Our very own Creative Director Sarah Clackson tells us about her experience at Werkhouse 2022…

Recently I had the delight of being a roving Creative Director again for Werkhouse. This was my third time, and I always come away feeling so inspired and proud of the journey I see people go on. It really is amazing what you can achieve in a 48hr creative whirlwind! 

For those who don’t know, Werkhouse is a fantastic weekend experience for any young creative wanting to get a taste of real studio life, work on a live brief and meet a bunch of lovely people. It’s not only a deep dive into creative and interpersonal skills, but also a great opportunity to soak up years of expertise, advice and guidance too. And it’s all held in the beautiful space of Taxi Studio in Bristol.

Day one kicked off with 35 eager participants and 21 joyous design professionals meeting for the first time. There is always a wave of anticipation and excitement in the air, everyone wondering who the client might be or what brief will be set, as no one knows beforehand.

This year the brief was for a cause very close to my heart. It was the charity Penny Brohn UK who provide free care and support to anyone affected by cancer, before, during or after treatment. 

After the client briefing, team leaders get to spend time with their team to digest the brief before the roving CDs take it in turns to offer direction. As you move from group to group you see the flurry of post-its and wild ideas forming as a collective, it truly is amazing to watch! I find my role as CD so rewarding as I love helping people develop and shape their ideas so they can see what they are producing has relevance and purpose. And if I feel someone might be struggling to find their voice, I try to encourage them to open up and share their thoughts. The whole experience is very nourishing.

The best part for me is on day two when the teams present back to the client and the whole of Werkhouse. When you think about it, that’s over 50 people! There’s no way I could have done that when I was younger, but somehow everyone found the confidence to stand up and get involved. The imagination, creativity and amount of thought that went into each presentation was a moment to be proud of. From theatrical reveals to transporting you somewhere with the sand between your toes, the individuality of each team’s concept came to life beautifully.

Werkhouse is something very special and unique, with every design professional involved donating their time and money in order to give back to the next generation of budding creatives. In fact, in 2017, two of our current design team had a place on the very first weekend – one being a junior designer here at Home and the other a second-year student who previously interned with us. Five years on, and both with blossoming careers, I’m sure they’ll agree it’s such a valuable learning experience you will not find anywhere else. 

Click the images to take a look at some photos from the weekend!