“Here to give emerging creatives their first paid commissions and a space to cry”
30 September 2020
In this meeting, we chatted to David Adesanya from Failsafe, a collective of eight young creatives who stumbled across one another at the beginning of their careers. Their recent Kickstarter campaign to fund their latest zine project has been extremely successful. Described as a ‘A handbook about creative failure, made for and by emerging artists looking for solidarity and their first paid commissions,’ it is to be published in early November.
I myself came across Failsafe for the first time at a networking event eponymously titled ‘Failsafe,’ which was a fantastic opportunity to meet other young creatives through interactive tasks, ‘speed dating’ with questions about aspects of your creative process as prompts, and group brainstorming sessions. It stuck in my mind as one of the only networking events I’ve ever been to where I met people who genuinely seemed interested in what I did and, more than that, I felt excited at the opportunity to collaborate with such like-minded individuals. It was certainly the only networking event where I left with everybody’s Instagram contacts as the result of a wonderful initiative from the Failsafe team, who got everyone to write their handles down to avoid that awkward moment where you meet loads of really interesting people and leave having felt too shy to ask for any of their details to follow up with.
David explained Failsafe’s origins, their networking event, and the fantastic opportunities Failsafe is creating for young creatives.
Where the collective first met:
“We initially met two years ago on a photography project called ‘What is your London’ and now all of us are creatives in our own right, working in different industries. For example, I work in architecture and advocacy, but a number of us work within film,
creativity, writing, and photography etc. So we all came together on this challenge to document what our London was.
And we exhibited it at a place called protein studios in Shoreditch, and it was kind of our first time kind of working together.”
How they continued collaborating:
“we began to kind of work on different projects throughout that time. We got picked up by the BBC and started collaborating with organisations like Magnum photos. Once we had our first exhibition, we were like, ‘Okay, how do we continue this steam?’ And so we went to work with Magnum photos on a brief called strangers and basically documenting what strangers meant to us. And again, using our different mediums to be able to do that.”
Failsafe’s networking event:
“we wanted to kind of create community for others to feel comfortable cloud testing and experiment and as we did, and so we ran a workshop called ‘Failsafe.’ And we initially put it out there to creative organisations to spread the word about how we were trying to make people feel more comfortable in their early entry into the creative sector. And initially, we had like, 50 spaces. And then like, in the end, it was like 200 people who were just really interested in wanting to explore this question.
At the event, we had an ‘agony aunt’ where people could write down their concerns and drop them into a box. And we were able to answer the concerns by opening them up to everyone in the session. This was that first reality of a community that we were so interested in, like the things that we were trying to build. And so we began to kind of take this further, and that’s kind of how we lead into the winter of 2020. We began to think okay, ‘how do we solidify this? How do we kind of like build this community beyond just the workshop?’
Progressing beyond the networking event:
We have support from Create Jobs and Mayor’s For London and organisations like that, so we thought ‘okay, we actually have organisations here ready to support us.’ So the team became not One Five [their original name, when the team was initially 15 people], but Failsafe, which was eight of us. Me, Timi, Dubheasa, Eric, Naila, Maria, Marcella, Rachal, and again, like all of us working from working in different creative sectors, but be able to kind of unite together to get that created.”
Failsafe’s brand image:
“It involved a lot of trial and error! It was very much everyone contributing different ideas. And it got to the point where we were getting somewhere with a type of colour scheme, a type of font…and we just built that design guideline. We decided it’s not going to be strict, but it’s going to be something that we lean on. And I think that’s really good for when you’re hiring out others, so for example when we are hiring designers, or editors, or writers, they kind of understand the language of our work. So yeah, that was something that we had to just implement, but it did take time.”
Want to find out more? Give @failsafe a follow on Instagram…