10 Minutes With Angelica Bomford

Each week I spend 10 minutes with someone from the cultural-sector-meets-digital and ask them about their career, opinions, and what’s on their radar.

This week I spoke with Angelica Bomford.

Angelica Bomford, Communications & Content Manager at Creative Industries Federation

One of the most important professional skills to have is empathy, especially with the cultural and creative industries, which are all about people. 

☕ Tea or coffee?

I’m drinking a rose Yogi tea: I love these – they have little quotes on the label, and today’s is “The principal ingredient of life is love” which seems like a good mantra to live by. I’ve got an extensive collection of herbal teas.

💼 About your career and where you are now: accidental or intentional?

Probably accidental with a bit of intention: I went to university wanting to be a film composer, so I studied Music. I was passionate about it; my dream was to be the youngest woman to win an Oscar for a film score! Throughout my studies at Cardiff University, however, I got more and more interested in the wider cultural and creative sectors and started taking more theoretical courses like Music and Philosophy. That’s how I got interested in opera and other disciplines that comprised multiple art forms in one.

After my undergraduate degree I did a Master’s degree in Cultural Policy and Management at City University in London. That’s where I started developing my passion for digital technologies, and specifically how they can help the creative sector, so I focused a lot of my research into how digital technologies have helped democratising opera and classical music. 

During my MA, I worked for a streaming company, then moved to PR before joining the English National Opera where I was their Digital Communications Manager. It was an amazing role, it was basically my MA dissertation in a job: working in democratising opera and breaking down barriers. I moved to the Creative Industries Federation a few years later where I’ll be until July when I’m moving to another job! 

📚 Describe your current job

I look after Communications and Marketing at the Creative Industries Federation: we are the UK’s membership organisation for the creative industries. We do a lot of lobbying on behalf of the sector to government, and we act as a convener for the creative sector. We span all the sub-sectors of the creative industries.

My role has a lot to do with rallying our membership, bringing them together on the campaigns that we run. It’s been important – especially over this past year – for the creative sector to feel like they have a voice. So much of the creative industries has been hit so hard by the pandemic, and the Federation has an important role in communicating just how vital the sector is, and will be as we build back post-Covid. 

🤩 What are you working on right now that you’re particularly enjoying?

I’ve just finished a campaign I was really passionate about called the #DiscoverProperJobs campaign. The Federation is a partner in the Creative Careers program, which provides information about creative careers and how young people can access those careers. 

The #DiscoverProperJobs campaign ran in March and was intended to break down common myths and misconceptions about creative careers: we had 20 young people who had started out in different jobs in the creative sector, who busted myths about those careers. 

We did interviews and ran a social media campaign where we used statistics to break down those myths: for instance, there is a misconception that there aren’t a lot of jobs in the creative sectors, but there are more than 2 million jobs at the moment. Another one is the salary: actually, the average salary in the creative industries is £30k, whereas the UK national average is £25k. It was a meaningful campaign for me because when I was young I didn’t know much about jobs in the creative sector, and wished there had been more information out there. 

📣 What’s happening in the industry that’s on your radar?

There’s the online version of Romeo and Juliet at the National Theatre that I absolutely loved. A lot of people are talking about the move over to digital for theatre especially, and I think it’s a very exciting area (especially with my background in streaming, and in using digital technologies to make the arts more accessible). The National Theatre managed to take it up a notch because it wasn’t just a streaming of a theatre production, it was a film, created specifically for an audience in a pandemic, which was absolutely wonderful.

I also really like the Digital Culture Network, who are a brilliant network to keep you up to date with the digital things going on in the industry. Google Arts & Culture are also doing very cool things. 

📖 Anything you’d recommend to read/watch/listen to?

Two books I’ve been loving recently are The Secret Lives of Colour by Kassia Sinclair, which talks about the history of hues and colours, and The Importance of Music to Girls, by Lavinia Greenlaw, which is a collection of stories around how music matches with our lives and its stages.

I’ve also enjoyed listening to the podcast OneOfThe8, which is about real life people sharing their stories from across the globe. And finally, I like the Reply All podcast, which is about how people shape the Internet and how the Internet shapes people. 

💡 What advice would you give someone who would like to do what you do?

One of the most important professional skills to have is empathy, especially with the cultural and creative industries, which are all about people. I think being able to relate to people, and have a good relationship with them is so vital to be successful. A lot of what I do is talking with people – finding out their story and being able to put yourself in their shoes is so important for creating strong, meaningful, and effective content and campaigns. 

Also, being able to roll with whatever life throws at you and being open to possibilities is important: I would never have thought that I would be where I am right now when I wanted to be a film composer, but I’m so happy that I am. 

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