The Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Thangam Debbonaire, Labour MP for Bristol West, met boomsatsuma staff and students to find out more about the challenges and opportunities facing the independent training and funding for the regions Creative Industry sector,  joined by representatives from Better Society Capital, Bristol & Bath Regional Capital and Access – the Foundation for Social Investment.

The visit to Leadworks, one of boomsatsuma’s six training centres across Bristol, Friday 10th May, gave the MP first hand insight as to how boomsatsuma delivers education differently, bringing opportunities to the often-marginalised communities across the city. The award-winning Bristol-based disruptive educator has seen demand for its courses from students feeding into careers within the regions’ thriving creative industry sector rise year on year.

Thangam Debbonaire, MP, engaged in discussions delving into the potential for ethical funding routes for the betterment of communities, culture and education. She states:

“It was great to visit boomsatsuma and see how their brilliant facilities and staff are enabling students to take their talent to the next level. I’m proud of Bristol’s vibrant cultural life. As Culture Secretary in a Labour government, I’ll work with institutions like boomsatsuma to secure the creative talent pipeline our city needs so that it can continue to generate joy, jobs and wealth that we all benefit from.”

boomsatsuma has been supported with around £800k investment from City Funds, the place-based impact investment fund managed by BBRC, which underpinned significant expansion and enabled higher capacity. City Funds is a £10m fund created for investment from Better Society Capital, Bristol City Council and Access: The Foundation for Social Investment.

Founder Mark Curtis explained:

“It’s great to have this opportunity to have a dialogue with our local MP, who clearly shares our passion for culture, sports and (can see) their importance to the local society and economy. It’s encouraging that there is top level recognition that these sectors are important and require training pathways, beyond Maths and Engineering, to meet the needs of the employers and also fulfil the passions to give the next generations a voice.”

Mark continues:

“A significant challenge for providers like boomsatsuma is that although we could meet the demands of expanding student numbers and align new courses with the regions’ skills agenda, we have had no direct access to central Government or the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to support our growth and demand. We have increased our engagement with Business West and West England Combined Authority over the past year and today’s visit will hopefully help consolidate our position in the local creative training landscape.

“While we enjoy very positive relationships with our education partners (at Cabot Learning Federation and Olympus Academy), it’s unfortunate that we are capped by the current system that restricts our ability to grow and scale into new markets and territories. Without systemic change we can only reach a limited number of young people.

“Sometimes to make a difference you have to actually do things differently. We are hoping the next administration will support us in this.”

Stephen Muers, CEO, Better Society Capital said:

“Boomsatsuma is a brilliant organisation helping to channel Bristolian talent into creative jobs. Organisations like this which help people access the UK’s thriving creative industries are invaluable and we are so glad to support Mark and the team. We appreciate boomsatsuma’s hospitality, and it was great to be able to show Thangam Debbonaire a wonderful example of the role social investment can play in a really important local business.

Social investment can help transform lives and we are eager to work with the next government to unlock billions more pounds of private investment into tackling the UK’s social issues and grow the economy.”

Ed Rowberry, Chief Executive, BBRC, said:

“BBRC is delighted to have invested in boomsatsuma by deploying blended finance at the local level via City Funds.  The blend of finance, sourced from Better Society Capital, Access and Bristol City Council has enabled boomsatsuma to continue to deliver on its important mission to provide pathways for young people particularly those from Bristol’s marginalised communities, into the region’s creative and digital workforce.”



The Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Thangam Debbonaire, Labour MP for Bristol West, with boomsatsuma staff and students, Better Society Capital, Bristol & Bath Regional Capital and Access – the Foundation for Social Investment. Outside of Leadworks, Bristol.

Picture by Jett Morgan, Year 2 Photography level 3 student at boomsatsuma College

UWE Bristol will host Showcase, its annual degree show, next month, offering visitors the opportunity to discover a new generation of talent from the College of Arts, Technology and Environment.

More than 1200 students from over 40 courses will exhibit their work at Bower Ashton, Arnolfini, Spike Island and the university’s Frenchay Campus from Thursday 6 until Wednesday 12 June.

An annual highlight for the university and the city of Bristol, members of the public are invited to attend the free in-person exhibitions which will include a selection of undergraduate and postgraduate work from animation, architecture, art, creative technologies, design, engineering, fashion, filmmaking, media, performance, photography, product design and writing.

Elena Marco, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of College of Arts, Technology and Environment said: “We are thrilled to share our students’ work publicly and give them the chance to demonstrate their ingenuity and creativity to a wider audience. This is a critical point in their careers, and they should be proud of everything they have achieved so far.”

Further information on the Showcase is listed below:

UWE Bristol Frenchay Campus:

A public opening night takes place on Thursday 6 June, with student work from architecture, product design, creative technologies and engineering on display at R Block, The Foundry and Z Block between 18:00 and 21:00. Registration is required – to book visit Eventbrite.

The Frenchay Campus Degree Show continues, featuring work from architecture, product design and engineering on:

UWE Bristol City Campus: 

On Friday 7 June an exclusive private preview evening (by invitation only) will take place across the University’s City Campus – at Bower Ashton, Arnolfini and Spike Island – featuring the work of graduating students from art, design, animation, fashion, media, writing, performance, photography, and filmmaking.

The City Campus exhibitions open fully to the public on Saturday 8 June (no need to book). Opening times are:

For those who can’t make it in person, a digital showcase launches on 3 June and features exciting work from hundreds of graduating students from 40 programmes.  Designed to celebrate new talent and support professional practice, enterprise and employability, each graduate has curated their own portfolio with links to their own sites and social channels.

More information on the Showcase is available on the UWE Bristol website.

Did you know about our Level 4 Artist Development course?  Here at Access Creative College we are dedicated to the development of new and emerging artists.  This course is a brilliant opportunity for you to utilise industry standard resources here at our incredible centre and receive tuition from industry professionals whilst gaining a valuable level 4 qualification.

Check out our website for further details

Applications will soon open for the second Round of the 2024 West of England Film & High-End TV Workforce Development Programme delivered at The Bottle Yard Studios, which supports local people looking to break into behind-the-camera roles on scripted productions made in the region.

Backed by West of England Combined Authority investment, the industry-led programme is delivered by the Studios in partnership with Bristol UNESCO City of Film and Bristol Film Office. Those interested are encouraged to sign up for the Round Two Introductory Webinar on 7th May 2024, which will share ‘Get To Know the Industry’ information as well as full details about the Programme. Round 2 applications will open shortly after the Webinar on Tuesday 7th May and will remain open until 5pm on Monday 13th May 2024.

The Programme offers tailored training to demystify the world of scripted production and prepare trainees for entry level positions in the industry, with the aim of strengthening the pipeline of diverse local crew talent.

Sessions include an Industry Induction Day at The Bottle Yard Studios and a bespoke 5-week training scheme delivered by Bristol training provider Stepping Up, focused on confidence-building, set etiquette and work-readiness, communication skills and teamwork, wellbeing and resilience, as well as digital and financial literacy and how to find work as a freelancer.

After completing the training, participants are added to a New Entrants Portfolio shared with film and high-end TV productions filming in the region.

Laura Aviles, Head of Film, Bristol City Council, says:

“After the challenges of the 2023 US writers and actors strikes which slowed film and TV production across the UK, we’re pleased to say that Bristol is looking set to be increasingly busy in the months ahead, with numerous greenlit productions booked in to film at The Bottle Yard and on location this Summer. With scripted production stepping up again in our region, this Programme is creating an important pathway to not only guide local talent into the workforce, but to really prepare them for the realities of what it’s like to work in this industry, so that they are best equipped to make the most of employment opportunities in the years ahead.”

Natalie Moore, Bristol UNESCO City of Film Manager, says:

“We’re delighted to be opening applications for Round 2 of this Programme, and to see the network of trainees begin to grow. Developing a skills pathway for scripted crew is a key priority in the Bristol UNESCO City of Film Action Plan, and this is a crucial project for the long-term sustainability of our film sector. Bringing forward homegrown talent from a wide range of backgrounds makes for a more resilient industry base with a more diverse local workforce for the future.”

Applications are invited from residents of Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, and South Gloucestershire aged 17 and above* from backgrounds that are currently underrepresented in the industry.

Underrepresented groups include: young people aged 17-25*, those not in education, employment or training, under-employed people and those on zero-hour contracts, women, people from the global majority, disabled people, people living with mental health issues, carers and care leavers.

An Access Fund is provided to support any participants who face a financial barrier to taking part.

Round One of the Programme launched in January 2024. 14 trainees have since undergone bespoke training which included special industry facing guest sessions with Bristol Crew, Visual Impact Camera and Lighting Rental and a major production currently in pre-production at The Bottle Yard.

Amy-Jane, one of the trainees from the first cohort, says:

The Programme has not only been an informative experience, it has brought together a group of people who have become a supportive network for eachother. The Coordinators from The Bottle Yard Studios and Stepping Up are supportive and knowledgeable, they go above and beyond to make the scheme the best it can be. I believe this Programme will be an important asset in ensuring underrepresented individuals are getting the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience, to seek employment in TV/film production.”

The West of England Combined Authority is working in partnership with Bristol City Council’s Film Services (comprising The Bottle Yard Studios, Bristol UNESCO City of Film and Bristol Film Office) to deliver the Mayoral Priority Skills Fund. This fund provides flexible grant to meet current priority skills gaps in the region. This project is part-funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

For more information and to apply, visit:

Boomsatsuma has announced the validation of its Film, Photography and Games degrees by Kingston University.

From September 2024, all degrees offered by the Film School and Games Studio in Bristol will be awarded by Kingston University. The validation event was attended by Kingston academics and top industry experts from the photography, games, film and TV world. It marks a significant milestone for both institutions and underscores a shared commitment to nurturing the next generation of creative talent for the creative industries.

Kingston University has a distinguished reputation. The institution, based in Greater London, has received an overall rating of Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) in all three categories, which means the University has demonstrated the highest quality teaching standards, while its student experience is consistently outstanding. It is also one of the top 10 institutions in the country across seven subject areas and for film degrees, ranked tenth nationally and second in London.

Dr. Susan McMillan, Executive Dean, said:

“I am so pleased that our partnership is now official. It means we can take the next step towards establishing ourselves as Bristol’s first Film School and growing our game art, design and production offer with Kingston School of Art. This partnership comes at a particularly exciting time in boomsatsuma’s evolution and we now look to the future, working with an institution that is both creative, inspiring and dynamic.”

The panel commended the boomsatsuma on their unique offer and in particular the culture of creativity, sense of community and proactive approach to employability.  Mandy Ure, Dean of Kingston School of Art, emphasised the innovative approach and benefits of the partnership:

“This new partnership with boomsatsuma’s Film School and Games Studio in Bristol creates exciting synergies between Creative Arts courses across our institutions. It uses Kingston University’s Future Skills approach to equip students with the skills, knowledge and drive to innovate and succeed in a dynamic Creative Industries sector.”

In addition to academic collaboration, boomsatsuma will integrate Kingston University’s Future Skills programmes into the new degrees, enhancing students’ readiness for their future careers and equipping them with the skills needed to succeed.

For more information about boomsatsuma’s new degree courses in Filmmaking: Production, Filmmaking: Post Production, Game Art, Game Design and Production, Photography and Print visit our website.

How to use language to foster stronger, happier, more productive relationships.

Words: Simeon de la Torre, SIM7.

The language that an organisation uses in its content, copywriting and comms influences not just how it is perceived, but how it makes audiences feel. It’s a complex, nuanced arena, but there are a handful of golden rules to remember around using brand language that’s appropriate and inclusive.

First up: what’s DEI?

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) aims to make everyone within an environment, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, ability, gender or sexual orientation, feel supported and welcome.

Why is it better to use inclusive language?

According to Deloitte, companies that embrace inclusivity and inclusive language have 22% lower turnover rates, 22% greater productivity and 27% higher profitability. Externally, those companies have 39% higher customer satisfaction.

Rule #1 Avoid certain ways of identifying people

Only use race, gender, gender identity, ability, age, sexual orientation, etc. to identify people when strictly necessary, otherwise doing so can draw attention to something about someone’s characteristics that might make them feel different or excluded.

Rule #2 Use people-first language

People-first language prioritises the individual. This is an especially useful point to remember when talking about people who have disabilities.

For example, it’s better to say ‘a person with a disability’ than ‘a disabled person’. The former implies that the disability is a secondary characteristic rather than a defining one. But as mentioned in #1, it’s best to simply avoid mentioning disability unless relevant or strictly necessary.

There are a few exceptions to this point. The deaf community, for instance, generally prefers the term ‘deaf person’ to ‘person with deafness’. If in doubt, it’s best to ask.

Rule #3 Be wary of connotations

Terms such as ‘sexual preference’ or ‘preferred pronouns’ can be problematic. ‘Preference’ implies choice, and that can create a false impression. It’s best to err on the side of caution and use the terms ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘pronouns’ instead.

Rule #4 Avoid inappropriate references

Try to avoid using terms such as ‘bipolar,’ ‘OCD,’ ‘ADHD’ or ‘ASD’ as metaphors, especially in a jokey context. These are real disabilities and disorders. Using their names to refer to things they aren’t can offend people who have them.

Rule #5 Use gender-neutral language

Yes, you may often use language with a specific audience in mind, but pronouns are generally best avoided.

When making a hypothetical point – ‘if he or she went for a walk’, for example – the ‘he or she’ clause is unnecessary, and including it can make non-binary, gender non-conforming or genderqueer folks feel excluded.

When in doubt or when using a pronoun is necessary, ‘they’ is a good choice. It’s gender-neutral and can be used to refer to an individual or a group, so has all bases covered.

Rule #6 Avoid universal phrases

Jargon is often best avoided and it’s a good idea to think before using idioms – not all translate well across cultures.

Rule #7 Avoid using your group as the reference group

Using your group as the reference group can imply it’s the norm and that other groups fall outside that norm. Terms like ‘non-white’, for example, imply that white people are the norm and everyone else, a deviation.

It’s best to take care when saying…


This term is best avoided when speaking to or referencing a group that contains non-male members.

Good alternatives: ‘Folks’, ‘you all’, ‘everyone’, ‘team’.


If she’s over 18, she’s an adult. And take care when saying ‘ladies’ and ‘gals’, these terms can be patronizing. Good alternatives: ‘Women’, ‘people’.


Today, ‘handicapped’ is considered impolite.

Similarly, when talking about people with disabilities, avoid using terms like ‘afflicted by,’ ‘victim of’, ‘suffers from’, and ‘confined to a wheelchair’. ‘Challenged’, ‘differently abled’, and ‘specially abled’ are best avoided too.

Good alternatives: ‘Disabled’, ‘person with a disability’.

You might also consider…

Mentioning pronouns

Including pronouns – he/him, she/her, they/them – in email signatures can help non-binary, transgender and other folk feel more included.

Trigger warnings

If you’re going to publish content  that has the potential to trigger people, it’s a good idea to add a trigger warning to that content. Forewarning people about potentially offensive content can help prevent causing offence.

Writing for web accessibility

People with certain disabilities can have difficulty navigating online content. We can all help ensure the content we create is accessible. See our designing for accessibility cheat sheet for useful tips.

Keeping up-to-date

Inclusive language best practice is constantly evolving. Periodic refreshers are a great way to stay up to date. Taking a moment to think about how the language you’re going to use is inclusive often goes a long way, too.

To learn more about creating an inclusive brand, visit or get in touch with Sim (he/him): [email protected]

As we outlined in our new year message in January, a key focus at Bristol Creative Industries is boosting workforce diversity in creative businesses and helping to grow the talent pipeline for our members.

Our report, A creative force to be reckoned with: Unleashing the power of Bristol’s creative industries, found that accessing talent with the right skillsets was the biggest challenge facing more than a third of creative businesses in the south west. 

It also showed that increasing diversity and inclusion was a significant priority for six in 10 creative firms, but 21% admitted they were struggling to recruit talent from diverse backgrounds, and 48% wanted more help finding diverse employees from underrepresented groups.

In this post, we outline the initiatives in the Bristol Creative Industries Talent Programme which is focused on tackling those challenges.

If you’re not yet a BCI member, join here to take advantage of the member exclusive initiatives.  

If you’d like to join us as a BCI Talent Partner, read the final section of this post.

Equity, diversity and inclusion training for BCI members 

Research shows that diverse teams are more creative problem solvers, bringing fresh perspectives to solutions, against the echo-chamber effect that results when people in a business come from too-similar backgrounds. With a strong focus on diversity and inclusion, employees feel valued and that they belong.

To help Bristol Creative Industries members achieve this, we have partnered with The Hobbs Consultancy to provide on demand equity, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) e-learning. 

The CPD certified online course consists of modules to help you bring about positive change in your business, understand the key challenges in the way for different groups, and explore your own biases and how to overcome them.

The training modules take an in-depth look at different diversity and inclusion topics: race, disability, LGBTQ+, neurodiversity, gender (split into female leadership, masculinity, gender identity), age and social mobility in the workplace.

The price of the training for BCI members is £120+VAT. All profits will be ploughed back into our youth engagement activity.

To access this brilliant training opportunity, log into your Bristol Creative Industries account and click on the ‘members’ training’ section.

Opportunity to mentor high potential young people

We have to start engagement at school by raising the profile of the creative sector to a wider and more diverse audience. To do this, we’re developing ways to bring together creative business members and future talent through mentoring. 

We are thrilled to have launched a partnership with The Early Careers Foundation (ECF), a social mobility charity that works with young people from low-income backgrounds to ensure that talent and hard work are what determine their career success, not background.

Through its mentoring programme, ECF pairs employees from partner organisations with 16-18-year-olds for monthly hour-long mentoring sessions.

Thanks to our new partnership, BCI members can now become a mentor and support a young person in building their confidence, developing their employability skills and offering invaluable professional guidance.

Applications to become a mentor close on 1 August 2024. 

To find out more about how you can get involved, read this post

Bristol Creative Industries Internship Programme

Our groundbreaking Bristol Creative Industries Internship Programme with Bristol social enterprise Babbasa launched as a pilot in 2023. It is aimed at young people from diverse backgrounds wanting to gain more insight and real experience in the creative industries.

As well as benefiting the interns, the scheme also educates employers to help them build inclusive workspaces that are ready to welcome young people from low income and underrepresented backgrounds.

Brilliant agencies from the BCI member community stepped up to provide paid placements to a group of fantastic interns during the pilot which resulted in many successes including full time jobs following the placements. 

The programme has returned for 2024 with more creative businesses offering a wide range of roles in marketing, public relations, design, branding and advertising. 

We recently closed applications from potential interns for the second cohort and were delighted to see an increase in responses compared to last year. 

For the latest updates from the programme, keep an eye on our blog and social media (X, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram).

Influencing the curriculum and driving change

We have committed to an annual programme of round tables with key post 16 education providers in the region including colleges, academies and universities. 

Our aim is to promote creative careers to staff and career advisers, drive applications to our internship programme and explore how we can promote the creative industries to students already studying. 

We also have this regularly updated guide to creative industries-related further and higher education courses in Bristol and Bath to make young people more aware of their options. 

Become a Bristol Creative Industries Talent Partner

By joining the programme as a partner, you’ll help to fund all of our activities that support 

underrepresented groups entering the creative industries. Your support is vital to ensure we have a healthy and diverse talent pipeline.

For more details, contact Alli Nicholas, BCI membership and operations manager, at [email protected], or Lis Anderson, BCI co-chair, at [email protected]  

Originally posted to

Now that the March equinox has passed and April is in full swing, it’s officially the season to delve into all things spring cleaning. We’re starting the series off with that task many of us may dread. Why is it important to tidy your email inbox, anyway? Preachy productivity phrases are a dime a dozen when it comes to inbox wisdom and you’ve probably heard a lot of them already (cue the ‘a cluttered inbox creates a cluttered mind’ and ‘have a place for everything and everything in its place’ etcetera etcetera).

Let’s cut to the chase: there’s very little harm an organised inbox can do and a wealth of practical and mental benefits. We hear you – it can be an annoying or tedious task that may feel like a time waster at first. But (and here’s some hypocrisy from us pulling out one of those phrases) you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. That is to say, sometimes it’s not possible to accomplish something worthwhile without adverse effects elsewhere. Luckily the adverse effects here are mostly just a bit of screen fatigue, time spent, and dwindling patience.

So if you put aside the time and effort, you’ll reap the rewards of a freshly organised inbox. We’ve written about Outlook, but the principles apply to any email service. Without further preamble, here are some of our top tips for organising your email inbox:

We’ll keep this updated as we go because you’re never too old to learn something new (oh look, another of those phrases!). If you’re hitting the flow of your professional spring cleaning then keep an eye out for our next instalments in this back-to-basics, 101 series.


Professional Apprenticeships are thrilled to unveil ApprenTech, our latest leap forward in cultivating the next generation of technology professionals through comprehensive apprenticeships. We have always strived to bridge the gap between aspiring tech talents and the industry’s evolving needs. Today, we’re excited to announce an initiative that not only continues this legacy but also takes it to new heights.

A New Era of Apprenticeships

ApprenTech is designed to be more than just a program; it’s a movement towards creating a sustainable, skilled workforce that can navigate the complexities of the technology landscape and solve the skills gap! 

With our Ofsted Outstanding rating as our backbone, we’ve crafted two new distinct pathways: Software Developer Level 3 and Level 4 Apprenticeships. These programs are tailored to meet the industry’s demands – whether it’s nurturing new entrants with foundational skills or elevating existing employees to software savants. This is in addition to our existing offering of Marketing, IT and other apprenticeships. 

Why ApprenTech?

Our initiative stands out for several reasons:

For Companies: ApprenTech offers a unique opportunity to cultivate your in-house talent, reducing recruitment costs and fostering a culture of loyalty and innovation. It’s not just an investment in skills but in the future of your organisation.

For Aspiring Tech Professionals: Embark on a journey that promises not just skill development but a clear path to career advancement. With ApprenTech, your ambitions to progress are a reality. 

Join Us in Shaping the Future

As we launch ApprenTech, we extend an invitation to tech companies and aspiring professionals to join us in this transformative journey. Together, we can redefine what it means to be equipped for the future of technology.

For more information on how to get involved, pop our team a message at [email protected]

Together, let’s build a future where technology and talent converge to create endless possibilities.

Bristol Creative Industries is thrilled to launch a partnership with The Early Careers Foundation (ECF), a social mobility charity that works with young people from low-income backgrounds across the country, to ensure that talent and hard work are what determine their career success, not background.

Social inequality is a huge problem in the UK, with family wealth at birth (not IQ, race, or gender) still the most accurate predictor of future financial success. The Early Careers Foundation is committed to ensuring that talent, not background, is what determines a young person’s career success.

One of the Foundation’s initiatives is its Mentoring Programme, which pairs employees from corporate partner organisations with 16-18-year-olds from the organisation’s school partners for monthly hour-long mentoring sessions.

Volunteer to be a mentor and support young people

Thanks to this new partnership, we’re thrilled that Bristol Creative Industries members can volunteer to be a mentor to one of these high potential young people using the Foundation’s expertly designed resources to support building their confidence, developing their employability skills and offering invaluable professional guidance.

The Foundation does the leg work – covering the cost of your enhanced DBS check, running comprehensive training sessions and providing expertly designed resources to structure each session – so that the only ‘eligibility’ criteria is that you are enthusiastic, happy to share learnings from your own professional experience and crucially, committed to at least 10 months of mentoring sessions.

Mentor applications open on 2 April and close on 1 August. You can get started TODAY. Read through the ECF Mentor Prospectus Flyer (2024-25) and apply directly through this link (this can also be found at the bottom of the prospectus).

Please note that you need to be a Bristol Creative Industries member to take advantage of this exciting opportunity. If you’re not a member, join today.