A New Angle: the Clear Water founders on shaking up creative education

Built in lockdown, the online mentoring platform and learning resource offers an alternative way to build creative skills that is more accessible and adaptable.

19 January 2021
Reading Time
3 minute read

A New Angle is a new editorial series that aims to give a platform to creative industry changemakers who make it their mission to disrupt the status quo. Each week we’ll chat to a person or team doing important work in the sector, making it a fairer place, championing vital causes, supporting underrepresented groups and tackling pertinent issues facing creatives everywhere.

This week we meet Imi Read and Benji Reeves, founders of Clear Water, a new mentoring platform and educational resource for creatives. After the pandemic closed universities and threw the future of creative education into question, the duo – Read, a creative entrepreneur and Reeves, a writer, producer and creative – saw an opportunity to shake up a traditional sector in stasis. The platform hopes to make creative learning more accessible, affordable and adaptable to today’s industry.

It’s Nice That: What is your mission, and what about the creative industry are you hoping to change?

Benji Reeves: Our mission is to improve the creative education industry. Picking flaws in the industry and amending it by taking a new, fresh, technological approach to modernising outdated systems. We're in a unique position at the intersection of education and technology to build a better learning experience for creatives, both emerging and established.

INT: Tell us a bit about your background and what led you to this point.

Imi Read: Clear Water was created as a spontaneous experiment during lockdown. We met around two years ago when I joined the team at Cortex. With the demand for online learning becoming apparent back in March, we discussed creating an education division within Cortex. With a diverse community of creatives at our fingertips, we were keen to explore how we could harness and empower them to share their knowledge. However, it became apparent pretty quickly that this had the potential to take on a life of its own, which called for a new company.

We sprinted through a month of development and launched our minimum viable product in July with two online courses and ten creative mentors. This was the perfect period of experimentation, and since then we've been in stealth mode as we strategise the next step in our vision.

INT: What are the major challenges you’re facing, and why?

BR: Creative education has been static for a long time. Like many new companies, our job is to shine a light on a new lane of possibility. Luckily, we're striking at a unique moment in time where online learning is being championed globally. We'll be unearthing the pitfalls of the current climate for creative learning and through this, we'll be introducing a new perspective. One of the largest challenges we face is building an online learning experience that is valued as much as traditional methods of education. Just how you'd put a university degree on your CV, we want the same impact through Clear Water. This could be seen as a challenge, but reframing it as an opportunity creates room for growth and change in an industry we love.

INT: How are you tackling these challenges?

IR: We're championing technology because we believe it gives us the freedom to empower a global community of creatives in the most accessible way possible. We’re building a platform that makes booking one-to-one mentoring sessions simple. Also, we're focused on producing the best online creative courses, mentoring programs, and workshops with leading professionals and companies.

INT: How can the creative industry help your mission?

IR: We're in the early stages of seeking investment, so for any investors who are looking to invest in creative education and technology, reach out to chat.

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About the Author

Jenny Brewer

Jenny joined the editorial team as It’s Nice That’s first news editor in April 2016. Having studied 3D Design, she has spent over a decade working in design journalism. Contact her with news stories relating to the creative industries on jb@itsnicethat.com.

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