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Programme

Pop Up Creators

Pop Up Creators International Illustration exchange programme was made possible through 26 partnerships, and involved 18 published UK, Estonian, Lithuanian, and Latvian children’s illustrators and comics artists mentored groups of talented young visual arts students (age 16-25) in 16 universities and colleges and one summer school across the four countries. This ambitious international ‘talent search’ engaging 150 aspiring young artists through literature creation, producing several major outcomes including:

  • Small-press publishing of 150 original graphic stories
  • A major exhibition at ROSL in central London
  • A two-part symposia in London and Tallinn
  • Development of new digital showcase Pathways in partnership with Inkygoodness.

What’s next?

Later in 2018, in this section of the site, we will set out a series of brokered educational, industry and practice-focused talent development opportunities – delivered with affiliates – for both current and newly identified cohorts of diverse aspiring and emerging young illustrators and comics artists.

Meet our artists →

Education

Pop Up Creators

A total 142 days of workshops for 150 young artists were delivered by 18 author-mentors. Workshops took place in:

  • Six Universities (Anglia Ruskin in Cambridge, Birmingham City University, London College of Printing, Southampton Solent, Tallinn University, University of the Creative Arts in Canterbury),
  • Seven colleges (Banbury and Bicester, City of Oxford, Estonian Academy of Arts, Greater Brighton Metropolitan, Harlow, Vilnius Academy of Arts – in Vilnius and Kaunas),
  • Two high schools (Pelgulinna High School in Tallinn, Victory Academy in Rochester)
  • One summer school run by Latvian comics publisher Kus!

We mainly recruited young artists who may not have considered children’s illustration as a career route, who speak English as an additional language and/or (in the UK) are BAME. Students came from a range of courses, including illustration, animation, fine art, graphic design and visual communication.

Learning was evidenced throughout the programme. Tutors reported participants made significant progress in drawing skills, characterisation, composition, planning a narrative, photoshop and other digital skills. They noted acquisition of soft skills like increased confidence in self-expression, analytical and discursive skills, working to brief, time management, responsiveness to critique, and stamina. Tutors also saw positive impact on their own practice, with two-thirds developing new ideas and stimuli for their teaching, including encouraging self-publishing within the curriculum and organising more collaborative workshops.

What’s next?

During 2018 we aim to consolidate existing and build new relationships with universities and colleges in the UK and across Europe, with whom we will identify more ethnically, linguistically diverse talented young artists, to encourage them to take up pathways into children’s publishing.

To find out how to become an affiliate, contact us for more information. See a list of our current educational partners here.

Mentoring

Pop Up Creators

Our author-mentors involved in the Pop Up Creators project were:

  • UK: Alexis Deacon, Emily Hughes, Hamish Steele, Jim Stoten, Katie Harnett, William Grill
  • Estonia: Elina Sildre, Jonas Sildre, Kertu Silaste, Ulla Saar
  • Latvia: Anna Vaivare, Elina Braslina, Oskars Pavlovskis, Reinis Petersons
  • Lithuania: Akville Magicdust, Ieva Babilaitė, Lina Dūdaitė and Rasa Joni

The mentor’s role was to share perspectives, expertise and techniques, challenge creative processes, and support the young artists through development of their narratives from concept to conclusion. We felt that professional authors could do something many tutors cannot i.e. share unique, genuine insights around working in children’s publishing in different European markets.

What’s next?

More published children’s author-illustrators will be engaged to mentor both individuals and groups of emerging artists, bringing unique industry insights to future Pathways programmes and participants. Mentors will be sourced and commissioned through affiliated childnren’s publishers.

Meet our 2018 Mentors →

Publishing

Pop Up Creators

Participating artists were required to produce a graphic story in ‘leporello’ (or, concertina frieze) format. A liberating and challenging task, artists were required to transform both sides of an unusually long blank piece of paper into a graphic story in any style, using (or not using) any language, and with no unifying theme or aesthetic. Many artists appreciated the novelty of the leporello, playing with vertical and horizontal, (non-)sequential and circular, linear and non-linear stories. The leporellos of the Pathways artists can be seen in our Showcase.

Publishers in the four countries – Nobrow (UK), Paike Ja Pilv (Estonia), Kus! (Latvia) and Vilnius Academy of Arts Press (Lithuania) – each took the leporellos made by the young artists in their own country to print in early 2018, producing small print-runs of every story. The full collection of leporellos totaled 17,000 of a total 150 stories.

What’s next?

We expect new publisher affiliates to work with us to offer new literature creation opportunities, briefs and competitions to Pathways artists in the future. To find out how to become an affiliate, contact us for more information.

Professional Development

Pop Up Creators

Working collaboratively with Artswork (who provide training courses for young people seeking careers in the cultural industries), we devised our first professional development offer for young (UK) artists on the Pop Up Creators programme. This one day workshop, for over 60 young artists, supports them in taking the next step into children’s publishing, providing guidance on submitting (or self-publishing) and promoting their work to the industry. Following the course, we are building a small series of small-scale opportunities for those artists to experience various elements of the children’s book industry, through short term ‘residences’ in publishers’ picture book departments.

This course is co-delivered by a professional skills trainer and a publishing editor, bringing industry insight and expertise.

What’s next?

This initial offer gives a taste of the kind of professional development experiences we plan to provide for Pathways artists, over their tenure with us. We will build future offers in partnership with affiliates (e.g. publishers, universities, arts & literature organisations and literary agencies) which could include:

  • Developing new digital and print literature to professional brief for showcasing on Pathways
  • Training and shadowing opportunities to develop in-school educational practice
  • Developing self promotional and social media skills
  • Co-learning and collaborative opportunities with other Pathways artists
  • International experiences such as festivals and conferences

Sign up to our Pathways newsletter for updates.

Industry

Pop Up Creators

Some of the most talented young artists in the Pop Up Creators programme were invited to participate in a packed programme during London Book Fair in April 2018. This included an exhibition of the leporellos alongside several panel events in the Children’s Hub, and a reception event as part of the Baltic Countries Market Focus. Through these opportunities, the project was introduced to a range of UK children’s publishers.

This event will be followed by a ‘publishers breakfast’ presentation in June 2018 with around 20 UK children’s publishers, where the work of the 30 outstanding artists who are showcased on this site will be introduced in more depth – hopefully, leading to strong interest from the industry in some if not all of the artists.

What’s next?

On the strength of this project we are seeking affiliated publisher partnerships who (in addition to using Pathways as a vehicle to source ethnically, linguistically diverse emerging talent) will offer industry-focused experiences to featured artists, so that they can learn more about the trade and the market from the perspectives of publishers and booksellers. This will include:

  • Short, immersive ‘residencies’ with children’s picture book publishers, learning direct from authors, editors, art directors as well as sales and marketing
  • Competitive, industry standard ‘live briefs’ to drive new work by Pathways artists
  • Mentoring schemes with editors and art directors
  • Portfolio reviews
  • Industry led panel discussions and seminars
  • Showcase events and exhibitions
  • Online training courses

Events

Pop Up Creators

The Pop Up Creators programme culminated in a series of events during London Book Fair week, April 2018. 

This included:

  • An exhibition of artwork by a diverse range of participating young artists, including original and reproduced artwork as well as giant leporellos, at Royal Over-Seas League (ROSL) in central London April 10th to May 11th
  • Seminar events at London Book Fair

The first of a two-part symposia took place at ROSL. This brought together 80 individuals (including 36 young artists and the 18 artist-mentors; as well as university, college and high school tutors, partners, publishers and funders) from across the project to explore questions such as ‘What did we achieve?’, ‘What did we learn?’, ‘How did we change?’ and ‘What next?’.

The second part – focused on building tangible legacies including continued exchange and collaboration across the four countries – takes place in Tallinn, Estonia, June 2018

What’s next?

As we develop and build the Pathways programme we envisage future activites and events will include:

  • An annual showcase for publishers
  • An annualconference’ bringing Pathways artists together
  • Participation in festivals and trade fairs

Be the first to hear about upcoming events. Sign up for our newsletter here.

Networks

Pop Up Creators

Pop Up are engaged in dialogue with a range of children’s literature organisations across Europe who deliver substantial educational and talent development activities in their countries and communities. Their aim is to create a European-wide network to share practice, outcomes and evidence of impact across diverse cultures and languages.

What’s next?

To further support this effort, we will be reaching out to universities and art colleges in these countries to promote Pathways and encourage submissions of work by talented ethnically, linguistically diverse young artists.

If your organisation is interested in knowledge sharing in this area, we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch.

Pop Up Creators International Illustration exchange programme.

Programme

In 2018 we launched the first International Illustration exchange programme

Education

A total 142 days of workshops for 150 young artists were delivered by 18 author-mentors

Mentoring

Mentors challenge creative processes and support our young artists through their development

Publishing

A collection of outstanding stories written and illustrated by young BAME artists

Professional Development

Our initial offer gives a taste of the professional development experiences we plan to provide

Industry

Artists participated in a packed programme during London Book Fair in April 2018

Events

The Pop Up Creators programme culminated in a series of events during London Book Fair, April 2018

Networks

Pop Up are engaged in dialogue with a range of children’s literature organisations across Europe

Take a look 
at the artists

Our first cohort of artists have been selected for their wonderful storytelling ability and artistic creativity.

Visit our artist showcase