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Macy Stewart is a fashion and portrait photographer based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. After a year with Mastered (London) for fashion photography in 2018, Macy has built up an impressive client list. She has shot with the likes of Lifestyle sports, Dazed & Confused, Lady Gunn, Lucy’s magazine, Irish Country Magazine as well as many Irish designers. Her work has been described as (able to) “vibrate with a kinetic, emotional energy” by Dazed writer, Anna Cafolla.

Macy’s Website

Macy’s Instagram

Macy Stewart Blog: What We Learnt

Full Interview (1 hour): Knowing your worth and building confidence

We are so excited to kick off this video podcast series ‘Our Time is Now’ with an interview with Macy Stewart Fashion and Portrait Photographer.

Macy was the first creative we interviewed for Our Time Is Now. Macy has always been creative, right through school until she dropped out at the age of 17 when unfortunately her father passed away. Macy found herself consumed by grief. With all her friends still at school, she felt she was falling behind and had no confidence and nothing going for her. However she had a camera her Nanny had bought her for school and she started taking photos for instagram just for fun and to be creative. It was a real passion and a way for her to process her grief. She never thought photography would be a career and become her full-time job, but her passion, commitment and talent paved the way for her success and naturally over time it has evolved to become her career.

Macy’s story is one of resilience, strength, passion and creativity and is so inspirational.

Interview Insight (1 min): Have you ever struggled to find your passion?

In this clip, Macy shares with us how she dropped out of school at 17 because her father passed away.

She shares how she was dealing with her grief and how photography was a positive a way for her to process what she was going through.

She shares how she was just following her passion for photography but never thought it would turn into a career.

Macy has such a powerful story of resilience, inspiration and being a strong person.

Interview Insight (1 min): Do you struggle to believe in yourself? The importance of self confidence and feeling worthy

This is an important thing to work on when you are building a creative business. So often we can find ourselves seeking validation from others, or simply placing our self worth in others hands.

In this clip, Macy talks about the early stages of her career and how she had to learn to believe in herself and find herself worthy.

Interview Insight (1 min): Not feeling respected as a woman, learning to deal with working in a male dominated industry

In this clip Macy shares how the film & photography industry is very male dominated and how she has experienced a lot of disrespect on sets.

She shares the challenges she has faced, the confidence she is building and how hard it can be to thrive in a male dominated space.

It’s a really interesting thing to highlight because women do have to work twice as hard and can’t afford to have a “bad day” or an ego. There is a lot of unspoken pressure and it’s great to hear Macy speak out about it.

Interview Insight (1 min): Have you ever been burnt out? From not enough to too much work and learning to find the balance

In this clip, Macy shares that 5 years later she was finally getting the work that she dreamed of, getting to a place of being established only to constantly find herself feeling burnt out.

When you are building a creative brand, it’s very easy to fall into feeling like you’re constantly behind and the workload can feel endless.

What’s beautiful to hear is that Macy pushed through that phase and now is in a place of finding that work life balance that we all hope to have.

Linzi Rooney is the founder of Born & Bred, a Belfast City Centre store and e-commerce site specialising in Belfast and Irish themed gifts and homeware. Born & Bred exists to help artists thrive. Founded in 2014 by Linzi, Born & Bred sells beautiful, locally-made gifts in their shop.

Born & Bred has impacted over 300 local makers and provides a space (both online and offline) where artists can come together to learn, share and sell.

Born & Bred has received an array of accolades including Top place to shop for art by Lonely Planet, Top 10 places to shop in Belfast by the The New York Times and Top 50 independent shops in the UK by The Guardian.

Born & Bred Website

Born & Bred Instagram

Linzi Rooney Blog: What We Learnt

Full Interview (1 hour): Building a successful business and living life on your own terms

We are delighted to share our second full hour long ‘Our Time is Now’ interview with inspirational Belfast creative Linzi Rooney. Linzi is the founder of Born & Bred a Belfast City Centre store and e-commerce site specialising in Belfast and Irish themed gifts and homeware. Linzi gives a fantastic interview all about building a successful business and living life on your own terms. There is so much wisdom and inspiration to be found in Linzi’s story.

LISTEN ON SPOTIFY

Interview Insight (1 min): Starting out on the creative journey

Linzi talks about how she first started out on her creative journey by being a freelance photographer. Through different jobs, she realised very early on that she wanted to work for herself and build something of her own.

Interview Insight (1 min): Jack of all trades, master of none

In this clip, Linzi talks about her experience of going to university and being told that in order to be successful you need to specialise in one thing.

Linzi shares the importance of having a diverse range of skills in different areas, especially when it comes to running your own business.

Running a business is hard.

One positive thing that comes out of it is – you learn how to be an adaptable and resilient person.

Interview Insight (1 min): Do women in business struggle with confidence?

We are excited to share this next clip where Linzi talks about how she is passionate about growing the female industry and nurturing female talent.

Linzi touches on how women may not have the confidence in what they can achieve and maybe feel like they have to be more in the home rather than taking the plunge to follow their dreams.

When it comes to building a business and also creating a family, a lot of pressure is put on the woman to balance everything.

Lizni talks about how it’s a sensitive topic at the minute and it’s very difficult to say the “right thing”.

Interview Insight (1 min): social media pressure

Do you struggle with social media?

Have you ever felt under pressure when it comes to social media for your business?

Maybe you feel overwhelmed or not knowing what platform to be on as a business?

Or maybe you feel stuck in knowing what content to be creating and post?

In this clip, Linzi talks about the pressure that she felt on social media last year and how it really impacted her.

You are constantly questioning yourself on what’s the right thing to do and how to grow your brand.

Linzi shares that you have to stick to your values and not just chase high engagement.

Create good content, showcase your product and be consistent with posting.

Mel is an illustrator and designer and the founder and director of Usfolk Illustration agency. Usfolk is a Belfast-based illustration agency, hosting 30+ illustrators from all corners of the globe. As well as running multiple projects in the design studio and managing a steady flow of illustration commissions, the in house team are all freelance illustrators. Clients include LUSH Cosmetics, The Washington Post, Mars Confectionary, Jameson Irish Whiskey, National Museums NI, The Merchant Hotel, Belfast City Council and Queen’s University.

Usfolk Website

Usfolk Instagram

Mel’s Instagram

Mel Carroll Blog: What We Learnt

Full Interview (1 hour): Being resilient and staying true to your passion

Mel Carroll was the third Belfast creative we interviewed for ‘Our Time is Now’ and we are delighted that his full hour long interview is now available to watch or listen to in full online. Mel is an illustrator, designer and founder and director of UsFolk a Belfast-based illustration agency, hosting 30+ illustrators from all around the globe.

In his interview, we heard about how Mel had a huge passion for art and design from very early in his life. He tells us that he knew he was gay from a very young age and used art as a means to escape and develop skills that gave him confidence and validation.

He beautifully shares that his “creativity came from his queerness” Mel shares with us his journey with grief, his mental health and how his mother passed away when he was a teenager.

Mel then shares the journey of his creative career which led to him starting his own business and building a global business.

Mel has a passion for supporting other illustrators and wants to continue to encourage people to follow their passions and start their own journey early.

LISTEN ON SPOTIFY

Interview Insight (1 min): A lifelong passion for art and design

Have you ever used your art and creativity as an escape?

In this clip, we get to hear how Mel had a huge passion for art and design from very early in his life. He tells us that he knew he was gay from a very young age and used art as a means to escape as well as to develop skills that gave him confidence and validation. Being good at drawing meant he wasn’t seen or didn’t feel like just that ‘queer kid’. He beautifully shares that his “creativity came from his queerness”.

Interview Insight (1 min): Creativity, grief and mental health

Have you ever struggled with your mental health?

In this clip, Mel shares with us his journey with grief, his mental health and how his mother passed away when he was a teenager.

He shared that he had to be taken out of university after having a mental break down and then came back a year later, only to find himself more in love with what he was doing.

It’s so refreshing to hear these types of stories because we can always assume that everyone’s journey is linear and straight forward.

It’s beautiful to hear the rawness and openness on how Mel navigated all of this at such a young age.

Interview Insight (1 min): Putting yourself out there and building your skills and portfolio

Do you think it’s important to put yourself out there?

In this clip, Mel shares his journey of how he got his first job creating logos. He shares that he didn’t have the skillset or didn’t feel like he was qualified for the job, but pushed himself to get better at his craft.

This then led to him building an amazing skill set within branding.

He shares that it’s important for creatives to put themselves out and build their portfolios to get the type of work they want.

Interview Insight (1 min): What piece of advice would you give your younger self?

What piece of advice would you give your younger self?

This is a question that we always ask at the end of each interview. It’s always so beautiful to acknowledge your journey on how far you’ve come and what it has taken for you to get to where you are now.

In this clip, Mel shares that he wishes that he followed his passion more instead of being so worried about getting an adult job.

He shares his passion for fine art painting and to lean more into what brings you joy.

Tanice is an Irish-Jamaican, Belfast based content creator who focuses on aesthetics, fashion, beauty and lifestyle. Tanice offers content creation, social posting and events services.

Tanice’s website

Tanice’s instagram

Tanice Samuels Blog: What We Learnt

Full Interview (1 hour): Being yourself and staying true to your values

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a fashion content creator and influencer?

Tanice is a content creator and influencer and the 4th creative we have interviewed for ‘Our Time is Now’ video podcast series which focuses on telling the stories of creatives from Belfast.

In her interview we hear about Tanice’s creative journey from getting pregnant at 18, through studying and working in Law for 10 years and how through using Instagram to express her creativity through fashion and makeup and her style overtime she was approached by brands and became a professional content creator and influencer.

Tanice dives into what being a content creator is like, how she navigates her job and gives us a peek into the fashion world.

Tanice’s story is a story of determination and resilience. She talks about how important it is to be yourself if you want people to connect with you online.

We hope you enjoy this conversation and are inspired to follow your creative dreams.

LISTEN ON SPOTIFY

Interview Insight (1 min): Have you ever had people not believe in you?

We dive into her story of how she got pregnant at 18 and was determined to prove everyone wrong and finish school and go to university to study law.

She shares that she pushed herself because she wanted to create an amazing life for herself and her son and that was the motivation she needed.

What an inspiring story!

Interview Insight (1 min): Have you ever struggled with being your full self?

In this clip, Tanice shares her journey of working as a lawyer for 10 years and gives us an insight of what the corporate world looks like.

She shares that in the corporate world, it’s very focused on climbing the ladder and how many men would rise through the ranks.

She shares that it wasn’t a place for her to express her fullself and wasn’t able to express her creativity.

Interview Insight (1 min): What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever been through?

It’s so incredible to have heard so many stories of resilience within this project so far. How people have lost their loved ones and overcome grief, which lead them to really expressing themselves creatively.

In this clip, Tanice shares how she lost her dad a few years ago and how that impacted her mentally and physically. She shares how she felt so lost and didn’t know what to do with herself.

When she took some extended time off from work, she started documenting her life, sharing the things that she loved. From there, her husband said that she should post the photographs she was taking on Instagram and that became the start of her creating her brand. Creativity was the thing that got her through the hardest time in her life. How incredible.

Interview Insight (1 min): Having the courage to leave a steady job to become self-employed

In this clip, Tanice shares how she became a professional content creator and influencer. She talks about how it gradually went from a hobby to regular work until she felt confident to hand in her notice and become full-time self-employed.

She shares how she always remained true to herself, her values and only working with brands that she aligned with.

There is such a thrill when you pursue your creative path full time. The road is scary because you don’t have a consistent income.

However you push yourself to go get your dream and make it a reality.

What an inspiring story so far and we hope you’ve taken a lot of inspiration from Tanice.

Tony is a learning design and founder of People Playbook a global learning and development consultancy that crafts and facilitates learning experiences which are fresh, engaging and interactive.

Tony McGaharan Blog: What We Learnt

Full Interview (1 hour): Taking risks and creating your own path

From the beginning of his journey, Tony has put himself into different circumstance to grow as a person. He always knew that he wanted to follow his own path and not be limited to staying in Belfast.

We get to hear how he has lived in different countries working with Google, to then moving back to the UK for love and realizing that it was time to leave Google all together.

That led him to start thinking about what he could create on his own and finally took the big leap to start his own business March 2020.

He shares that he started out in his bedroom with a laptop to now having several offices and a team of people.

Tony shares gratitude for all the people that had the confidence to trust him and give him an opportunity to grow.

We hope that you enjoy this full length interview and take the inspiration to follow your own dreams, to pursue your own path and have the courage to do so.

Interview Insight (1 min): Have you ever struggled with feeling confident?

We are so excited to share with you our last interview of this podcast series. Over the last 5 weeks, you have heard from such a range and diverse group of people who live and thrive in Belfast.

This week we are excited to share Tony’s story. Tony McGaharan is a learning design and founder of People Playbook a global learning and development consultancy that crafts and facilitates learning experiences which are fresh, engaging and interactive. Tony is our 5th and final interviewee for this series of ‘Our Time is Now’ and we are delighted to be sharing his interview with you this week.

In this clip to start the week Tony dives into how he struggled with confidence as a kid, but developed his confidence through living in a different country when he was young. He shares how by living in America, it inspired him to think about his life differently. Tony talks about how he always knew he wanted to work with young people so started coaching basketball at a young age. This was the building blocks of his life and the lessons he learnt during that period run through his entire life until now.

Interview Insight (1 min): Taking risks to build confidence

In this clip, Tony shares a beautiful story illustrating how he built his confidence in his early 20’s.

Tony moved to Sweden when he was 21/22 to take an Erasmus year and ended up staying for a full year acting as a coach for a female basketball team. He shares a moment when he was doubting himself and didn’t feel like he was qualified, but overcame that doubt by believing he could learn what he needed to.

He really believed that he could do it and anything that he lacked in skills or experience, he could make up for by his passion to learn.

This is a great story about putting yourself out there and taking the risks you need to move forward towards the dreams that you have.

Interview Insight (1 min): The beauty of living life on your own terms

In this clip, Tony encapsulates what this project is about. He talks about how everyone has their own journey to take, their own path to follow and how we are all meant for so much more.

Tony talks about how he has developed an optimistic mindset around what he has created. He shares that if we can take the pressure off a specific path that might feel linear and 100% what we want to do – hold on to that, but keep in mind that there are many other ways to build a career and the life that you want.

Tony shares that this mindset gives him comfort and enables him to take risks and grow.

Interview Insight (1 min): Shifting trajectories and cultures

In this clip, Tony shares how he came home from Sweden, finished his teaching degree and was working with a non profit organisation, whilst being a freelance coach and facilitator.

In this period, he then got an amazing opportunity to work with Google and joined this incredible job in Dublin. He explains that he was in Dublin for a year and a half, and was going through a break up, which lead him to apply for a role in Singapore.

There is a running theme throughout this story of being open to opportunities & seeing where the path leads.

Stay in the

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WOMENFOLK JUNIOR.SENIOR

Introducing our new reformatted @womenfolk.co Junior.Senior. events. A series of leisurely bi-monthly Saturday morning brunch events for creative women in Belfast. Where over coffee, fruit and pastries within an intimate setting two local creative women will share the stories of their creative journeys. Each event will feature an established self-employed creative woman complimented by a young emerging creative starting out on their creative journey. Each speaker will tell the story of their creative journey so far and share honestly the challenges and opportunities they face. Giving different perspectives on the different stages of the creative journey.

These events are all about sharing knowledge and skills within the creative community so we can help each other grow. There will also be opportunities for meeting like-minded people, building community and creating new connections and helping champion young emerging designers by giving them the opportunity to share their story to a supportive and encouraging local audience.

Kick starting Saturday 15th June at 11.30am in our Hill Street Studios!

Event Date(s): June 15, 2024

Event Time: 11.30am

Location: Blick Shared Studios, Hill Street, Belfast BT1 2LB

Cost: Donation
Can't wait for this sold out event next week with Paul Boal founder of Clever Ghost sharing his creative story!
Another chance to see our latest roundup of funding, support, opportunities, events, exhibitions and festivals for creatives

FUNDING, SUPPORT & OPPORTUNITIES

- £575,000 Augment the City Challenge Fund
- CIRCE Fellowship Programme 2024
- Beyond Literature Borders – International Work Grant
- Call 2 of the Digital Transformation Flexible Fund (DTFF) is now open for expressions of interest
- InvestNI new £5 million programme has launched to support entrepreneurs and high growth start-ups in Northern Ireland.
- InnovateUK Smart Grants: Up to £1M
- Catalyst Stryve Programme
- Invent Awards
- Creative Lunch Club
- The National Lottery Support for Individual Artists Programme – Travel Awards – rolling programme
- Digital Arts Studios XR Research & Development Lab
- Craft NI Garden Show Ireland Craft Village Call Out
- Women in Business and Techstart Female Founders Grant
- The Content Fund
- National Trust Time and Space Newton Competition
- The SideQuest X Creature Indie VR Fund
- Horizon Europe Pump Priming Programme
- British Council International Collaboration Grants
- Poetry with pride
- Wheelworks Arts I Will Volunteering Programme
- Venice gap-financing market call for projects

EXHIBITIONS

Ringside, an exhibition of drawings and paintings by Sean McGibbon, celebrating Belfast’s boxing culture.
Venue: Ormeau Baths Belfast
Date: 18 Apr at 6pm

Lavery on Location
Venue: Ulster Museum
Dates: 23rd Feb -  9th Jun

EVENTS

Go Succeed business events

AI and the Future of Live Experience
Date and time: 10 Apr, 3pm - 5pm
Location: online 

How to produce a kick ass application
Date and time: 10 Apr, 11 am - 12:30 pm
Location: Online

XR Network+ online seminar: Sound Design in Virtual Production
Date and time: Wed, 17 Apr 2024 14:00 - 15:15 BST
Location: Online
Pop Up Gallery Belfast

Dates and times: Sat 20th and Sun 28th Apr, 11am to 3pm
Location: Black Box Belfast

East Block Bazaar
Date and time: Sun 28th April 1pm to 5pm
Location: Banana Block

FESTIVALS

Foyle Film Festival 2024 – Reel Lives
10 to 27 Apr

Hit the north
20th - 30th April

The 24th Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival
2 to 12 May

You can read the full listings including links on our blog
A quick recap of the month of March at Blick!

- After a couple of years break, we gave ourselves a deadline and finally got our act together and re-launched our Womenfolk project (www.womenfolk.co) for creative women on International Women’s Day

- Including doing a call out for creative women business owners to feature on our Womenfolk platform (www.womenfolk.co)

- And inviting new members to join our ongoing Womenfolk Peer Mentoring group which meets on the last Tuesday of every month

- We welcomed new residents Horrible Brands to join our Cotton Court studios

- We completed an application for an exciting international project and connected with an international partner for another exciting project we hope to apply for this month

- We published the third exercise on creative and business values on our new resources for creatives section on our website https://blickstudios.org/resources/11802/

Looking back at what you have achieved in the past month is a great exercise in itself, to remind you that things are moving forwards and you are making progress even if it doesn’t always feel like it!
It's almost the weekend and a long one and it's stopped raining! Happy Easter 🐣 🐰
Did you know that we also offer virtual office services for creatives?

Our virtual office services is an affordable business address service for creatives giving you access to a commercial business address, for a professional image and keeping your home address private.

Whether you are just starting out and can’t yet afford workspace or are happy to work from home but seeking a professional public image for your business.

With our virtual office service you can use our City Centre Cathedral Quarter address 46 Hill Street, BT1 2LB for your creative business for only £22.50 per month (paid quarterly) or £200 per year.

We have a small team ensuring you get a friendly, personal and professional service and as a local social enterprise it means your money goes back into the local economy and to support the creative industries in Northern Ireland.

Have a look at our website for more info and to read our FAQs (link in profile) or email christine@blickstudios.org for more info
Our beautiful chandelier in our Malone studios as it changes through the seasons
Sunny Friday vibes in between the showers in our Malone studios this afternoon!
This month's new exercise on our website for anyone starting a new creative business is all about working out your personal and business values to help you define and develop your creative idea.

I first did a similar exercise to this when setting up Blick on a NESTA creative enterprise course way back in 2007 and it has been invaluable in helping me to make decisions and plans since and is really worth spending time on when starting out.

You can download the exercise as a PDF or word document on the creative resources section of our website (link in bio)

#blickcreativeresources #blickstudios #creativebusinessresources
#businessvalues
#personalvalues
Our next Blick Academy Creative Talk on Wed 17th April is by local designer and creative company founder Paul Boal!

Paul Boal is the Founder of Clever Ghost @‌thatcleverghost a brand and design studio based in Holywood, Northern Ireland. Founded in 2018 with a mission to influence positive change through clever design.

Paul and his team have created and managed brands across a diverse range of clients around the world from start-ups and SMEs to multinational companies.

His experience spans 14 years in the creative industry. To date, he has worked with clients including Cowen, the Irish Football Association, Queen’s University, Qualcom and evian in developing their brands and engaging with their audiences over numerous projects. Before founding Clever Ghost in 2018, Paul cut his teeth in various in-house design jobs. Eventually, he freelanced his way into several small design studios, overseeing the design team at a leading packaging company and working as a part-time lecturer in Creative Media.

Paul is one of our past creative residents at Blick and has done such an amazing job growing his business over the past few years, we are really excited to hear his story on how he started and has grown his creative business and his plans for the future.

You can find out more about Paul on his website: https://cleverghost.studio/ and instagram: @‌thatcleverghost

EVENT DETAILS

Date: Wednesday 17th April

Time: 7 - 8pm

Location: Blick Hill Street

Cost: Free

For more info and to book your ticket, visit the events page of our website (link in bio)
After a bit of a break following the pandemic, we are delighted this International Women's Day to bring back our @womenfolk.co project for creative women. New events and opportunities coming soon!

https://www.womenfolk.co/
Tired of working from home? We have just this one lovely desk available in our Hill St studios for £165 per calendar month all inclusive 

Send us a DM or email christine@blickstudios.org for more information or to arrange a viewing or visit the Hill St workspace page on our website (link in profile)
Feels like spring on Hill St today. Blue skies, 🌞 queues for🍦and 🚲 

#cathedralquarterbelfast #cathedralquarter
Our second Blick Academy Creative Talk of 2024 with a local creative sharing their creative story is coming up on Wed 17th April at 7pm. Speaker details coming soon...

Booking details on our website 

#eventsforcreatives
#creativebusiness
#creativeinspiration #nicreatives ##creativesupport