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Valuing Yourself

Group of people sitting in a room facing a screen and 4 people people sitting on a panel

How do we make sure we’re being true to ourselves in professional settings? This session explored techniques on self-value and dealing with challenges in a professional context.

Did you catch the first session of the 2022 Creative Careers series? It was an absolute game-changer!

Leading the way was career coaching specialist; Dawn Estefan, sharing valuable techniques on self-value and navigating challenges in a professional context.

But that's not all! We were fortunate to have a panel of guests, including; Jumoke Abdullahi, one half of The Triple Cripples, sharing her experience as a disabled Black Woman in the workforce; British producer, singer & rapper Piers James; and sound artist Esther Kehinde Ajayi who was one of the six Young Researchers that helped develop the 2022 Creative Careers programme. Each panellist shared the personal journey of their own unique creative career and lived experience. They shared how they've developed their career alongside prioritizing their self-value and overall wellbeing.

We dove deep into thought-provoking discussions, exploring ways to maintain authenticity in the professional world. Our panellists offered practical advice, personal stories, and incredible insights into staying true to yourself while pursuing a successful career in the creative industries.

Remember, your unique voice and individuality are your greatest assets. Embrace them and let them shine as you carve out your path to success.

This session took place on Tuesday 25 October 2022.

‘The creative sector is the most resilient, but this resilience comes from the inclusion of people like you. Its relative diversity comes from the communion of people like you.‘
Dawn Estefan

Session Recap

Dawn kicked off the session by leading a grounding breathing exercise, emphasizing the profound mind-body connection. This theme persisted throughout her opening remarks, highlighting how one's entire being, including personal history, race, ability, gender, and class, shapes the navigation of a creative career.

Prompted by Dawn, panellists Piers, Jumoke, and Esther shared introspective accounts of their artistic journeys. Humility permeated their narratives, igniting discussions on the interplay between creativity, self-belief, and the mind-body connection.

Exploring themes of resilience and ancestral legacies, the panel shed light on the significance of internal strength and external support systems. The concept of a "village" - a community or network offering unique forms of assistance - captured the audience's imagination, fostering enthusiastic engagement.

Participants delved into the navigation of challenges, the establishment of boundaries, and the embrace of vulnerability within personal and professional networks. The impact of these relationships on individual growth and success was recognized, with a gentle reminder from the panel about the often-neglected act of rest, supported by personal connections.

The session concluded with a profound sense of inspiration and renewed purpose. Attendees departed equipped with a deep understanding of the multifaceted nature of creative careers, armed with valuable insights and a network of like-minded individuals to lean on.

‘Unwavering faith in yourself is important in this industry. Feel all of the emotions and put it in the experience.‘
Piers James

Creative Careers Self-Help Guide

Below are some of our key takeaways on self-value within the working environment:

Who are you?

  • Difficult question to answer when who you are and what you do are so linked - set boundaries and build a village that helps you step out sometimes.
  • The pressure to be the token voice representing all people that identify similarly is a huge challenge


  • Judge how/when to open up based on how people do so with you - can you trust them?
  • Be careful with your vulnerability, unfortunately it can be used against you, if shown in the wrong environment

Power and empowerment

  • Power as we know it has been typically embodied by economically rational, het, white, cis men - does ‘empowerment’ get us closer to this or should we find a new type of liberation?

What does success look like? 

  • Evolution of success - always chasing the next thing can make it hard to exist in the moment, focus on how far you’ve come.
  • The making of a creative career should mean there’s progress.
  • You can have the win but it’s also about how you move forwards and give yourself periods and space to hone your craft.” Piers James
‘Learn from everyone, not just those that are in the position you want to be.‘
Jumoke Abdullahi
Panellist Jumoke talking to the audience

Creative Careers: Valuing Yourself

Panellist Jumoke Abdullahi speaking to participants.

Photography by Matthew Kaltenborn.

Panel host Dawn Estefan sitting in front of a white wall speaking to the audience

Creative Careers: Valuing Yourself

Host Dawn Estefan speaking to the participants.

Photography by Matthew Kaltenborn.

Four people on a panel facing the audience

Creative Careers: Valuing Yourself

Participants from Creative Careers: Valuing Yourself session sitting in front front of the host and panellists. 

Photography by Matthew Kaltenborn.

Two panellist sitting and facing the audience

Creative Careers: Valuing Yourself

Panellists Jumoke Abdullahi (left) and Esther Kehinde Ajayi (right).

Photography by Matthew Kaltenborn.

two people standing together looking down at a phone

Creative Careers: Valuing Yourself

Participants from Creative Careers: Valuing Yourself

Photography by Matthew Kaltenborn.

‘I preserve my essence rather than watering myself down.‘
Esther Kehinde Ajayi