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Jeremy Green: “Individually We Are a Voice, United We Can Be a Movement”


LBB learns how UK charity The Creative Foundation with Motel Company’s Neda Shadanlou galvanised the creative community to help a young asylum seeker find his creative path

Jeremy Green: “Individually We Are a Voice, United We Can Be a Movement”

With help from the wider creative community, the Creative Foundation, and its newly launched Foundation Futures, are uniting efforts to make our industry more accessible and welcoming to young people from all walks of life. To address the scale of the problem in accessibility and representation, the Foundation is proving that by working together we can make a tangible difference.

Their support of young asylum seeker, Taqi, was recently presented to the Home Office as evidence of effective UK integration, helping him to secure settled status and continue his studies in graphic design.

Film and creative Director Neda Shadanlou first met Taqi at a creative careers workshop she runs for Middle Eastern youth. “When I first saw Taqi’s artwork, it reflected a sense of sorrow; something that many Middle Easterners feel is that our lives have meaning by fluke, or by chance. Luckily, the Creative Foundation has given Taqi that chance,” said Neda.

“The omission of non-Western perspectives is a real issue in the creative industry. Bringing people like Taqi into our industry helps to humanise parts of the world we are still numb to,” she adds.

An unaccompanied minor in foster care, Taqi made his treacherous journey to the UK at only 14 years old.  For seven years he lived in “limbo” while waiting for his asylum claim to be processed. Although twice accepted to university to study graphic design, his status as an asylum seeker meant that access to funding and loans for tuition was limited. In one class, he was asked to leave and not come back. “It’s a lot of mental pressure, you don’t know what’s going to happen to you. It’s a foggy road ahead and you don’t know where it’s  leading to, that’s the worst part. It impacts your mental health a lot,” shares Taqi.

After crowdsourcing funding with her local Iranian and Afghan youth group to cover one year of tuition, Neda reached out to the Creative Foundation for help, who have since funded Taqi’s entire tuition and maintenance costs. “Overnight Taqi went from having only a handful of people by his side, to having the entire creative industry by his side,” said Neda.

“Individually we are a voice, united we can be a movement’ said Jeremy Green, CEO, Creative Foundation. “My ambition with the Foundation is for the industry to unite and support the charity to do what is required to improve diversity in the UK's creative departments.”

Supported by paying members and donations from businesses and individuals in the creative industries, the Foundation is also part-funded by the annual Creative Circle Award entry fees, of which 10% are donated to the Foundation. All funds are allocated to financing further education and providing opportunities for young people from across the UK, with decisions made by the Foundation’s board of trustees.

The newly launched Foundation Futures initiative, a partnership with Creative Mentor Network, is actively reaching out to young people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds and hoping to extend the influence of the Foundation to make it easier for companies to get involved. “The Foundation has identified many young creatives that the industry is crying out for and who need our help. We want to support the young people who aren’t fully aware of the creative opportunities available to them,” says Jeremy.

“The Foundation do relentless work to help young people. Very few asylum seekers in the UK go to university. What we have done is unique, getting accepted onto a course and having it funded; this helped the Home Office see that Taqi had become an integrated member of society, which has ultimately lead to his status getting approved. The creative industry has saved this young man’s life,” says Neda.

Fees from the entries to this year’s UK Creative Circle Awards continue to go towards supporting young people and creating greater accessibility to the industry.10% of all award entry fees are pledged to the Creative Foundation while 100% of all membership fees are pledged to the Creative Foundation. You can also choose to pay into the Foundation directly any time you want. 

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Creative Circle, Wed, 23 Mar 2022 12:59:04 GMT