Creative Mums Network in Brockley

Brockley Central is always happy to receive a guest column, even if they come from friends and family. This is from Nicola:

Are there any BC readers interested in joining a creative mums network?

I'm a TV producer and mother to 2 young children living in Brockley. After the birth of my daughter last year, I decided to give up my staff job at the BBC to go freelance, partly because I decided it would better suit family life. What I hadn't reckoned on was that, without anyone to bounce ideas off combined with the the fact that motherhood often left me feeling pretty detached from the outside world, I felt stripped of any creative urges I may have had previously.

Most creative industries strive on youth and enthusiasm and you're often left wondering where people go to once they reach 35. The truth is, it's hard to combine a creative career with motherhood; the hours can be long and the work can be physically and mentally demanding. It's easy to succumb to negative thoughts and give up and do something less challenging, without properly realising that we've still got a lot to offer, not to mention years of experience.

The idea for the network came about after discussing these points with friends in similar situations and realising that most of us had the same fears and anxieties. The support that can be gained from those who are in or have been in similar situations can be invaluable.

'Creative Mums' will offer support, advice, networking opportunities and hopefully inspiration to mothers working or involved in creative industries.I'm particularly interested in meeting with any interested local mums and this stage, while the network is beginning to take shape - if you're interested in getting involved please email me.

Alternatively, you could join my Facebook group or follow me on Twitter to keep abreast of the network as it develops.

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

What about dads!

Hugh said...

What exactly is a creative industry?

Anonymous said...

It's one where you get creative urges

Anonymous said...

oh, and you're f**ked when you're over 35...

Brockley Nick said...

Hugh - that's a very interesting question. The UK govt believes there are 13 separate industries which constitute the creative sector - ranging from architecture to video games. I subscribe to the view that the creative industries are essentially comprised of two overlapping sectors - "design" and "content".

The Work Foundation has done an interesting study of the unifying characteristics that define the creative industries, if you care to look it up. Depending on how you measure it, it adds up to about 7% of GDP for the UK economy.

None of this is to say that other industries aren't "creative" - indeed, those in the creative sector would probably be the most passionate advocates for the important role of creativity in any private or public sector business. But the term "creative industries" is a useful label for understanding those sectors with common challenges. Check out www.cabinetforum.org for a sense of the commonalities.

Anon - send me your creative dads network piece and I'll publish it.

Hugh said...

Thanks Nick. Forgive my saying so but the very label 'creative' sounds a bit self-conscious in the manner you might expect of regulars in a Hoxton bar who prefer skinnier jeans half way down their weedy arses.

Headhunter said...

No one in Hoxton has buns to compare to yours, eh Hugh?

Brockley Nick said...

I'd say only if you are pre-disposed to take it that way. As a label, it's no more inherently pompous than, say, the "professional" industries of which you would presumably consider yourself a paid up member.

But for sure, people trade in witless, silly stereotypes all the time. Witness the mung bean jokes.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a good idea. This is the way I prefer things to happen, organic networking rather than imposed or anxious government schemes as sanctioned by the soon to be gone LSC.

Let people organise themselves and their own communities.

Hugh said...

Damn right, H.

Nick, no label is inherently pompous. Non-inherent is good enough for me.

As for whether the professions are similarly self-conscious, I don't deny that they're chock full of status monkeys, but surely TV producers would consider themselves professionals. Adding 'creative' on top implies the performance of acts of creativity in one's daily work that somehow put it in a different category. Tell that to a brain surgeon or, for that matter, Wayne Rooney.

Comment said...

That was by Comment.

fred vest said...

"Adding 'creative' on top implies the performance of acts of creativity in one's daily work that somehow put it in a different category."

in a nutshell

Brockley Nick said...

I think too many TV execs would consider themselves "TV execs", not realising how fast the industry landscape is changing and how they need to think more broadly about how they can apply their skills in content creation to other platforms, creative executions and funding models.

That is why the term "creative industries" is helpful - because it underlines that these industries no longer operate in silos - if they ever did.

fred vest said...

"creative executions"

now there's a thought

Vicky said...

Nicola, this sounds like a good idea and as a soon-to-be mum working in the creative industries (design), I plan to join as soon as I'm up and active again.

Anonymous said...

I suppose I first worked in the 'creative industries' in 1968 - it was called getting a job then.

It like 'Personnel' calling themselves 'Human Resources' - it's just frilly knickers.

Headhunter said...

Human Resources is just "American" for Personnel. Just as companies here used to have General Managers, Chairman of the Board and Secretaries whereas now they have CEOs and Personal Assistants....

Hugh said...

Big shout to all creative city professionals.

patrick1971 said...

Golly, you do wonder why people bother to do anything sometimes if they get this sort of carping all the time. I'm neither creative nor a new mum, but good luck to you Nicola. I will pass the details on to my neighbour who fulfils both criteria.

Hugh said...

You can't say 'golly' anymore.

fred vest said...

"Golly, you do wonder why people bother to do anything sometimes if they get this sort of carping all the time"

to be fair, no one is criticising what's being done, it's just a discussion about the name it's being done under

max said...

I am a worker of the creative industries and I even call myself an artist, because I draw, be I could be calling myself a drawer but I could be confused with an element of furnishing in that case.
Much of my job is not that creative, it's pencil pushing really, but still you do something, so it's creative.

Anyway, as someone that also does a fair share of baby-care I totally understand Nicola's point and if I was a mum instead of a dad I'd join.

Hugh said...

'You still do something, so it's creative.'

So every person alive is creative.

QED.

fred vest said...

"So every person alive is creative"

to the extent that they perform labour of some sort, paid or otherwise, for enjoyment or not, then yes

ed said...

Get over yourselves guys, Nick specifically pointed out that no-one's saying that people in other indutries can't be creative. It's a government term, not a self-applied one. You sound ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Max, Hilarious

I also know some relevant people and will invite them.

I'm a former investment banker turned mum. My decision was to give up, employ a nanny or send my lo to a nursery. I know that's my choice but I am climbing the walls half the time imagining my loss of income and employment proespects for the future.

I don't care so much about NOW but am worried that this short term choice I am making will become a long term one as I won't be able to get back into a job I love and was pretty senior in.

then what?

I suspect there's a whole geenration of women about to be even more frustrated than our grandmothers as we've been shown the tempting the whole of work for a few years and have had to give it up thereafter. I know,I know I chose and I'm lucky to have a choice cf the vast majority of women in the UK but it's still a bad result!

can you understand this?

(or do I sound like a very spoilt person carping on!?)

Danja said...

I think you should take the money and accept that as a lawyer you are (at least going to be labelled as) boringly uncreative, Hugh.

You are sounding a little insecure, which doesn't suit the persona.

Anonymous said...

typo - meant to say

"tempting world of work"

fred vest said...

what so just because nick has spoken a conversation can't be had on the topic!

no one is saying that nick is not saying that everyone is creative

fred vest said...

above @ ed a few posts above

fred vest said...

"You are sounding a little insecure, which doesn't suit the persona."

most of hugh's posts are shot through with latent insecurity, but here he's just talking common sense

Comment said...

This thread needs more women posting in it.

Hugh said...

'I think you should take the money and accept that as a lawyer you are (at least going to be labelled as) boringly uncreative, Hugh.

You are sounding a little insecure, which doesn't suit the persona.'

Danja, I take it you're either a lawyer or former lawyer so know what you're talking about.

As for whether I sound insecure, what relevance has that to the point I was making?

Or do you just make irrelevant comments as a matter of course?

4x4 said...

Hugh is a breath of fresh air. He is contrary but BC is all the better for people like him. I personally don't agree with all of his opinions, but why do so many people on here dismiss him as insecure-such a cheap shot.
Hugh, keep on posting me old son, I think it is you who is exposing insecurites and not your own I hasten to add!

Comment said...

4x4 you sound like a sock puppet.

TM said...

Nothing to do with this thread but check out question seven on the BBC's magazine quiz this week.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8131662.stm

Sorry I have forgotten how to do proper links.

Any blogger who gets it wrong should be ashamed.....

4x4 said...

Really?
Can socks speak?
Your away with the fairies love.

Danja said...

What does it matter, Hugh? It's a label, it works well enough.

Let them be very creative as they make yet another episode of 'something tedious to fill the space on daytime TV'.

Whoops, I can't say that, my insecurities are pouring out too.

Let it go

Comment said...

It bemuses me no end when men underestimate me and I serenely outflank them.

Hugh said...

Danja, you haven't responded to my post at all. You've simply ignored or missed the point.

How creative.

4x4 said...

Sorry, didn't want to bemuse you-anyway don't worry your pretty little head about it.
Oh and could you put the kettle on I am gasping for a brew-there's a good luv x

Anonymous said...

Yeah, you sound like a flanker.

Bea said...

I work in a “professional” industry (investment banking) but in my private life enjoy being creative!

Sounds like an interesting network and will join the Facebook group when I get home this evening (which is firewalled at work). Looks like a great way of getting to know other working / semi working (as in paid income) Mums in Brockley.

Once of my frustrations is that spending so many hours in the office I have no time to get to know other parents at the school gate other than a brief hello on the occasional morning I get to drop my son off before running to the station.

Danja said...

I imagine you are constantly bemused, Comment.

Hugh, I am always interested in the motivations behind pointless arguments.

Part of the job, like.

Hugh said...

Danja, your posts are increasingly hard to follow. Do you do basic intelligibility as well as 'creative'? I can see that irrelevance is a forte.

4x4 said...

Idid play second row at school as it happens-you obviously know your rugger.
I imagine you to look like a prop forward in monkey boots and dungarees.
Keep smiling x

Anonymous said...

4x4 - my flanker comment was aimed at Comment - a back reference to the outflanking remark... oh forget it..

Anonymous said...

...and I'm a bloke you prat.

The Cat Man said...

Im a creative accountant, can I join?

Anonymous said...

Bea, where do you children go to school? (if you don't mind my asking) We are tossing up among the various Dulwich options.

Comment said...

YHBT by Comment

4x4 said...

Sorry Anon-I need to keep up-you're right I am a pratt.
Many thanks for pointing it out.

Anonymous said...

Im a bit confused - I clicked to email "Nicola" and found she is:
1. Brockley Nick in drag
2. Brockley Nick's wife
3. BR's sister - but would his parents have called their children Nicolas and Nicola?
4. no relation whatsoever.
5. non existent.

can anyone clarify?!

Brockley Nick said...

Nicola is my wife (hence the reference to friends and family in the opening para).

Living with me, listening to me bang on about Brockley Central all day, every day, has sucked every last drop of creativity from her.

Cathy said...

Nicola (I met you at BC drinks, I was the one with the baby) this sounds like a great idea. I am not a "creative" either, working as I do in Human Resources (frill frill) in the City but I will pass this on to my network of Brockley Mums. I have to say that I think the concerns you have are the same for professional women working in pretty much all industries who then need to balance work and children. Is the idea of Creative Mums specifically so that you can benefit from industry networking and so people in other industries aren't welcome/useful? Because I think the support side would work for everyone :-)

Bea said...

Anon - I'd rather not post on a public forum exactly which school my kid attends but if you go on the Lewisham Council website they have software that let's you know what schools are in the SE4 postcode area and how far they are from your home address.

It's then possible to cross reference them with Ofsted reports if you feel so inclined.

SE4 is fortunate in that it has a large number of “good” and “outstanding” primary schools nearby.

In fact there have been a number of posts by Nick on this topic so it may be worth doing a search on the BC blog.

Nicola said...

Cathy - thanks for your comment. The idea for the network came about after talking to friends who were encountering the same sorts of issues as me and finding the mutual advice we were able to give each other was really useful. I was looking for a creative mums network online,(there are lots of other mum's networks), but other than in Australia, I wasn't able to find one.

The network will primarily be web-based with articles and forums with the possibility of group meetings if there's interest. It's not intended to be a Brockley thing, (if it was then I'd probably make it more generic), but I would like to speak to some local mums first to hear what they'd like from such a network.

If this is something you're interested in please do email me - I think that your HR experience could be beneficial to the network.

Hope all's going well with the baby, by the way.

Anonymous said...

"without anyone to bounce ideas off"

talk to the wife a bit more Nick...

"motherhood often left me feeling pretty detached from the outside world"

hmmm, or perhaps less

Monkeyboy said...

...random comment. I knew a woman in HR who was looking at Graduate recruitment. Her post was renamed 'Talent Management' she was always slightly embarrassed when dishing out her card.

The Cat Man said...

I wouldn't mind 'managing' some talent :...

Anonymous said...

You couldn't manage a smelly fart.

Tressilliana said...

'would his parents have called their children Nicolas and Nicola?'

Michael Jackson called his children:

Michael Jackson
Paris-Michael Jackson
Prince Michael Jackson II

Anonymous said...

@ anon on schools. Dulwich options mean that the children are travelling with the rush hour traffic which is a factor to consider. We looked at that for our daughter, now at university, but when doing a dummy run of the journey were put off by the need to change buses and the way everything seized up as one approached the school. Not being a routemaster, there was not even the option of leaping off and walking. We actually went for Blackheath - the 53 (from New Cross) against the rush hour traffic.
From the Brockley side look at St Dunstan's - excellent co-ed - IB option in the sixth form - the 171 bus, or at a pinch walkable.

Anonymous said...

Nick, Thanks for clarifying who Nicola is and for your funny response.

Bea - quite understand and I appreciated the info re se4 - we are actually considering JAGs as its results are quite good but thank you anyway.

Anonymous, thanks for the suggestion re Blackheath at St Dunstans - A levels are so discredited that it's surely only a mattter of time before everyone moves over to IB - and good point re transport.

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