Fuse: A Chat On Inclusivity With Founder Jaheed Hussain
It's been a huge topic this year. How can we make our industry more inclusive, and why has it taken so long?
At the forefront of that change is Fuse, a platform dedicated to championing under-represented talent in the creative industry, launched 18 months ago by Manchester-based designer Jaheed Hussain. Earlier this week we spoke to Jaheed as they launch their first FREE digital magazine, based on theme of 'New'.
“Fuse started in the graphic design studio at the University of Salford! It was my final major project at the time, and launched in the middle of my last semester there”, says Jaheed, founder of Fuse and host of Fuse Manchester. “It’s purpose at the beginning was to delve into Manchester’s creative scene, find as many BIPOC creatives based in, or from Greater Manchester, and portray their creative practice. The lack of racial representation was clear".
Since Fuse launched in April of 2019, it’s developed into not only a social platform, but a resource, a directory, and even a digital magazine. "The magazine had always been something in my plans”, Jaheed explains. “The theme of the first issue is ‘New’, celebrating a new way to showcase the best in creativity. Encouraging new experiences. Discovering something new to love”.
The magazine itself is a jam-packed celebration of an often overlooked segment of the creative sector, from thought pieces on race to creative tips for graduates, across 56 pages. Included in the list of 25 contributors are the likes of Illustrator and animator Emily Redfearn, copywriter Luke Crompton, graphic designer Klara Blazek, and cover-illustrator Wendy Wong. "Everyone involved comes from all walks of life and various countries, so it’s been a privilege to work alongside them all", says Jaheed.
A huge positive to come from this year (spoiler: there hasn't been many!) is the start of a long-overdue change in perspective to diversity in our industry and beyond. "I think it’s been eye-opening for the industry itself! I’ve always thought it’s been an apathetic response to conversations about diversity and inclusion, ever since stepping into it and seeing it through the eyes of a student", Jaheed explains. "The heightened talk of BLM and various other social issues, have made people realise how important it is to have these talks."
And will we get there? "I do believe it will get truly diverse one day, but likely not straight away..."
In the space of 18 months Fuse has expanded globally to not only represent Manchester's creative scene, but 11 other "Chapter" cities, including Barcelona, London & Chicago (!). "All the other chapters are run by hosts on a voluntary basis, with total creative freedom to dictate how it looks and the content it provides".
So what can we expect in the coming months? "That’s a tough question!", says Jaheed. "You can expect more of the same in terms of content, whether it’s showcasing creatives, to highlighting creative work in the magazine, to talking about petitions and BLM resources".
At the moment, there are no plans for a second issue, but we're hoping to see one in the near future. In the meantime, Jaheed would love to hear from anyone interested to be a part of Fuse. "There’s no limitations to who and what people can contribute as it has contributors from all races and projects of all types… but I encourage as many POC to get in touch".
For anyone who wants to get involved, slide into their DM's on either Instagram or Twitter. Links below!
You can see more about Fuse here:
Download their free magazine here:
Follow them on Instagam here:
And on Twitter here:
Words: Joe Cooper