Creative City: York Creatives Podcast

23rd February 2018

Launched January 2018, the York Creatives Podcast is a weekly chat with members of York’s creative community. It provides a platform for artists, performers, and makers of any kind to discuss their work and projects, share their creative journey, and offer insights into their field. Hosted by Ben Porter of York film company Hewitt & Walker, the podcasts aim to continue the work of his 2014-2016 video series People Of York, highlighting the wealth of creative talent we have in York and celebrating some of our more alternative and underground creators.

Q: Ben, what is it that inspires you about your hometown/ adopted hometown?

A: It’s the people that live here. I moved to York in December 2008, and to be honest for the first couple of years struggled to feel like there was much going on here. York’s not a big place, and so you’d think if there were people doing interesting things you’d hear about them pretty quickly, but that’s not always the case. York has such a large number of groups, networks, clubs, societies and organisations, all working really hard to create fascinating things, yet unless you’re already aware of them they can sometimes be pretty difficult to stumble across. But once you do, you find there’s so much going on here, and so much amazing work being created. I wanted a way of speeding up that process of stumbling across new things.

I often hear people say "I only find out about cool stuff after it’s already happened", which can give people the impression York is a bit cliquey, but if you take the time to go and chat with any of the people running events and leading groups, most are very open and are actively looking for new people to be involved. It can be a bit daunting to do that, so I thought a podcast would be a useful resource for people looking for new and interesting things that they can get involved with.

Each podcast ends with info on how you can get in touch with the person that has been interviewed, I’m hoping that by doing this new connections can be made and networks will expand. Every person I speak to has a fascinating story, and it inspires me to hear them talk passionately about the work they have created.

Q: Who is one of the most interesting people you have interviewed?

A: Episode 3 with Gill Douglas was fascinating, she has so much experience as an artist (she’s worked at the theatre royal in 1976, before becoming a freelance artist in 1983) and she knows a lot about the history of the art scene in York and the galleries that have come and gone over time. We spoke for over an hour, it was a shame to have to cut it down to 15 minutes!

Q: What’s the best advice fellow creatives have given?

A: I try to cover different topics on each podcast, so the specific advice given by each person might be really useful to one person and not at all to another, but what seems to come up regularly is about training yourself to not get too worried about messing up, or failing, or making something bad, and just being stubborn enough to keep going, keep creating, finding a way round the obstacle in front of you and turning it into something you can share with the world. Whether it’s music, photos, short films, paintings, or standing up in front of a crowd and performing, everyone has moments of doubt and everyone makes mistakes, but as long as you stay creative and focus on the process rather than the outcome you’ll get through it and your work will improve.

Q: What are your long term hopes and dreams?

A: I’d love to build it up to 1000 regular listeners by the end of the year, bringing in a diverse range of guests from all over the city. It would be great to see the podcasts used as a resource in education, as someone who was always interested in the arts but fairly competent academically I was pushed towards academic subjects, told that I’d be wasting my potential if I didn’t pursue something academic and that there weren’t any jobs in the arts. The people interviewed in the podcasts stand as proof that you can make a living working in arts and culture, and that there’s tons of people doing it here in York. I think that would be a really positive thing for young people to hear.

Podcast episodes run 10-15 minutes, and can be downloaded for free via the iTunes podcast app, or direct from the York Creatives website. They can also be watched as video podcasts on the York Creatives Facebook page or YouTube channel.

If you’re interested in being on the podcast you can apply using the form below; the only requirement is that you need to have work/project/a portfolio to talk about.

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