How do you solve a problem like isolation for the creative industries?

A new platform featuring talks from across the industry raised £1,000 for the Samaritans in just hours of launching.

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director Creativebrief


“I don’t know what day it is.” Glenn Fisher, the author, speaker and copywriter, is experiencing that familiar lockdown challenge. Finding structure, stimulus and even keeping track of what day it is, is challenging in the world we find ourselves in.

Not just shaking off that sense of Groundhog Day but providing space for the anxiety and mental health challenges that come with it are at the heart of Fisher’s new platform: ISOLATEDTalks.com. The story of its launch is a compelling account both of the power of creativity for good but also, the satisfaction that comes in showing up, collaborating and bringing a great idea to life in a short space of time.

Giles Edwards, Creative Director at Gasp and the host of the Call to Action podcast, had come to Fisher, who hosts the rival podcast All Good Copy, with a simple, empathetic idea: to share talks recorded from isolation to reassure people when they feel vulnerable. 

Both Edwards and Fisher were due to speak at some of the plethora of industry events which have been paused due to the coronavirus outbreak. Their platform has not only stepped into this void but has already raised £1,000 for the Samaritans within hours of launching.

Because we are more isolated in some ways, we can be more collaborative.

Glenn Fisher

The power of getting stuff done

The team has pulled together a compelling roster of industry talent to share virtual talks. Rory Sutherland, Dave Trott, Vikki Ross, James Cross, Dr Stefanie K. Johnson, and Amy Kean are just a handful of brilliant industry thinkers who immediately said yes to the initiative. 

While designer Tommy Mason from Scamp Design and developer Matt Ballington from Kober Digital, built and designed the platform pro-bono and at speed, enabling it to go live this week. 

“We orchestrated it all as fast as we could,” explained Fisher, who compiled a list of people from across the industry who quickly stepped up to support and donate talks.

Beyond boundaries

Of course, in the midst of a global pandemic it can appear trite to look for a silver lining. Nonetheless there is no question that creating the space for open-sourced, digital events and talks has the potential to drive diversity and accessibility in events at a previously unprecedented pace.

For as well as being able to donate financial support to the Samaritans, it is also possible to donate your own ‘isolation talk’ through the website. With the length and content up to the contributor, it is a genuine opportunity to bring more diversity to the marketing conference circuit, in its latest virtual iteration.

“When you think about it, the boundaries and walls people have had around them have been broken down. Because we are more isolated in some ways, we can be more collaborative,” explains Fisher. Sharing his experience of batting ideas back and forward and sounding out ideas from across the industry. “We have seen so many people give to this and create for it,” he adds. 

Just because you have more time on your hands it doesn’t mean you can write a bestseller. It is important to look after yourself.

Glenn Fisher

Achievement anxiety

Notably Fisher is acutely aware of the achievement anxiety that comes with the unique circumstance we find ourselves facing. The productivity paradox of lockdown; while there are myriad opportunities to be creative and find your voice, just getting through the day is enough. 

“We were very aware going into this that there is a lot of anxiety and pressure around creating. I feel this pressure is very negative; people are living through challenging times, it is a fundamentally stressful time,” he explains.

Edwards has two children to keep entertained and emotionally supported throughout this experience. “Just because you have more time on your hands it doesn’t mean you can write a bestseller,” says Fisher. “It is important to look after yourself,” he adds.

The empathy effect

Prioritising mental health during this crisis may seem obvious, but it nonetheless difficult to do. It is this empathetic and open approach which makes this platform so compelling.

“There is no obligation to get involved,” Fisher is keen to note. “Yes, we are asking for donations to the Samaritans, but we are also looking for people to donate talks, or to simply share and watch. We know not everyone is in a position to financially support, but this is a project that is all about what you can do,” he adds.

Amid the white noise of anxiety that has accompanied the crisis, the launch of ISOLATEDTalks.com is testament to the power of getting an idea off the ground by bringing communities of creatives and thinkers together. Collaboration and creativity and choosing getting things done rather than dead scrolling, can be a source not of pressure but of a genuine outlet and platform for good. At a time when we all need to be more mindful of our news consumption, a platform for inspiration and insight is much needed.

“If anybody wants to submit an idea, if you want to get something off your mind, or come up with ideas to talk about we would love to [feature them]. We want to get more people involved and talk about creativity,” adds Fisher.

At a time where we find ourselves alone together, a platform to make that isolation experience less isolating is akin to oxygen in the collective Zoom room we find ourselves in. A reminder that the current crisis might be the perfect opportunity to ditch the pressure and posturing of the much derided ‘side-hustle’ and instead come together again to simply make, share, talk and love.

Visit ISOLATEDTalks website to find out more.

Related Tags

Creativity For Good