Creative Spark 2022 – A Conference for Creatives and Entrepreneurs Alike!

In late August, the Loughborough Enterprise Network hosted a dynamic summer conference which was hosted on our London campus. It cultivated the interest and inspiration of students and graduates looking to enter the Creative Industries by employment or starting a business!

…One of the greatest experiences in my time at university that I'll remember forever.Nemat Alizada, a student attendee.

As part of the British Council’s Creative Spark Project, the Loughborough Enterprise Network in collaboration with our partners Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan a one-day conference was put together. On offer to students were walking tours of entrepreneurial spaces, alongside 14 speakers featuring a range of different backgrounds, providing in-person and online sessions to inspire as well as support knowledge and skill development.

Attendees on a tour around The Trampery

Speaker Jess Strain (Overbloom) presenting to an audience.

Students from both campuses attended on the day. Tuning into speakers that were alumni entrepreneurs, business founders, creatives of many varieties and University Career’s Network staff - Kelly Bramley with hints and tips on designing a ‘perfect match’ CV and Eve Uhlig, advising on how to ignite a creative career . These speakers and experiences facilitated opportunities for students to network and explore the possibilities open to them in their future careers.

An inspirational and motivating day full of eye-opening activities.” – Poppy Beech, a student attendee.

Recent alumni entrepreneurs offered personal insights into their own creative journeys, including how to manage multiple projects simultaneously, how to design and deliver ground-breaking stories and presentations (Andres Urena – elefant) and a LinkedIn workshop (Charlie Rogers).

Each workshop was highly insightful and helped me to develop skills both for study and for my future career in the creative industry.” – Shana Ryan, a student attendee.‌

Attendees on the Hackney Wick tour.

Keeping the conference on brand for creatives, there were interactive and engaging elements including a live performance to start the day from our keynote speaker Dr Adaku Jennifer Agwunobi, with her new single “HOME”. In addition, walking tours allowed our students to stretch their legs and expand their knowledge! Highlighting the creative ecosystem of Hackney Wick by Simon Cole (Hackney Tours) and exploring The Trampery – a local entrepreneurial space filled with passionate and likeminded business founders. A fashion showcase with Loughborough alumni Jess Strain (Overbloom) and Alice Burnhope (Alice Burnhope Design), offered the chance for students to get hands on with their products, exploring their business journey and answering questions on how they became a success. The final creative session was a jewellery making workshop by Beth Underdown (The Happy Hedgehog), with attendees making their own personalised keyrings and bracelets.

Creative Spark presented the opportunity for attendees to get hands on with activities throughout the day. By offering insights into different businesses and ways of working showcasing potential career avenues for students. Also, guiding students along a roadmap as to what the next steps are to achieve this goal! A great networking day, meeting fellow likeminded and passionate creatives.” – Beth Underdown, Enterprise and Opportunities Officer.

The enthusiasm to learn, engage and network coming from attendees sparked a buzz throughout the whole day, as noted by LSU Enterprise’s Jamshid Tavallali’s blog ‘The Ignited Spark’ an excerpt highlighting - “It was so nice to see so many familiar faces and friends there, showing some entrepreneurial passion, and energy! I absolutely loved this conference.

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2020 QS World University Rankings and top in the country for its student experience in the 2018 THE Student Experience Survey.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2020, 5th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 and 8th in The UK Complete University Guide 2020.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Specialising exclusively in postgraduate-level study, Loughborough University London is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers cutting-edge master’s and PhD degrees, as well as business collaboration, research and enterprise opportunities.

The seven specialist institutes at Loughborough University London include: Design Innovation, Digital Technologies, Diplomacy and International Governance, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, International Management, Media and Creative Industries, and Sport Business. Close industry partnerships with a wealth of leading businesses and creative organisations means teaching and learning is informed by real-life challenges and driven by true industry pressures.