How local networks are supporting creatives

The pandemic has forced many of us to think locally. For creatives this might be no bad thing – here we explore a number of regional and community networks that are helping creatives survive and thrive

Towards the end of last year, north London creative network Made by Tottenham was launched by Haringey Council as part of the Mayor of London’s Creative Enterprise Zone programme. The platform is managed by Philippine Nguyen, creative enterprise manager at Haringey Council and director and co-founder of arts organisation Art Night.

Tottenham is, Nguyen says, one of the most creative areas in London in terms of its population, highlighting that it’s home to one in five people who work in the creative sector, from filmmakers to photographers to makers and manufacturers. Yet after speaking with creators in the area, she found one of the main challenges to be the fact that Tottenham is a large area where it’s hard to establish a tight-knit network.

“It means that you have a ton of people who work in the same sector, who might not know each other. For example, you have an artist who goes all the way to Brick Lane to get their artworks framed, but actually, we have picture framers who do really, really good work in the area. So it’s making sure that people in the creative sector can support each other. If you are a fashion designer and you want to work with a photographer, why not work more locally?”

Nguyen decided to launch a resource bringing them together in the form of Made by Tottenham, which at its heart is a directory of creative freelancers or businesses in the area. It not only spotlights brands and businesses for customers to seek out, but helps creatives within the area feed into one another, whether that’s in terms of finding suppliers, collaborators, commissioning out jobs and even sharing office space.