity’ are what makes Manchester a creative city according to local young people who attended our first TikTok Creative Academy pop up session last week. Our Policy and Events Manager, Milly Harrison, summarises the event below.

TikTok Creative Academy is a new programme that is delivered by Catch22, in partnership with TikTok. The programme is engaging over 2,400 young people across the UK, to nurture their creative talent and connect them to sustainable opportunities in local creative industries.

We are hosting pop up events in major cities across the country to promote the programme and hear directly from young people, and our first stop was Manchester. The event took place at HOME Manchester, a centre for international contemporary art, theatre and film in the city – aptly located on Tony Wilson Place. We were joined by two local TikTok content creators @ruwbabes and @megjacks to hear about their experiences of being a young creative in the UK. We were also lucky enough to be joined by two of our very own programme graduates, who spoke about their journey through the programme and offered tips and advice for new recruits.

Our top three takeaways from event:

  1. Producing and editing media content is an important skill for building a career in the creative industries. Being able to promote creative work through photos, reels, podcasts, blogs and other engaging forms of content is a great way for budding creatives to build their brand, and gain employment in the creative industries. TikTok Creative Academy offers support and guidance on how to build these skills, and young people on the programme have opportunities to visit film studios, recording sites and build their portfolio and creative skills.
  2. Building an authentic personal brand helps with promoting your work. In points raised by both guest speakers, we learned how developing a personal brand is a helpful move in the creative industry, and aids in honing public or employer perception. TikTok Creative Academy includes modules on building your own personal brand and how this ties into digital well-being to ensure each young person feels supported and prepared with the right tools to thrive online.
  3. Networking is a great way to meet like-minded creative people and businesses. The panel of content creators and programme alumni all agreed that building confidence in pitching to others and learning how to network effectively is important when building a career in the creative industries. All young people who take part in this programme get the opportunity to network at relevant events – including public speaking training and opportunities to speak on panels and roundtables.

We spoke to some of the audience after the panel event to get their thoughts on how they found the session. They said:

“At first I was unsure if it was something I wanted to go into, but digging into it a bit deeper I found it really helpful.”

“You don’t have to know what you want to do… it opened up a lot of doors coming here.”

Manchester is a central hub for arts and culture in the UK – Northern Quarter, Manchester International Festival and Media City – to name a few! The creative industries are booming here, in fact, they are growing faster than any other city or region outside of London. Catch22 and TikTok are excited to kickstart TikTok Creative Academy in Manchester.

“It was great to hear directly from the next generation of local creative talent, it’s clear that young people are proud of living in Manchester and feel it has a lot to offer. I’m excited to get started on delivering the next Manchester group for TikTok Creative Academy in September”

– Janelle Vickers, Programme Facilitator, TikTok Creative Academy

This is the first stop on our event series that will tour the key locations of Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool and London over the next 2 years.