28 Nov Creative Flow | Celebrating What’s on Your Doorstep
We meet two surfers connecting students with Cornwall’s local and globally renowned creative community
Whilst Charlotte Higgins and Emily Sorrell were studying at Falmouth University, the pair found themselves in ‘a bubble’. As surfers, they’d become part of a local community as varied as it was exclusive, but as Graphic Designers, Cornwall’s creative community remained elusive. Tapping into what they knew was under the surface became a personal and professional goal.
Charlotte: “We used to have lots of inspiring people coming to talk to us about building professional careers as creatives, usually visiting from London and saying how great the city is. But we chose Cornwall for a reason. Why couldn’t we see or celebrate opportunities in the county where we were actually studying?”
“The project is quite simply about celebrating what’s on your doorstep.”
Emily: “When we did meet people already established in Cornwall’s creative industry at events, a lot of them said they found it hard to crack the uni sphere and recruit student graduates.
The pair had put their finger on a two-way struggle; a disconnect between Cornwall’s student network and local creative communities that were eager to share.
Emily: “So, we decided to become the go-betweens. The project is quite simply about celebrating what’s on your doorstep.”
Cornwall has a legacy of inspiring globally renowned creative names. Its rugged coastal landscapes influenced the likes of sculptor, Barbara Hepworth, poet Charles Causley and author Daphne Du Maurier. The Falmouth College of Art was founded in 1902 and today, the town’s University specialises in nurturing the creative talent of the future.
Charlotte: “Interestingly, a lot of people we met had actually gone to the uni and stayed on, or moved back to Cornwall, so they could appreciate and relate to the students. They just couldn’t see an easy route through which to connect, so we’ve built and opened a door.”
Doorstep started as an event series; workshops, talks and exhibitions designed as excuses to bring students together with the wider creative community. Emily and Charlotte had become matchmakers.
Emily: “In Cornwall, word of mouth really goes a long way. It’s just that sometimes it has trouble crossing areas of expertise.”
Charlotte: “We have both students and industry professionals speaking. It was important to us that anyone who works or takes part in creative activities feels welcome. One of our recent events was for anyone who simply enjoyed it as a hobby. Obviously, it’s quite hard to make a career out of art. It’s a bit like surfing in that sense. Most people have full-time jobs and were doing projects outside of work. – That’s what we were celebrating – people’s creative side projects.”
The Doorstep sphere has been growing organically through word of mouth and Charlotte’s theory as to why is satisfyingly simple…
Charlotte: “People are nice, they want to support people sometimes. Especially when things are accessible.”
Emily: “The way things have developed means that there’s no necessity anymore for people to go down the traditional route of moving to London, doing their time. People can work online and therefore it doesn’t matter so much where you are. Students are here for 3-4 years. It’s a transient bubble and If they can’t crack a scene then they’re unlikely to stay.”
Charlotte: “Even at a practical level, Cornwall, for example, doesn’t have the transport infrastructure that London does. You kind of have to plan things. So providing people with face-to-face time and an opportunity to network is one way of forging some mutually beneficial relationships.”
Emily: “There’s so much going on under the surface of this place than just its galleries filled with fine art. We’re just trying to help uncover it.”
Get inspired and check out Doorstep’s upcoming events here. Do you know of any women making waves in Cornwall? Get in touch.