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Hear from Britny Virginia, a young person who attended the Here East and Create Jobs Creative Content Insight Day at Studio Wayne McGregor.

On 4 December, I went to the second Here East Insights with Studio Wayne McGregor at Here East on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. I hadn’t been to Here East before but after getting to Stratford and getting the free shuttle bus, I was excited to hear from an amazing group of speakers on creative content and meet with other young creatives.

The evening began with complimentary drinks, snacks and delicious food. I had the opportunity to have a look around Studio Wayne McGregor which is an incredible dance studio and events space.

First up to speak was Grace Owen, Content and Marketing Manager at Studio Wayne McGregor. She opened the discussion explaining the ins-and-outs of the marketing and content industry. She spoke about the realities of the creative industry, such as the demanding working hours that we’ll have to accept and push through, the rejection we’ll receive but overcome and the people we’d encounter; both bad and good. She stressed the importance of us as individuals to remain true to who we are despite the constant hurdles we may face. She encouraged us that no matter what challenges we encountered, to remember there are resources to overcome those challenges.

Grace reiterated the point that as young creatives, we mustn’t close ourselves off to certain opportunities even if it's not our ideal job but encouraged us to be open and receptive because new experiences are steppingstones to new opportunities. Listening, I was reminded that to get to where I want to be and I can stay true to myself without compromising my core values and self-worth. Because, many times as young professionals we’re under the assumption that our work isn’t as valuable as someone else’s which can knock on effects with our confidence as well as our feed for work. Grace reminded us that we have value and something to bring to employers and shouldn’t accept less than what we deserve.

Carrying on from Grace, Annie Andoh, Social Media Manager for the V&A spoke about how to use your social media to generate a following and keep followers engaged. Annie spoke about how vital it is to remain authentic to yourself because people are aware of insincerity. She made us aware that while it’s good to try new things and be experimental on social media, it's important you don’t alienate your existing following. She encouraged us to note every achievement down in order to keep from other people plagiarising our work. Since I lack in social media abilities, I saw the importance of social media for my brand as a writer/director and it encouraged me to have a more organised and interactive approach to social media.

The extraordinarily talented director, Meji Alabi, headlined the night with an ‘in conversation with’ writer and Editorial Director of the UK Music Video Awards David Knight about his career and journey. Meji started his career as a blogger, writing about pursuing his dreams everyday called 365Hustle. In an effort to interact with his readers and keep the blog interesting and unique, he began to add photographs, mainly self-portraits, which led to photographs of other people and then film. Meji’s career started to expand as he continuously used tools to hand, such as working with his creative friends. In 2014, he established his media and production company called JMFilms which gave him more creative freedom as opportunities were scarce. Meji’s fame grew after his work in the 2016 music video Kontrol by Meleek Berry where he showcased the depths of African culture, with bright colours, dance and energy. Meji has an exceptional creative eye for capturing culture, movement, body and depths. In his Tiwa Savage video 49-99, he explained the process of establishing the scene and ensuring female empowerment would be grounded in the film. He uses inspiration from other mediums and photography in an effort to retell the history of the culture his way.

Meji pressed the point of how important it is as creatives to work with other people who are beside us to push our career forwards. He spoke about the value of having a vision for your life and career and chasing after that. For Meji, he explores African culture beautifully and passionately. Throughout the discussion he expounded on his love for the continent and its vibrance. Despite this, he still works on other projects that don’t necessarily have that same agenda of exploring African culture and black people but have a story to tell and he brings that story forward vividly to audiences. Through these mediums he is able to grow as an artist.

Meji also spoke about recognising your weaknesses as an artist so you can overcome them and work at them. I left his discussion awed at his artistry and creative ability and wanted to go home and start documenting my journey as a creative and start shooting videos for my portfolio with friends and other creatives I’ve met along the way. I left his discussion thinking, with the right determination, passion and work ethic, it's possible for anyone to achieve ground-breaking and captivating work.

Here East Insights: Creative Content was informative, interactive and thought-provoking and I’m honoured I got the opportunity to be fed and encouraged creatively and I can’t wait for the next one!

Here East is home to big, small and different businesses driving innovation in technology and creative industries. Insight events are produced by Create Jobs in order to show young east Londoners the careers and opportunities available on their doorstep.

Images by Emilie Dubois

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