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What to Expect at Opportunities to Connect 2018

Staring out in business as a maker whether self-taught or after graduating from Art School can be incredibly daunting, this I discovered 5 years ago. I had my designs, I was full of ideas and bursting with enthusiasm. What I quickly learned is that you have to be more than just a maker, I was now a small business owner responsible for finance, marketing, admin and many other niggly tasks. This is frightening, but as I slowly discovered there is support for creative business start-ups and you just need to know where to find it.

The first piece from my degree show collection

Fast forward a few years and cue my role as Craft Development Officer at Fife Contemporary. We were looking at what other Scottish organisations offered in terms of maker support and wanted to compliment and highlight what our sector was doing well.  We decided to focus our attention on launching support for makers at this exact point in their career, aimed at arming makers with the information required to understand how the sector works in Scotland and enable access to it in a less daunting way, something I could definitely have benefited from.  We decided that the best way to deliver this would be a day filled with interactive sessions, peir networking, inspirational case studies and time to ask relevant questions as well as hear about the opportunities out there.

From my experience the question most people have when setting out, is how can I make a living form this?

Disclaimer: Running a successful creative business is not going to be easy, it takes a lot of hard work, determination and a skill set you didn’t even know you possessed, there is no short answer to this and also there are multiple factors which make it different to each individual.

We are not claiming to be able to answer this in a one-day session, a lot you will have to figure out yourself, but we hope we can bring inspiration, be realistic and deliver information in a constructive way to help you on your journey.

For this year’s line-up we have invited Scottish Arts Organisations’ Creative ScotlandCraft Scotland and Cultural Enterprise Office. to explain their programmes and opportunities relevant to you along with informal sessions that have you reflecting on your practice with plenty time to ask any questions. We also have Applied Arts Scotland (Board Member Scott Macintyre of Vanilla Ink) who will be discussing Applied Arts Scotland Membership along with the work they do in the sector. Scott will be taking us on his journey as a maker and sharing a bit about Vanilla Ink Jewellery School.  MakeWorks will also be showcasing their project, which is proving to be a great resource to many makers and Tom Pigeon will be bringing the inspiration and sharing their story of a successful design studio. A lot to pack in!

We hope that throughout the day delegates will get to know your peers,  feel comfortable to ask questions and take away information and resources relevant to them.

During the lunch break you will be able to view a pop up of the work selected for our first online New Makers Exhibition Materialise, which is part of our pilot year of support for New Makers. We wanted to create a platform to showcase work to a wider audience in the UK and Internationally, to view Materialise visit here. We have been keeping in touch with these makers, some who have been involved in great projects, exhibitions and internships which we will be featuring on the blog soon.

Scott Crawford

Scott Crawford selected maker for Materialise

To round off the day there will be a curator talk at Kirkcaldy Galleries across the road and the chance to see our new exhibition Nexus showcasing the work of 20 UK and Irish makers who are pushing the boundaries of their practices. See more details here.

If you have any questions or comments for now get me on

I am excited to see how things develop on the day and look forward to meeting a new group of makers.

To read more or book your ticket go here.

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