It’s almost a common feeling, and often we hear people exclaim over a serious lack of talent in our country. Where have the name, fame, and creativity of our seniors faded away, we wonder? But, truth be told, if we probe around a bit, we would discover that the reality is otherwise. The talent is certainly there, but there’s simply a lack of medium to connect one to another.
In the yesteryears when education was meant for the privileged few, talent was recognised comparatively easily, because of the small group of people. Now, with an ever-growing population, keeping track of talent has become next to impossible. And this is where Bengal Creative Hub comes in; by creating an online platform where gifted individuals can list themselves handily.
The intelligent platform is run by Eeshita Azad, a creative individual herself, who realised the depth of the situation. Azad is currently the managing director of Bengal Creative Hub, and someone who believes that talent still flourishes in Bangladesh and it’s about time we gave these people some opportunity to shine.
Who is it for?
Bengal Creative Hub is for all creative youth, residing in any part of Bangladesh, who want to build their career in the creative world. The only criteria to join Bengal Creative Hub for any young person is to be a Bangladeshi.
What was the motivation behind the launch of Bengal Creative Hub?
Over the years, I have seen many creative young talents who yearn to work, practice and showcase their abilities, but end up leaving the creative sector due to the lack of proper networking, representation, and work opportunities.
Even though the creative industry is expanding, the growth is unstructured and not always inclusive/understanding of all creative professions and their development needs. Bengal Creative Hub (BCH) came to be from the core feeling of addressing and reaching the whole spectrum of creative people — innovative and tech-savvy designers, photographers, artists and craftsmen.
The aim was to provide them with an inclusive platform, not limited by geography and language i.e. making it bilingual (in English and Bangla) so that creative young people have a place to network and get to work outside their own city limits.
The site was completely created in-house to keep it simple and accessible via phone or desktop, with features resembling Facebook and LinkedIn, so that first time users feel a sense of familiarity from the very beginning.
In older days, the arts had a major influence on families; everybody tried their hand at least at one of the many art forms — writing, storytelling, theatre, painting, singing, etc. Do you think, with the passage of time, the culture perspective of Bangladesh has taken a backstage and the new generation of men and women have no interest in it whatsoever?
No, I do not feel so. On the contrary, I believe the arts and other creative forms of expressions are still as influential and necessary as yesteryears. However, due to lack of physical spaces to gather and celebrate the arts, this need has taken a virtual form. We only have to look into a young person’s social media footprint to see how much time he or she spends on sharing film, music, or pop culture anecdotes with friends.
Is it possible to help youngsters discover the beauty behind different types of art forms and revive the culture scene in Bangladesh?
Absolutely! Family, and society at large can play a huge part in bringing back this culture of ‘adda’ with a celebration of Bengali culture in the younger generation. It is our responsibility to bring back old school family and friends ‘adda’, and to create a safe and fun space for young people to share their songs, poetry, and other creative passions. Educational institutions need to support cultural clubs and events with more enthusiasm and allow freedom of expression. The birth of this nation took place based on cultural freedom and I believe it is ingrained in the Bangladeshi psyche, so it is not lost but currently hidden.
Does Bengal Creative Hub help network ‘deshi’ talent across borders? Do they get introduced to international platforms to showcase their talents?
BCH is a new platform and only started its journey last year. It is an online professional network for Bangladeshi creative people, overcoming geographical boundaries and making the platform accessible from anywhere in the world.
Think of it like this, an international event organiser looking for Bangladeshi performers or someone looking for designers or editors for their projects can simply look at the different array of creative professionals and their work on BCH, and choose to work with them without being limited by geography.
As the platform grows, I hope more and more Bangladeshi creative people will connect using our platform and vice versa, internationally.
Are there regular workshops at Bengal Creative hub to fine-tune talents?
While we know there are educational institutions providing academic or learning support to creative people, they are far and few. Most people in the creative line of work do not get the resources or training support they need — a thought, from which, I envisioned providing professional development resources as a core component of BCH.
We have already initiated a workshop series called ‘Artistic Arsenal,’ in partnership with EMK Center, where creative sector specialists engage in interactive sessions with participants. Writing, music, photography, TV presentation, podcasts will be in focus in the first few workshops, which we plan to expand based on the need of emerging and mid-level creative professionals.
What is the future for Bengal Creative hub? What can the young people expect from it in the future?
I look forward to a steady growth of the platform over the next few years. One of the key things creative professionals need is different work opportunities and career guidance. We plan to introduce an employment component where companies or organisations and creative professionals looking to work can find each other, as well as career counselling services as part of the whole support ecosystem so that creative professionals can develop their skills, and in turn, themselves, one individual at a time.
Anything else to say to our readers?
To all creative minds looking for access to the professitonal world or to showcase their talents in the form of an online portfolio, or just to stay connected to a virtual network of like-minded peers, join Bengal Creative Hub at www.bengalcreativehub.com
Interviewed by Mehrin Mubdi Chowdhury
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed