Rent by the room
Bills included
No deposit
Flexible short stays
City centre location

HEADS: Manchester’s safe space for “like minded creatives”

Written by Sophie Hall.
Posted March 12, 2024.
Heads founders Liam Heeley and Molly Ball

Back in 2022, Liam Heeley and Molly Ball brought their dream to life with the birth of HEADS. Two years later, the pair are hosting monthly meets for creatives in the city.

Tell us a bit about you two and how you met?

L: “My name’s Liam Heeley – I’m a photographer based in Manchester, and in July 2022, we launched HEADS.”

“Me and Molly launched HEADS together, and we launched it with the aim to create Manchester’s creative platform, because we felt like there was a platform missing in Manchester that pulled all the creatives together. Manchester is a city that’s made of creativity, it’s made of all these different types of creatives, whether that be artists, producers, singers, photographers, models.”

And Molly, what’s your back story?

M: “I came from a small town with a lot of creative ventures that I’d explored, and I was quite stuck not knowing how to use them.”

“I’ve always wanted to have a platform that I could use these creative skills and be able to make a difference. I met Liam through a mutual friend, moved to Manchester, and then never left.”

So, when you were just doing photography before HEADS started out, I guess you were yearning for this way of bringing people together?

L: “Before I started HEADS, I was Freelance, and for seven years all around the world, working with some of the biggest names in the industry, biggest brands and biggest people. And naturally, through me being super active on Instagram, people kind of knew they could message me with anything creative and I’d answer it for them, and I could help them out.”

“HEADS really was created because of all these people outreaching, and people coming to me for advice.”

“As soon as we started HEADS, we launched it with the magazine. Where we put a load of the creatives from Manchester in the magazine.”

“The first issue, “HEADS ‘MANNEH’ Edition” launched on 1 July 2022. An exhibition of the images featured occurred between 27-30 July that year.

M: “I think, working in the industry as well for such a long time, firsthand, you work out the gaps that need to be filled.”

“You work out the problems, how people treat you in different scenarios, and it puts you in a position that you can challenge that and help people not get treated in negative ways in the industry and make sure they kind of skip a few steps when, when we can help them little bit.”

L: “I also realised that all the effort I was putting into building other people’s brands, if I put that into building my own then I would get that back tenfold.

“So instead of me just shooting content for a brand, I put it on Instagram it’s more than me getting paid… I’ll create content for my brand that will sell tickets to our event. It’ll also show our clients that we can do this type of video. It’ll also help us stay creative.”

Heads magazine and exhibition

What are the biggest challenges for influences in the industry?

M: “I think the biggest thing is leaving a nine to five to pursue it full time. You really do need to go all in with it and have all that time dedicated for being creative to be able to grow and move forward.”

L: “In the world we’re in now, it’s a world of internet money. I think a lot of people feel pressure now because there is so many quick ways of making money. However, what we’ve realised is, it’s cool if you found a quick way to make money… if you want to build something long term and something that’s sustainable and something that you love, it is hard work building the brand, but if you really love it, it doesn’t seem like hard work.”

“I don’t think a lot of people are fulfilled in what they do, whether that be because they work in a nine to five whilst they’re trying to be an artist. We want to make sure that we’re pairing people up and matching people up that can help motivate each other and break down barriers.”

If I’m coming to the first HEADS, what should we expect and get out of that?

M: “The energy is something that everyone comments on when it’s their first time coming to our events. They’ll start off, maybe being a bit nervous, not knowing what the events going to be like, and then they get stuck in straight away. Everyone’s so friendly, everyone wants to work together.”

“If you came to an event halfway through, you’d think everyone came together. Everyone just connects so quickly. I think it’s just the environment that we create.”

L: “One of the best things about the creative industry is it’s so diverse. It doesn’t matter where you are from, what your background is like, what journey you’ve had to overcome, with our events, everyone’s put into a room and everyone’s looked at as a creative person.

I think that allows people to start conversations with people who they wouldn’t normally start conversations with, like producers, or start working with artists that they never would have connected to.

What’s the formula for success to get over those first camera nerves?

“I very quickly learned, when I was 16 and dropping out of college to do this, I very quickly learned that environment was like the most important thing to me.”

“If I’m in an environment where I’m filming content, but then the people I’m in this environment with are laughing at me, I’m not going to be motivated to do it because they are making me feel stupid.”

“Whereas, if I’m in an environment where I’m filming content, and somebody else also filming content, they can give me some advice.”

“Instead of laughing at it, which is what the majority of people do. They don’t create content in this world. The amount of people on TikTok who consume content is 99%, and the amount of people that create on TikTok’s is 1% in the world. So you’ve got this 1% of people that are breaking down that barrier.”

M: “As well as content creation, it’s very much networking and, we usually do them on Sundays.”

“We have people traveling from all over, like London, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle.”

M: “Our most popular venues are spaces like Union, where there’s large spaces. If you walk to a studio, you get that intimidation straight away. Whereas this cozy lounge set up, it’s more casual that people don’t feel like they have to jump in front of a camera straight away.”

Heads meet up across the city monthly
HEADS creative meet ups

Your first creative event was more of a showcase for the magazine, and then it kind of evolved from there into networking, what’s next?

L: “in Manchester, we’ve got our community, we’re comfortable with the way we roll out with them. Everyone knows when we post a walk through video, it’s for a HEADS event, and everyone recognises that.

“In September, we’ve got an event in Liverpool, which is a 1500 capacity, in collaboration with Format GG.”

Molly, you moved to Manchester. Why Manchester?

M: “I’ve explored a few different cities. I spent a year in Newcastle, and it was a little bit creative, but I didn’t really connect with it as much. I literally came to Manchester for one weekend and never looked back.”

“I think it’s the pace of things and what you can achieve with the environment you’re in.

L: “It’s just amazing to see how Manchester has taken HEADS in as a home brand.”

How do you feel about AI becoming part of your community?

M: “I feel like people are wanting more real things. So, it’s interesting to see that develop alongside Al, because people want authenticity more now, so it’s very interesting to see that side by side.”

If you’re outside of the city and you’ve never been to Manchester before what, would be your reasons to move?

L: “I think one of the most valuable things about Manchester is just the community. I think we’ve created a platform that wasn’t there before.”

M: “When you’re in Manchester, everyone’s on each other’s side willing to help each other grow and cooperate.”

L: “One of the next main things I want to do is, I want to change the way young creatives get jobs. So all these people that come to me with CV’s, I want to be able to put them into corporate jobs through my client bases.”

For more information, follow them on Instagram at @heads_uk, and make sure you book a ticket to their Union meet up on Sunday 17 March. Tickets can be found here.