Added to Creative Stoke, 27th April 2012

27.04.12   
The Stafford (Beaconside) campus of Staffordshire University is set to host its third annual Noise Floor sonic arts festival, from 1st to 4th May 2012. There will be live performances of experimental electronica and electroacoustic music from over 50 composers. See the website for full details.

27.04.12   
Added to the Directory: Staffordshire Artists and Makers Cooperative, at Gallery 12.

27.04.12   
Added to the Directory: Oakland Studios, the website of Bob Thacker, a stained glass artist living and working in the village of Church Eaton.

27.04.12   
Added to the Directory: Kate Lynch, an environmental artist based in Stoke town.

27.04.12   
Summer art stalls are due to be set up each Saturday in July 2012, in Piccadilly, Hanley. If you’re interested in booking a stall, then please email for more information:  info@popupemporium.com

27.04.12   
Stoke’s Blood and Bone China team has a new short film online. It’s a… “science-fiction short action film […] originally made for the Sci-Fi London 48 Hour Film Challenge 2012”.

27.04.12   
Local historians Neil Collingwood and Gregor Shufflebotham have a new illustrated book available, Newcastle-Under-Lyme Through Time, with a focus on what was destroyed in the municipal vandalism of the 1960s.

27.04.12   
Gabriel Gregory has a review of Marcus Wemyss’s recent exhibition of paintings, held at Artwaves in Burslem.

27.04.12   
Responding to Change” is an afternoon arts-and-health event at PICL, Kings Street, Newcastle-under-Lyme. The date set is 21st May 2012 (4pm – 6pm). The event is described as a…

“round-table discussion to explore the changing landscape for arts, health and wellbeing. What impact will current developments have on practitioners and what might our response be? Do we need to re-examine our practice and revisit the rationale behind established ways of working?”

27.04.12   
Staffordshire Council’s Community Arts Fund is now open for applications. The main Community Arts Fund invites applications for up to £800 are welcome to run an arts activity or event… “which benefits the community, widens participation and promotes accessibility”. There is also a Community Arts Development Programme, open for applications of up to £2,500 to… “run an arts project which address social issues, develop new audiences, target marginalised groups and supports community development”. The deadline for application to the latter is 30th April 2012. See the website for full details.

27.04.12   
The Stoke Pride Gala Ball 2012 is happening in Stoke-on-Trent in June 2012. The organisers are inviting local business, those supportive of the LGBT community, to sponsor a table at the event. Full details from:  events@lgbtstaffordshire.com

27.04.12   
Evaluating Youth Arts Projects” is a one-day training day to be held at WAYC, Leamington Spa, on 3rd July 2012 (10am – 4.15 pm). Cost is £75. See the website for full details.

27.04.12   
A new 40-page pamphlet on the history of the ceramic flush toilet is now available, Ceramic Toilets (North Staffordshire Press, April 2012). Stoke-on-Trent was of course the birthplace of this vital but often-overlooked invention, at the Twyfords factory at Cliffe Vale.

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Added to Creative Stoke, 19th April 2012

19.04.12   
Fancy a walk with some art? “The Golems” is a newly independently-designed walking trail through Stoke-on-Trent, which takes participants on a tour of some secret places such as Festival Park, and its hidden sculptural treasures. The aim is to…

“promote, preserve and perpetuate some of the city’s unnoticed, neglected and overlooked sites and artefacts.”

19.04.12   
An exhibition is planned in Birmingham, presenting… “the strongest B.A. and M.A. work from students coming through the art colleges and universities in the West Midlands”. Submission deadline: 27th April 2012. Full details here (PDF link).

19.04.12   
Entry forms are now online, for Staffordshire Open Art 2012, at the Shire Hall Gallery in Stafford town.

19.04.12   
The Stafford Arts Festival and the Stafford Town Centre Partnership are calling for creatives to participate in the 2012 events. They are seeking…

“a wide range of artists and performers to take part in their second arts festival, a community event held on Saturday 15th September 2012, […] to add life and vibrancy to our town centre”

Application forms are available at the Festival Web page.

19.04.12   
Burslem Festival is taking place on Monday 7th May 2012, including a fair and entertainment from local bands. There will be a Burslem Market and Table Top sale. If you are interested in taking a stall, please contact Stephanie McClelland by today (19th April 2012).

19.04.12   
Staffordshire University media students will be broadcasting to the city on 87.9 FM, for 25 days from 30th May 2012. They’ll be covering the Olympics Torch run-through events, and also the annual Staffs Uni Art & Design Degree Shows in June. Joining them will be the team from Burslem’s 6Towns Radio.

19.04.12   
Interested in carnival costume-making or flag-making? Local community arts group B Arts is running Olympics Torch flag and costume-making workshops at the disused Spode factory in Stoke old town, from 23rd – 27th April 2012. Full details at the B Arts website.

19.04.12   
Here’s a quick round-up of local-ish folk festivals happening in summer 2012, with website links…

*  May 4-6 Rogues Picnic, Hurdlow, nr Buxton, Derbyshire.

*  May 4-7 Clun Green Man Festival, Clun, Shropshire.

*  May 18-20 Bearded Theory Festival, Ashbourne, Derbyshire.

*  May 25-27 Acoustic Festival of Britain, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire.

*  Jun 1-4 Chester Folk Festival, Kelsall, nr Chester, Cheshire.

*  Jun 15-17 Lichfield Folk Festival, Lichfield, Staffordshire.

*  Jun 15-17 Middlewich Folk & Boat Festival, Cheshire.

*  Jul 20-22 Festival At The Edge, Much Wenlock, Shropshire.

*  Aug 10-12 Bakewell Music Festival, Bakewell, Derbyshire.

*  Aug 24-27 Shrewsbury Folk Festival, Shropshire.

19.04.12   
One for the diary for crafts makers. Mark Vardy writes, to…

“announce the launch of a brand new ‘Celebrate Staffordshire’ Craft and Food Fair this December. We aim to attract the very best designer makers, craft-workers and producers from across Staffordshire to participate in this exciting event. The fair will offer hand-made goods and locally produced food and drink.”

The first such event will take place at The Stoke-on-Trent Moat House Hotel on Festival Park, on Sunday 2nd December 2012 from 10am until 4pm. Stalls are now booking, offered at £50 per 6ft frontage. This includes tables, chairs & electricity. Exhibitors will also be listed on the dedicated fair website at www.celebratestaffordshire.co.uk. More details on 01782 850108 or via email at:  exhibitors@celebratestaffordshire.co.uk

19.04.12   
Award-winning journalist Mary Murtagh is planning to share her media insider knowledge with crafts designer-makers in her “How to do your own PR” workshop, which is set for a North Staffordshire date “later this year” in 2012. Interested? Contact:  mary@marymurtaghmedia.co.uk

19.04.12   
Added to the Directory: the new blog of author and editor Jan Edwards. Jan is based in North Staffordshire.

19.04.12   
Faith in Photography is a new Christian photography group in Stoke-on-Trent, based at the Hanley Community Fire Station. The group meets every Friday in Hanley Community Fire Station, 6.30-9.30pm. Full details at the website.

19.04.12   
The North Staffordshire Photographers’ Collective is planning an event for World Pinhole Photography Day, on Sunday 29th April 2012. The venue will be the Burslem School of Art, from around 12 noon. Keep an eye on their website for further details.

19.04.12   
The Heritage Lottery Fund has just announced details of a new £1m small grants programme. All Our Stories will make available grants ranging from £3,000 to £10,000 to community groups, heritage organisations and charities….

“from researching local historic landmarks, learning more about customs and traditions, to delving into archives, and finding out the origins of street and place names — this new programme will give everyone the chance to explore their heritage and share what they learn with others.”

Applications will open online on 31st July 2012, and applicants will receive a decision by October 2012.

19.04.12   
This year’s TED Prize is the first ever given to an idea: The City 2.0. And instead of giving the $100,000 prize to one big idea, it’s being divided in 10 blocks of $10,000 each, to help seed 10 projects in cities around the world. Applications are invited until 15th May 2012.

19.04.12   
Six months after the organisation’s launch, the Creative England new website and branding has just gone live…

19.04.12   
Creative & Cultural Skills is running an online Theatre Talent Survey

“The survey will look to track the careers of people in the UK industry, and the talent that has emerged from it, to fully understand the impact that public investment in the sector makes.”

19.04.12   
The UK Design Council’s Design for Demand programme is now open for applications. Designing Demand is the Design Council’s mentoring service for small and medium sized businesses. See the website for full details.


Added to Creative Stoke, 12th April 2012

12.04.12   
NESTA currently has a call for online hyperlocal projects seeking funding of up to £50,000…

“to test the next generation of hyperlocal media services”

This comes alongside the launch of a new NESTA report on the state of online hyperlocal media in the UK, Here and Now: UK Hyperlocal Media Today (PDF link, sadly no Kindle edition)…

” To our knowledge, this is the first time that such a comprehensive review has been undertaken. […] traditional media providers have found it hard to adjust their high-cost models to a sufficiently local area. Meanwhile, hyperlocal bloggers find it difficult to develop a critical mass of audience and to define the right business models to grow their offers into more sustainable services. Little evidence is publicly available on the success or failure of these services.”

12.04.12   
Added to the Writing and Publishing page, A Little Bit of Stone, a hyperlocal news website for the town of Stone.

12.04.12   
Congratulations to Stoke-on-Trent’s local politics blog Pits ‘n Pots. With the support of the Journalism Foundation and Staffordshire University journalism students, 50,000 copies of a 16-page print version of the blog have this week been distributed to local homes in the city.

12.04.12   
Khoros is a new interactive musical instrument developed and produced in Stoke-on-Trent. Available now, it…

“will have you creating aural masterpieces in minutes, whether a musical novice or seasoned composer!”

12.04.12   
The Weston Park Granary Fine Art Open Competition 2012 is now on. There’s a special prize for entrants from Staffordshire and Shropshire. Painting, drawing, mixed media, sculpture, print making, multi-media are all accepted. There is a £15 entry fee per work, and works must be for sale. The overall Winner will receive £2,000. The Shropshire/Staffordshire winning artist will win £500. Deadline: 29th June 2012. See the Web page for full details.

12.04.12   
There’s to be a special Owl and Raptor Photography Workshop at Trentham Gardens in Stoke-on-Trent, on 14th May 2012. The cost is £99. It seems to be “in the wild” photography, rather than photographing tame birds in studios. Interested? Call 01782 646646.

12.04.12   
Cheadle and District Book Club is a new book discussion club which meets at the Moshi coffee shop, High Street, Cheadle, on the first Monday of every month, to discuss a pre-selected book.

12.04.12   
Stoke-on-Trent’s Prototype magazine for students and recent graduates has begun its new IndieGoGo fundraising campaign to raise awareness and funds for print editions…

12.04.12   
Job:  Red Nile is seeking to commission an innovative print designer, based in the Midlands, to…

“produce a brand new Factory Nights publication [offering] creative ways to feature images from the Factory Night events, images of the artwork and events as part of Unique Commissions and pieces of creative and critical writing which respond to the innovative way Factory Nights commission artists and support their development.”

The total budget for design and print is £3,000 and they are hoping to produce the publication by September 2012. Application deadline: 27th April 2012. Full brief and specs from:  info@rednile.org

12.04.12   
Your editor is giving away book-cover rights on a new picture. This 6″ x 9″ inch (2925px x 1913px, 150dpi) version of my “The Pilot’s Dilemma” is licenced as Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial NoDerivs. But if you are an author who is self-publishing a suitable novel (or a scholarly book on science-fiction, virtual worlds, or similar) then feel free to use it commercially ‘as is’, without asking. Note that the place to add the title and author name is at the bottom of the picture, rather than the top…

I’m also available for book-cover commissions, to make similar works.

12.04.12   
The summer 2012 edition of the UK’s Writing in Education magazine will reportedly have a focus…

“on the work of writers in schools. We should like to invite you to contribute to this, with the proviso that articles submitted will be subject to the normal selection process by the editorial board.”

12.04.12   
The Government is reportedly on the verge of letting £33m of contacts to organisations that will provide support and grants to communities seeking to use the new rights enshrined in the new Localism Act. Community groups can now force local Councils and other bodies such as the Post Office to hand-over buildings and other amenities deemed to be… “assets of community value” if they are under threat of official neglect or closure. This is potentially relevant to the survival of local libraries, galleries, museums, and other cultural venues.

12.04.12   
Added to the Directory: RCA Entertainments is an entertainment agency based in Tean, Staffordshire.

12.04.12   
Bursaries are on offer to eight selected students who intend to graduate in summer 2012 from B.A. and M.A. Fine Art or Art & Design degree courses in the West Midlands. Selected graduates will receive one year’s free membership to Birmingham’s Extra Special People (ESP) based at the contemporary art gallery Eastside Projects in Birmingham. Application deadline: 11th May 2012. See the Web page for full details.

12.04.12   
Job: The New Art Gallery, Walsall, is currently seeking a marketing professional… “to work with its staff on an exciting year-long project for young people”. This entails 20 days of work spread over 12 months, until March 2013. The overall fee is £4,000. Application deadline: 18th April 2012. Full details from Ioannis Ioannou, Audience Development Curator, at:  ioannoui@walsall.gov.uk

12.04.12   
Interested in the fusion of crafts and gadgets? The online crafts maketplace Etsy is offering $5k Hacker Grants for women to attend Hacker School in New York. This…

“is a three-month, full-time school in New York for becoming a better programmer. We’re free as in beer, and provide space, a little structure, time to focus, and a friendly community of smart builders dedicated to self-improvement.”

From the FAQ

“Q: I’m not a US citizen. Can I do Hacker School?

Yes, assuming you can legally be in New York for the entirety of the batch (just under three months). We don’t pay you, and we’re not an official academic institution, so you shouldn’t need a work or student visa.”

The Etsy grants are worth $5,000 each, and there are 20 places available.

12.04.12   
BT’s Infinity “up to 100Mbs” fast broadband package should now be available in Leek and Stafford, from 31st March 2012. A roughly 38Mbps real-world download speed should be available, and BT have just announced that the upstream on Infinity (all varieties) will be boosted five-fold to 9.5Mbps. This upstream boost will be especially useful for those needing to upload huge media files to “need it yesterday” clients, live webcast with video, etc. Next on the Infinity upgrade list is Newcastle-under-Lyme, which is penciled in for a switch-on on 31st December 2012. Stoke-on-Trent will presumably follow in 2013.


Added to Creative Stoke, 2nd April 2012

02.04.12   
Job:  Stoke-on-Trent Sixth-Form College requires a Photography teacher (0.6 part-time contract), on a maternity cover basis.

02.04.12   
Underground in Legend and Tradition: The Seventh Folklore Society Legendary Weekend is an event happening nearby on the 1st and 2nd of September 2012. The venue is the Matlock Bath Pavilion, in Derbyshire. The event may especially interest historical and fantasy writers or artists.

02.04.12   
Trentham-based PR agency Purple Sprout is offering “up to £5,000 worth” of public relations support, as the prize for a competition aimed at innovative new businesses (trading at least 6 months, no more than 3 years old). For full details, see the competition Web page.

02.04.12   
Multipack Staffordshire’ is happened on 16th April 2012, at Penkridge near Wolverhampton. This is a local midweek offshoot of Multipack (the Birmingham-based professional networking group for Web creatives)…

“…join us for a midweek drink and an optional bite to eat, as we discuss all things web and tech in Staffordshire and the surrounding areas.”

02.04.12   
Stoke’s Top Talent” is back, for 2012. Applications are now open.

02.04.12   
Congratulations to Stafford-based Sheringham Studios, who have reportedly finished their feature-length movie Money Kills, which is set for a premiere in Stafford in May 2012. Here’s their story trailer, released a few months ago…

Money Kills Story Trailer from sheringhamstudios on Vimeo.

02.04.12   
The Lichfield Festival is to host a free networking afternoon for Staffordshire writers. The date is Saturday 26th May 2012. More details at their website soon (they still have the old 2011 listings, at present).

02.04.12   
Barewall gallery in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent are currently looking for an apprentice. Interested? Contact John on: 0121 224 7308. Closing date is in early April 2012. Last week the gallery won the Sentinel newspaper’s Start-Up of the Year Award 2012.

02.04.12   
Stoke-on-Trent City Council is calling for bids to run two big city-centre entertainment venues.

02.04.12   
Cre8Net Launch Night report: “Resilience”. At the Burslem School of Art, Stoke-on-Trent. Weds 28th March 2012.

AROUND 80 PEOPLE tucked into a sumptuous selection of locally-made pies and other refreshments, then sat in a cafe-style arrangement of tables in the main ground-floor space at the School of Art. Cath Ralph, manager of the beautifully restored and self-funding School, introduced the evening and the panel of speakers.

First up was a man who had flown all the way from Spain to be here. Andy Davies, former BBC 2 presenter and the producer of the Jonathan Ross radio programme. Andy had started out in 1989, in the days when a university degree in media was not a requirement to enter the industry. He was then managing three music artists, and regularly phoned in to the then-new GLR, the BBC’s local radio station for London. He rather cheekily asked presenter Emma Freud for a date, and to his amazement she said yes. This led to Andy meeting presenter Chris Evans, and he blagged a job with Chris as a phone-in wrangler. Sometimes he had to be inventive, and fake comments and responses when the phone-in traffic wasn’t really there. So, one of the first lessons of being resiliant is that you sometimes need to take your chances, and indeed to make your own chances. Eventually he worked for Jonathan Ross for eleven years. Andy talked about the press trouble he saw toward the end of that time with Ross, and his view of the London press. He’s since been Executive Producer for “Pick of the Pops” and Sky’s “Men in Frocks”. On the latter he has learned how to handle low budgets, and to select prizes that look fabulous but actually don’t cost much — such as a vintage M.G. Midget car the producers picked up for £3,000.

From the floor, John Holmes asked Andy “Where will he go next?”. Andy replied that he’s working with an indie firm which has a co-production deal with BBC Radio 2, following the requirement that 20% of all programming comes from independents. He’s also working on an Engelbert Humperdinck radio biography show, and a “Sounds of the 1960s” project, and as a studio manager.

Andy noted that the media degree graduates he meets are rather limited in their range of skills and their worldview. In his view, life experience and knowing what the ordinary person wants is just as important to success in the media entertainment business. There is something of a generational clash between the new graduates and the “old guard”. At BBC Radio 2 the older workers still value a face-to-face in the pub, whereas the younger ones are far more likely to network online.

Andy was later asked about what sort of notions the London media have of Stoke-on-Trent, but the answer was that basically Stoke doesn’t even register on London’s radar.

Peta Murphy-Burke, Relationship Manager for Digital & Creative at the West Midlands arm of the Arts Council, talked about her role in setting up the Stoke-based Cultural Sisters carnival arts organisation. There were comments about the contrast between low earnings and working for high-profile events such as the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony. Stoke is a good place to base yourself, on costs and transport, but you usually have to go outside in order to get serious income. In the community arts it can be difficult to make profits without employing others. Cuts were mentioned, including 50% admin cuts at the Arts Council by 2013.

Lisa Wilding talked about how she earned a degree in Science and went into project management, and then “fell into” the arts, transferring her project management skills. Lisa started a Stoke webzine called Culturing Stuff, and is now presenting the “Culture Club” radio show on Wednesdays for Six Towns Radio. Lisa said that if you’re working in the arts on a public funding basis, then simply applying for the funding is hard slog. But you just have to keep applying, and keep cultivating potential collaborators for bids. Consider the arts lifestyle as “an outcome” that is also worth something to you as a creative individual, and that it also gives you the time needed to keep learning — even if all that tacit stuff can’t be costed in a funding application. One way of “passing on” resilience is to pair newcomers with “old hands”, which can allow the newcomers to hook into existing support networks. Every project has to be high-quality when you are working in such an insular city as Stoke, but in such a small city is can be easier than elsewhere to build up “a head of steam” with regular funders.

Janet Hetherington of the Creative Communities team at Staffordshire University talked of the planning for the adjunct free training course at Staffordshire University, which will run alongside the four Cre8Net evenings in the first half of 2012. This course was reportedly still in the planning stages, but invitations to apply have now gone out to interested people. As a Brummie, Janet’s first questions of a community arts or creative project is “would my dad understand it?” and “how are you going to convince my dad of its worth?” The more people who can understand it, the more resilience your project can have.

A speaker from the floor thanked the managers of Burslem’s Six Towns Radio for considering taking on her son — who has a history of troubled mental health — as a trainee journalist.

Ieva Alksne, the Latvian assistant manager of the School of Art, also spoke briefly from the floor to congratulate Burslem’s Barewall gallery — on the previous evening the gallery had won the Sentinel newspaper’s Start-Up of the Year Award 2012.

After the panel there was networking in the School of Art’s spacious ground floor, amid the works in the Pop-Up Ceramics Gallery, which mingled the work of professional ceramics makers with the work made as part of the “Great Wall of China” project to entice local people into making and selling ceramics.

Here are portraits of a few of the many creatives who attended…


The second Cre8Net night will probably be in Hanley during April. Details to be announced.