Creative industry crowns Freelancers of the Year

A freelancer who masterminded a media campaign that led to the British Library’s most successful exhibition in its history has won the prestigious title ‘Freelancer of the Year.’

Rona Levin’s PR and communications work on Sacred, a religious exhibition, generated the library a three-fold increase in press coverage and brought it a record number of visitors.

By thinking laterally, she created headline-grabbing images that won the seemingly niche exhibition column inches in titles ranging from Newsweek and the Times to Sewing World.

Now she is winning her own headlines as ‘Freelancer of the Year’ – a title she said she was “delighted” to accept – which is awarded annually by Xchangeteam, a creative recruiter.

But collecting her trophy on Wednesday night at an awards ceremony in London, Ms Levin was not alone: she was joined by four other creative freelancers who also excelled in 2007.

Reflecting the diversity of skills unique to freelancers, Andrea Balboni scooped the Freelance of the Year titles for both Advertising and Design, as well as Digital Excellence.

Client testimonials reveal her ability to develop a company’s digital understanding, at the same time as achieving impressive results through online creative thinking.

The two-title winner was lauded for her “proactive approach,” which her client remarked was, in their experience, atypical of most freelance workers.

Endorsements were also heard for Amanda Rainer, the marketing and events winner, who freelanced “tirelessly” and with dedication for a list of clients including Tommies, the baby charity.

Meanwhile, Ian Beaumont, a communications freelance, was crowned Freelance of the Year for public affairs. His strategies won the spotlight for his client and successfully engaged their stakeholders.

Mr Beaumont was the only male freelance to triumph: Anna Hollisey won Freelance of the Year for editorial, while she also won an ‘overall commendation’, as did Ms Rayner.

Reflecting on why the awards matter, Emma Brierley, founder of Xchangeteam, said that freelancers were “unsung heroes,” as their hard work, typically behind-the-scenes, went unnoticed too often.

“It’s [also] very scary being a freelancer, you can’t hide behind a name on a door or a confirmed pay cheque at the end of the month. It’s a very exposed position,” she said.

“Therefore one of the reasons we created these awards was to recognise the risks you [freelancers] take, as well as the quality of the work you perform.

“Often you’re the ones behind the scenes creating the brand identity or the fantastic copy but aren’t always being credited for doing that.”

Ms Brierley pointed out that crystal-ball gazers at the Institute of Directors believe that one in five of the UK workforce will be freelance by 2025.

Figures from Professor Richard Scase, a business expert, indicate freelancing will grow even quicker: by 2015, he says 30per cent of the workforce will have non-permanent jobs.


8th February 2008

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