In News

From Helga Henry:

Posted by: on Apr 1, 2016 | No Comments

Creative Shift has operated from Birmingham Hippodrome since 2011 to bring creativity and consultancy services to a range of clients from the corporate, creative, cultural and academic sectors.  It has also contributed to the development of staff at the theatre itself.  Over the last five years our work has increasingly focused on developing its brand values and behaviours as well as initiatives at Birmingham Hippodrome designed to support the Senior Management Team (SMT) as they spend more time on organisational growth and strategy.

After nearly 20 years of trading, first as Fierce Earth and then as Creative Shift, the company has some exciting changes to announce.

Within Birmingham Hippodrome a new senior management role has been created at Director level  –  Director of Organisational Development.  This role will address the organisation’s culture and leadership – especially its investment in staff, board and volunteers.​  From 1st April 2016  I will be joining the SMT of Birmingham Hippodrome to undertake this exciting new role together with strategic consultancy projects and thought leadership that contribute to the theatre and the cultural sector as a whole.

The consultancy business of Creative Shift will therefore move to become part of Birmingham Hippodrome Consulting.  Creative Shift Ltd will cease trading from 31st March 2016.  Our existing initiatives – the RE:Present Leadership course (delivered with Lara Ratnaraja),  RE:Position Roadshow events, the CAF Mentoring Sprint (delivered with Bass Clusker) and other client commitments will all continue as part of Birmingham Hippodrome Consulting.

As for the rest of the team:  I’m delighted to say that Grace Morgan has been appointed Assistant to the SMT and Emily Jayne Phillips and Thomasina Carlyle will join the ranks of “Amazing People” as collaborators on specific projects undertaken as part of the Birmingham Hippodrome Consulting offer.  Please note that from April 1st my main email address will be  Please amend your address books accordingly (the old email address will remain open for some time though!).

It is the end of an era for Fierce Earth/ Creative Shift.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank our clients, partners, stakeholders, collaborators and supporters for their work, custom and help over the years.  On a personal note I feel an enormous debt of gratitude for all the support I have personally received and I know that I am all the richer for it.  I hope that I can take what I have learned from my time at Fierce Earth/Creative Shift and use it to contribute to Birmingham Hippodrome’s exciting new vision.

There are too many people to thank but I would just like to acknowledge our current staff team:  Grace, Emily and Thomasina for their talent, dedication and hard work. Also our “Amazing People” Orit AzazAndy Bass, Noel Dunne, Angela Maxwell, Dean Melbourne and Lara Ratnaraja for their ongoing brilliance.  Finally I’d particularly like to thank Mark Ball, founder of Fierce Earth, Stuart Griffiths former Chief Executive of Birmingham Hippodrome and Fiona Allan, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Birmingham Hippodrome who all, in their own ways, took a chance on me.  I trust your faith in me was not or will not be misguided!

RE:Present Masterclass with Althea Efunshile

RE:Present Masterclass with Althea Efunshile

Posted by: on Mar 30, 2016 | No Comments

Last week the second of our RE:Present diversity in cultural leadership programme Masterclasses took place at Aston University. This time, the speaker was Althea Efunshile, Deputy Chief Executive of Arts Council England. An incredibly inspiring evening, some of the chatter and topics covered can be found in our storify below.

If you don’t want to miss out on our next masterclass, with Adil Ray, you can book your FREE place here.


In News

Homegrown – Artist Development Programme Call Out

Posted by: on Mar 30, 2016 | No Comments

Home for Waifs And Strays are proud to present

An artist development project run by Home For Waifs And Strays and supported by Jerwood Charitable Trust and Arts Council England. The project is designed to develop and showcase some of the amazing talent that the West Midlands has to offer.

This is an exciting opportunity for artists/performers/creative practitioners from across the West Midlands to:

• Spend four months developing new work

• Receive mentoring from some of the most innovative and exciting live artists currently working in the UK.

• Have access to rehearsal space in a Birmingham City Central venue.

• Receive support from the Directors of Home For Waifs And Strays throughout to provide professional practise guidance and advice.

• Attend talks on making, documenting, producing and funding from experts in these fields.

• Perform your work in development across four venues in the UK.

• Receive £100 for each performance (£400 total) plus documentation of your work.



Each artist will be paired with a mentor for 8 hours of mentoring throughout the duration of the project. Home For Waifs And Strays are very excited to be able to announce that the mentors will be:

Anne Bean

Lauren Barri Holstein

Madeleine Botet De Lacaze.

Ria Jade Hartley

Martin O Brien

Antonio Roberts

Adam Young


Touring Performance

The artists selected will have four performance dates to show their work at the various stages of development at our partnering venues:


27th May               Little Wolf Parade, Nottingham

11th June              Steak House Live, London

22nd July               Live Art Bistro, Leeds

9th September      Vivid Projects, Birmingham



8th June        Producing by Aaaron Wright

13th July       Documentation by Manuel Vason

10th August   Making by Ria Jade Hartley

17th August   Funding by Helga Henry


What Are We Looking For?

Home For Waifs And Strays are looking for emerging and early career artists/performers/creative practitioners making or wanting to make work that is live and innovative.

Applicants can be from any background but must not be currently in full or part time education.

All forms of live art and performance are eligible

We want people that have a desire to challenge their art form.

The work created should be new.

This opportunity is only open to artists living in the West Midlands.

Applicants must be able to make all the dates as set out in the application pack.


The application form plus further information about eligibility, dates, venues and more can be found in the application pack. To request one please


Deadline for applications is noon 22nd April 2016

RE:Position road show to inspire and inform Birmingham creative industries

Posted by: on Mar 29, 2016 | No Comments

Birmingham City Council are offering a series of roadshow events to support Birmingham based businesses in the creative and cultural sector, offering them information and inspiration. The events will be run by Creative Shift and Bass Clusker in Birmingham during April.

Last year Creative Shift undertook a major piece of research into how creative businesses can access finance and what alternative routes to funding and support might exist in the future for arts organisations. With the support of Birmingham City Council, who commissioned RE:Position, the roadshow event is a chance to take a look at where you are in your business or arts organisation, where you want to get to and more importantly – what might fuel that journey.

There will be two events specifically targeted at cultural organisations on Thursday 28th April and Wednesday 4th May and two events for the creative industries/ for profit entities on Tuesday 19th April and Wednesday 27th April. All events will take place in Birmingham and are free to attend.

Businesses and creative entrepreneurs taking part event will learn tools and techniques to grow the vision for their company, information to overcome current challenges for future business growth, explore the importance of financial health and the necessary steps to becoming investment ready for potential partners, stakeholders or investors.

Helga Henry, Director of Creative Shift will run the workshops and there will be a number of guest speakers who will share stories of how they grew successful businesses, won national grant competitions and made art happen in unlikely or challenging circumstances. Speakers will include Andy Wilson, MD of Birmingham’s largest advertising agency WAA and Rebecca Bartlett of Ammba Digital winner of a number of Innovation UK (formerly Technology Strategy Board) funding bids.

Helga commented “The scoping exercise of last year showed that the infrastructure for the Creative and cultural industry sector is already better than it was in previous years. There are more creative companies of all sizes, a range of funding opportunities and finance programmes and pockets of activity and collaboration. The challenge now is to join up the existing provision through effective communication channels. This project attempts to focus new resources into plugging the gaps and to skill up those with talent and ambition to have entrepreneurial savvy.”

In addition there will be further development opportunities for ten lucky creative companies. Attendees of the RE:Position events for the creative sector will also have the opportunity to compete for further workshop and mentoring support from consultants Helga Henry and Dr Andrew Bass of BassClusker. This unique programme called “The CAF Mentoring Sprint” will give the winning companies access to business consultants with international track records to help them develop growth strategies and new products/ services. The three month programme (of workshops and 1-2-1 support) has been funded by CAF – the Creative Advantage Fund – the UK’s first dedicated Venture Capital fund for the Creative Industries.

For further information please contact: 0121 689 1051 or click here for details of how to book.

The Importance of Your Board

Posted by: on Mar 24, 2016 | No Comments

The Importance of Your Board from Creative Shift on Vimeo.

In this month’s vlog, Helga talks about the rise and fall of , and the importance of having a strong ‘board’ to rely on, whether you are a one man band, or a multinational company.

Five Things to Look for in Your Customer Service

Five Things to Look for in Your Customer Service

Posted by: on Mar 18, 2016 | No Comments

We all know the adage that ‘the customer is always right’, but how do you & your staff really treat your customers? Here are our top 5 things to look for when training your staff in customer service…

First RE:Present Masterclass with Maria Balshaw

Posted by: on Mar 17, 2016 | No Comments

Last week, the first of the RE:Present Masterclasses took place at Aston Business School, with Dr Maria Balshaw CBE of the Whitworth in Manchester. A fantastic and inspiring evening, here are some collected tweets to show you what you missed!