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AWUK Connect and AGM

AWUK Connect and AGM

On August 4 2020 we hosted our AGM followed by our first ever AWUK Connect online Networking event. 

In case you missed it, in the AGM we reviewed and approved the 2019 AGM Minutes, the AWUK Accounts and some changes to our Articles of Association.  Lou and Beth also provided a round up of everything we’ve been up to over the past year

Once the AGM finished the AWUK Connect event began and everyone was divided into small groups to start talking. In a recent survey, many of you told us that you were interested in AWUK-hosted networking events, so we designed AWUK Connect to help you meet new people while working remotely. 

As an icebreaker, everyone was invited to bring two items that represented something about their career and something about their personal lives to share with the group. The Show and Tell was a great way to get everyone talking and by breaking everyone into smaller groups for 2x 30 minutes we made sure everyone got to meet at least 5 or 6 new people. 

It was also great to see so many people from different parts of the UK who would normally not be able to meet in person! 

We were really thrilled that so many of you joined us and we intend to set up more virtual networking events in the future. Watch this space!

Posted by Lucy Cooper in Events, Homepage, News, 0 comments
Achieve Online | Connecting Members

Achieve Online | Connecting Members

Thanks to support from ScreenSkills, Marianne and I were able to conduct our first ever Achieve Online workshops over the last few weeks.

The format translated really well, making use of Zoom’s ‘room’ functionality for the breakout sessions allowing us to bring Achieve Programme content to our members through the UK from the comfort of their own homes.

We asked some of our participants to provide some feedback.

“At the moment, perhaps more than ever, we are craving connection and I was so impressed by the support and empathy shared in a brief one and a half hour workshop. When we’re all working from home in bedrooms, and at kitchen tables with children popping by, it creates a more personal experience which only enhanced the ability to share and learn.’

These are practical workshops and it was great to see how quickly the delegates were able to fully participate in this virtual way.

The small breakout rooms helped ensure that everyone had a voice, and that was certainly reflected in the feedback from delegates:

Achieve Online Workshop
Everyone had a chance to speak and feel included, you can’t shy away at the back of the room!’
‘I think it helped people to be a little more confident than they might have been in a room’ 
‘I had an incredible time and came away feeling super inspired!’
‘It was fantastic to be able to offer these workshops to AWUK members outside of London. From Belfast to Cornwall, Glasgow to Norfolk, there was a great geographical spread which added to the experience for everyone.’
In addition to adapting some of the content from the Helen North Achieve Programme for online delivery, it was exciting to be able to offer some brand new workshops on Managing your Virtual Communication and Thriving as a Freelance.
I have always been a fan of face to face communication, but I can see the benefits of being able to offer the Achieve Programme to more people, wherever you live. We are learning as we go and will build on the experience as we all adapt to this new way of working.
‘A huge thank you to everyone who helped make Achieve On-line a real success.’

We plan to run more of these sessions later in 2020, so keep your eyes peeled if you’re interested in joining.

You can find out more about Achieve Programme and our tutors here.

Jan Armstrong

Jan Armstrong is a Leadership development expert, Executive Coach and Trainer who designs and delivers the Helen North Achieve Programme for Animated Women UK.

Posted by Lucy Cooper in Achieve Programme, Education, Events, Homepage, News, 1 comment
Covid 19 – Helpful Resources for Employers, Employees and Freelancers

Covid 19 – Helpful Resources for Employers, Employees and Freelancers

The recent unprecedented Covid 19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown has presented many unique challenges to everyone.

As a board member of AWUK as well as an MD of a VFX company I’ve been wading through the ever-evolving policies and information with everyone else and thought it might be helpful to gather up some resources that have reliable information to try to help navigate the way through.

I’ve broken it out into sections.

Furlough

Until a few weeks ago I had no idea what furlough was.  Also known as The Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, gov.co.uk describes it as:

“If you and your employer both agree, your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is known as being ‘on furlough’. Your employer could pay 80% of your regular wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, up to a monthly cap of £2,500.

You’ll still be paid by your employer and pay taxes from your income. You cannot undertake work for your employer while on furlough.”

Employees

Check if you could be eligible for furlough here.

Employers

If you run a business, find out how to claim furlough support here.

Moore Kingston Smith has also compiled some really useful guidance for business owners into a Coronavirus Hub. 

Freelancers

If you’re freelance you’re not eligible for furlough, but might be eligible for a grant that offers similar support if you meet certain criteria.

Find out if you meet the criteria here.

The BFI have set up a new COVID-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund with the Film & TV Charity and a £1m donation from Netflix.  The new fund will provide emergency short-term relief to active workers and freelancers in the UK who have been directly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Other Helpful Resources

UK Screen Alliance

UK Screen Alliance and Animation UK have curated some really helpful information on their website which is being updated regularly.

They are also actively lobbying the government on behalf of our industries. 

Support

film and tv charity

The Film + TV Charity offers a 24/7 support line which is free and confidential. You can contact them on 0800 054 0000 or visit the website to access their live chat service.

HMRC has also set up a phone helpline to support businesses and self-employed people who are concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus (Covid-19). The helpline allows any business or self-employed individual who is concerned to get practical help and advice. You can call them on 0800 0159 559.

I hope some of these resources are helpful.

There’s a lot going on.

juggling

Many people are juggling homeschooling and childcare or other caring responsibilities with home working – often with multiple people working at home.  On top of this, we all have people we’re worried about due to their age, health or occupation. Try to find time for you in amongst all of this.

Make use of the hour a day we’re allowed to exercise outside or lock yourself away for 20 minutes of yoga (try Yoga with Adriene – free and lovely) or book reading or a bath!

Yoga with Adriene

Try to keep in touch with your peers and colleagues.  It’s incredibly helpful to know we’re all in this together.

Lucy

by Lucy Cooper – non-executive director of AWUK and MD of Union

Find out more about our board and volunteers here.

Disclaimer: Please note this blog is a summary signposting resources. AWUK are not experts and cannot offer advice.  

Posted by Lucy Cooper in News, 0 comments
Support for Students during COVID-19

Support for Students during COVID-19

As a result of COVID-19 many students, who were looking forward to finishing their studies and celebrating graduation this year, are now faced with an uncertain future resulting from university closures. Although academic institutions are now adapting to support their students through distance learning and online feedback, the reality is many individuals have lost access to vital facilities needed to complete their work. This in turn has created a sense of unease regarding how the soon-to-be VFX and Animation graduates will find opportunities in the creative industries.

The positive news is that recruitment is continuing with many companies still on the lookout for new talent. As the industry adapts to new ways of working remotely, so in turn must students. Luckily, a large number of organisations, companies and individuals have stepped up to provide free access to online events, tutorials and free software to help students in need. AWUK Education has compiled a list of these resources, plus other tips, and will continue to seek more ways of supporting this year’s graduates during this challenging time.

Working From Home

Working from home sounds like a brilliant setup, however it can also come with difficulties such as de-motivation and home-life distractions. This article from Times Higher Education outlines a number of useful tips, including co-ordinating group chats using Skype or Zoom and organising a functional work space.

AVFX Podcast

Career Advice

ACCESS:VFX is a non-profit industry led organisation that aims to promote diversity and inclusion within VFX and Animation. Check out the ACCESS:VFX website for information on careers and employment, plus the opportunity to sign up for Pro Online Mentor for feedback on your work. Give the podcast a listen for professional industry advice, such this recent episode on wellbeing and mental health.

Online Tutorials

This is the perfect time to delve into the world of online tutorials. Now more than ever, professional creatives (such as Aaron Blaise) are actively sharing their processes and techniques for the benefit of others. Explore platforms such as SkillShare, Skwigly and YouTube for inspiration and get adding new skills to your CV.

Screen Skills Online Events

ScreenSkills have launched a free package of remote training, workshops and talks led by industry professionals. The events tend to sell out very quickly, we recommend following Screen Skills social media to be the first to find out when the next events are scheduled.

Attend a Virtual Festival

Sadly many animation and VFX festivals have been forced to postpone events this year, however the good news is that many have chosen to stream films online. Keep a look for upcoming events, such as Cardiff Animation Nights and SXSW, and enjoy a virtual festival from the comfort of your sofa. Other fantastic sites to watch films and inspirational talks include The National Film Board of Canada, She Drew That and It’s Nice That.

Discover Free Software

VFX artist, Jonas Almeida, has put together this very handy Google Doc listing over 200 free software available for the creative industry. Magnum entertainment have also created an updating list for every free event technology training class, tutorial and workshop currently available.

AWUK Ed Resources

We have a fantastic list of inspirational books, websites and podcasts to keep you busy. Join our closed facebook community and get networking with other students, graduates and academics.

Seek Support From Your University

Finally, if you are struggling with any aspect of academic work or mental health issues, many universities now have a dedicated support service to help students navigate their learning. If you are concerned about anything, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your institution for advice. You can also contact the AWUK education team  education@animatedwomenuk.com

By Helen Piercy, AWUK Education Advisor

Posted by Lucy Cooper in Education, News, 0 comments
AWUK members feature in work/life balance article in 3D World

AWUK members feature in work/life balance article in 3D World

Our members spoke about some of the difficulties in trying to find more time and energy for yourself in the latest issue of the magazine.

AWUK Work:Life balance

Clockwise from top left: Abi Cadogan, DNEG, AWUK board member Anna Gregory, Isobel Stenhouse, Sophie Jackson, Netflix.

You may have seen that Animated Women UK board member Georgina Hurcombe recently spoke about her journey founding her own company, LoveLove Films in 3D World magazine – we’re happy to share that we’ve been featured again, this time with a round-table type interview featuring several of our members!

Abi Cadogan (Senior VFX Editor, Dneg), AWUK board member Anna Gregory, Sophie Jackson (VFX Co-ordinator, Netflix), Isobel Stenhouse (freelance Production Manager/Line Producer) all spoke to Jolien Buijis, (Production Co-ordinator, Union) about the challenges they’ve faced in trying to achieve the perfect work/life balance as well as provide some top tips and insights on what’s helped them take back their precious time.

Thanks again to our friends at 3D World for publishing the interview and for kindly providing us with a PDF for our members to read!
AWUK Work:Life balance - 3D World

You can read issue 255 now in all good newsagents!

Posted by Lucy Cooper in Homepage, News, 0 comments