Emma Redfern, aged 24, from Sheffield, home-educated herself after leaving school because of bullying and anxiety. She ultimately found a more creative education that suited her and has since founded Studio Self-Made, a creative online education platform that offers digital internships to enhance creative portfolios with practical work experience through a network of small businesses.
“Inspired by my own struggles with anxiety, I launched Studio Self-Made as an online immersive education platform designed to equip young people with the tools they need to take care of their mental health whilst pursuing a career that sparks joy.”
Emma’s lived experience of bullying and anxiety was linked to being in a high pressure education environment whilst dealing with issues at home. She left school during Year 9 and homeschooled herself for 9 months before finding a creative and arts education in a specialised learning environment, which helped her achieve academic and career success.
During her fashion degree she was unable to take on a traditional work placement due to the cost of living and working an unpaid, full time role in a different city. This spurred her to use the placement year to test out her own business idea. The Calming Club is a creative, self-care brand and product range-during the pandemic she sold over 1,500 products to more than 15 countries.
She now wants to use these skills to equip young people with knowledge, experience and confidence to help them navigate personal and professional challenges.
Creative thinking is a core skill needed for the modern world, helping communities and individuals challenge traditional beliefs and develop solutions for problems such as climate change, discrimination, and economic crisis.
Over the last decade, the government has developed the curriculum to have a greater focus on academic subjects and grade-focused learning which has had a negative impact on students’ opportunities to pursue artistic interests within their studies.
Since 2014, there has been a 28.1% decline in students studying creative subjects at GCSE.
“A common misconception amongst educators and students is that creativity solely relates to art and culture. Creative thinking is a core skill needed for the modern world, helping communities and individuals challenge traditional beliefs and develop solutions.”
The bold idea
Studio Self-Made is a creative online education platform that supports creative young people in their transition from education to the working world.
It offers digital internships to enhance creative portfolios with practical work experience.
Studio Self-Made supplements its digital internship programme with an online community offering for creatives from diverse backgrounds, where they can connect with a network of small businesses and enterprises looking to offer employment opportunities.
Emma’s goal is to build a creative ecosystem that nurtures young creatives; offering students career opportunities and encouraging them to support the next generation of artists, designers and creators through mentorship and employment opportunities inthe future.
Ultimately, she wants to empower young people to pursue their dream careers withconfidence and inspiration.
“I want to equip 16-25-year-olds with positive role models that prove pursuing a creative career is possible, no matter what background they come from.”
Together we can make big change
Become a Striver
Strive is a movement. It’s about people challenging themselves, connecting with a like-minded network and creating a better future for young people.
Become a Supporter
By donating to Big Change you’ll help us to support all young people, regardless of their background or circumstances, to thrive in life, not just exams. Your support is needed now more than ever.
Become a Partner
You could be a business, trust or foundation. If you’re passionate about working towards a more hopeful future by providing either financial or non-financial support, we’d love to chat.