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]  

Bristol’s creative quarter, Paintworks, was full of excitement on Wednesday, March 27th, as Istoria Group and Purplefish teamed up to host a creative careers Agency Open Day. 

The event, in partnership with social enterprise Babbasa, welcomed a total of 12 eager young people. This day-long event was an opportunity for anyone interested in a career within the design and/or PR industry. 

The collaboration between Istoria Group and Purplefish was an effort to offer invaluable insights into the creative industry, particularly for individuals who may face barriers to accessing such opportunities. Both certified B Corp businesses, Istoria Group and Purplefish are committed to fostering inclusivity and breaking down barriers in the creative sector.

Sam Rowe, CEO of Istoria Group said: “This Open Day really portrays our shared commitment to nurturing talent and fostering a supportive environment for aspiring creatives. We’re dedicated to providing pathways for individuals to thrive in the design industry.” 

Joanna Randall, Founder of Purplefish, commented: “At Purplefish, we believe in the power of mentorship and sharing knowledge for the next generations who will be working alongside us. Collaborating with Istoria Group for this Open Day has been incredibly rewarding, and we’re thrilled to have provided aspiring professionals with a glimpse into the exciting world of PR.”

The day’s agenda was structured to offer participants a comprehensive overview of both design and PR. Beginning with Istoria Group’s session, participants were tasked with choosing an experience to amplify, creating a unique brand experience, integrating design elements, and presenting their concepts to the judges. The winning team received Love Bristol gift cards, to spend locally and support Bristol businesses.

Following a lunch break, where the students were able to network with one another and members of the Istoria Group and Purplefish teams, the attendees headed to Purplefish. The PR workshops offered insights into crafting powerful news hooks, mastering social media marketing, and managing events. 

Beyond the scheduled sessions, participants had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the agency atmosphere, gaining firsthand experience of the diverse and vibrant culture agency life has to offer.

The Agency Open Day also served as a platform for discussing future opportunities, including paid work placement opportunities in 2024 at Istoria Group and pathways to kickstart a career as a degree-level PRCA apprentice at Purplefish.

Since 2019, Square Works has become the byword for luxurious serviced offices and co-working in Bristol. We started with the aim of building a community where professionals could work, network, relax and socialise in an environment that offered the very best – from an exciting events calendar to a light and airy workspace that members can truly enjoy.

Situated on the beautiful Berkeley Square, a ten-minute walk from the city centre, Square Works is spacious, airy and filled with contemporary art and natural light. This unique workspace is spread across three elegant Georgian townhouses, with a range of conference and meeting rooms, communal spaces, kitchens and a fitness suite.

As a BCI member you can get 10% off memberships and meeting rooms at Square Works, contact our reception at [email protected] to take advantage of this offer.

Save the date – Saturday 4th May 2024!

Mark your calendars because something exciting is coming your way! If you’re between the ages of 16 and 30, we’ve got an event tailor-made for you. Get ready to dive deep into the pressing issues of climate change and sustainability at our dynamic and engaging gathering.

Here’s a sneak peek of what’s in store:

Interactive Workshops: Prepare to roll up your sleeves and get involved in hands-on workshops where you’ll learn practical skills like upcycling to make a positive impact on the environment.

Live Music & Performances: Let the rhythm move you as you groove to the beats and enjoy entertaining performances that infuse creativity and lightheartedness into the serious discussion about climate change.

Open Discussions: Your voice matters! Join in on open discussions where you can share your thoughts, ideas, and concerns about climate change in a welcoming and inclusive environment.

But wait, there’s more! This event isn’t just about sharing information; it’s about empowerment. We’re committed to making climate action accessible to everyone, especially young people from lower-income and marginalised communities.

Get ready to be inspired, connect with like-minded individuals, and take meaningful steps toward a sustainable future. Stay tuned for more details coming soon!

Together, let’s make a difference.

For ways to support and get involved, you can get in contact via email [email protected]

Register your interest (16-30)


Register your interest and secure one of the limited co-funded spaced today by contacting [email protected]

Projects – of all sizes, in all sectors and with various budget constraints can put the most cool headed staff member under pressure. With various stakeholders involved, tight deadlines, organisation management and staff availability alongside budget and time constraints; the presence of a skilled project manager to guide the effort and ensure alignment among all participants is crucial for project success. Organisations employing various project management methodologies excel in sticking to budgets, adhering to schedules, meeting scope requirements, upholding quality standards, and realising the benefit of how a successful outcome can make to a business.

Develop your staff in project management, and drive your business forward through a part funded Project Management Skills Bootcamp.

Delivered in Bristol over 10 weeks, this part funded course will equip your staff with the skills needed to support and ultimately lead projects.

Suitable for people looking to upskill their staff and is under pinned by the Association for Project Management (APM), Project Management Qualification (PMQ) and will reference the APM Book of Knowledge (BoK) 7th Edition. For employers wishing to upskill their employees, this course will be discounted by 70% as part of the Government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee and Plan for Jobs. The course will be spread over 10 weeks, comprising a mixture of face-to-face/remote participation, requiring day-release one day each week. This is an ideal opportunity to upskill individuals in your team to drive your business forward.

When is the course?

Start Date: October 2024 (dates to be confirmed)

Benefits of the course:

The aim of the course is to provide learners a core understanding and appreciation of project management. Together with some practical applications of learning and how current practices impact project management; it will develop learners understanding of core project management principles and emerging practices.

By completing this Project Management Bootcamp, your employees will get a greater understanding of key elements of project management, such as:

On completion of the course learners may wish to formally pursue the PMQ and information will be available to support this.

Those looking to explore project management with data will have access to Microsoft supported courses in Azure Fundamentals, Azure AI Fundamentals, Azure Data Fundamentals.

What’s changing in Project Management?

Project management principles and practices are heavily influenced by data. The use of data analysis, statistical interpretation and artificial intelligence (AI) is an emerging aspect of project management. The impact of AI in Project Management has been globally recognised. Over 80% of respondents to the Project Management Institute (PMI) “Pulse of the Profession”, 2019 survey report stated that organisations are seeing an impact from AI. With project professionals expecting the proportion of projects they manage using AI to jump from 37%.

At the end of the course there will be a series of guest speakers from industry who will discuss the future of project management. Participants attending the course may wish to explore data in projects in future courses at the West of England IoT, details will be available at the end of the programme.


Large Employers (With 250 Staff or More) TBC.

SME Employers (With 249 Staff or Less) TBC


Employer Commitment

Employer commitment for learner to complete all training elements.

Evidence from employer to confirm that the training provided via the Skills Bootcamp has resulted in either a new job role or an enhanced role for the employee that now utilises their new skills gained via this Skills Bootcamp.

Contact us today to register your interest on [email protected] or visit our previous bootcamp information page:


Award-winning visual content production company Distortion Studios has acquired and fitted out brand new studios in Brislington. The (200m2) studios will enable producers across all disciplines – television, film, advertising, music, corporate and events – to create original IP utilising the cutting-edge technology of Virtual Production and the power of Unreal Engine.

This initiative, supported by funding from Creative UK and in partnership with iMAG Displays, will see the first permanent Virtual Production studio in Bristol. At the forefront of creative and technological development, the new studio was set up by the team at Studio Giggle, a multiple award-winning creative team, including a group of highly experienced Unreal Engine experts and specialists in immersive digital arts.

Distortion Studios are decked out with state-of-the art equipment including 11x4m curved LED Volume, ROE Black Pearl 2 V2 LED panels, 2x2x3m wild wall mobile led panels, 2x Stype RedSpy tracking system, Stage Precision, Pixera Media Servers and Brompton processing.

Later this month, Distortion Studios will open its doors with a series of launch events. They will be hosting two full days of demos on Thursday 25th and Friday 26th April and a drinks reception on the evening of the 25th. The demo sessions will allow visitors to learn more about virtual production, interact with the LED screen, and speak to the Distortion Studios team.

Distortion Studios would like to invite the Bristol Creative Industries members to the launch in April. To attend, please email [email protected] .   

Jonathan Brigden, Managing Director of Distortion Studios comments, “We’re thrilled to have set up our studios in this great City in the South West. Blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, the benefits of VP are simply infinite. We’re proud to be cementing Bristol’s status as a UNESCO City of Film.”

Hannah Long, Portfolio Manager at Creative UK adds “We are absolutely thrilled to have been a part of this journey with Studio Giggle and see the development of their brand new state of the art Virtual Production studio, Distortion Studios, in the vibrant City of Bristol. Jonathan, Steve and their team are such a talented and friendly bunch and a delight to work with. We are proud to have them in the Creative Growth Finance portfolio and as their Portfolio Manager, I cannot wait to see the exciting projects that lay ahead.”

Press contact: Debbie Lawrence at The Lippin Company Ltd : [email protected]

About Distortion Studios

Distortion Studios is a specialist virtual production studio based in Bristol. Blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, Distortion Studios is run by an in-house team of specialists in immersive digital arts. Using cutting-edge equipment, our experts in virtual production are able to create stunning visual effects and captivating environments for film, television, music, events and other media in the most cost-effective way possible.

Our team of award-winning live and film production innovators with more than 20 years’ experience includes masters in Unreal Engine as well as a global network of talent and resources to achieve every creative vision.

Distortion Studios where ideas become reality.

About Creative UK

Creative UK believes in the power of creativity to change lives. We unite the creative industries and generate opportunities for innovation to thrive by investing in creative people and businesses. And we harness the power of the creative sector to build a stronger, fairer, and more prosperous future.

We are the UK’s leading Creative Industries investor and a strategic investment partner for growth-minded creative businesses. Creative Growth Finance is a landmark fund providing vital scale up finance to the UK’s most promising creative businesses, partnering with Triodos Bank to offer loans of £100,000 to £1m.

Make Exhibition from Towards Change!
Our Mission
Our project aims to reconsider and challenge how stereotypes are portrayed in advertising using a civic engaging approach. Civic insights could transform the advertising landscape and bring about meaningful change by creating tangible alternative ideas!
See LinkedIn page
“Towards Change”, invites the civic community to creatively confront and transform the advertising industry. By collectively reimagining banned adverts, we foster an inclusive platform for diverse voices, breaking away from the advertising industry’s exclusivity. This movement embodies the spirit of change through creativity, welcoming all to contribute to a more ethical advertising world.
What We’re Doing
We’ve selected 20 controversial adverts for their problematic content to undergo a creative transformation. Through a series of workshops engaging the community and future creatives, we dissect these adverts, discuss their impacts, and collaboratively reimagine them to convey positive messages.
☆Creative workshops revolutionize advertising quality★

Original banned ad

Reimagined and twisted advertisings from civic workshop
Why it is important
Every day, we’re bombarded with advertisements that, often subconsciously, propagate stereotypes and outdated societal norms. These portrayals can have a profound impact on our perceptions, behaviours, and the social fabric at large. Our project aims to challenge these narratives, providing alternative, stereotype-free adverts that reflect a more inclusive society.
What’s On
The culmination of our efforts will be an exhibition showcasing both the original and reimagined adverts, offering a stark visual dialogue on the power of advertising for social change

Exhibition Details
This exhibition is an educational journey that unravels the impact of stereotypes in advertising and celebrates the innovative solutions born from our workshops. Immerse yourself in a curated showcase of original and reimagined advertisements, highlighting the journey from controversial to inclusive messaging.
Speaker Session (18:00 – 19:00)

creative professionals
experts in marketing, advertising, and media
academic professors in gender and communications
This talk is particularly relevant for people working in marketing, PR, advertising, digital, and those in the creative industries who are looking to gain a deeper understanding of the inclusive communication landscape.
Networking Event(19:00 – 20:00)

For Students at University of Bristol:
There will be a chance to hear from guest speakers and an opportunity to network with creative and media experts. If you are taking part in the University of Bristol PLUS Award, then this networking session will count as one of your careers and employability workshops!

Join us in championing creativity, social responsibility, and transformative civic participation with an exhibition that marks a pivotal moment in advertising.
How You Can Help
Your financial contributions will breathe life into this ambitious project, covering the costs of hosting the exhibition, organising the speaker session, and facilitating the networking event.
Our supporters

By supporting us, you’re not just funding an event; you’re investing in the future of ethical advertising and empowering a community committed to diversity and inclusion.
Whether you’re seeking a career in the creative, communication, or media industries, a professional looking to explore innovative advertising solutions, or a civic-minded individual passionate about art and social issues, your support can make a significant difference.
Help us turn “Towards Change! Rethinking Representation in Advertising” from a vision into a reality. Together, we can inspire change and pave the way for a more inclusive and responsible advertising industry.
Our Team
Who are we? We are a Bristol based team consisting of international students and marketers, united by a shared passion for fostering a more inclusive world through advertising. Rooted in diverse backgrounds and cultures, our collective journey at the University of Bristol has been enriched by the guidance of esteemed academic professors, the supportive partnerships, and the collaborative spirit of various social sectors. Check out our website here to find out more!
Project Director

Hi, I’m Rika, I am project director to launch this to a more inclusive advertising world. I have launched this DE&I project with my scholarship-awarded ambitions friend of mine, aimed at generating alternative creative strategies for banned advertisements through civic engagement as the pivotal moment of my advertising career.
With a rich background in analyzing and consulting on over 100 global campaigns, my work at WPP group was a turning point, deepening my dedication to diversity and ethical advertising.

My journey doesn’t stop in the corporate world; I’m equally passionate about educating the next generation. As a freelance lecturer and a voice in the academic sphere, I’ve shared my expertise internationally, fostering a community of over 5,000 on social media.

Let’s embark on this journey together to reshape advertising. Make the exhibition real for a glimpse into the future of advertising, led by insights, ethics, and innovation.

🌸Towards Change Exhibition for Inclusive Advertising🌸

LinkedIn Event Page

We are thrilled to announce a showcase of civic powers to transform advertising content from controversial to inclusive messaging from our workshops we’ve conducted to the public every week.

See the fusion of social, academic, and advertising industry unravels the impact of stereotypes in advertising and provide a platform for dialogue, learning, and change.

This exhibition is proudly sponsored by Launch, a Google Premier Partner and two-time winner of Europe’s Best Small PPC Agency. Thanks to their generous support, admission is free, making it accessible to everyone interested in exploring this transformative display.

🌸Speaker Session (18:00 – 19:00)
Carol Watson, Chief Inclusion Officer at BCW ( Global Agency)
Dan Srokosz, Creative Director, AgencyUK
Megan Gibson, Paid Media Director, AgencyUK
Dr. Junko Yamashita, Professor at the University of Bristol
Ms. Samantha Ford, Marketing lecturer at the University of Bristol

🌸Comments are from
Polly Wyn Jones, Kantar Global Knowledge Manager, Creative & Media
Nendra van Wielink-Mohamed, Global Media Practitioner
Dr. Terrell Carver, Professor of Political Theory at the University of Bristol
Joyann Boyce, TedX Speaker, Founder AI Consultancy
Olu Osinoiki – 📸 Wedding Photographer

As 2024 begins, Bristol Creative Industries co-chairs Lis Anderson and Heather Wright set out their vision and plans for the next 12 months.

Our unwavering commitment to driving value for Bristol Creative Industries members remains our top priority. We will persist in creating opportunities for our community to learn, connect and grow their businesses. Simultaneously we are dedicated to amplifying our influence within the city and nationally advocating for the views and the needs of our local creative industries.

Events, networking and learning

The highly successful programme of in-person keynote events from industry figures will continue to be a catalyst for inspiring new thinking and encouraging reflection and evolution for business growth.

We encourage leaders to bring their wider teams to these events, which may otherwise be out of reach for smaller organisations. We also aim to diversify our line-up of speakers to represent the broader spectrum of creative industries.

Freelancers constantly say how much they love the networking events and the freelancer drinks at the Square Club in Bristol have grown from strength to strength. We’ll be running more of these events in 2024 on 6 February, 23 April, 11 June, 10 September and 19 November.

Member lunches, recognised for fostering valuable real-world partnerships, will continue due to the positive feedback and opportunities they generate.

There are ongoing opportunities for learning for all Bristol Creative Industries members and their teams through the events calendar. This includes access to Wake Up Call webinars (bi-weekly live webinars with a library of recorded webinars to be launched later this year), a new equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) training programme and free legal advice surgeries.

Supporting the next generation of talent

Building on the success of the Bristol Creative Industries Internship Programme pilot in 2023, we’re leveraging the insights gained to make it even better this year year, with enhanced experiences and outcomes for both interns and employers.

We have started recruitment for member businesses to take part in the 2024 programme and we continue to collaborate closely with Babbasa to help us reach young creative interns from underrepresented backgrounds in our city.

2024 will also see BCI working more closely with education providers across the region to grow the creative talent pipeline for our members. We’ll be raising awareness of career opportunities in our sector, facilitating mentorships and feeding into course materials.

Film and TV

As we continue to grow, we’re keen to attract new members from the film and TV industry. With strategic partnerships formed with Bottleyard Studios and Bristol Film Office, we aim to connect our members with the many new opportunities arising from the many high end TV productions coming to the city.

New board members

To achieve our ambitious goals, we’re actively seeking new Board members. Find full details here as we look to welcome individuals who share our passion for Bristol’s creative industries.

We wish you all a very happy New Year and look forward to supporting and celebrating creative businesses throughout 2024 and beyond.

To stay updated with all Bristol Creative Industries activities and member opportunities, make sure you’re signed up to the monthly BCI Bulletin.

If you’re not yet a Bristol Creative Industries member, join here. We’d love to welcome you in 2024. 

According to the World Economic Forum, critical thinking and problem-solving skills are at the top of the skills list that employers believe will grow in prominence over the next five years.  Yet we continue to passively meander through our working week; going to meetings where there’s no one leading and there are too many invitees, observing team members who are distracted or doing something else.  We leave the room feeling frustrated at the time wasted, and none the wiser on how we’re going to solve the problem we came together to discuss.

A few stats I found on time wasted in meetings (US research):

·      71% of senior managers believe meetings are unproductive and inefficient

·      Only 50% of employees feel their ideas are heard during meetings

·      An estimated 50% of meeting time is spent on irrelevant topics

·      Companies with fewer than 50 employees waste an average of $18k per year on unproductive meetings, whilst for companies with over 100 employees it’s an average of $420,000

What if we turned these lazy, lacklustre meetings into something positive?  What if we started running bite-sized workshops instead, putting our energy into creating experiences for participants to problem-solve together?

Do workshops take more time and effort to plan?

Initially, yes.  But … the more you do, the more confident you’ll become, and the quicker you’ll be at designing activities that actually help solve problems, where everyone leaves the room with an agreed plan of action that’s been created by you all.

What’s the difference between a meeting and a workshop?

I use the following distinction to guide me.  If your goal is simply to share or exchange information then a meeting will suffice.  If your goal is to solve a problem where you need input from people with different skills and experience (those skills and experience will be based on the topic and outcome you’re after), and that will result in actionable options, then try running a workshop.

5 tips to get you started

1. Only invite participants who will contribute, and have a diverse set of skills and experience

2. Share the workshop purpose and goals with participants beforehand, so they know what to expect.  And don’t be afraid to give them pre-work to help get them into the zone beforehand

3. Design activities that will play to the strengths of the participants and different learning styles – consider a mix of discussion, individual reflection and group work

4. Don’t be afraid to flex the agenda if you feel like another way might be more effective in achieving your goal

5. Always capture actions with owners at the end, to ensure you keep up momentum after the workshop

New year challenge – facilitating positive change

Give it a go in January, and let me know how you get on … Tell your team and clients that you’re trying something different, and encourage them to do the same.

If you need help, get in touch.  I’m running a Workshop Wizardry ‘workshop’ on 31st January, which will be packed with handy tools and techniques to build your workshop confidence. I also offer tailored in-house sessions with your team with 20% off for BCI members.