The Creative Communities Unit at Staffordshire University is to run two new courses in the new year, for local people who want to make a difference in their community. “Speaking Up” will help residents to find out what is going on in your community and how to influences decisions. “Taking Part” will look at working together with other people and planning a community project. Visit the Unit’s Courses pages for more details.
Those seeking funding for heritage-related cultural projects may like to know that the Heritage Funding Directory has just had an overhaul, database update, and re-launch.
Added to the Directory: Steven Harper is based in Stoke-on-Trent and offers a wide range of musical services including piano lessons, singing lessons, wedding pianist and wedding singing.
Added to the Directory: Concept Art World has a wonderful online gallery for the fantasy and sci-fi paintings of Stoke-on-Trent artist Alex Figini. Alex also has a home-page on DeviantArt. One of his paintings looks like it might have even have been inspired by Stoke-on-Trent train station…
Train builder Bombardier, which has a significant presence at nearby Crewe, has a new interior design competition for ideas about “train interiors of the future”. First prize: €2,000. Deadline: 16th December 2009.
Are you an innovative information visualiser, or a hyperlocal media producer? Do you have ideas about how to create and present innovative new map mashups online? As the Ordnance Survey gears itself up to release its mapping data to the public in spring 2010, it’s backing a new competition called GeoVation. The winner of GeoVation will be given £10,000 to develop their idea, with runners up being given £5,000 each. Deadline: 4th January 2010.
The October 2009 report Growing the Ceramic Cluster in North Staffordshire, by Dr Stewart Brown of SQW Consulting, is now available online. The report gives an overview of the current ceramic industry in North Staffordshire, suggests critical measures for success in the immediate future, and suggests the required initiatives and structures for long-term future success.
Skillset is now inviting applications for their £200,000 TV training fund, offering professional development training in TV multiplatform production issues. Professionals awarded a bursary can use it to attend one of 38 multiplatform training courses approved by the Sector Skills Council for the Creative Media Industries. 500 bursaries are available.
South Staffordshire College has created an opportunity to both develop new work and to present a solo exhibition in the Wedge Gallery at the College (based in Lichfield). Expressions of interest are sought from recent Fine Art graduates or those undertaking postgraduate study. Successful applications will be offered a two-week residency in the gallery, including the use of the space for the creation of new work, followed by a four-week exhibition. Full details are online here.
Job: Shropshire Council is seeking a freelance researcher to create full, accurate and up-to-date database of the festivals in the county of Shropshire. The work must be finished by mid March 2010. The freelancer will use their own knowledge of tourism and the festivals sector in Shropshire. Experience of using a database is essential. The budget is from £5,000. Please email for a job description/brief. Closing date for applications: 16th December 2009.
New! 28.11.09 From the blogs: Cooper-Willis documents an unofficial artwork that stretches from Morley Street to Robson Street in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. The Bod remembers Grace, a North Staffs art-school rock band of the late 1970s. The WMRO notices that West Midlands arts attendance has not increased since 2005, despite all the public money poured into audience boosting measures, audience research, and attracting ‘new audiences’.
Added to the Directory: Ghost Voices magazine, which is edited and published from Congleton.
New! 23.11.09 Stage Productions are calling for people to audition for the musical The King & I at The Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent (March 2010). The King & I principal auditions took place on Sunday 22nd November 2009 for Dancers and Company (excluding Children). Sunday 29th November is the audition day for Children and Principal Casting recalls. This is an Open Audition. Details of the audition process will be emailed following registration. Interested? Fill in the online application form.
New! 23.11.09 Jobs: Staffordshire’s Partners in Creative Learning (PiCL) has another three new opportunities at local schools:—
1) Cooper Perry Primary School — located in Seighford, Staffordshire —requires a Skilled Radio Practitioner to explore the topic area of “Stafford Then and Now” Working with our year 3 and 4′s, the school would like to research areas such as Memories of Stafford, Life in Elizabethan Stafford, World War Two in this area, and local place names. They would like to do this through the medium of radio interviews, and possibly radio drama shows written and performed by the pupils. The school has a 12-track Spirit Folio Mixing desk, a separate performance room with viewing window, six professional microphones, radio microphones, an Alesis Micro Verb FX processor, and Denon separate recorders – MP3, Mini Disc, C.D and cassette, power amplifiers. A speaker/broadcast system linked to every room and corridor in the school. Budget: £4,000. Deadline: 18th December 2009. Full details from Emma Wynne: email@example.com For an informal discussion on the project please telephone Andrew Fox (Creative Agent) on 07870 656488.
2) Christ Church Church of England Primary School — located in Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent — is looking for Two Creative Partners to help investigate the question: “Could giving all members of the school community experience of a range of outdoor learning environments, inspire their investigations and enquiries, make them more engaged, confident, motivated and therefore successful learners?” They are particularly interested in receiving applications from creative partners with experience of outdoor learning and also practitioners specialising in practical, experience-based drama. There is a budget of up to £12,000 for project work. The project will run from Jan – June 2009 and will be devised and delivered with both staff and pupils across the whole school. Application deadline: 25th November 2009. Full details and brief from either: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
3) Paget High School — located in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire — would like to work with a Textiles Practitioner on the enquiry question: “How can we develop creative teaching and learning methods to inspire and enthuse KS3 students to produce innovative, sustainable and desirable products using textiles technology?” Budget: £4,000. Deadline: 18th November 2009. For a full brief / informal discussion please contact: Mike Barker (Creative Co-ordinator) at firstname.lastname@example.org -or- Andrew Herbert (Creative Agent) at email@example.com
Congratulations to David Burgess of Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, who’s launched a fine-looking website for his new children’s book Waldo the Worm…
The organisers of the Advantage Proof of Concept Fund are to stop inviting new ideas — six months earlier than originally planned — after being inundated with inquiries from Staffordshire. The £5.8 million Fund — which helps small firms to develop innovative new products and ideas — was featured on Creative Stoke’s “What’s New?” page on 15.08.09.
New! 22.11.09 The new Artist to Artist 2010 programme aims to bring together artists to initiate dialogues with artists from the Middle East area, enabling pairs of artists to enter into
new working relationships on an open-ended and informal basis. Professional, practising UK-based artists can apply to invite an artist of their choice to visit the UK. The selected overseas artist will spend two weeks in the UK between 8th – 21st March 2010 (fixed). The emphasis is on the development and research process, rather than creative production. Application deadline: 5th December 2009. Please contact Adam Knights for application forms and further details about the scheme, at: firstname.lastname@example.org
New! 22.11.09 Jobs: Creative Health CIC is offering the following work opportunities in Staffordshire. The application deadlines are both: 27th November 2009.
1) Creative Remedies. Creative Health CIC require an enthusiastic and creative person to generate discussion and debate around arts and health in Staffordshire, to encourage information sharing, share case studies and best practice, and increase the sense of an arts and health community via the Creative Remedies website. The total fee is £2,220 — which includes £250 to cover student fees for the Artist Professional Development Programme.
2. Sub-Regional Arts & Health Strategy. Creative Health wish to appoint a development worker to assist in developing a new sub-regional arts and health strategy for Staffordshire County Council. The total fee is £3,120 — which includes £250 to cover student fees for the Artist Professional Development Programme.
Interested? Please send Creative Health your C.V. and a short statement saying which one you are interested in, why you would be suitable, and the amount of time you would be willing to commit. Send this to: email@example.com
Added to the Directory: Letting in the Light, a Newcastle-under-Lyme based community arts group, with a particular interest in working with groups and communities that don’t often have a voice.
Letting in the Light banners project. Unknown photographer.
New! 18.11.09 Added to the Events listing: The National Association for Ceramics in Higher Education is hosting a Graduate Forum in Stoke-on-Trent, to co-incide with the graduate Fresh exhibition (see Creative Stoke’s photo gallery of the show) at Emma Bridgewater Pottery. The Forum will be at Emma Bridgewater Pottery and the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery on 27th November 2009, 11am – 5pm, and will… “provide an opportunity to examine the value of engagement with creative practice in schools, how this translates into higher education ceramic-based courses”. Cost: Free to students, others pay £10 to cover refreshments. Application deadline: 23rd November 2009. For further information and to book a place email: firstname.lastname@example.org
New! 18.11.09 Do you deliver creative workshops and similar support to those with health problems? Are you concerned about how best to present the results to funders? Staffordshire County Council’s Health Development Team are planning to deliver free training for voluntary and community sector organisations who want to use the “Activities and Outcomes” database. This database was developed for small third sector organisations wanting to demonstrate their activities and outcomes, particularly their ‘softer’ improvements in mental health outcomes, to commissioners from Health and Social Care agencies. Interested? Full details are online here (Word .doc)
Readers may also like to know that community and voluntary organisations are being invited to submit bids to the Health for Older People grants scheme. This will aim to improve the lives of people aged 50 and over, living within the county. Small community groups can apply for grants of £500. Larger voluntary organisations can apply for grants between £1,000 and £10,000.
New! 18.11.09 Are you a young dance manager in the making? YDE Stride! is an annual dance programme for 14-19 year olds (or up to 24 years, for disabled applicants) which offers non-performance based skills such as leading and managing dance projects and activities. The programme is run by Youth Dance England and they are now inviting applications. Successful applicants will be provided with a mentor and will participate in an “action-packed” residential with one of the YDE Stride! hosts (Dance4, Dance South West or East London Dance with Sadler’s Wells), followed by a placement to help develop skills and experience essential to building a career in dance. You should be able to download an application from the Youth Dance England website from 2nd December 2009. Deadline for applications: 15th January 2010.
Bernard Charnley, photo by Stephanie Rushton of London.
Added to the Directory: Andrew Johnson is a freelance designer and illustrator based in Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent.
New! 18.11.09 Added to the Directory: Sew Kitch, a crafts unit at Slaters Craft Village, Baldwins Gate, where Lauren Chamberlain and Lavinia Miller produce crafts, art and handmade gifts. They can also run workshops in felt making, jewellery making, card and scrapbook design, and cushion-making.
New! 18.11.09 Added to the Directory: Mook 109 Design is an illustrator and graphic designer, based in Stoke-on-Trent.
New! 16.11.09 Job: Stoke-on-Trent City Council is seeking a Ballroom Dancer to deliver dance workshops in the city as part of its People Dancing programme. Six x half-day workshops will happen at different venues before 31st March 2010. Deadline: 4th December 2009. The full brief and application details are available here.
The Birmingham Producers’ Forum is having internal discussions on how to link with other creative industries producers’ groups in the West Midlands region. They propose the idea of a quarterly regional networking meeting. Interested? Please contact Rebecca Watkin at: email@example.com
Added to the Directory: Anita Harris Studio, producing colourful and collectable ceramics from Longton, Stoke-on-Trent.
Stoke Art Pottery, a Biddulph-based online shop selling ceramics from a variety of small and medium-sized potteries in Stoke-on-Trent.
Cath Ralph writes from the Burslem School of Art in Stoke-on-Trent, to say that they have recently had an… “excellent junior designer and arts technician” there. He was on a placement through the Flexible Routeways employment scheme, but then sadly the funding did not come through to make his job into a regular paid appointment. Cath would like to recommend this person to others, as a potential employee or as a trainee. Interested? For further details, please contact Cath Ralph on: 01782 810808
Local landscape photographers might be interested in a ranger-led early winter walk along the Staffordshire and Cheshire border, on Sunday 22nd November 2009. The team from Staffordshire County Council will lead visitors along the Staffordshire Way, up and over the Cloud and on to Rushton Spencer, before returning to Timbersbrook via Bridestones. The ramble will cover seven miles and take approximately four hours to complete (if the weather is good). If the weather is poor, the distance covered will be reduced to four miles, which is expected to take around two hours. People should wear warm clothing and sturdy footwear, and bring a packed lunch. The event will start at 10am from the village car park at Timbersbrook. The event costs £2 for adults to attend, but is free for children to take part. For more information telephone: 01782 302030.
It’s reported in the press that Manchester Metropolitan University’s nearby campus in Crewe and Alsager is to cut 50 jobs, and 127 jobs in total across all MMU campuses. The Crewe and Alsager campus specialises in Contemporary Arts. The news comes on top of similar news in August, that nearby Wolverhampton University is having to cut 250 jobs.
Film students and amateur film makers are being invited by Staffordshire University to produce a short (3 minutes or less) widescreen film on “Cycling in Stoke on Trent”. There are currently 77 miles of new local and National Cycle Network (mostly off-road) bicycle paths throughout the city. Together with the adjacent Newcastle-under-Lyme, there over 100 miles of paths in our immediate area. The following are all possible topics you could consider, or you can think up others on your own:
* The health benefits of cycling
* Great cycle routes in Stoke-on-Trent
* Recreation cycling
* Air quality and cycling
* Advice for motorists on considering cyclists
* Themed routes (i.e.: devise your own themed route)
* Cycling and the new University Quarter
You are encouraged to be as creative as possible — feel free to use animation or CGI effects, etc. The winning entries will be hosted on websites and receive cash prizes: 1st Prize £300; 2nd Prize £200; and 3rd Prize £100. The deadline for submitting films is: 16th April 2010. This is set as a long deadline, so that lecturers and teachers can incorporate the competition into assessment schedules. Full rules are available from the website or from Jon Fairburn at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Job: Trefonen Church of England Primary School in nearby Shropshire are looking for a Creative Practitioner (or team) to work with a class of Year 3/4 children on their Creative Partnerships enquiry project. You’ll help them explore the question: “How can we use skipping to develop children’s sense of rhythm and rhyme and increase their confidence?”. For example, work could be developed by creating new skipping rhymes, which could then develop into performance, writing or recordings. Fee: £3,200, with a separate budget for materials and resources. Activity must take place during the second half of Spring term 2010. Application deadline: 3rd December 2009. For a full brief please email the Creative Agent, Kate Buttolph, at: email@example.com
The Stoke-on-Trent British Ceramics Biennial is running free creative drop-in sessions, at the Wedgwood Institute (formerly Burslem public library), in Stoke-on-Trent. There is no need to book a place.
1) Denise O’Sullivan will run “The Way We Are” session on how to make a decorate beer mat tiles, by using photography, stamping, and mark-making in clay. Historian Fred Hughes will also be on hand with stories about Burslem. 14th, 21st, and 28th November 2009 (11am-1pm).
2) Camila Prada will lead a tour of the show “Our Objects” and show how to decorate your own ceramic item with transfers (“decals”). 14th and 21st November 2009 (2pm-4.30pm).
3) C.J. Neill will talk about surface pattern design, designing ceramic objects, and how to use vintage transfers to decorate ceramics. 28th November 2009 (1pm-3pm).
The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, is inviting applications from artists working in interactive new media — for possible inclusion in a 2011 exhibition titled “Erasure“. The theme of the exhibition will play on the idea of removing or erasing something, to create something new. There will be an informal chat and short presentation on the exhibition on 18th November 2009 at the Burslem School of Art in Stoke-on-Trent, from 5pm to 7pm. Light refreshments will be available. Artists selected to have their work on display will be asked to ‘open source’ their source files and code. Further details from the exhibition weblog or from: firstname.lastname@example.org
Malia Pimblott writes to say that she is looking for actors and is holding auditions at The Graduate pub in Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent, on the 15th and 16th November 2009. Malia is looking for a male and female, aged 19 to 30. Interested? Contact Malia on Facebook.
Staffordshire Arts and Museum Service would like to hear from all visual artists and makers who wish to create new work for the summer 2010 “Sense of Place” exhibition at The Shire Hall Gallery, located in Stafford town centre. The show will focus on Staffordshire’s many different environments. Full information from: Kim Gould, Gallery & Exhibitions Development Officer, at: email@example.com
Young Staffordshire musicians may be interested in a couple of dates for their 2010 diary. Staffordshire Performing Arts should be able to put you on the mailing-list for details on how to involve your school in these events…
1) The rock music event ‘Staffordshire Rocks Grand Final‘ will be on 26th June 2010 at The Gatehouse Theatre, Stafford.
2) The ‘Staffordshire Young Musicians Final’ will be on the 17th July 2010 at The Gatehouse Theatre, Stafford.
Job: A Senior Web Developer is required by a company in Trentham Lakes, Stoke-on-Trent.
Congratulations to a group of students from Staffordshire University’s Stafford campus, who have won a leading prize at the regional final of The Royal Television Society Awards. Their film “Olivia” won in the fiction category. They were presented with the award at the ceremony attended by industry professionals representing BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Screen West Midlands, among others.
Click to play “Olivia”, made by the winning B.Sc. (Hons.) Film Production Technology team of Oliver Trusswell, Stuart Hackshaw, Alistair Little and Matt Holmes.
Game modders seeking to move from modding to full-blown ‘back bedroom’ games production will be interested to hear that the popular Unreal Engine 3 has just been released for free in the form of the Unreal Development Kit. It has everything you need to make a professional videogame — but if you release your game commercially you pay Unreal 25% of revenue after you make your first $5000. Other than your own labour, though, there are no up-front costs involved in developing a game. Now is an excellent time to start developing for a PC release circa 2012 — given that the next generation of gaming consoles are likely to be delayed by around two years due to the recession, the PC as an open gaming platform is likely to hit a sweet spot by about 2012. The Unreal Dev Kit joins the ranks of a variety of free commercial-grade game development kits, ranging from
Microsoft’s XNA to the royalty-free indie point & click engine Wintermute.
Creative Stoke has junked the Addiply ad system — it was an interesting two-week experiment, but a hand-picked selection of relevant Amazon books seems much more suitable for the site. You’ll see them featured in sidebars and on the front page. If you click through to Amazon and buy a featured book, then Creative Stoke will get a tiny slice of what you spend.
Job: A Product Designer (Furniture) is required at the University of Wolverhampton. This is a forty-week funded post for someone who will embed a professional design capability in Spaceoasis Ltd — based in Telford, Shropshire — and review products, materials and markets to develop a new strategic design policy, innovative designs and mass customisation. You should have a 1st or 2:1 degree or post graduate degree in Product Design, Furniture Design or related subject. Deadline: 20th November 2009 at 12 noon. Full details can be found via www2.wlv.ac.uk/pers/jobs.
Job: A Creative Co-Ordinator is required at the University of Wolverhampton. You’ll identify creative craft concepts for the retail and educational marketplace, create innovative packaging solutions, and bring design concepts to market. You’ll produce media content for publications and communications, including photography of products in use, as well as online video content. You should have a 1st or 2:1 degree in Design or a related subject. Deadline: 20th November 2009 at 12 noon. Further details can be found at www.ktponline.org.uk
Should you want to venture up into the nearby Peak District before the snow settles in, the 5th Peak Festival starts on 27th November 2009 and is offering the chance to hear talks from a variety of independent authors, particularly those who have gone through the process of writing and publishing their life stories. More details at the website.
Want to be a theatre producer? There’s a rare chance in the West Midlands to attend a starter training workshop for creative theatre producers. Maverick Theatre and the Birmingham Rep (in Birmingham city-centre) is running the workshop on Saturday 21st November 2009. It will look at… “everything needed to put on a show or start a production or theatre company, from the local pub, to a national tour, to the West End of London.” See the Maverick Theatre website for more details.
Also of possible interest to West Midlands theatre people is a free debate/event, also in Birmingham, “How can we create a better future for theatre, here, in the West Midlands?” It’s at the Crescent on 26th November 2009.
BBC Radio Stoke is having a rare Open Day, on Sunday 22nd November 2009, from 10am – 3.15pm. The tour will take about 45 minutes, and booking is essential. You can book a place on: 03709 011227.
Job: Stoke-on-Trent’s “People Dancing” programme requires a belly-dancer to deliver four workshops in the city. Four workshops, each two-hours long each and catering for up to 25 participants, will be devised as taster sessions in a number of community venues across the city. 30 “shimmy-belts” will be provided. Application deadline: 24th November 2009. More details from: firstname.lastname@example.org
Job: Leighswood Primary School — located in Walsall — are looking for an artist who can help make something to show links with other countries. You’ll work with children in years 5 and 6 (aged 9-11). The result of the project could possibly be a finger-post. Budget: £1,500. Application deadline: 23rd November 2009. Full details can be obtained from the Creative Agent, Alison Haynes, at: email@example.com
Readers may be interested in a new 5 x 15 minute BBC Radio 4 series “Whatever Happened to the Teapots?” in which Roger Law (one of the Spitting Image team) examines the state of the ceramics industry in Stoke-on-Trent. Programmes are freely available to listen to online, for seven days after broadcast. The first programme was broadcast today.
Readers visiting Creative Stoke from nearby Derbyshire may be interested that the call for the annual Derbyshire Open Studios event (29th to 31st May 2010) is now live. Check their website for more details.