Art, climate emergency & futurism, the MullenLowe NOVA Awards are back in 2021!

An interview with Katy Cowan founder of Creative Boom and part of the judge panel at MullenLowe NOVA Awards for 2021, and some of our favourite shortlisted talent!

Claudia Gusella BA Fashion Design ‘everything is great *’

What sparked your interest in making it your mission to support designers and emerging artists? It was the global recession and freelancers were struggling everywhere. I'd gone freelance myself in 2008 and suddenly had a lot of spare time on my hands, after losing many clients overnight. I had friends on Twitter who were artists and designers – creativity is something I've always loved – and so I wanted to do something to help them. Working in PR and being a qualified journalist, I felt an online platform might work. Its mission was to spark a creative industry boom, hence the name. It was an ambitious project but when you're faced with such dire circumstances and an economy flat on its face, you suddenly lose any imposter syndrome and just go for it. What happened next was quite unexpected. Creative Boom took off and became a wonderful community of artists, designers, photographers and illustrators. It was about raising people's profiles by writing about their work. We also offered tips on graduating, freelancing and growing businesses. At one point, we had a directory and a jobs board. It was raw, organic and quite a different beast to what you see today. Creative Boom began as a side project and 12 years later, it's become a full-time venture, attracting six million readers each year and reaching all four corners of the globe. We've lost count of how many creatives we've helped to support but it's probably in the tens of thousands.