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Our Story so far...

Taking a moment to re-cap on our story so far, Executive Director Janine Matheson shares a behind the scenes insight in to Creative Edinburgh.

We help our members to share their work, find new audiences/ clients, collaborate and stay connected.

Creative Edinburgh is a membership organisation that supports creative, cultural & digital industry individuals and businesses to experiment, develop and grow. We bring people together from across different disciplines through our networking events, peer support, mentoring and opportunities. Creating the right settings to mix expertise means that we can encourage and nurture innovation across industries and trigger a variety of new working partnerships and collaborations.

It's been three years since the start of my journey at the helm of Creative Edinburgh, and in this time we have grown into an amazing creative tribe of over 1,200+ members with a vibrant and engaged community online. Everything we do is shaped by what our members tell us is important to them, with our programme of events designed to help our creatives build or enhance the skills they need, in order to strengthen what they do. Our website shines a light on the talent and happenings in Edinburgh throughout the year, highlighting jobs, opportunities and signposting.

We have an independent Board of creative & digital ambassadors, who support in governance and strategic development. We also benefit from the guidance of a Steering Group, composed of creatives working in and around the city, who provide advocacy and support for both our programme and network.

During 2010-13 we received a grant from the City of Edinburgh Council (CEC), Economic Development People Place & Pound (PPP) Strategy (incl. devolved Creative Scotland funds) to relaunch the organisation. CEC identified that more support was needed to enable the creative industries to thrive within the city, an organsation for creatives run by creatives. The PPP Strategy is part of the wider Economic Strategy - A Strategy for Jobs, focusing on investing in the city's development and regeneration, supporting inward investment & business and helping unemployed people into work. Alongside our grant, we generate other income through membership, events, sponsorship and project fees.

Through our Service Level Agreement with CEC we work closely with several teams to assist in informing council strategies and assist to action objectives set. We are currently part of the Edinburgh Business Forum, Cultural Policy Consultation and Connected Capital Reference Group, highlighting the views, aspirations and needs of our creative community.

CEC's support has been vital in giving us a room to breathe in the first stage of our development and we have been very fortunate in this respect compared to other cities. As we move slightly into the unknown, we are working to better understand our strengths as an organisation and our membership, looking critically at what we do in order to develop our sustainability and generate new revenue. Our priority is and will always be our members, we have a responsibly to be better, test and explore new ideas, and learn fast.

At a city level we aim to raise the profile of the creative talent in Edinburgh all year round, alongside the festival offerings. Be better connected to our business, tech and academic communities, embedding creative thinking and skillsharing. We will be working more directly with young people and students, linking them to industry and showcasing the career and apprenticeship opportunities in the creative, cultural and digital industries.

We are creating more opportunities to collaborate with our members through our new website, launching this winter with an enhanced directory, stories, interviews and films. We believe we can achieve more by working with others and by being part of the Creative City Network, we have been able to combine our expertise and experiences to help each other and in turn share our stories with more cities looking to initiate similar networks. The recent Ekos report commissioned by Creative Scotland and subsequent session on the 10th July, helped to highlight our important role within the wider support ecology. It also highlighted what makes our city unique and the common values, beliefs and ambitions which will help us to collaborate smarter and generously for the benefit of our creative communities.

Follow Janine Matheson on Linkedin / Janine Matheson Twitter / @janinematheson

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