Three creatives collaborating at a workshop

Our plans for Make Shift

Posted on Thu 16 March 2023

We’re delighted to share our plans for Make Shift with you – a space for early career creatives to make work and shift practice.

What is Make Shift?

Make Shift is a place for early career creatives who are interested in creative technology and/or film practice. Through a series of free monthly meetups and creative development opportunities, it is a space to:

  • CONNECT with peers and potential collaborators
  • LEARN from each other and established practitioners
  • IMAGINE possibilities for your practice and how your work intersects with the wider world
  • SHARE ideas for creative work or new ventures, set yourself monthly goals and check in with peers on progress
  • TEST your work at Pervasive Media Studio with a wider Watershed audience
  • REFLECT on your practice considering where you have been and where you could go

Who is it for and how can you get involved?

We believe that everyone has creative talent and the right to be a maker, an inventor or a storyteller - not just a consumer. Make Shift is open to anyone who considers themselves to be an early career creative.

Sessions are aimed at those who are interested in film and creative technology. You don’t need to be working in these fields to come along. If you are simply curious, then this is the space for you. You can join the Make Shift community in the following ways:

Make Shift Meetup

These drop-in sessions are free to attend and happen on the first Tuesday of every month. They run at Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio. Each Meetup will involve a different configuration of sharing, imagining, connecting, learning and reflecting – you are always welcome to come along and just listen. Meetups offer consistent support, no matter what.

Make Shift Creative Technology Residencies

Each year we will try to offer additional opportunities developed in collaboration with the Make Shift community. Later this year we will launch an open call for three Make Shift Creative Technology Residencies. This will be an opportunity for early career creatives to gain time, space and support to develop an idea at the intersection of art and creative technology.

Make Shift Mailing List

This is a place where we share details of all upcoming Watershed events and opportunities that are relevant for early career creatives (including, for example, BFI Film Academy which supports filmmakers aged 16-25 to break into the screen industries), plus things that you would like to share with others for example opportunities you’ve spotted, links to events, work you would like to share or things you might have published online.

Join mailing list now

Why is Make Shift needed?

We hope that Make Shift will be a steadying force in an unsteady world. Right now, we are facing a multitude of interwoven crises including economic, housing, health, inequality and environmental emergencies. The COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit continue to cause profound change. Plus, the ways in which we participate in culture and democracy are increasingly mediated and undermined by technology and divisive storytelling. It feels pretty bleak. But there is hope. In his book The Utopia of Rules, David Graeber says, “the ultimate, hidden truth of the world is that it is something that we make, and could just as easily make differently.” We agree and want to support the next generation of makers. To do this, we need to tune in to one another, be inspired, embrace discomfort, ask difficult questions, imagine, open doors and invent. This is the role of Make Shift.

How do we know?

We understand that to survive and thrive in a world dominated by growth and competition, whilst maintaining our humanity and our planet, is complex. So, over the past 6 months we have undertaken a process of consultation and action research to ask people just starting out how Watershed can leverage its building, resources and networks and place, to support them to navigate these complexities. We have hosted monthly Make Shift sessions which have informed what we are planning now. You can read a post about our motivations for shifting how we support early career creatives. The shape of Make Shift going forwards, is an assembly of all of our conversations and research.

Where can you find us online?

In Summer 2022 we announced that we would cease publishing content on Rife Magazine – a platform showcasing the opinions of Bristol’s young people that was then our central programme for supporting early career creatives. We would like to thank everyone involved particularly its editors: Nikesh Shukla, Sammy Jones, Bex Rose, Holly Muse and Lucy Turner; and Rife’s content creators, contributors and staff team. At that time, we also commissioned freelance content producer Kofo Ajala to design and curate an online campaign of celebration, showcasing the amazing work and learnings from Rife Magazine - a programme that we are immensely proud of.

Kofo’s celebration campaign has now come to an end, so as we shift our energies to Make Shift, we will close Rife Magazine’s social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter, and shift Rife Magazine’s Instagram profile to Make Shift. You will be able to find us there.

What next?

We hope to see you at our next Make Shift Meetup on Tue 4 April, where we will be discussing fundraising for creative projects.

We are also hosting two fantastic events on Sun 18 March:

  • Our free Studio Open Day will be an afternoon packed with workshops, event and activities that will share ideas for creative careers. It will be a great way to learn more about creative technology practice.
  • And Inside Film, a fantastic event packed with screenings, talks and conversations to get inspired, connected and develop your career in film and TV.

We hope to see you there!

Make Shift is made possible with support from Arts Council England. Our Make Shift Residencies are supported by our partners in Pervasive Media Studio, UWE Bristol and University of Bristol.

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