The Story is 10, and we’re launching The Story Academy to celebrate!

Back in 2010, I decided to start a conference that mixed up all the keynotes from the different creative conferences I was going to. I’ve always enjoyed listening to people talking about how they make their work, and really loved hearing from people outside my own industry, or who, like me, worked somewhere in the crossovers between industries.

I had a full-time job as a Commissioning Editor at Channel 4 at the time, and two young kids, so it was perhaps a bit ambitious to start a conference in what little spare time I had. Fortunately I had a very understanding wife who also worked in the creative industries, and I leant heavily on advice of friends, like Russell Davies, who had set up and run his own event called Interesting.

The Story seemed to find it’s audience quite quickly, and we’ve really worked to keep the diversity and atmosphere of the event over the years. The next event, in February 2019, will be the 10th edition of the conference (get your tickets now – they’re going fast!), so we wanted to do something special to celebrate.

In fact, we’re doing two things.

First of all, we’re publishing a 10th anniversary book that we’re giving to everyone who attends The Story in February. If you’ve been to the event, you’ll know that we give you the running order on a specially made object every year – these have include biscuits, chocolate bars, notebooks and packets of tea (some of our archives are in the picture at the top of this post). The book will contain transcriptions of some of our favourite talks from The Story over the years – a collection of stories to celebrate 10 years of The Story, which feels appropriate.

Secondly, we want to help support the next generation of creative talent, so we’re starting The Story Academy. The three Directors of Storythings – myself, Hugh Garry and Anjali Ramachandran – did not come from privileged backgrounds, and we’ve only managed to build careers in the creative media industry thanks to other people giving us the time and space to develop our skills and make lots of mistakes.

Having the time and space to make work and having a network to give you feedback and encouragement are the two most critical things you need to build a creative career. But for a lot of people, this is almost impossible. It feels to us that this is one of the hardest ever times to even consider a creative career. I was lucky enough to get a full grant to go to Art School, and Hugh lived in Manchester at a time when the city was going through a creative boom, but rent was still cheap. This meant we both spent years finding out how to make creative projects happen, and then turn these experiences into a career. Sadly, full grants and cheap city centre rents are not options for the next generation of creative talent.

So we’re setting up The Story Academy to help young creative talent get the time and space they need to develop their careers. We want to start with a pilot supporting six people who want to work in the creative industries, but aren’t in full time employment or education. We’ll give them a bursary to create a new piece of work to showcase their talents, mentoring and support from Storythings and our networks, and a paid placement at a leading UK creative media company.

This year, the profits from The Story will help us set up The Story Academy, but we’re also looking for sponsors to help us. We’ve never asked for sponsorship for The Story in the past, but this is different – we want to find fellow companies that can help us set up The Story Academy and help the next generation of creative talent. We’re looking for 10 partners, one for every year of The Story so far, and we’re offering sponsorship packages at three levels – do please get in touch with Rifa@storythings.com if you’d like to discuss sponsorship:

Gold Level: for companies who can offer £12k sponsorship

  • Recognition in the Story Book and at the event as a Story Academy sponsor
  • logo and link on our website and all promo materials
  • 15 tickets to the Story event (worth at least £1,500)
  • Include company promo material at the Story event
  • 2 attendees at Speakers Dinner, the evening before The Story 2019
  • 1 day storytelling workshop with all 3 Storythings directors
  • Invitation to two showcasing events to meet our Story Academy participants

Silver Level – for companies who can offer £7k sponsorship

  • Recognition in the Story Book and at the event as a Story Academy sponsor
  • logo and link on our website and all promo materials
  • 10 tickets to the Story event (worth at least £1,000)
  • Include company promo material at the Story event
  • 2 attendees at Speakers Dinner, the evening before The Story 2019
  • Invitation to two showcasing events to meet our Story Academy participants

Bronze Level – for companies who can offer £5k sponsorship

  • Recognition in the Story Book and at the event as a Story Academy sponsor
  • logo and link on our website and all promo materials
  • 5 tickets to the Story event (worth at least £500)
  • Include company promo material at the Story event
  • Invitation to two showcasing events to meet our Story Academy participant

If you’re interested in helping us support the next generation of creative talent, we’d love to hear from you – email Rifa and we’ll be in touch to discuss the right levels of support and rewards – we’re very happy to be flexible if you want to customise the rewards for your company, or if you’d like to host a Story Academy participant for their paid placement.