Inspiring creativity

Inspiring creativity, encouraging tomorrow’s talent

One of my earliest memories is taking the cover off my grandmother’s old manual typewriter, complete with ribbon and rollers, and typing out (on sheets of reused letterhead from a long-defunct amateur dramatic society) official notices which I would post on my bedroom door. Later on, this interest in type and signage found a further outlet in an after-school printing club which used two ancient, single-colour hand-cranked litho presses. I remember preparing customised luggage tags, elaborate letterheads and neat labels for drawers and storage racks. In my teenage years I got involved in a scrappy, irreverent school magazine which was produced by taping together cartoons, print-outs and rushed to a photocopier to a meet a deadline. I am reminded of these projects when we work on our long-time charitable outlet, the Shine School Media Awards, and then more recently on a new endeavour to raise money for the Cavell Nurses’ Trust, the Bourlet Young Masters  Art Prize competition. Their common thread: inspiring creativity in young people.


Bourlet Young Masters:
Raising money for the Cavell Nurses’ Trust

At the end of March, Richard Rendell who owns and runs Bourlet, a legendary fine art framing business who are a long time client of ours, gave me a call. He had this idea of raising money for the Cavell Nurses’ Trust by starting an art competition for children under ten. With schools nationwide closed and house-bound children desperately needing activity and distraction, this seemed to be an ideal combination of difficult situation and creative outlet… all in a good cause.

Working with artist Lorna May Wadsworth, who was brought on board to mastermind (and promote) the competition, we devised a logo and page on the Bourlet website for the endeavour. With an Instagram profile being set up too, we made a set of graphic quotes using the bright colours of the logo and Bourlet’s own house style. With the ultimate goal of inspiring creativity in the under-tens of a Britain under lockdown, let’s hope it sees some fantastic entries.

It’s a lovely idea, for a very worthy cause. And it’s not just me who thinks so – Stephen Fry said of the prize, “what a fabulous idea… from the family fridge to national recognition.”

Entries for the Bourlet Young Masters Art Prize should be submitted by Tuesday 5th May.



The Shine School Media Awards:
Making a lasting testament to these strange times

My involvement with the Shine School Media Awards is one of my happiest personal associations. Every year, schools around the UK that create a newspaper, magazine, podcast or website are assessed by a panel of worthy judges who award a range of prestigious prizes. The ceremony itself is held at Stationers’ Hall in the City of London at the end of the Summer Term and is always full of triumph and high emotion. I’ve been the Deputy Chair of the Awards for four years now and every season I’ve been staggered by the inventiveness, creativity and farsightedness of this ‘best of British’ next-generation journalists and editors.

One aspect of the awards that is its hallmark is the way in which hot-button topics are covered, often covering issues that are way, way ahead of the national conversation. Invariably we’ve seen these picked up months later in the national press and elsewhere. This year the competition is upended in its conventional sense as schools are closed and exams cancelled. However rather than fall into a malaise, the Shine committee are having a go at inspiring creativity. We’re hoping that students deliver us something unexpected: collaborative projects between small groups working remotely who can record the extraordinary times we are living through.

It’s my great hope they seize the opportunity and produce work that is dynamic, insightful and unlike anything the competition has seen before.

The entry deadline for the 2020 Shine School Media Awards is Friday 8th May.



Find out more

If you’re interested in either Bourlet’s Young Masters or the Shine School Media Awards, two competitions aimed at inspiring creativity among young people in the UK, take a look at their websites below:

Find out more about the Bourlet Young Masters competition

Find out more about the Shine School Media Awards