September for me smells like new Clarks shoes (other brands are available), sounds like crunchy Autumn leaves and tripping over awkward conkers and most definitely looks like new matching stationery sets. September is new beginnings. It’s reflection and evolution; letting go of care-free summers and embracing next steps of growth. It very much feels like that in the Beatfreeks offices – (yes plural, we share two offices!) as we dance into October.
Last night we inducted our third year of our Youth Steering Committee (young people who govern and shape our strategy) and wow, what a group; insightful, talented, dedicated to creating change. I’m still close with so many of the Youth Steering Committee members from year one and two - it feels so good to be inviting a new group of nine fresh faces into the fold! You’ll get to meet them soon I promise!
Here’s 5 changes we’ve made that in the spirit of openness, transparency and community we want to share with you:
1. We’ve changed our organisational structure to reflect the current climate, focusing more on commissions and finding value to our partners and clients in our services as opposed to applying for extremely competitive funding for our own projects. Let us re-introduce ourselves. We're a youth engagement agency specialising in co-creating stories and experiences through integrated campaigns (try saying that with your mouth full). Have a mooch around our newly freshened up website to see more.
2. We’ve partnered with Hiive to host our creative community online. Ooh, and we took on Luci as a Community Co-ordinator. She’s here to help you make the best of the network and to have some fun along the way. You can sign up for free here!
3. We’ve changed our team structure and within it some of our titles. Our senior roles are now called ‘Agents’ with a sub-specialism. Agent definition is a person or thing that takes an active role or produces a specified effect. We couldn't describe their roles in a better way - proactive, versatile, effective!
Meet Amerah, our Agent who heads up campaigns and experiences. Meet Leadh, our Agent who heads up our Programmes and Training. Stay tuned to meet our two lovely new apprentices (interviewing this week!) from the 1st October. We're super excited to say Bradley will also be staying on full time with us as Content Creator from November (double woop!)
Fun fact, did you know CEO actually stands for Creative Executive Officer in Beatfreeks? We believe the role should reflect both those of the chief exec and the artistic director hence I decided to merge the two. Having cake and scoffing it basically.
4. We soft launched in London! YES, LONDON! Kicking off with Creative Jam, a storytelling event using poetry and music to platform young people’s expression in Poplar, Tower Hamlets, in partnership with Somewhereto_. We’re launching BACE @ Bromley in partnership with Bromley College. We’re slowly experimenting and testing our ideas and building relationships in East and South London. Our growth strategy is about working with local people to transfer our approach. It is pretty damn extremely exciting…
5. We launched our Culture Manifesto. Ok, that’s not really a change. But it’s an important step forward for more organisations to actively and consciously cultivate a positive company culture but also to publically share it so that the wider community can hold it to account. Like one of those dodgy back-of-a-bus signs in America, tell us how we’re driving. Can we do something better? Do we say something but not really do it? The chance to improve is a gift.
It’s been such a brilliant few months and no greater measure of our impact than to see some of our original team members moving on to incredibly exciting things from Suriya Roberts-Grey launching STAMP! to Ayesha Jones winning multiple awards for her Imperfection project, Nafeesa Hamid setting up Twisted Tongues as the only spoken word night in Derby and Carl Sealeaf running a global poetry slam, Pangaea Poetry. Paul Stringer, our former Head of Media has moved on from his role to the best job of all - he is going to be a Daddy! Aliyah, our Marketing Apprentice, is moving on in a couple of days to change the world through #Herstory. We have a saying in Beatfreeks – no-one leaves (not in too much of a creepy way) you just change role!
So, the next few months sees some mega exciting times. We’ve got BACE relaunching at The Drum (Aston) and The Factory (Longbridge) in the next couple of weeks, Level UP kicks off on Thursday with the Jodi Ann Bickley, we’re Birmingham partners for Words First with Roundhouse London and BBC Radio 1Xtra in November and we’re hosting Open Project Nights at Impact Hub Birmingham on Mondays which will see the revamp of our Powered By programme. * takes a breath *
Stay tuned. Stay disruptive. Stay creative.
My next blog will be about our Philosofreek. Why I set up Beatfreeks and the founding principles it's based on. Can't wait that long? See here 9 reasons why I believe everyone is an artist.
Tell me what else you'd like to hear about or read about by emailing me directly at email@example.com