Creative Stoke news update, 23rd September 2012

23.09.12   
Added to the Directory: High House is the name of Staffordshire University’s new wallpaper company, tapping into the design talents of the degree in Surface Pattern design. Their debut collection is inspired by the Elizabethan-era Ancient High House in Stafford town. The new collection was launched at the ‘Tent’ design trade expo in London (20th-23rd September 2012).

Further collections to go into production will include: the Town Garden Collection incorporates designs inspired by the flora found in gardens around Stafford; Greengate which depicts scenes of modern daily life in Stafford; the Dorrington Collection is inspired by patterned wallpaper fragments uncovered during the extensive restoration work at the Ancient High House; and the Carpenter Collection which celebrates the craftsmanship in wood of those involved in the construction of The Ancient High House and is geometric in design.


Above: Dorrington Damask: Apple Green, by Anna Drezova.

23.09.12   
Are you an artist or arts organisation that wants to engage people in arts activities? Need the money to help you? Three presentations at Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Museum & Art Gallery will give details about Grants for the Arts, the Community Arts Fund, and Cultural Grants, with details on how to apply and examples of previously funded projects. The date is Wednesday 10th October 2012 (10.15am — 12.00 noon). To book your free place please contact the Culture & Arts Manager on:  01782 619705.

23.09.12   
There will be a free North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry and UK Trade & Investment Overseas Trade Roundtable event at the King’s Hall in Stoke town, Stoke-on-Trent, on 3rd October 2012 (1.30pm – 4.30pm). The event…

“will focus on helping you to export your goods and services, not only to established markets such as Western Europe, but also to growing markets”

See the PDF flyer (linked above) for full details.

23.09.12   
Three ‘Start Your Own Business’ half-day awareness events are to be held at the Leek offices of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council. Find out more about free Business Start-up Coaching Support, and Free Workshops on market research, financing your business idea, and business planning. Dates are: 4th October; 1st November; and 29th November 2012 (all 10am-1pm). For further information and to book your place please contact:  gaynorp@enterprisesupport.org

23.09.12   
Volunteers are required to help with a new exhibition in October 2012 in Leek town centre. Duties involve directing members of the public, interacting with the public to inform them about the various exhibits and helping with craft/art activities. Activities will be things like: medal making; a First World War poetry session; Christmas-card making and other craft activities. See the Web page for full details.

23.09.12   
Job:  The StaffsLive local video-news website needs a part-time Community Managing Editor. Application deadline: 24th September 2012.

23.09.12   
Job:   Staffordshire University requires a Cre8 Radio Project Manager. Application deadline: 24th September 2012.

23.09.12   
Job:  Staffordshire University’s Flux ceramics company requires an Operations Manager. Application deadline: 27th September 2012.

23.09.12   
Job:  The Alton Towers resort is advertising for the short-term contact job of ‘Entertainments Host’ with Merlin Entertainments. You’ll create… “frights, mind boggling screams, and fantabulous days and nights of Halloween fun at our 2012 ScareFest”. Application deadline: 8th October 2012.

23.09.12   
Interested in the craft of horror writing? The Dove Valley Centre (near Hartington, six miles south of Buxton) in the Peak District is running a ‘Winter Horrors’ Residential Writing Weekend. The dates are 16th-18th November 2012. Places cost £150, including meals, accommodation, and a full programme of writing activities with tutors. For more info, or to book your place, contact Alex at:  alexdavisevents@hotmail.co.uk

23.09.12   
An afternoon event is being organised in Wolverhampton for contemporary visual artists in the West Midlands. The free Visual Arts Forum will happen on 19th October 2012 (1pm-4.30pm) at Wolverhampton Art Gallery. The full programme details are now online, along with booking details.

23.09.12   
‘Arts and health’ projects in the West Midlands are being celebrated with annual awards. Nominations are invited for projects that have taken place, or are currently in progress, in 2011 and 2012. Send the following information by email to kerry@creativehealthcic.co.uk …

  Name of nominated project.
  Name of organisation / artist / group that delivered the project.
  Why the project has been chosen to be nominated (50 words or less).
  How participant was involved in the project.
  Participant’s name, telephone / email – contact details.

Nominations need to be submitted by 30th November 2012.

23.09.12   
Smashh Theatre is running new weekly acting classes on Monday evenings at the Mitchell Youth Arts Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent. The classes are open to those aged 14-19 and cost £70 for 10 weeks of classes.

23.09.12   
Natasha writes that she is… “in the process of firming up a venue for a brand new craft fair venture, Stoke Craftworkers’ Bazaar […] a monthly event held at Mitchell Youth Arts Theatre in Hanley”. Natasha is looking into people to provide crafts demonstrations, showing how they make their items, and to provide workshops so that people can “have a go” at something themselves for a small fee, which they can then take home. Interested? Contact “Tashapants Tideswell” via Facebook.

23.09.12   
Redstone Willows, based in Alsager, has its Autumn/Winter workshops events listing available now. These include one-day £65 training workshops in Willow Sculpture (13th Oct or 8th Dec 2012).

23.09.12   
Arts Council England has opened the second round of applications for £20 million of Creative People and Places funding, aiming to increase arts engagement in areas of low involvement. Grants of between £500,000 and £3 million will be awarded for a three-year programme of activities. Stoke-on-Trent has already had provisional agreement on a full £3m grant, subject to a suitable business plan being drawn up. Applications from other local areas for the second round need to be submitted by 12th December 2012.

23.09.12   
Got cheese hospital arts ideas? The Wallace & Gromit’s Children’s Foundation has announced that its grants making programme will open for applications on the 1st October 2012. The Foundation supports projects in UK children’s hospitals and hospices, and these can include “arts, music, play and leisure programmes”. The average grant awarded was just over £9,000. Previous projects supported include Naomi House Children’s Hospice Winchester which received funding for new play equipment and art materials; and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh, which received funding towards a new family accommodation facility to enable more parents to stay near their children.

23.09.12   
BBC Radio 3 and 4 have joined forces to offer commissions for brand new comedy and drama scripts. The Writer’s Prize will see at least one new drama and comedy pilot commissioned, to be broadcast next year. Submission deadline is 3rd December 2012. Full details at the website.

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Creative Stoke news update, 18th September 2012

18.09.12   
Stoke-on-Trent’s Stoke Your Fires film festival is now open to submissions for its award programme. “All films need to be less than 30 minutes in length and must have been created after 1st December 2011 to be eligible.” Entry is free, and the deadline for submissions is 3rd December 2012. Full details at their website.

18.09.12   
A new North Staffordshire Business Investor Network launches on 9th October 2012 (5.30pm-7pm) at Beswicks Solicitors, Festival Park, Stoke-on-Trent. The network will provide… “an independent service for our local accountants, solicitors and consultants to market their clients who have equity, expertise and finance to trade, North Staffordshire wide.”

18.09.12   
The 2nd Burton-on-Trent Craft Fair is seeking sellers for stalls on Saturday 10th November 2012. £12.50 per stall. Application deadline: 7th October 2012. For more details and a booking form please email:  frannieannieuk@yahoo.co.uk

18.09.12   
Job: Design & Tech / Art Technicians are wanted at NCHS Science College (which seems to be a secondary school) in Newcastle-under-Lyme. 15hrs or 5hrs p.w. Application deadline 28th September 2012. Full details from: office@nchs.staffs.sch.uk

18.09.12   
Local historian and writer Fred Hughes has published a biography of Sir Barnett Stross, Roses from Ashes. The book is available to purchase from Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent, and shortly from major booksellers and Amazon.

18.09.12   
Poet Simon Armitage will give a charity reading at Keele University. His acclaimed translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight adapted a tale set in the Staffordshire Moorlands, and he is a leading national poet. The reading will take place on 17th October 2012, at 7.30pm, in the Westminster Theatre in the Chancellor’s Building at Keele. Tickets are £5 each (£2.50 concessions) and can be bought from the Chancellor’s Building reception Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, or by telephone from:  01782 734127.

18.09.12   
Renegade Writers and Newcastle Writing Group are presenting an evening of poetry and prose, in aid of charity, at Staffordshire Uni Library in 19th October 2012…

18.09.12   
Stoke-on-Trent’s Unity want to create an Award for Outstanding Achievement for young people, and are seeking an artist to create a piece of work that reflects these achievements. Deadline: 26th October 2012. More details from:  info@unitystoke.co.uk

18.09.12   
Rachel Evans is running a ‘Beginners and Intermediates Basketry Course’ at Oakamoor Village Hall, Staffordshire. The dates are Friday 28th and/or Saturday 29th September 2012 (10am-4.30pm). There is also a ‘Willow Apple Baskets / Apple Catchers’ making day on 18th October 2012 (10am-4pm) at the Dove Valley Centre, Sheen, near Hartington, Buxton. To book please call: 01298 83282.

18.09.12   
TV documentary makers are looking for anyone who worked at the Wedgwood factory before 1960, for a new documentary made with the eminent historian and writer A.N. Wilson, who grew up on the Potteries and who has just published a new novel set here. The programme makers are specifically looking for anyone who worked with A.N. Wilson’s dad at Wedgwood, Norman Wilson. Contact:  susie@whatlarks.tv

18.09.12   
Job: Cheshire East Youth Theatre is seeking to appoint three new Youth Theatre leaders for the Autumn/Winter school term (October – December 2012). Applicants must have substantial experience of working in youth theatres with 14-16 year olds. Application deadline: noon on 24th September 2012. For a full brief detailing this post and how to apply please email  ceyt@cheshireeast.gov.uk  requesting ‘Lyceum Youth Theatre Brief’.

18.09.12   
Dudmaston Hall, near Bridgnorth, Shropshire, is seeking an artist in residence. The Hall is a National Trust property. Deadline: 12th October 2012.

18.09.12   
Unit Twelve at Stafford has a studio space available. Unit Twelve is a contemporary craft venue hosting a gallery, a large workshop space and five artists’s studios. One of these studio spaces will be available from 15 October 2012. Approx. 13ft sq. / £240 per calendar month.

18.09.12   
The Bodley Head / Financial Times Essay Prize aims to attract the best young talent in long-form essay writing. Open to writers aged 18 to 35, the competition prize is £1,000. Winners will also have an e-publication with Bodley Head, and a mentoring session with a Bodley Head or a FT writer.

18.09.12   
The 56th British Film Institute Festival is looking for 25 media-industry creatives who are seeking to develop a career in feature films. Their Think-Shoot-Distribute 2012 scheme will offer successful applicants a five-day training programme in October 2012. Application deadline: 24th September 2012.

18.09.12   
An interesting new AHRC film on 3D printing from ‘virtual’ digital models, in ceramics. The project developed… “new methods of creating ceramics using 3D printing technology and worked with Denby Potteries [Derbyshire] to test designs and develop prototype models in ceramics.”


Creative Stoke update, 10th September 2012

10.09.12   
Conjunction 12, Stoke-on-Trent’s contemporary arts biennial, now has three local opportunities available:

  * One Week Residency at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery. £1,050.

  * Pub…lic is seeking proposals for “locations around the Staffordshire University College Road campus during Conjunction 12, or in two local public houses (tbc)”. £400.

  * artists to make new works for AirSpace gallery, on the theme “The Art of Survival”. £1,000.

Volunteers are also required. Full details on all these opportunities are available at the website.

10.09.12   
Stoke’s Signal 1 has a new Radio Production training course, in collaboration with Stoke College. Completion of the course could lead to an apprenticeship with UTV Media, Signal’s parent company.

10.09.12   
There’s to be an ‘Arts in the Academy’ panel discussion, to be held on Wednesday 12th Sept 2012 (5-7pm), at the Contemporary Arts Building, MMU / The Axis Arts Centre, Crewe. All are welcome…

“This panel discussion will aim to generate debate around the local and regional relevance of a small academically housed arts centres. It will contextualise this debate in a specific Crewe context. As part of the panel discussion, different viewpoints on a range of activities will be presented, revolving around: arts programming strategies and academic patronage; curating knowledge, platforms for artistic practices; arts centres and communities; interfaces between enterprise, research and learning.”

10.09.12   
Wolverhampton’s FLIP Festival of independent animation (1st-3rd November 2012) is calling for submissions of artwork by artists and animators to be sited in unique locations, such as vacant shops and the Wolverhampton Art Gallery cellar. Submit a proposal, an estimated budget, and five images of work… “that supports the festival theme and demonstrates movement and animated life”. Deadline: 17th September 2012.

10.09.12   
Added to the Directory: The Bad Edit venue (at The Old Post Office, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent) is now home to a recently-formed poetry writers’ group. The group meets at Bad Edit every Wednesday (7pm-to-9pm) to discuss, share their poetry, receive feedback, and give support on writing.

10.09.12   
There’s a new historical novel of the Potteries, written by the historian A.N. Wilson who grew up here. The novel The Potter’s Hand has turned the Wedgwood…

“company history into a novel, and getting in some sex and romance too. His choice of Josiah Wedgwood and Sons is a good one, influenced presumably by tales he heard from his father, who was himself a managing director of the firm and a potter.”

The novel is available now, in hardcover and for the Kindle ereader.

10.09.12   
Congratulations to Staffordshire poet James Sheard who has been appointed as the first poet-in-residence at the Dorothy Clive Garden at Keele, for a period of 12 months.

10.09.12   
Birmingham’s Producers’ Forum has a Mentoring Scheme that is now open for applications from people living and working in the West Midlands. There are places for:

  * 4 x senior film producers / writers / directors

  * 4 x junior film producers / writers / directors

Successful applicants get three days each of mentoring support, from a chosen mentor in their field. The application deadline is noon on 28th September 2012. Full details at the Web page.

10.09.12   
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, in partnership with The Barber Institute of Fine Arts at the University of Birmingham / Grand Union, Birmingham, is…

“offering five bursaries for recent visual arts graduates from the five regionally-based university art schools.”

2012 graduates from Staffordshire University or the University of Wolverhampton are eligible. There will also be a major exhibition in 2013. Deadline for applications: 5pm on Friday 14th September 2012. Full details at the Web page.

10.09.12   
WAVE (Wolverhampton Arts, Venues and Experiences) has a major £25k public art commission available. The finished work is to be sited in the Bentley Bridge retail park near Wolverhampton. Application deadline: 29th October 2012. Full details from:  bilstoncraftgallery@wolverhampton.gov.uk

10.09.12   
The Derby Open is now accepting entries from artists. There don’t appear to be residential restrictions, but they seek to present work from “the region”.

10.09.12   
Job:  Derby’s QUAD arts centre has a vacancy for a full-time Education Curator (£22k p.a.). Deadline for applications: noon on 24th September 2012.

10.09.12   
Burton-on-Trent will be the 2012 host for the Midlands Anime Fan Event. The date for your diary is 8th December 2012.


Added to Creative Stoke, 2nd September 2012

02.09.12   
The M.A. in Creative Futures at Staffordshire University is recruiting now for a September 2012 start. Specialist pathways and awards available in: Design; Ceramic Design; Graphic Design; Product Design; Surface Pattern Design; Textile Design; 3D Design; Advertising and Brand Management; Illustration; Animation; VFX; Photography; Contemporary Art Practice; Writing; Heritage and Culture; and Applied Theatre.

02.09.12   
TED is coming to Stoke-on-Trent, in the form of TEDx Stoke, a TEDx ‘City 2.0’ event, set for 13th October 2012. Tickets available now.

02.09.12   
Burslem’s Business Innovation Centre has a variety of business workshops in the second half of 2012. Including…

3rd October: Protect and Fund Your Innovation.
31st October: New Product Development.
21st November: Marketing.

See their events flyer for full details.

02.09.12   
Find out about Staffordshire University’s part-time Business courses, at an open evening on 6th September 2012 (5pm-8pm), at the Staffordshire University Business School. The School is located on the Stoke campus. Courses start September 2012 and run through to January 2013.

02.09.12   
Local storyteller Alan Barrett is running taster workshops at the Burslem School of Art, Stoke-on-Trent, on Friday 14th and Sunday 17th September 2012…

“I’ll be running three, or possibly four, taster workshops each day for two days, showcasing my work to potential new clients. This is a free event, open to all those who work in schools, libraries, youth and community groups with all ages and abilities including SEN, mental health groups and adults. Each workshop will last approximately an hour, with refreshments provided — I may even bring biscuits! Workshops will be run 9-30 to 10.30, 11-12 and 1-2pm. If there is a large enough take-up, I will extend it to another session from 3-4pm. The room can accommodate up to 15 people per session.

02.09.12   
Staffordshire Open Studios this year runs 15th/16th Sept and then also on 22nd/23rd Sept 2012. Lists of participants are now available on the website.


Above: Panel by Mark Lippett.

02.09.12   
There’s a new UK competition aimed at rewarding market towns which have made the greatest improvements to their high streets. The Future High Street X-Fund had been set up to reward towns whose high streets had seen the greatest increases in footfall or turnover, or improved skills and employment levels among local people. There seems to be opportunities for the creative industries here (creative window dressing, music and street entertainers, digital publicity and couponing promotions, town-centre events such as Cheshire’s scarecrow making festival, artist-led pop-up shops in disused spaces, shop staff’s creativity such as group singing, etc). Full details at the contest website.

02.09.12   
The NAME National Conference 2012: Crossing Frontiers in Music Education will take place at the Yarnfield Park Conference Centre, in Stone near Stoke-on-Trent. The dates are 5th-6th October 2012. This is a major UK training, development and critical debate weekend for music teaching professionals.

02.09.12   
The Beauty of Play is two days of playful discussion about play and playwork in the open air. To be held from 7th–9th September 2012, at Stone near Stoke-on-Trent.

02.09.12   
St. James Church, of Newchapel, Stoke-on-Trent, wants to… “collaborate with one or more artists, or with an arts organisation, to develop a funding bid and project proposal for a series of intergenerational community arts activities”. Application deadline: Friday 5th October 2012. For more information, email:  paul.bailey@stoke.gov.uk

02.09.12   
Your editor has completed putting together a 24-page magazine profiling the first three Cre8NET events and training, and here’s a peek at the magazine’s events listing pages…

Click on the picture above, to get the PDF version.

02.09.12   
The annual event for local ceramics firms, Ceramics 2012 will take place on 25th October 2012, at the Britannia Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent. With record profits, strong exports, and expansion regularly hitting the headlines for the industry, it promises to be a lively event. More details and tickets are available at the website.

In related news, pre-bid funding has been given to help develop the idea of a Ceramic Skills Academy in Stoke-on-Trent. £20,000 will pay for Stoke-on-Trent to put together a bid for £1.5 million of funding from central government.

02.09.12   
“Hot and Green: continuing challenges facing the ceramic manufacturing industries relating to energy and environment” is a major event for the ceramics industry, to be held at the Staffordshire County Showground, near Stafford town, on 22nd Nov 2012. It forms the major part of the annual ClayTech UK conference, with a full programme of technical presentations during the day drawing on speakers from industry and academia. Full details from: kate.harrison@iom3.org

02.09.12   
A new Ceramics Community Group is starting up at Burslem School of Art, Stoke-on-Trent. If you feel like getting creative with clay, then pop along and join them. Three hours of ceramic studio space, Mons 6pm-9pm, and Thurs 10am-1pm. Membership £5, then £1 per session. Details from Pauline at:  paulinewoodcock1@btinternet.com

02.09.12   
The North Staffordshire -based Ceramic Industry Forum is set to close shortly due to lack of funding, with its commercial consultancy functions being picked up by CIF Management Consultants based at Keele University Science Park. Stoke-on-Trent City Council plans a new Ceramic Development Group to partly replace the local Forum. (The Forum is not to be confused with the British Ceramic Federation based in Stoke, or with the British Ceramic Research Association based in Penkhull).

02.09.12   
“Resurrecting the Obsolete: exploring the site-specific and associated histories of post-industry sites” is the title of an academic workshop to be held at the Spode Factory, Stoke town, which takes place from 8th-18th September 2012. The ten-day research-based workshop will invite students and staff from collaborating universities (including the Bergen Academy of Art and Design, Norway) to explore the Spode site’s histories, industrial space and infrastructure. This initial workshop will… “form the base of a two-year artistic research project”, and a publication is planned for 2014. Watch out for more details of local opportunities on this “two-year artistic research project”, as Creative Stoke gets them.

02.09.12   
Creative Choices” is a careers education event at the Victoria Hall in Stoke-on-Trent, set for the 6th November 2012. Workshops will enable schoolchildren in Years 9, 10 and 11 to gain an insight into the range of theatrical careers available off-stage. Application from schools are invited, the deadline is: 31st October 2012. Full information from the Web page or from Salima Abdallah at: salima.abdallah@ccskills.org.uk

02.09.12   
The Age of the Great Gatsby is the title of a symposium on the literature and cultures of America in the 1920s, to be held at the Wedgwood Museum in Stoke on 7th October 2012. Price: £20.

02.09.12   
Your editor has a new collection of scholarly essays on H.P. Lovecraft, and one story, available as a book Lovecraft in Historical Context: a third collection of essays and notes. Along with my free fully annotated version of Lovecraft’s History of the Necronomicon.

02.09.12   
The b{u}y me! Contemporary Craft Fair is seeking crafts sellers. The event will be at the Borough Museum and Art Gallery, Newcastle-under-Lyme, on Saturday 17th November (10am-4pm). Cost is £15 per table. Application forms are now available online (Word .doc link).

02.09.12   
Added to the Directory: the new Staffordshire Moorlands Camera Club, which is also looking for members.

02.09.12   
Added to the Directory: Buttercup China, based in Stoke-on-Trent. They can apply your designs to short runs of fine bone china items.

02.09.12   
Added to the Directory: Nick Bebbington, fine artist based in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

02.09.12   
Added to the Directory: Lynn Dumbleton, a freelance Surface Pattern Designer, based in Newcastle-under-Lyme. Lyne served a ten year apprenticeship with Spode, then moved to Minton and Royal Doulton. Lynn has also worked commercially with European companies.

02.09.12   
Added to the Directory: The MIM Agency is a Stoke-on-Trent agency for models and casting.

02.09.12   
Added to the Directory: Jelly Arts is a new arts administration agency, which coordinated a series of satellite projects around Conjunction 12, Stoke-on-Trent’s Contemporary Arts Biennial.

02.09.12   
Added to the Directory: Chameleon Monkey, a small video production company based in Stoke-on-Trent.

02.09.12   
Added to the Directory: Sharedmedia.tv, based in Burslem, and specialising in creating 60-second videos designed to be shared by users of social media.

02.09.12   
Added to the Directory: Sherrie Lowe, a local author, with a new book of stories about relationships, Song of the Phoenix.

02.09.12   
Added to the Directory: I Wis Framed, a gallery and independent picture framers in Stoke town.

02.09.12   
Added to the Directory: Apphaus, mobile device apps makers, based on the Staffordshire University Technology Park.

02.09.12   
Added to the Directory: Cheadle and District Book Club. Meets the first Monday of the month at the Moshi Coffee Shop, between 7pm-9pm.

02.09.12   
Added to the Directory: This is Love, innovative Christian typographic sculptures made in Cobridge, Stoke-on-Trent.

02.09.12   
Added to the Directory: The Book Factory, specialist book binders based in Hartshill, Stoke-on-Trent.

02.09.12   
Added to the Directory: City Songbirds, running singing sessions across Stoke-on-Trent with children aged 5 to 8 years old. Over 600 songbirds members took part in three fabulous showcase singing shows in Hanley in June 2012.

02.09.12   
Added to the Directory: Knot FM, a community radio station based out of the YMCA in Hanley. Knot FM… “broadcasts 24×7 both seasoned broadcasters and residents of the YMCA”.

02.09.12   
Added to the Directory: Nelena Paparisva is offering singing workshops locally. Visit her YouTube channel to hear her voice.

02.09.12   
Added to the Directory: The Community Scrapshack CIC, re-opening 4th September 2012. Based in Fenton, the Scrapshack is one of the best places in North Staffordshire to get your waste materials for use in crafts activities.

02.09.12   
Added to the Directory: The National Stone Centre is based in the Peak District (Middleton by Wirksworth, Derbyshire), and they run stone-cutting sculpture courses. Including: Letter Cutting; Stone Carving and Sculpting; and Stone Masonry.

02.09.12   
The 2012/13 Young Professionals on Arts Boards Programme aims to increase… “the diversity of cultural boards across the UK”. Are you a dynamic young person from the private, public and voluntary sectors? Do you aspire to a non-executive director and trustee role? The deadline for submissions is 7th September 2012. See the website for full details.

02.09.12   
Unemployed over 50s in the West Midlands are getting introductory workshops on business startups, from The Prince’s Initiative. “Preparing To Run Your Own Business” courses will run at Wolverhampton Business Solutions Centre on 7th September 2012 (10am to 4.30pm), and at The Custard Factory in Birmingham on 10th September 2012 (10am to 4.30pm). For more information or to sign up email:  info@prime.org.uk

02.09.12   
The BBC Performing Arts Fund’s Music Fellowships are open for applications. Rather than awarding grants directly to the individuals concerned, they are first looking for applications from music companies, organisations, venues and festivals from across the UK to host a Fellow. Full details available at the website.

02.09.12   
Creative England has launched a UK Business Investment Fund to…

“support the growth strategies of ambitious non-London-based creative companies, which plan to grow through the development and commercialisation of innovative content and cross-platform applications.”

They are especially looking for high-growth businesses in areas such as: interactive entertainment; business-to-business; online learning; and mobile device applications. The Fund is £1m, delivered via interest-free loans of between £50,000 and £100,000. See the website for full details.

02.09.12   
The Future Gaming & Digital Conference 2012 is a videogames industry -backed event at Birmingham’s Aston Science Park (top of Corporation Street, quite walkable from New St. train station). The date is the 13th November 2012. Part of the Global Entrepreneurship Week, this event features expert speakers and demonstrations from the Midlands videogames industry. Themes will be: ‘launch a career’; ‘launch a technology’; and ‘launch a business’. See the website for full details and ticket availability.

02.09.12   
A Museum Camp ‘unconference’ is to be held in Birmingham, on the 1st of October 2012. Full details at the website.

02.09.12   
How children learn: exploring the importance of creativity throughout the early years is a conference event on 20th-21st September 2012, at The Lakeside Centre, Aston University (the top end of Corporation St., very walkable from New St. train station).

02.09.12   
Congratulations to Stoke’s Mark Elsmore, who’s won a whopping £10,000 from the 2012 Sunday Times Watercolour Competition. His painting “The Potteries National Park” took First Prize…

02.09.12   
Congratulations to Raptor Games, a team of five videogame design students at Staffordshire University. Their Project Thanatos game prototype has gained them a One’s to Watch BAFTA award, and the Audience Award, at the Dare ProtoPlay competition in Scotland. Project Thanatos is an immersive first-person psychological horror videogame, which… “throws the player into a world of terror as they try to escape the effects of an unleashed biochemical weapon”. The ProtoPlay competition saw 15 teams enter, each receiving mentoring by leading industry games developers including Blitz, Codemasters and Ubisoft.

02.09.12   
Congratulations to Stafford town which now has a film theatre like the one in Stoke, showing art-house and independent films. Congratulations also to the Foxlowe Arts Centre in Leek which has had a grant for film screening equipment, and now has a season of political documentary films scheduled — including the ridiculously error-riddled Gasland.

02.09.12   
Congratulations to Stoke-on-Trent’s Khoros, who had the new innovative musical instrument featured on ITV news in July 2012.

02.09.12   
Playing Out is an innovative new grassroots website. It shows residents how to temporarily reclaim your street from cars, so that the “new baby boom” generation of young kids can play in it and can safely do things like pavement chalk-art.