Creative Jam Session Fills Void For Europe's Minority Creative Voices
Fostering Inclusivity In The Amsterdam Creative Industries
Creative Jam Session is a community founded by Omena Ukeleghe who discovered that despite Amsterdam’s vibrant creative community, there was no space for diverse professionals to meet, network, share and collaborate.
Once a month on Sunday the network comes together through a series of events, featuring talks and panels hosted by diverse members of the Amsterdam creative community. Each event serves as a safe and collaborative space to open up and discuss themes ranging from mental health to racism in the workplace to building resilience.
After seven months successfully road testing the laid back Sunday afternoon event format at Soho House, Omena realised CJS had built an essential community for people seeking a safe space to Jam together on ideas and important themes with less formality of a formal event or networking evening.
Creative Jam Session has quickly become an essential new pillar in Amsterdam’s journey to reaching its potential as the leading inclusive European creative industries hub. Historically, the city’s creative identity combines a legacy of Dutch design, a progressive reputation and boom of international businesses accelerated by BREXIT. In the wake of Covid and Black Lives Matter, Amsterdam’s creative community is having to reassess its role, not just as a global hub for the creative industries, but also as an environment where diverse talent and voices can thrive. This is where CJS is playing a vital role.
Creative Jam Session founder, Omena Ukeleghe says, "We are excited to announce the launch of our new brand identity and social media launch. Reintroducing our members to CJS has been 4 months in the making with the creative magic and support from We Are Pi. We now have a brand identity which strengthens our core values and affirms our future plans for the network within the creative and Amsterdam communities."
Branding That Represent A Fresh Perspective On D&I
Creative Jam Session worked with founding member and past speaker Alex Bennett-Grant and the team at We Are Pi to develop the brand strategy and branding design.
The branding represents the ‘jam’ of diverse perspectives. The monogram comes together in a variety of playful typographic compositions — pairing simple sans-serifs with a colourful range of pastel hues for a fresh, contemporary aesthetic.
We Are Pi Founder and CEO Alex Bennett Grant adds, "Most D&I language today still draws from historic references, but the way we talk about culture, identity, and difference is changing. Creative Jam Session represents a new wave of D&I networks that take a more informal and intimate approach to their events and discussions, and that’s exactly the energy we wanted to capture in the development of the brand."
Events Where People Come To Jam
The events have an intimate and laid back vibe to match the Sunday afternoon environment people are looking for, reflecting something closer to extended family-time than formal industry events. Walking in people are invited to feel like part of a tight-knit community rather than a professional network. The live music, food and drink helps set the tone.
Creative Jam Session member, Maxine Penney says: "I joined CJS because I felt that there was a need to be part of a community that had more diversity. I’ve been working for over 7 years in the creativity industry in AMS and I had not seen a network like it. The impact has been huge, I feel completely connected to a group of people who truly understand where I am coming from.”
Past Events include:
Resilience & Rumination; Guest speakers reflected on maintaining professional resilience and methods to manage goal setting and personal rumination.
CJS x BHM; A special-edition celebration of Black History Month and all the creative talent and diversity in Amsterdam.
Coming Up this month:
CJS x BLM 26th July 2020, 2-7PM, Soho House Amsterdam
Systemic racism persists in our schools, offices, court system, police departments, and elsewhere. Why? Think about it - when white people occupy most positions of decision-making power, people of colour have a difficult time getting a fair shake, let alone getting ahead. Our panel will explore the big picture of how systematic racism and racial inequality operates within the creative industry, discussing ways to both recognise it and help to dismantle it.
- Arthur Kibbelaar (Moderator); Senior Dutch Policy Advisor, writer & speaker
- Maxine Penney; Connector, Storyteller, radio co-host & founder of FreshhhConnections
- Sunny Jansen, Activist, Agent and DJ
- Nadine Ridder, Creative strategist, writer and founder of blog We Are All Activists
- Kieran Kenlock, Digital strategist at Wieden + Kennedy & co-founder of Out of Home podcast
- Paul Scheffer; Author, columnist and a professor at Tilburg University