At Creative United, we are delighted to present insights shared by Chiara Mignani, our Social Impact and Development Manager at Creative United. Chiara’s journey and passion for impact assessment have taken her on a unique path – she would like to share her experiences.

“Life has a way of surprising us, of teaching us, and sometimes, of guiding us towards unexpected paths. In my case, this journey begins with the disappointment of not being selected for a PhD opportunity that seemed like a dream. It was a collaboration between King’s College London and Creative United, focusing on mapping the creative ecosystem through Complexity theory.

The email notification bearing the news of my unsuccessful PhD application was met with a mix of emotions. While the feedback wasn’t entirely negative, a sense of disappointment and self-doubt momentarily took hold. Yet, little did I know that these same panellists who had once reviewed my application would later be intricately connected to my professional journey.”

Chiara Mignani, Social Impact and Development Manager at Creative United

“Rather than allowing this setback to define me, I decided to actively channel my efforts into something constructive. The feedback I received from the panel was clear and it really helped me understand how I could improve my application in the future. I realised that my passion lay in understanding the profound impact that arts and culture have on our lives, spaces, and financial flows.

My academic journey in Cultural Management began during my undergraduate years, exploring the birth of creative cities, which later led to my Master’s degree at Istanbul Bilgi University. There, I delved into the impact of Istanbul’s Galata port and its role in revitalising the surrounding neighbourhood of Karaköy.

When Plan A didn’t materialise, I embarked on an exploration of alternative paths. I found the opportunity to pursue a part-time PhD and began working as a social impact consultant. The balance between academic research and practical application seemed perfect, allowing me to bridge the gap between theory and real-world implementation. The universe seemed to be in harmony with my endeavours. A combination of fieldwork and PhD studies enriched my understanding, and I acquired the skills needed for impact assessment.

Fast forward to January 2023, after a whirlwind trip from Istanbul. I found myself at an academic conference on placemaking and creative industries, a step towards restarting my London life. My PhD supervisor introduced me to Mary-Alice Stack, the CEO of Creative United, a name I remembered from my first PhD interview. Mary-Alice and I met just a week later. We discovered that our visions for in-depth research on the impact of the arts were perfectly aligned. She offered me an opportunity to join Creative United and lead research on their impact. This was my second chance, and I was determined to make the most of it. In Italian, they say, “l’amore fa giri lunghissimi e poi torna,” which means, “love takes the long path and comes back.” This saying beautifully encapsulates the serendipitous journey that has led me here.

Stay tuned, for this is just the beginning of a story I’m eager to share. It’s a story of the remarkable work we’re doing around the impact of the arts. The adventure has just begun, and I’m excited to reveal more.”