Acclaimed British film director Ken Loach has been named guest speaker at an event focusing on support for creative businesses in the West Midlands.
Mr Loach, who last year won the coveted Palme d'Or at Cannes for The Wind that Shakes the Barley, will be talking about his career at the Creative Industries Convention this Thursday.
The event at Millennium Point, which has been organised by the University of Central England's Technology Innovation Centre (TIC), will showcase the support available to creative firms in the West Midlands. It is also supported by the Learning and Skills Council and regional development agency Advantage West Midlands.
The convention is an extension to the TIC's monthly Creative Networks meetings, which aim to increase the number of collaborations between the region's creative firms.
Founded in 2004, the monthly meeting gathers between 100 to 200 creative community professionals and operates as a collaborative hub for screen, sound and interactive media.
Nuneaton-born Loach has spent over 40 years directing for both film and television. His credits include early episodes of 1960s television classic Z-Cars, the television play Cathy Come Home and Kes. He was also awarded a Fellowship at the 2006 BAFTA Awards.
The TIC’s head of screen, sound and interactive media, Steve Smith said: "The Creative Industries Convention and our regular Creative Networks meetings are vital to generating collaborative partnerships – as well as providing a route to skills and business development support.
"With so many potential new business opportunities to be discovered, attendance is essential for West Midlands creative businesses."
The opening afternoon session in TIC’s boardroom will include a LSC Forum for Further and Higher Education training providers, which will discuss how to improve training delivery in the region.
Many individuals in the creative industries operate as freelance and, the LSC said, many are in need of sharpening their operations management and business development skills.
In the evening the event is open to all creative businesses operating within the West Midlands region – this includes those firms based in Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country, Coventry and Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
Events will include a networking session and AWM's Screen Image and Sound Forum.
The regional development agency currently has a #1.2 million screen, image and sound budget which is intended to support and grow a cluster of creative businesses in the region.
Cluster manager, Susi O’Neill said: "This AWM forum is an opportunity to find out who we are, what we do and what projects we have invested in. Delegates can also have their say as to how we can best work with them to improve the bottom line of their businesses."
Steve Smith, from the TIC, said he was delighted to welcome Ken Loach to the event.
He added: "This convention is a unique opportunity for the creative community to connect with each other and the Region’s main skills and support organisations."