So many of us have gotten responses to job applications that say, “You don’t have enough experience.” However, as cliché as it sounds, you need work or similar offers to gain that experience. You might run in circles until you find the right opportunity or the necessary connections. Our creator of the week, Clara Dunphy, identified this problem in the market and aims to improve the situation—and she really does.
Let’s get to meet her through her answers to our five creator questions this week. Hopefully her project will prove useful to some of you:
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Clara Dunphy and I am the editor of ‘The Knot’. ‘The Knot’ is a community-focused online forum to help creative minds have an area to express themselves. In a world where connections in creative industries are few and far between, we want to act as the connecting point for those in need of links and opportunities. We want to give people the space to create freely, but also use our forum as a springboard to success; a portfolio if you will of their work, so that in interviews and auditions, artists, writers, and musicians can say ‘Actually I have been published’ or ‘I had a feature in a magazine’. I am based in Nottingham which sadly has a reputation for poverty and knife crime. This is something we want to change, and so it is my mission to ensure Nottingham is known as a place of culture and community that helps support those who cannot benefit from nepotism or financial stability.
How did you get started?
After finishing university, I moved to Paris where I worked as an au pair caring for a young boy. This experience was incredibly isolating and challenging, and I missed my hometown where I felt embedded in the community and had built strong connections. As I began to search for jobs in creative and linguistic sectors, I soon realised that the experience required was almost impossible to have attained in my young years. It made me realise that those who are not from incredibly privileged backgrounds lacked the connections necessary to gain experience and compete for the best jobs; it really is about WHO you know. I saw a gap in the market and essentially wanted to become that WHO you know for people struggling to break into creative sectors.
What sets you apart?
What makes ‘The Knot’ different is its focus on community, and dedication to welcome all. Everyone has to start somewhere, and I am more than happy to be that starting place for budding artists as well as a PR strategy for those who are more established. The personal feel is also something that you may not get with other magazines; I edit the magazine myself and am responsible for reaching out to new talent and managing existing submissions. I am flexible with people, as I understand the hardships life can bring and so am always ready to offer more time or alternative options for those submitting work. I am reliant on them to submit great work, and much as they are relying on me to help promote them and so it’s really important to build relationships.
What obstacles did you have to overcome?
I am really keen to promote female artists, however, this has posed some issues in regards to social media promotion due to having several nude artists and creators focusing on the female form. I will not bow down to censorship of art, as I do not see it as offensive; if anything it is inspirational and educational. In addition, the fact that I run the magazine alone can post some issues as I have to balance ‘The Knot’ with an amazing job and the general responsibilities of life and relationships. However, this project brings me so much joy (as I hope it does to others) that the challenges it presents are but a bump in the road.
Do you have any tips for other creators?
I would advise other creators to be authentic and to stick to their brand, even when they have doubts. Running a magazine can force you to be very diplomatic and selective, but it’s really important to be patient and build a strong rapport as these will be your cheerleaders in the future! I would suggest you explore competition, not to be better, but to understand their market and not to step on any toes, as this means other creators are more likely to want to help you or collaborate together. Overall enjoy the journey as I guarantee you will learn more from it than from the final result.
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