Added to Creative Stoke, 2nd April 2012

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

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.

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.

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.”

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

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.

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).

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.

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

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.


2 Comments on “Added to Creative Stoke, 2nd April 2012”

  1. ministoke says:

    This is a great post Dave and I really love your portraits! I feel an exhibition at BSOA coming on…….?

  2. ministoke says:

    Excellent post Dave and I really love the photos! Do I feel an exhibition at BSOA Photographers Gallery coming on…..?

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