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Students use creative talents to boost north-east businesses

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Published on 06 June 2022

Emily Butterfield (left) and Professor Arabella Plouviez
Emily Butterfield (left) and Professor Arabella Plouviez

Art and design students at the University of Sunderland are using their talents to help boost businesses across the north-east through an exciting new creative agency.

Sunderland Creatives Agency is a student-led business set up by the University in partnership with Creo Comms, a Sunderland-based communications consultancy that is overseeing students’ work and providing authentic work experience. 

The agency offers creative services to businesses across the region, supporting with everything from brand development, design and videography to social media management, public relations and podcast content. 

Delivered by a gifted roster of students, the agency not only provides those at the start of their careers with valuable, paid work experience, but offers affordable creative services to businesses, with the confidence that the work has been checked and sometimes guided by industry professionals. 

Academic Dean for Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries at the University of Sunderland, Professor Arabella Plouviez, said: “This agency is an extraordinary innovation, which gives businesses access to exciting and emerging talent and provides our students with a real head-start in their careers. This is an exciting collaboration with Creo Comms and it has huge potential both for students and for business.”

Since the launch of the agency, students from Sunderland’s Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries have engaged in a number of client briefs, including MA Design student, Emily Butterfield. Emily completed illustrations of Miss Beats, a mascot for the Red Sky Foundation – a charity that supports life-saving work for babies, children and adults who are born with or who develop heart conditions – which will be used across marketing materials. 



Emily said: “I would definitely recommend students to get involved with the agency. It’s a fantastic paid opportunity and allows you to experience what life after university could be like. As well as producing artwork and building my portfolio, it is also helping to boost my confidence and communication skills with clients.”

Sergio Petrucci, founder of the Red Sky Foundation and Sunderland graduate, added: “I needed some local help on a few projects and Emily has been, and is continuing to be, a great asset for our charity. The services are affordable, and the illustrations Emily delivered are fantastic. We will definitely be continuing to use Sunderland Creatives Agency and recommending their services to our clients.”

Students who sign up get the opportunity to experience agency life and work from the Creo Comms offices on Foyle Street, alongside Sunderland Creatives Agency officer and Sunderland graduate, Adam Low, to help with the smooth running of the agency and build client relationships. 

Louise Bradford, managing director of Creo Comms, who also studied at Sunderland and was an academic tutor at the University before launching her own business in 2014, said: “As a student, it was really during work placements that everything clicked and I connected the theory with the practice of comms, so it’s brilliant to be able to support students to gain experience and build their confidence, while also helping businesses to develop really polished content and materials.  

“It’s been brilliant to get Sunderland Creatives Agency off the ground and see the talent, enthusiasm and professionalism of the students we have engaged so far.  I’m excited to see the agency grow.”

Find out more about Sunderland Creatives Agency here.

If you’re a business interested in finding out more, email info@sunderlandcreatives.agency or call 0191 562 3134.