The Coordinate team has always drawn strength from Canberra’s innate creativity—from its rich diversity of makers and artists, its festivals and exhibitions. It’s a community that we as creatives feel a part of, and one we aim to champion whenever possible.
So when Canberra’s peak body for artists and makers, Craft ACT, approached Coordinate Founder Jamie Wilson to collaborate on an exciting new opportunity for their members, the answer was simple.
“I’ve always believed that a business purely dedicated to making money is a poor one. Our purpose has always been “to make an impact,” explains Jamie. “COVID-19 has had devastating impacts on the creative, arts and entertainment industry. Getting behind Craft ACT through this campaign was our way of helping.”
Craft ACT’s vision for their flagship MAKE:OVER workshop was to take a select panel of makers and artists through a deep dive into branding, marketing and social media to give them an edge in an increasingly digital world.
“During the 2020 response to the pandemic, Craft ACT embraced digital innovation and creative collaboration to build resilience and sustain our community,” says Meagan Jones, Assistant Director (Communications) at Craft ACT. “Online retail and gallery sales as well as audience engagement reached record levels.”
However, Meagan adds that “Many of our 400+ (and growing) members lack the digital skills to achieve the same. There is an urgent need to upskill our member artists.”
Newly appointed CEO + Artistic Director of Craft ACT Jodie Cunningham explains that the rise of e-commerce and a global pandemic had created the perfect storm for Craft ACT members slow on the uptake of digital skills. Enter: MAKE:OVER.
“Craft ACT’s digital ‘makeover’ of contemporary craft makers was designed to upskill artists, giving them the tools to amplify their digital presence and successfully communicate the value of their practice and products, contributing to a sustainable and healthy creative economy that can weather future disruptions,” says Jodie.
To bring the team’s vision to life, Jamie tasked creatives from three Coordinate divisions to deliver a comprehensive workshop for eight hand-picked CraftACT members across the areas: branding, media relations and social media.
“We’ve always believed in Canberra’s potential. The creative talent and output in our city is world-class,” says Jamie.
“We—Coordinate and HerCanberra—are so lucky to be the home for incredible talent. Together, we have a shared passion and ambition to use our creativity and reach to amplify what is wonderful about our city and the people, businesses and brands doing amazing work.”
For the Craft ACT team, Coordinate’s pro bono development and delivery of the workshop meant that “five artists could learn from leading industry professionals and have the chance to ask questions and for feedback about their digital assets”.
While the ACT lockdown saw Coordinate’s MAKE:OVER masterclass take place over Zoom, it was an afternoon enjoyed by all, with Jodie attesting that the workshop was “a great success”.
“The five artists [are] now equipped with the confidence and skills in utilising digital formats, access to digital markets, increase online engagement and income generated through online sales.”
MAKE:OVER might have been one small step by the Coordinate team, but we can only hope that its ripple effect is seen in Canberra’s creative community long after this lockdown is over.
Photo: Jennifer Kemarre Martiniello, Tribute (to KM), 2020. Photo: Craft ACT. Jennifer Kemarre Martiniello, a talented glass artist and Arrernte woman, is a member of Craft ACT and was a participant of MAKE:OVER.