Alumni stories

Bec Bignell – Founding a remote creative agency

3 September 2020

A childhood in the bush presents the ideal opportunity to cultivate an active imagination and fully immerse in creative opportunities. The wide-open spaces and vivid shape shifting, nature of regional Australia makes for hours of endless inspiration.

Add a sprinkle of entrepreneurial spirit (inherent in people living outside city centres) and creativity is free to flourish in a wild and unique way that is much like the bush itself.  I’ve always been surrounded by extremely creative regional story tellers and was encouraged to tap into my own creativity from a young age. However, I was devastated to learn that the creative ambition I had in mind was only attainable in the city.

After school I resolved to skill up and get the experience that I needed in the big smoke with an intent to eventually support regional creatives by sharing creative connections and opportunities in the hope that I could help increase creative access so people wouldn’t have to leave their communities to pursue what they love.

When I was working in the city, it became increasingly apparent as to why we continually see stereotypes, clichés and misrepresentations that inhibit regional Australia from explicitly cutting through. The nuance and progressive nature of regional Australia is not explored because the people telling the stories are mainly city people who are not familiar with the depth of experience as they only dip in and out, capturing the surface level story that is often more a structured narrative than an authentic account.

Seemingly this is a result of the access and opportunity being primarily available in the city, so it was a natural next step to build a remote creative agency representing regional, rural, remote talent from all over the nation.

In 2017 founded Rural Room to circulate #storiesfromthesticks in creative, multi-media formats to large audiences (city and country) and represent a pool of talent (the Rural Room Media Stringers Network) with specialised skills in areas such as photography, writing, videography, design, art, performance, journalism, filmmaking, podcasting. We’ve had the pleasure of working with incredible businesses on amazing projects. The creative talent is extraordinary; there’s a spectrum of experience ranging from emerging creatives through to experts and we’ve developed pathway systems to enable the creatives to learn from each other and grow their skills collectively.

As we represent a range of different creative sectors the network enables creatives to collaborate together and given, we set up the business as a remote operation from the start the creatives are able to work together on opposite sides of the country. The creatives themselves get a lot of value from the connection and support they get from each other because it can sometimes be a bit lonely being a creative in a small community.

Employing regional creatives not only gives them an opportunity to take control of the way the regional story is told; it also means campaign money is funnelled into local economies. There’s also a positive flow on affect whereby people in the community are inspired by the things they see our Media Stringers participating in and they can visualise the future opportunity for themselves, allowing them to dream big. We also create major flagship productions to tell regional stories in mass media forms (such as film and television) which enables us to employ regional creatives and show our work in action on a major scale – we’ve got an exciting new series launching at the end of this year!

Strangely, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an ever-increasing workload as more city organisations have been compelled to employ remote creatives on the ground due to travel restrictions. We’re about to launch a nation-wide recruitment drive to expand the network so please contact us if you’re a regional creative. If you’re a business looking tell your story or refresh your brand please consider our regional creatives before defaulting to a city agency, not only will we shower a lot of love into your project but you’ll also be empowering people on the ground!

Bec Bignell: Rural Room, ARLP C25