Amber Creswell Bell, Writer & Curator
Dear Amber Creswell Bell, we don't know how you do it all as a curator, writer, creative hustler (and mum of three!), but we're so glad you do. You are a Make Nice lady for life and we love having you on the team. Thank you for your wisdom.
What do you do?
Primarily I am a freelance writer, focussed on the art, design and lifestyle genres. Because I like to step away from the laptop occasionally I also curate quarterly art exhibitions. This is a way for me to work with artists, galleries and the art buying public and gives me a forum to champion and promote the work of local artists – both emerging and established. I get a HUGE amount of enjoyment from these shows.
And lastly, I am a ‘creative hustler’ – which is the term I apply to everything else! This might include niche PR activities for companies in my field, or connecting creatives with photographers, stylists, film makers, web designers, illustrators and the like.
I often work with artists or creative businesses, helping them to establish their brands – including collateral, copy, social media, content and promotion. All up – I am a professional “slashie”.
Do you have a maxim that you live and work by?
I have three!
1). Nothing will make you feel better except doing the damn work
2). Say yes – work the rest out later!
3). The best opportunities don’t come to you – you need to seek them out and make them happen for yourself
What are the three milestones that have led you to where you stand?
Giving up my previous corporate career was instrumental. It was a hard decision to give up a job where I was paid well and climbing the so-called ladder, and then putting myself into a precarious employment situation – but I was desperately unhappy and change was essential.
Going back and doing some extra study at night in design helped me manoeuvre my career to where I wanted to be. I don’t practice what I learnt in any way per se, but it mentally gave me ‘permission’ to talk about it! This study led to my first non-corporate job.
My first non-corporate job was with designer/ TV personality Jamie Durie. In this role I was wearing so many hats! Designing a gardening iPhone app for North America, writing content for web, magazines and books, research, assisting with styling – you name it! This job taught me a lot and gave me confidence to immerse myself into this industry more comfortably. It was the leg up I needed, and it was fun.
What are you listening to, reading, watching of late, that is inspiring or entertaining you?
Oh gosh, a bit of everything. I’m constantly distracted by the kids when it comes to this. But, I am a terrible sleeper – so I sometimes use the small hours to listen to pod casts. Currently working my way through ‘After the Jump’ with Grace Bonney (by Heritage Radio Network), dabbling with Ted Talks and This American Life. I am reading a book called Creating Cities by Marcus Westbury and about to start Chapter One by Daniel Flynn (co-founder of Thankyou). And I’m always hoarding beautiful coffee table books. And I rather like gardening blogs.
What is one facet of your field that you want to see change?
I think in this field and all others – women need to be paid the same as men. There is no social or biological reason that I can think of that should mean males get paid more. And access to quality childcare that doesn’t require paying such a chunk of what you earn just so you can work.
How can we find our more about your work?
What is your dream project?
I want to say that I am constantly working on my dream projects, every day. But my goal would be to one day curate an exhibition of emerging Australian art and take it to the UK and USA.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
I have just finished writing my first book, which comes out in October 2016. I am also curating 2 exhibitions for later in the year.
I have literally just given birth to my third child, so I’ll be playing mum for a bit – the nicest job of all. ALWAYS multitasking 24/7!
If you could choose to hear any female contemporary present at Make Nice, who would it be and why?
Too many to mention!? I always love listening to women who have started their own businesses or created their own opportunities.
What is the best advice you’ve been given, or wish you had been told sooner?
Do what you love, and you are more likely to succeed.
Do you have a supportive female network in your field? Was it always this way?
YES! A very large and supportive network of clever women in fact. I always found corporate life to be male-driven, and full of egos and hierarchy. Working in creative circles now, surrounded by people doing what they love – I have never felt that I have so many amazing people in my midst to call on personally and professionally. I am inspired constantly.