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Creative Employment Case Studies

The West of England - Creative Employment Programme is a Creative & Cultural Skills managed Arts Council England fund to support the creation of entry level employment opportunities in England for unemployed young people wishing to pursue a career in the arts and cultural sector.

The case studies highlight just a few of the businesses and young talent the Creative Skills Hub have been working with over the last year.

Crack Magazine:

Crack Magazine logo

How has the CEP helped Crack to develop and what have the individuals funded through CEP brought to the table?
The Creative Employment Programme has been absolutely essential to the development of Crack Magazine in the last year. Through being part funded to pay wages, we’ve been able to expand our team by seven new members across a range of skills. We’ve taken on two new designers, two new editorial members of staff, a videographer, a marketing assistant and someone to manage our ticketing portal. This has given us time to grow our business so we’ve been in a position to take all seven members on in a full-time capacity after the six-month time period for each new starter had elapsed. It is in no doubt that we wouldn’t have been able to expand this quickly were it not for the Creative Employment Programme. Each new member of staff has helped us grow in a different area, but the upshot is the shape of the business looks significantly different to where we were a year ago.

Overview of your business, where you started, scope, future…
Crack Magazine has been in operation for six years and was conceived as a magazine idea between a journalist (myself) Thomas Frost and graphic designer Jake Applebee. We started in Bristol working from Jake’s Dad’s house in order to create a culture freesheet that was high on design values and editorial content and also inherently collectable. In this period Crack has grown to be a successful website, an international magazine, a design agency, an external publisher and the magazine is now arguably the biggest paper of its kind in the UK. We also run a one-day music festival and a city centre pub under the same core values with which we started the business. The future will see further international expansion of Crack Magazine and hopefully more new and exciting projects under the aforementioned branches of the business. They’ll probably be a new venue at some point too.

Look at the international work you are doing
In January last year we expanded the magazine to incorporate a Berlin issue. As of this year we are putting extra magazines in Amsterdam, Barcelona and Paris. This has allowed us to increase the scope of audience with ease. We also work internationally with a number of music festivals and events in order to partner, review and in some cases host stages. We are also looking to expand the hard copy magazine in New York later of this year. 

Anything else you feel you want to say?
Crack Magazine is one of the biggest expanding media outlets in the country. We are looking to grow the product in new cities with new editions and in the process expand the opportunities this will inevitably afford us. We’d also like to expand our digital reach through more interesting journalistic content, original video content and continue to document culture in our own unique way. We are always on the lookout and open to partnering with people who see our channels as viable investment opportunities.


Blanca Munoz - age 24

Marketing Assistant - Co-LAB

Having relocated to Bristol from Spain after completing her degree in journalism, Blanca began volunteering with PAPER, a publication created by the team at Co-LAB to promote emerging artists in Bristol, as she wanted to find a way to build up her portfolio. She had been registered unemployed for 6 months and was feeling frustrated as there did not seem to be any jobs that would suit her skills and she knew she could do more if given the chance.  It was while volunteering for PAPER that she discovered the Creative Employment Programme internship.

Blanca’s internship at Co-LAB officially began in October 2013, and after an introductory week, getting to know the ethos behind the company and meeting the other interns (Co-LAB took on 4 other interns at the same time as Blanca) she began her 6 months as Marketing Assistant.  Blanca’s duties included promoting events, promoting PAPER publication, and trying to find distributors for the publication. 

“I realised that when you have an independent publication, you really need to work for it. But I also realise that I love it. I love that world – independent publishing.  I really believe in what I am selling”

Blanca quickly found her feet and realised that she was particularly good at actually delivering the projects, coming up with new ideas, finding new networks, partners and contacts.  Not only that but she has developed a new skill when it comes to writing funding applications for the project.

“Seriously, I’m getting really good, without being pretentious, I’m nailing it.  I love them!”

Blanca has now completed her Creative Employment Internship but will continue to work with the company and is now project manager of PAPER Artistic Development CIC, a new company created by Blanca and Simone Kidner (Creative  Director of Co-LAB) which will aim to help young unemployed people get a foothold in their creative careers.

“I’ve been promoted to project manager, which is a bit scary, but I definitely feel really confident, I know that in the company where I work they support me, trust me and they value me a lot.”

Blanca would absolutely recommend completing an internship through the Creative Employment programme,

“It’s been a great experience, not just for building up your portfolio, getting experience  and getting to know the industry, but learning how a business works, how creative people work and everything else.  I think it’s been really good for confidence, and self esteem because it’s a really supportive team and also you get to know about so many more opportunities.  Bristol has so  much to offer but if you don’t really look for it you’re not going to find it and I think that with the Creative Employment Programme,  it will come towards you , I will definitely recommend it to someone. It’s been really good.”

Simone Kidner, Creative Director at Co-LAB and PAPER says:

"Working with young creative people has helped me to develop my business, their inspirational ideas and motivation to start a career has helped us to expand and get more recognition. It's been a great learning experience and one we will be continuing."

Vicky Wheeler - age 23

Digital Communications Intern - The Architecture Centre

Vicky Wheeler, a freelance photographer and drama graduate from the University of Exeter was unemployed for 6 months before she discovered the advert for her current internship through the Arts Jobs weekly e-bulletin which she subscribes to.

On a day to day basis, Vicky helps out with a multitude of different tasks depending on what events are happening that day, most of her time is spent updating facebook, twitter, and other social media accounts, updating the company website, as well as documenting some of the Architecture Centre events and uploading these accounts to their website.

One of her most enjoyable tasks has been to create a festive advent calendar for the Architecture Centre's social media pages.  "It's a 'guess the building' game and I've been waiting for someone to get it right.  It's on twitter and facebook, and yesterday was the first time that someone asked, 'can I have a clue?' and got involved with it, so that was quite exciting".

Having only started her internship in November, Vicky already feels that she understands a lot more about social media and the strategies behind it.  She has begun to analyse social media statistics and has found it interesting to gather that information and learn more about online trends.

Vicky feels that this programme would be a really good opportunity for anyone thinking about applying for an internship in the future, "it's rare that you find anyone that's going to let you get your foot in the door, most people want you to have experience before you have even applied, so it's so nice for somebody to give you that opportunity to learn".

Christine Davies, Centre Manager at The Architecture Centre says:

"We are thoroughly enjoying working with Vicky, our new Digital Communications Assistant, who has brought energy, enthusiasm and new ideas to our small team. Vicky is extremely keen to learn and has made a valuable contribution to various areas of our work including social media, marketing, event support and documentation, and website updating. We are also benefiting from Vicky's own knowledge and skills, particularly in the fields of social media and digital photography."


To find out more about the Creative Employment Programme and how to get involved


Mobile: 07881 091714

Or visit the Creative Employment Programme website for further details in your area