Creative Stoke, 31st May 2012 update

31.05.12   
The Singing for Pleasure Summer School 2012 is to be held at Keele University in North Staffordshire. The event provides an opportunity for singers, conductors and vocal leaders alike, to enjoy a high standard of music making geared to all levels of achievement in a stimulating and friendly environment. The dates are 19th – 27th August 2012. Full details at the website.

31.05.12   
Singing for Pleasure Midlands is a five day, non-residential summer school for talented young singers (age 9-13) from the West Midlands, who are developing their choral and musicianship skills. It runs from 23rd – 27th July 2012 in Walsall. Cost is just £25 for the week, generously supported by business sponsorship from the John Lewis Partnership.

31.05.12   
The Department for Education has funds for four new ‘In Harmony’ projects, which aim to inspire children in deprived communities through orchestral music-making. £250,000 is on offer for 2012-13. Arts Council England is managing the projects, and organisations are invited to apply. 25th June 2012 is the application deadline. See the Arts Council’s website for full details.

31.05.12   
A Keele University Writing Retreat will be held July 29th – 3rd August 2012. Run by four established writers of poetry and fiction, the retreat can also be converted into credits towards the Keele University M.A. degree in Creative Writing. Cost is £550, inclusive of accommodation and all meals. See the website for full details.

31.05.12   
Shropshire’s Arvon Foundation house, the Hurst, is booking now for their acclaimed Graphic Novels Course to run from 25th – 30th June 2012. Run by Bryan Talbot (Luther Arkwright) and other leading graphic novel creatives. Cost is £655, with some bursaries available. See the Web page for full details.

31.05.12   
Added to the Directory: Camila Prada is a Stoke-on-Trent ceramics designer, finding success by transferring the vinyl toy aesthetic into fine ceramics…


Above: “TumTum” figurine, fine bone china, real platinum. Available from the Camila Prada online store.

31.05.12   
There’s a new government £82.5m StartUp Loans scheme, for young people aged 18 and 24 to start a new business. The website is still in beta, but you can apply now. There are personal loans of £2,500, to be paid back over five years at market rates. There is also a new free guidebook to starting a small business (PDF link).

31.05.12   
Staffordshire University is offering a nine month business start-up course to its past graduates, with 27 places available for people planning to start a business in the West Midlands. There’s a “£4,000 grant”. Application deadline is now: 9am on Wednesday 6th June 2012.

31.05.12   
Newcastle-under-Lyme Business Boost is a local business awards ceremony, backed up by cash prizes of £1,500. The website has not yet updated for 2012, but the entry deadline will be: 20th July 2012.

31.05.12   
This summer the Staffordshire Newsletter is teaming up with the Stafford Gatehouse Theatre, The Post House and Virgin Trains… to find a local star in the making! Entry is free, and the first prize in this talent competition is worth over £1,000.

31.05.12   
Job: A Teacher of Media Studies is required at Congleton High School, to start with the September 2012 term. Application deadline: 11th June 2012.

31.05.12   
Newcastle-under-Lyme College is running three one-day courses for people aged 14-18 and undertaking GCSE Art, during the June half-term school holidays. These are:

  6th June | GCSE Art Booster Workshop: Ceramics.

  7th June | GCSE Art Booster Workshop: Large Scale Drawing.

  8th June | GCSE Art Booster Workshop: Three Dimensional Studies.

Each costs £20 per day, or all three days can be booked for £60. For more information, and to book your place, please phone: 01782 254323.

31.05.12   
Newcastle-under-Lyme Museum and Art Gallery’s Christmas contemporary craft fair is set for 15th-17th November 2012, and the organisers are seeking crafts makers to take tables. Full information on bookings from:  beverley.jennings@newcastle-staffs.gov.uk

31.05.12   
Chase Arts Festival and Cannock Chase High School are offering either a visual artist or a maker one week of free usage of classroom facilities, including a ceramics kiln. Students will see you in practice. Further details:  m.allsopp@cannockchase-high.staffs.sch.uk

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Added to Creative Stoke, 24th May 2012


24.05.12   
Added to the Directory: There’s a new free “taking on an employee” five-step toolkit, online now.

24.05.12   
Business Initiative has a “Startup Course in Finance & Marketing”, starting in Stoke-on-Trent on 11th June 2012. There are free daytime sessions, and paid-for evening sessions. The venue will be the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce offices on Festival Park (across the road from the cinema). Full details from: 01782 202222.

24.05.12   
“Digital Staffordshire” is the title of a breakfast business event happening on 31st May 2012 (8am-10am) in Stafford.

“The event, organised by the Stoke-on Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), will look to ways we can improve business growth in the ICT and digital sector [with a focus on] collaboration between the public and private sector”

Register via:  contactus@stokestaffslep.org.uk

24.05.12   
The Midlands National Forest is running a Woody Tales Short Story Competition. Prizes include Group Tickets for the National Forest’s Wood Fair. To enter, just…

“spin a woodland yarn for the National Forest Wood Fair’s Woody Tales short story competition. Whether it’s a forest fable or a tall tale about trees,
stories of up to 750 words can be entered [under] two categories, under 15 years and 15 years plus/adult”

Entry is free. Deadline is Friday 29th June 2012. The National Forest is a new forest that intends to cover 200 square miles of the English Midlands, across parts of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire.

24.05.12   
Artists, scientists and creatives — with an interest in ancient history, storytelling, conservation, symbology and the changing landscape — are invited to a special out-of-hours candle-lit visit to the Staffordshire Hoard at the Potteries Museum. To be followed by a picnic at a Saxon site in Trentham Gardens. The date is Friday 8th June, 5pm-9pm. Application deadline: 4th June 2012. Only fifteen people will be selected, and a small bursary will be offered to successful applicants. To apply, email 150 words on your current practice, medium or interests, and why you would like to attend. Attach two or three pieces/images of recent relevant works at low resolution, and/or Web links, and send to:  info@rednile.org

24.05.12   
Added to the Directory: Leek’s Literary Connection is a new group meeting at the Foxlowe Art Cafe in Leek town, North Staffordshire.

24.05.12   
Added to the Directory: Konnektiv Drama does experimental and physical theatre, and is run by a qualified drama therapist.

24.05.12   
Would you like to be the Poet Laureate for Staffordshire? This is a new role open to those who live or study in Staffordshire. The selected poet will hold the position for twelve months from October 2012, and do all the usual promotional activities on behalf of the county. The role is being organised through Staffordshire County Council, Libraries and Arts. Deadline for applications is: 14th July 2012. Full details are here (.doc Word document).

24.05.12   
A date for makers, textiles crafters, and scrapbook makers, and indeed just about anyone who needs to stock up on a year’s supply of beautiful beads. The Staffordshire Bead Fair is on 9th September 2012. The venue is the Moat House Hotel on Festival Park, Stoke-on-Trent.

24.05.12   
Stoke-on-Trent’s Barewall gallery is calling for artists, ceramicists and designer makers for a pop-up shop in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, on 16th June 2012 — for one week only. Interested? Email:  info@barewall.co.uk

24.05.12   
A new contemporary art exhibition will take place in Spring 2013 featuring selected work by B.A., M.A. and PhD fine art graduates from 2010, 2011 and 2012. New graduates from Staffordshire University will be eligible to apply. To receive application details, email:  newartwestmidlands2013@bcu.ac.uk

24.05.12   
Reasheath Agricultural College (Nantwich) has three one-day workshops for flower designers coming up:

* 26th May 2012. Bridal Designs with Flowers. Covers the latest trends and techniques for bridal wedding design with flowers.

* 23rd June 2012. English Garden Arranging. For those designing with traditional English garden flowers.

* 7th July 2012. Introduction to Floristry. Basic principles plus introduction to hand tied, arrangements and wired work for flower designs.

24.05.12   
“Writing for Children and Young People” is a one-day workshop for adult authors, happening at Mackworth Library, Derby. The date is 23rd June 2012. To be led by award-winning children’s author Caroline Pitcher. Cost: £25, and booking is essential. Details from:  mackworth.library@derby.gov.uk


24.05.12   
Cre8Net Event report: “Innovation”. At the Mitchell Youth Theatre and Arts Centre, Stoke-on-Trent. Weds 23rd May 2012.

ON THE EVENING of one of the warmest days of the year so far, a group of Stoke’s creatives met in the stylish new cafe of the newly-refurbished Mitchell in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. The subject of this second Cre8net event was ‘Innovation’.

The main presentation was by Harold Sharples, the Cheshire-based business consultant currently running StartupSuccess. Harold and his partner plan to start and mentor an initial group of five new business in Burslem, in the near future. [ This is in the context of: a low number of startups in the West Midlands region; an even lower number in North Staffordshire; and… “amongst women it is lower in the West Midlands than in virtually all the other regions of the UK” — WMRO, 2009. ]

Harold started by saying that small and medium businesses are vital for UK job growth, and that most new jobs tend to come from a small proportion of all new SMEs — at least according to the official statistics [ it should be noted that the statistics have severe difficulties in recording ‘microbusiness’ activity of any kind in the UK ]. Harold qualified by saying that the collection of data on job creation by small-to-medium firms in the UK is poor, and there is a lack of relevant and recent research on why small businesses succeed or fail. But there is a lot of similarity to the situation in the USA, where there is good open data on startups from the Kauffman Foundation and others. 700,000 U.S. citizens currently say they want to start a business in the next year, but the statistics show that eight out of ten who do start one will fail within five years. [ Age is a strong factor in success in the USA ]. The average UK startup lifetime is just 3.5 years.

More needs to be done to find ways to help people succeed. As much risk as possible needs to be removed from the starting up process. This is especially true of the vital “high growth” business with over 10 staff [ 4,110 small companies are “high growth” in the UK, which is 16% of all small and medium firms. There are 196 “high growth” SMEs known to exist in the West Midlands — Experian report, 2012. ]

Very few researchers have been looking for a replicable ‘success formula’ for new startups, although the Wharton School of Business in the USA has done useful work on the topic. One of the keys to success is to do a lot of pre-start up research and planning to position your business correctly. Planning is something most small business people are not keen on, and almost no-one is properly trained in research. Harold showed a useful grid, from his forthcoming book, which laid out the key factors to be considered when starting a business. He placed special stress on identifying proven mechanisms to retain and scale income, such as a recurring subscriptions on direct debit. Only perhaps 4% of those starting a business have the skills to “do it all” themselves when starting up. Thus “innovation teams” need to be put together, to find the right mix of skills to start a growing and succesful small business. An “innovation team” should be no more than five people of mutually-reinforcing personality types. All five should be starting their own business, while mutually supporting and reinforcing each other.

The room then engaged in a lengthy card-based activity, based on each person sorting five personality traits in order of applicability to them. The room was found to veer strongly toward ‘creative and intuitive’ being the dominant trait. This led into a discussion of the prejudiced and blinkered ways that different personality types see each other. Larger businesses and organisations can be especially prone to placing different kinds of people in “silos”, and breaking down the resulting entrenched tribal animosities can then be very difficult. Yet many marriages happen across different personality types. Picking the five people for a business startup “innovation team” is thus best done by having a complementary mix of the different personality types.

The room then broke off for excellent Welsh pies, strawberries, drinks, and cigarettes.

On resuming, the panel discussion then consisted of: Harold Sharples; John Hudson of Staffordshire University; the founder of Craegmoor Healthcare; and Lisa Wilding of 6towns Radio.

John Hudson is interested in design decision making in the printing industries, in relation to the environmentalist agenda and graphic design. Especially in how sustainability can be pushed via innovations in the higher education curriculum and in educational delivery.

The founder of Craegmoor Healthcare gave a long account of the lessons learned in his time setting up a successful pottery business in the 1970s and 1980s. He took his ceramics designs outside the Potteries — to Walsall, Stratford-upon-Avon, Birmingham — and intensively market-tested them with real households to find which had the most appeal, leaving the peices in people’s homes rather than just doing a one-hour ‘visit and show’. He could not have done this testing locally, because Stoke-on-Trent people didn’t then properly value the ceramics the city made. He took the idea of studio pottery and applied mass production techniques, something no-else wanted to do at the time. He actively marketed the resulting product to the Women’s Institutes across the UK, loss-leading on his factory and gallery tours. From this audience he was able to spin out a networked Tupperware-style agent sales operation among women, using the catchline “Earn while your children sleep”. He expanded hugely, and moved factories three times, growing the business by always being customer led. He increased prices slowly but regularly, testing what the market would bear. He found the sales actually increased when prices went up, and finally managed to increase his prices by a factor of six. The early 1980s recession sadly put paid to the business — but he moved into property, and he now heads a firm specialising in providing effective care and homes for mentally disabled people — an organisation that now has 30 homes, an independent college, and over 400 people employed. He has started a media production base within the college, giving mentally disabled people a real voice.

Mark Webster of Staffordshire University asked a question from the floor, about leadership styles and their importance. Harold Sharples suggested that the role of the leader was especially important in the staff induction process, in setting a standard for staff and management, and in knowing your workforce and being open to their ideas. Other panel members suggested that you need to trust people who know their job better than you do, and help to empower them. [ Management training is also needed, to improve the often dire quality of management in the UK ].

Cath Ralph of the Burslem School of Art announced an offer of a free £300-worth of services and space at the School, and distributed application forms for this kind offer.



Added to Creative Stoke, 19th May 2012

19.05.12   
Cre8net 2 is happening on Wednesday 23rd May 2012, from 7pm. Mitchell Youth Arts Theatre in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. Leading the presentation element of this free Cre8Net networking and learning evening will be Harold Sharples — a Management and Leadership Consultant. The following panel discussion will look at Innovation and its sustainability in the city. There will also be details of free ‘Office Space package’ on offer at the Burslem School of Art. It’s worth £300: host an event, use an office for two months, develop a class, and apply for a residency. Here’s the flyer for this free event…


Click to see the full-size version.

19.05.12   
Staffordshire University’s B.A. (Hons.) Art & Design public exhibitions open with the preview launch evening on Friday 15th June (from 6.30pm), and end on Saturday 23rd June 2012. Opening times can be found here.

As part of the annual shows, there is a business breakfast event on 19th June (8am). Local creative, design and media businesses are invited to network with graduating students in art, media and design…

Those interested in undertaking one of the wide range of creative degrees and other higher education courses on offer in North and Mid Staffordshire might want to attend the Staffordshire Higher Education Fair 2012. It’s on 27th June 2012 at the Sir Stanley Matthews Sports Centre in Stoke-on-Trent…

19.05.12   
Newcastle-under-Lyme College will have its annual Art and Design Exhibition open from Saturday 23rd June – Saturday 30th June 2012. Opening times available here. The College is also recruiting now for its September adult evening classes in art and design subjects.

19.05.12   
Newcastle-under-Lyme’s Barts is working in Burslem Park on 2nd/3rd June 2012 with associate artist Rachel Grant, and will be offering free textiles workshops. Full details at the Barts website.

19.05.12   
Job: Derbyshire’s Wirksworth Festival requires a Festival Manager. Application deadline: 24th May 2012. Full details from:  assistant@wirksworthfestival.co.uk

19.05.12   
Congratulations to the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent. This week they won a “Museums + Heritage Award for Excellence” for their Once upon a Time exhibition.

19.05.12   
Creating the Change: developing a sustainable social or community enterprise” is a one-day event at Staffordshire University (Stoke-on-Trent campus) on Wednesday 20th June 2012. The cost of the one day event is £60 — with the option of an additional two hours support to develop your enterprise idea for £40 (total cost £100). Click the link above for full details.

19.05.12   
Creative England has just relaunched the old EU-funded regional film production scheme, Advantage Media Production Fund. It has funding of £450,000 to distribute, as seed money for feature-film production by registered Ltd. companies based in the West Midlands. Application deadline: 8th June 2012. Guidance sheet is available here.

19.05.12   
The Design Council and the Nominet Trust are challenging the UK’s creatives…

“to design, build and launch new digital products and services that help young people [16-24] develop their talents and make a living.”

They’ll be offering three winning teams up to £50,000 each to cover design and development, plus support and publicity to make things happen. Full details at their Working Well website.

19.05.12   
The Shire Hall Gallery, in the centre of Stafford town, is to host Handmade, a contemporary art and craft fair on Friday 2nd November and Saturday 3rd November 2012. Artists and makers are now invited to apply. Application deadline: Saturday 30th June 2012. Full details at the website.

19.05.12   
The Granary Art Gallery at Weston Park, Staffordshire, has a Fine Art Open Competition. The main prize is £2,000, with a further £500 prize for artists from Shropshire or Staffordshire. Entries cost £15.00 per piece, and the deadline is Friday 29th June 2012.

19.05.12   
Wolverhampton is calling for expressions of interest for a light art commission to feature at Junction 2012, an arts festival taking place in Wolverhampton, 3rd-5th August 2012. Artists living or working in the West Midlands are invited to apply. Fee: £600 fee inclusive of materials. Wolverhampton has previously staged excellence in light art, and on a grand scale — namely the magnificent “Charge” in West Park in the year 2000. More details of the Junction 2012 commission at their website.

19.05.12   
Job: Birmingham Museums is seeking to recruit a part-time Museum Assistant at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter (30 hours a week, permanent position). Closing date: Tuesday 21st May at 10am. More details at the website.

19.05.12   
North Staffordshire’s Rideout is running “In Closed Spaces” at the Birmingham School of Acting, 10th – 14th Sept 2012. Five day training programme for those developing theatre and drama in prisons. Cost is £475 – not inc. meals, travel or accomodation.

19.05.12   
Job: Writers in Prison Network is seeking a new Writer in Residence at Stafford prison. 1-2 Year contract @ 880 hours / £14,485 p.a. Applications close Thursday 1st June 2012. Apply to Writers in Prison Network at: wipn@btinternet.com

19.05.12   
Job: Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College is advertising for a full-time Teacher of Music: GCE A Level and BTEC.

19.05.12   
“How to Predict Trends” is a workshop in Birmingham for interiors and lifestyle companies in the Midlands, and will be delivered by trends expert Kate Thorley. The date is 29th May 2012, at the British Jewellers’ Association building in Birmingham. Bookings by 21st May 2012 via: info@ilfutures.co.uk

19.05.12   
Would you like to be an artist-in-residence on a canal boat floating around the Manchester and Pennine waterways for four weeks? AND (the organisers) are seeking applications from individuals / groups who are…

“established [artists] working in emerging artistic practice that questions normality.”

Fee is £1,500 plus “travel expenses to the UK of up to £1000”. Application deadline: 25th May 2012. Full details at the website.

13.05.12   
Dates for your diary: the Staffordshire Open Studios weekends for 2012 will be: Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th September 2012, followed by Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd September 2012. Full details on participating artists will be announced in due course.


Added to Creative Stoke, 13th May 2012

13.05.12   
Stoke-on-Trent’s Prototype magazine is having a grand launch party on Tuesday 15th May 2012 (from 7pm), and the editor is interested in exhibitors for the event. You will need to have your own display equipment, and be available from 5pm or earlier. Interested? Please contact:  prototypemag@Gmail.com

13.05.12   
The Federation of Small Businesses is running a North Staffordshire event on Monday 14th May 2012 (7pm) at the Potters Club, Federation House (just over the road from Stoke’s main train station). The event is titled: “Pick me, pick me! How to convince customers to buy from you.” Cost is £7, and non-members are welcome. Book via Eventbrite (hurry, booking period ends soon!)

13.05.12   
The AirSpace contemporary art gallery in Hanley has a Graduate Residency on offer. It’s only open to students who are about to graduate from a B.A. (Hons.) Fine Art course. On offer is: a rent-free 7′ X 9′ foot studio space for 6 months (July 2012 – Jan 2013); monthly support meetings with gallery director; your first solo show at AirSpace. Full information is available at the AirSpace website.

13.05.12   
Denise O’Sullivan is seeking a ceramic or crafts student who would like to volunteer some time on a ceramic schools project. The project is one that Denise is undertaking at the beginning of June 2012 in Stoke-on-Trent. You would be helping to run workshops with Denise, and would also get a chance to run a small group? If interested, email Denise at:  info@deniseosullivan.com

13.05.12   
Passionate Drama Tutors are required by the Axis Arts Centre (at Manchester Uni’s Crewe campus) for a three day project on Grimms’ Tales. Payment is £100 for the whole three-day project.

13.05.12   
Job:  St Peter’s Academy School in Penkhull, Stoke-on-Trent, requires a Director of Learning: Creative & Performing Arts. Application deadline: 22nd May 2012, for a September 2012 start.

13.05.12   
A volunteer Sound Engineer Trainee is wanted in the town of Leek…

“Trainee sound engineer required to undertake duties at monthly gigs based in Leek. (Gigs will be twice per month from March 2012). Volunteers will be given full training in all aspects of the role. This is a great opportunity for anyone wanting experience of the music industry.”

13.05.12   
Bob Catterall has kindly placed online his extensive selection of photos of the opening night of Unilateral, which was the recent art show by first and second-year art students at Staffordshire University.

13.05.12   
The newly refurbished Mitchell Youth Arts Centre — in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent — is currently seeking volunteers for their front-of-house team. They also have some limited Internships available, based around specific projects. Interested? Email:  info@mitchellartscentre.co.uk

13.05.12   
Added to the Directory: Lightwood Games – based in Stoke-on-Trent, and specialists in games for mobile devices. Stoke-on-Trent’s Lightwood Games have created the award-winning entry of the UK’s first GameHack event. The two-person team won prizes for “Most Innovative Idea” and “Best Use of Mobile” at the hackathon, held at Pinewood Studios on April 28th-29th 2012. GameHack challenged participants to design and develop an original game in just 24 hours. Lightwood Games has now pledged that the “Plasma Party” game will continue to be developed.

13.05.12   
The Stoke-on-Trent City Voices writers’ group is to run their 6th Words & Music Festival on 13th May 2012 (4pm-10pm), at The Leopard pub in Burslem. Tickets are £5. More details at the website.

13.05.12   
Congratulations to Les Jones, based over at Woore on the Staffordshire/Shropshire border. His one-man creative magazine, Elsie, has just been voted one of the top ten new magazines of 2011 by the New York Library Journal

“It’s a bit risky to select the creation of one individual as one of the best new magazines of the year, but Jones’s wit, artistic eye and insight make Elsie a unique treasure. The love and creativity he pours into this magazine is impressive. Every beautifully printed issue features a few personal touches… Elsie will be a freshly distinctive addition to any library’s collection of works on the creative arts.”

13.05.12   
Rosemary Hale is running two outdoor painting days in North Staffordshire in Summer 2012. Cost is £35 per person per event (includes painting tuition all day). The first is on the 14th of July at Cotton Dell, Oakamoor, a beautiful Staffordshire valley. The second is on 8th August at Hen Cloud and the Roaches, for stunning rock and moorland views. Full details at Rosemary’s website.

13.05.12   
The Arnold Bennett Society is booking now for the 9th annual conference, 9th June 2012, at the North Staffordshire Conference Centre in Hartshill.

13.05.12   
The AGM of the North Staffordshire National Trust Association is happening on 15th May (7pm), and will be followed by a talk by Fiona Walker — “Behind the scenes at the New Vic theatre”.

13.05.12   
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is running an Enterprising Britain competition, to find the most enterprising place in the UK. There are three categories: the most enterprising place in the UK, the organisation that best promotes enterprise, and the organisation most successful in encouraging businesses to export. The entry deadline is 30th May 2012. To register an interest, send your firm’s contact details to:  enterprisingbritain@bis.gsi.gov.uk

13.05.12   
The John Betjeman Poetry Competition 2012 is now open to children aged 10-13 in the British Isles. You are invited to write one poem on the theme of “place”, a place that’s important to you… “Put into words what that place means to you.” The closing date for entries is 31st July 2012. The winner will have a £1000 cash prize. Runners-up have a chance at winning Eurostar train tickets, and book tokens.


Added to Creative Stoke, 4th May 2012

04.05.12   
Stoke’s Dan Hopkins has a new Landcrash music album out, Landcrash: Sunrise/Dark, via the Rural Colours label.

04.05.12   
Jack Kurasik is a local Stoke-on-Trent classical guitarist, with a grade 8 level. He is currently looking for other guitarists or musicians to team up with. Interested? Contact Jack at:  jadvk5@gmail.com

04.05.12   
ST1 is a new Stoke-on-Trent documentary project, which is currently seeking 100 people from the ST postcode area who…

“… have a story to tell, people who make a difference with what they do in their day-to-day lives.”

See the project’s Facebook page for more details.

04.05.12   
The photographer Martin Parr will be visiting Stoke-on-Trent, to give an illustrated talk about his career as a documentary photographer and photobook collector. The venue will be The Wedgwood Museum at Barlaston, on Friday 18th May 2012 at 7pm (doors open 5.30pm). This is a ticket-only event, and tickets cost £5 each. To book call: 01783 371900.

04.05.12   
Are you interested in experience in theatre lighting, theatre sound, or stage management? The Regent Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent is offering a unique opportunity for just three people (16+ only) who will be given the opportunity to work alongside theatre professionals, and to be mentored on the youth production of Footloose (offering stage experience in August 2012). Interested? Please email: stokecreativelearning@theambassadors.com for an application pack. Deadline: Friday 4th May 2012, 5pm.

04.05.12   
Jonathan Wilkes’ “Stoke’s Top Talent” contest now has a PDF giving application details online. The first auditions will be at the end of July.

04.05.12   
Stafford Library and Staffordshire Libraries are running a Short Story Competition. No more than 2000 words, in English. All ages welcome. There is no entry fee. Winners will be announced at the Stafford Arts Festival in September. Entry deadline: 4th August 2012. Full details and rules at the website.

04.05.12   
There’s to be a Jubilee Jamboree event for Stoke-on-Trent’s younger kids (age 3-5), on Wednesday 30th May 2012. The venue is Tunstall Park (Floral Hall). Play sessions and activities run from 10.15am until 12 noon, then 12.45pm until 2.30pm. Workshops include music-making, play with clay, storytelling, and movement-and-play.

04.05.12   
Stephen Harvey has a new Kindle ebook edition of his Staffordshire Strange Tales booklet. 34 pages of eerie and strange tales from North Staffordshire…

“some very strange and some very true tales of the area including Molly Leigh who was a very real witch who lived in Burslem, the mermaid of Blackmere, the chained oak of Alton Towers, and the headless corpse of Harecastle Tunnel. There is even a haunted radish, that terrified a woman in Leek!”

04.05.12   
Are you interested in what’s going on up in the nearby Peak District, in terms of tourism / heritage / culture? A date has been announced for the Peak Tourist Board’s forthcoming free annual showcase event in Buxton, at the Pavilion Gardens on Wednesday 9th May 2012…

“Around 60 businesses ranging from activity and accommodation providers to attractions and food and drink producers will step into the spotlight in a special exhibition at Visit Peak District & Derbyshire’s day-long event”

There is also a tourism and leisure industry conference for the Peak, running alongside the free showcase, which costs £25 + VAT. See the website for full details.

04.05.12   
Could your creative business help homeless people in the city of Stoke-on-Trent? There is to be a free business event on the topic, on Friday 25th May 2012 (from 5.30pm) at the Mitchell Arts Centre in Hanley. The event will…

“discuss the opportunities for businesses in Stoke-on-Trent to get involved in creating opportunities for homeless people.”

To reserve a place, contact Marguerite Castille at Brighter Futures:  Marguerite.Castille@brighter-futures.org.uk

04.05.12   
The North Staffordshire Women in Rural Enterprise (WiRE) group now has summer meetings dates posted.

04.05.12   
Author Izaak Walton’s famous Fishing Cottage is to host a ‘Greenwood Garden Crafts’ free event on Sunday 27th May 2012 (1pm-5pm)…

enjoy traditional garden craft demonstrations with willow weaving and pole lathe turning.

04.05.12   
A date for the late autumn. ‘Material World’, at the Ancient High House in Stafford Town, is an event set for Saturday 13th October 2012 (10am-4pm). The day will offer free…

“displays and demonstrations from experts in embroidery, crochet, knitting, sewing, lace-making, spinning and weaving.”

04.05.12   
Job (voluntary):  The Woodland Trust wants volunteer local press-and-media liason people in Staffordshire…

“We are looking for volunteers [ to undertake ] writing press releases and letters, and liaising electronically or by telephone with local press and media networks to inspire publication … in the following locations: … Staffordshire”

04.05.12   
A new local photo-booklet has been published, for the North Staffordshire Woodland Walks week. The Two Universities Way documents a tree filled five-mile walk, linking Stoke train station / Staffordshire University with Keele University. The booklet is free online (PDF link, 5Mb).

04.05.12   
Added to the Directory: The Crooked Wabees are a Staffordshire folk band specialising in traditional Northumbrian -style folk music, including the classic and ancient Northumbrian pipes.

04.05.12   
A weekend adult course in Traditional Bow Making is to take place at Stafford Castle, 16th to 17th June 2012 (9am-4.30pm each day)…

“Work with our medieval bow making expert to build your own longbow using traditional materials.”

Places are limited for this two day workshop, and the cost is £150 per person. Pre-booking is essential. Full details from:  heritage@staffordbc.gov.uk

04.05.12   
“Evolve 12” is an evening of final films made this year by first and second-year media / film production students at Staffordshire University. These will be a range of documentaries, experimental films and personal films. The date is Wednesday 16th May 2012 (7.45pm) at the Film Theatre art-house cinema in Stoke (just around the corner from the city’s main train station). Easy access by bus and rail, and there is secure bicycle-locking at the Film Theatre or train station. Sure to be a good networking and talent-spotting opportunity!

04.05.12   
“How can mainstream and community media co-exist and collaborate?” is the title of a BBC College of Journalism ‘Connecting Communities’ event, to happen at Salford in Manchester, on 24th May 2012.

04.05.12   
Trove in Birmingham are seeking modified and hacked toys for an exhibition. They want toys that… “have been altered, hacked, modified or electronically changed”. Deadline: 6th May 2012. See the Web page for full details.

04.05.12   
Job:  A Development Curator in Culture, Arts and Heritage is required at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, for a 30 hours per week post until 31st March 2013. Job ref: WHCC00079O. You will assist the Curatorial Services and Programme Development Manager with developing new ways of working and to develop new partnerships. Deadline: 14th May 2012. More details from:  Marguerite.Nugent@wolverhampton.gov.uk

04.05.12   
Job:  A Gallery Technician is required at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, for a 37 hours per week post. Deadline: 7th May 2012. More details from:  Marguerite.Nugent@wolverhampton.gov.uk

04.05.12   
Advance notice of a new Creative Industry Finance scheme run by Arts Council England. This will offer…

“a limited number of business development loans of £5,000 – £25,000, repayable over a maximum of three years.”

Applications open on 22nd May 2012. See the Web page for full details.