Lucy Macieira, Tileyard 18th May 2021

Tileyard Connected kicks-off with Creative Communities panel

Nick Keynes, Rebecca Ayres, Kat Ober and Paul Pacifico explore virtual and physical communities within the creative industries, and the core elements that hold them together...

Tileyard London launched its new ‘Tileyard Connected’ webinar series on May 12, with a discussion on creative communities.

The event series endeavours to explore a range of key topics relating to the creative and tech industries, and is inspired by Tileyard’s newest development in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, which will complete it’s first phase in January 2022. 

The online programme is divided into four core strands: Gamechangers, Tastemakers, Thought Leaders and Hitmakers. Other themes to expect from the series over the coming months include: new marketing trends, creation and innovation, the art of artist branding, new music technology and many more.

The inaugural panel brought together Tileyard co-founder Nick Keynes, Sound City MD Rebecca Ayres, AIM CEO Paul Pacifico, and Managing Director of Be-Hookd, Kat Ober.

The group explored virtual and physical communities within the creative industries, as well as the core elements that hold them together.

Highlights from Tileyard Connected: Creative Communities

Keynes discussed the importance of physical spaces to host creative communities, and how groups support each other and flourish when organically placed together. He commented on how Tileyard has become the largest creative community in the world over the last 10 years through his passion for creativity and curation.

“We are as good as our community,” he said. “That is what makes Tileyard – it is the people.”

Despite the last year of lockdown, Keynes has maintained a positive relationship with the 1000-strong community at Tileyard, many of whom have helped each other in more difficult times. As 2022 looks to hopefully be a better time in the calendar, the development of Tileyard North will be an important new growth spot for creative communities in the North. 

Ober, whose award-winning digital agency is one such company based at Tileyard London, suggested that digital communities are built around “people aligning with artists’ messages,” and pointed out that communities in general are based on a “mutual, beneficial exchange.”

Ober also stressed the importance of recognising and catering for different types of fans and fanbases: “There are people who take photos at gigs, who share them, who are like your artwork producers, your UGC creators. Then there are your ticket buyers, and then maybe your quiet listeners. You need to be able to tap into all of those.”

Ultimately, Ober suggested artists and their teams should focus on what makes them human, asking, “What do you do outside of music, what are the awkward things?”

AIM boss Paul Pacifico commented on both digital and physical communities. Having spent time as a resident at Tileyard with his work at the FAC (Featured Artist Coalition), he reminisced about being immersed in a space with other creatives.

Pacifico has also steered AIM through a digital transition over the past year, with the trade body having had some of its most successful events to date online. Pacifico said that the scale and reach made available by the internet has meant AIM has been able to access audiences from all over the world.

He also argued that “communities are about listening so you can speak powerfully with one voice”, something AIM as a representative body holds integral to its core values in delivering support to independent organisations and individuals within the industry. 

Further to that, even though AIM’s membership is theoretically made up of companies with competing interests, in fact, there is a certain unity and “mutual reinforcement” among independent labels.

“So many of our bigger members are the faculty at our AIM Academy that take our smaller members forward on their journey,” explained Pacifico. “They know that we’re not competing in a zero sum game. A good outcome for you actually makes my chances of a good outcome even better. If you get onto the Radio 1 playlist with a punk track, it doesn’t mean my punk track doesn’t stand a chance, it means you’ve made the case for why punk tracks should be on that playlist. So I’m more likely, not less likely to succeed.”

Sound City’s Rebecca Ayres spoke about the importance of communities pulling together, particularly in past year: “Keeping those communities going was so important so we could look out for the people that make us.”

Indeed, Sound City activated several support platforms for the artists they work with in response to the Covid crisis. One such initiative was Guesthouse, a community-driven audio-visual platform created to at least in part fill the live gap created by Covid lockdown, with mechanisms that allow artists to both reach their fans and make money.

A digital version of Sound City was also staged for a second time this year, despite the fact that the traditional, physical event will return in October. Ayres suggested: “There are so many communities that have been established online that will really flourish when we can meet physically.”


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