The Isle of Wight Creative Network is a growing community supporting over 170 Artists and Creatives on the Isle of Wight by building resilience through skills sharing and talent development.
Offering business support, training, networking events, away days across the Solent, resources and profiling through an online creative directory.
It aims to nurture and inspire, allowing creatives to thrive and become more sustainable.
Founded in 2022 by Georgia Newman – current lead for IW Creative Network through ACE project funding – it came under Creative Island’s umbrella for ACE NPO funding, with a shared vision to better connect creative practitioners and organisations, increase skills and business development, and to provide a platform for creative talent to thrive.
Since its inception, freelance Artists and Creatives have gained support from business mentors and advisors through 1-2-1 sessions, focusing on individual needs, rather than a blueprint model of one size fits all.
Mentors and advisors
Previous mentors and advisors have included Alys Scott-Hawkins and Mick Smith.
Alys is a specialist in Artist Support, providing guidance and advice to overcome barriers, plan projects and make funding applications. Previously she led the Artist Development programme at ‘a space’ arts, Southampton, drawing on her long-standing networks within the arts sector across the region.
Mick Smith has a long history of providing creative business mentoring including for Creative Growth Southampton and Solent LEP. He has also been a core team member of the ‘Flying Start’ Programme (providing entrepreneurship and business support to graduate creative businesses across the UK).
We’ve provided photo shoot opportunities to dozens of creatives, bursaries to support their creative practice and hosted in-person and online creative training sessions – recorded and available to watch back online as part of our members resource section on the website.
We arrange networking events and meet-ups at diverse, creative, and cultural spaces around the Island. Building conversations on what we can do collectively as a creative community, to help foster more exciting cultural opportunities for all.
We also arrange research days off the Island to places across the Solent, visiting other galleries, artist studios and creative spaces to hear about other talent development programmes and networks taking place across the South, and to allow for Island Creatives to become better connected.
What members say
Jan Frith, Visual Artist and IWCN member, said,
“Georgia launched the IW Creative Network at exactly the right time for me – I wanted to show my Sewing Memories interactive work at a major museum space and to be funded. I was lucky to get 1-2-1 mentoring from Mick Smith who gave me invaluable insights, encouragement and helped shape my overall approach.
“As a result I achieved Art Council England funding and successfully ran my project during October 2022 at the award-winning museum The D-Day Story. I have also made some brilliant professional art friendships.”
Kay McCrann, Visual Artist and IWCN member, said,
“Joining the IW Creative Network has been useful in so many ways within my creative practice. I received some excellent professional mentoring which helped me focus and plan for future goals. I was also extremely grateful to receive the bursary which helped to fund an exhibition of drawing research practice as part of my PhD.
“Most importantly though it has been a fantastic source of support as both an artist and a relative newcomer to the Island; I have learnt so much about all the exciting creative practice that is happening here and have connected with many interesting people.”