Catalyst4TheWorkplace Day: We’re running the arts stream

Meeting other arts professionals from our church network

Wed 14 Sep, 2016

On Saturday 8th October, Catalyst are hosting a Catalyst4TheWorkplace Day and we’re delighted to be hosting the arts stream. For a good portion of the day, we’re going to simply spend time getting to meet other professionals in the arts from (but not exclusively from) Catalyst churches and learning from the expertise of some guys with particular experience. Our team for the day will include:

Phil and Harri Mardlin (Theatre)




Phil and Harri are both professional actors and are part of Kings Arms, Bedford. They started Lifebox Theatre Company in 2012, specialising in forum theatre, and they also run StageWrite, an annual new writing festival in Bedford. Phil is also a writer and director whose credits include Confetti by Tim Foley and The Beast Within by Mike Carter. Harri’s credits include performances with Bedfringe, Theatre Uncut and Novus Theatre.

Mike French (Writer)


Mike was the owner and senior editor of the literary magazine, The View From Here. During its life from 2007 to 2014 he interviewed authors like Julian Barnes and the late Iain Banks. Mike’s debut novel, The Ascent of Isaac Steward, the first book of the Dandelion Trilogy, was published by Cauliay Publishing in 2011 and nominated for a Galaxy National Book Award which, presumably due to an unfortunate clerical error, was awarded to Dawn French. This was followed by the second book in the trilogy, the satirical Blue Friday, in 2012, and the third, Convergence, in 2013. Last year Elsewhen published An Android Awakes – a hybrid graphic novel and sci-fi novel that Mike created with the artist Karl Brown. Mike is a part of Bethany Community Church, Harpenden.

Joel Wilson (Film maker)

director-joel-wilson1Joel is a film director and producer. He works for a chaplaincy charity and is a part of Oasis Church, Birmingham. He produced, wrote and directed the medieval rap thriller ‘The Quickener’ in 2014 and since then has worked mainly as a freelance film maker, with his production company Murmuration films.



Daniel Blake (fashion)

08b3ab17398063-562b96bbe0c43Daniel is a fashion designer who started his career in 1995 after graduating from Kingston University. Since then, he has made strides in the fashion world, working internationally with Sara Sturgeon and as a freelance designer for the Max Mara group. These achievements built the foundations of an idea to create his own business, which was soon realised in the form of the womenswear label ‘Daniel Blake’. After launching his first collection in 2003, he has also founded the luxury men’s shirt brand E One Six London. He is also a lecturer at the London College of fashion.

George Aytoun (graphic designer) TBC

george-e1346964401221-300x300George Aytoun has spent over a decade at Mccans advertising company where he is presently head of design. George is a member of Churchcentral, Birmingham.


The day will basically be an opportunity to get together as people from different professions for a day of encouragement and prayer and a chance to connect and learn from others in similar fields.

While this may seem pretty non exceptional as ideas go, I think that what lies behind it is potentially groundbreaking. The idea of a sacred/secular divide in our mentality is almost universally seen as a bad thing by Christians, however it still exists as an implicit assumption in so much of what we do. We pray for the kid going off to theology college far more readily than the one going to art college. We publicly honour those who serve to make our Sunday mornings happen far more than those who give their lives to their communities outside the church. The stories we celebrate in our church meetings, the people we put forward as role models- so often the divide strikes just as deep as it always has.

As someone who has crossed the divide in my own work life, I’ve spotted this in action. I was a secondary school teacher for 7 years and 5 years ago came on to the full time staff of my church. This was not a promotion. It was a sideways move at best. In fact, I’ve become acutely aware over the last 5 years how this job switch has been a withdrawal from the front line of Christian ministry to support those who are sweating at the coal face. That’s not to say that I’ve always got the balance right. There is a huge temptation as a full time church worker and church leader to assume that the church is there to support your ‘ministry’ and it is a constant battle to set my priorities and activity in a way that resists this. I’m so pleased then that in our network of churches, we are taking active steps to strike against that sort of thinking and try to get things the right way round.

The Catalyst4TheWorkplace Day is one of these steps.

So, there’ll be a time in the morning altogether, worshipping and hearing from Jerry Turner, the Executive Principal of a Multi Academy Trust in Hertfordshire. He’s an inspirational example for anyone and an absolutely cracking bloke too (which always helps!) Then for the rest of our time, we’ll split into our different focus areas. In our stream, the guys listed above and perhaps some others will share a bit about their experience, lead some networking groups and be available to answer your questions.

Obviously, if you are a professional at work in the arts, this day is for you, but I’d also recommend it for amateurs too. There will be advice on how to crossover into a career in the arts and we will also be exploring how to make money from your art, alongside creating work that you are personally invested in.

You can book in here to ensure your place at the event, but if you’re going to be coming to the arts stream, please could you also book into our Facebook event and write your profession/area of interest on the wall so we can see who is coming.

See you on 8th.