Creative Stoke news update, 1st February 2013

01.02.13   
Stoke-on-Trent’s BitJam has a free Stoke-on-Trent Opendata Hackathon set for 23rd February 2013 (9am-10pm) at the YMCA Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent…

“we plan to bring together the finest creative minds in the area, and develop something exciting using open data. We plan to hack together an ‘interactive something’ that uses open data to trigger cool things, that could be audio, visual or hardware. This could be: using a hacked Kinect sensor to navigate a map application that when someone interacts it triggers audio; or something way much better than that!”

They will have available 12 iMacs, fibre optic broadband, plenty of software, soldering irons, electronics bits and bobs, iTunes and Spotify.

The context for this is the UK government recently completed changing the law to allow data mining and data analytics for non-commercial research, without any need to consult data owners about copyright. This newly enacted policy runs alongside the government’s ongoing radical commitment to open data and open access.

01.02.13   
Local small to mid-sized businesses are invited to skill up their local workforce, via signing them up for subsidised Higher Education courses specially designed for local workforces. The Staffordshire University courses on offer include:

   * University Diploma in Leadership and Management (level 5).
   * Institute of Leadership and Management Certificate in First Line Management (level 3).
   * half-day or one-day Leadership and Management masterclasses.

Priority will be given to those who have not engaged in any type of training or development with the university in the past, and funding will be dependent on starting the programme before 31st March 2013. Interested? Contact the University’s For Business team at:  forbusiness@staffs.ac.uk

01.02.13   
Staffordshire University’s Enterprise and Commercial Development (ECD) are hosting an “Innovation Clinic” on Thursday 21st February 2013 in Stafford. They are seeking innovators who have: a new invention; a new design; a new process; a new material; or a new business model. The aim is to offer ways to help protect and create impact from your innovation. To arrange an appointment please email:  rachel.watmore@staffs.ac.uk

01.02.13   
Youth Enterprise CIC, a not-for-profit organisation founded in Stoke-on-Trent, is running a national competition with support from Lord Sugar and Staffordshire University. The National Enterprise Challenge has two age categories, for pupils in Years 7 and 8 (aged 11 to 13) and Years 9 and 10 (aged 13 to 15). Entry will be limited nationally to 100 schools. Lord Sugar has agreed to be the keynote speaker at the final event. Schools wanting to secure a place should contact Youth Enterprise CIC by phoning:  01782 367148.

01.02.13   
Staffordshire Business Loans Fund offers loans of £10,000 to £50,000 to small businesses based in Staffordshire. To apply you must be employing less than 50 people, and have been turned down by the conventional banks.

01.02.13   
An inaugural Tourism and Attractions Show is to be held at the Wedgwood Visitor Centre & Museum, Stoke-on-Trent, on 2nd March 2013. This is a new trade show organised by Stoke-on-Trent Tourism, and it… “will showcase more than 50 tourism destinations, attractions, tour operators, event venues and accommodation providers”. This could be of interest to readers in the wider cultural and heritage industries.

01.02.13   
Job:  The government is expanding the Business Class programme to young people in a range of new areas in England, over a 30 month period. Business in the Community now requires an Education Manager based within easy reach of Stoke-on-Trent, Telford, Shrewsbury, Worcester, to serve those places.

01.02.13   
Stafford Chamber of Commerce are running a one-day “Making Sense of Advertising and Promotion” event on Tuesday 12th February 2013, at Commerce House, Stoke-on-Trent. Trainer Yvonne Nolan will be helping businesses examine their advertising and promotion and set it in the wider marketing context.

01.02.13   
Stoke-on-Trent’s Creative Minds Festival has announced a new Playwright Competition. They’re looking for three x ten to twelve-minute plays, to be staged during the 2013 festival (2nd–6th July 2013). £350 prize per winner. The theme is Local & Global… “with particular reference to Stoke and Staffordshire”. The work should be able to easily provoke discussion – in terms of having the audience “look at issues” and explore “attitudes and values”. Scripts must be no longer than six A4 pages, double-spaced (a reading time of around ten minutes); a maximum of ten speaking parts, with a total cast of thirty. There is no fee for submitting. Email your text — including your name, address, email and phone number — to ianmoore@theambassadors.com

01.02.13   
Jobs: 8 x Trainee Community Organiser jobs available via the Creative Communities Unit at Staffordshire University. These will be at locations in Burslem & Shelton, in Stoke-on-Trent. Pay is £8.50 per hour, for 30-35hrs per week. Information “Drop-In Days” are set to be held on 7th February 2013 (2pm-5pm) in the Courtyard, College Road, Staffs Uni’s Stoke campus; and also on 11th February 2013 (4pm-7pm) at the Burslem School of Art, Queen Street, Burslem. Application deadline: 25th February 2013.

01.02.13   
Stoke-on-Trent’s Twitterati are having a face-to-face meetup at The Leopard pub in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, on the evening of 5th February 2013.

01.02.13   
Added to the Directory:  Brek Seae, the American ace football player who has just signed to Stoke City F.C. on a four-and-a-half year contract, is also a fine artist

01.02.13   
Production of a new 2D animated movie gets underway today, and it features the famous Stoke football player Sir Stanley Matthews. The movie Spirit of the Game will portray the great man returning from the dead to help a troubled young boy with a ball. Directed by BAFTA award-winning animator Tony White, the film is based on the young adults’ novel written by Saatchi-shortlisted artist and author Geoff Francis. Auditions have been held in Stoke, and the film will feature authentic local voices. Business sponsorship and donations are welcome. Individual donations will also be accepted soon.


Character concept art for Spirit of the Game.

01.02.13   
Stafford’s Shire Hall Gallery (2nd July – 6th July 2013) is seeking visual artists and crafts makers to exhibit November 2013 – January 2014 in an exhibition themed around “Light”. Deadline for submissions: 11th February 2013. Email up to 8 JPGs, an up-to-date C.V, and an artist’s statement, to Owen Hurcombe, Staffordshire County Arts Development Officer, at:  owen.hurcombe@staffordshire.gov.uk

01.02.13   
Stoke-on-Trent’s Central Library has a free local Writers’ Networking Morning set for 16th March 2013 (10.30am to 12.30pm). Places are free but limited, so to reserve your place please email:  joanne[at]writingwestmidlands.org

01.02.13   
Added to the Directory:  Stoke-on-Trent film maker Philip Kempson (Chameleonmonkey) is currently in production at the moment for a new locally-made horror film Accolade to Evil, written by Steven K. Beattie. Filming will take place in and around Stoke on Trent starting in March 2013. Here’s the trailer…

01.02.13   
First Light is looking for young West Midlands filmmakers aged between 18 and 25 to take part in a 4-day residential “Show Me The Money!” course in Birmingham. The course takes place in March 2013 and will offer practical workshops, talks and screenings on film financing. Deadline for applications: 8th February 2013.

01.02.13   
Newcastle-under-Lyme College now has details of its 2013 courses online. In Art & Design bespoke training courses are available in: Adobe Illustrator; Photoshop for Beginners; Photoshop Advanced; Setting Up and Using a Photographic Darkroom; Setting Up and Using a Photography Studio. In Music, there is a bespoke course in Pro Tools and they apparently have places available for a January 2013 start on the Foundation degree (Fd) in Music Technology. Regular creative courses are also available, see the website for the full list.

01.02.13   
Stoke-on-Trent’s Bertarelli Foundation Creative Minds Festival is looking for 40 schools and / or community groups to join them in the 2013 Festival. Selected groups will work with a professional arts practitioner in their own spaces, to put together a fifteen-minute “event”. This could be a theatre piece, songs, a music or dance piece, a five-minute film, or the creation of an artwork to be performed / shown / exhibited at the Regent Theatre during the Festival week. Deadline: 28 February 2013. A full “Fact Pack” is available on the website.

01.02.13   
The nearby Light House in Wolverhampton has film industry placement opportunities for unemployed / under-employed film and media graduates in the West Midlands. 19 internships are available in 2013. After an initial two weeks of training in Wolverhampton, these take place in Ireland in one of several locations, from rural Ireland to Dublin to Galway. Application deadline: 15th February 2013, for training starting at Light House on March 11th 2013.

01.02.13   
The organisers of the major annual Just So Festival (the young children’s arts and storytelling festival, held 5 miles north of Stoke-on-Trent) have commissioned a new report (read online) on the effect of the natural landscapes in which arts events are held. The report, from Big Art People and Abigail Gilmore (University of Manchester), is freely available.

01.02.13   
The North Face Explore Fund is aiming to “inspire and enable the next generation of explorers by funding non-profit organisations that are working to re-connect children with nature”. This is a response to research which shows that children’s first-hand encounters with nature across the developed world have dropped precipitously — to less than 10% of what they were just one generation ago. The few encounters with nature that kids do get are much more tightly controlled and policed, and take place in much more sanitised environments than a generation ago. The Explore Fund will support organisations that encourage youth outdoor participation, focusing primarily on creating more genuine connections of children to nature, increasing access to both farmland & wilderness recreation. Financial support will be given up to 2,500 Euros. Application deadline: 28th February 2013.

01.02.13   
Stoke-on-Trent’s FRONTLINEdance have an excellent new video available online, “Moving Together”…

01.02.13   
Good news for online creatives who rely on working digitally from Stoke-on-Trent. A new uSwitch broadband survey, using the results of 2.3 million speed tests across the UK, found that Stoke-on-Trent came top in the UK for consistent speeds…

“Stoke-on-Trent residents see the most consistent broadband speeds throughout the day”.

A similar uSwitch survey in 2012 also found that Stoke-on-Trent was third in the UK for mobile broadband speed, with 3.19Mbps. Birmingham has the fastest average UK broadband speeds at peak time: 12.88Mbps.

01.02.13   
The Cake Tin Foundation is organising a free artists’ debate in Manchester, on “The Future for Queer Artists in North West England”. The date is Saturday 9th February 2013 (11.30am to 2.45pm).

01.02.13   
The University of Birmingham is seeking a Research Assistant on a project examining… “research-driven collaboration between academics, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and small cultural organisations, especially in their engagement with digital technologies.” Deadline: 6th February 2013.

01.02.13   
Manchester is to host a Digital Transformers Symposium in May 2013…

“A one-day academic event aimed at postgraduate students and early career researchers in the humanities, on the methodological and conceptual approaches and techniques required for the study of digital data and digitally mediated environments.”

01.02.13   
Staffordshire University has won a place on the Design Council’s Design Leadership Programme. The programme is a unique opportunity to work with the Design Council and their Design Associates, to help use design in the commercialisation of local research. The programme runs from November 2012 through to Spring 2013, and over that period the university will have up to 8.5 days of Design Associate Jonathan Butters’s experience. Jonathon will be talking at the University’s Enterprise Exchange Meeting on Wednesday 27th March 2013. The Enterprise Exchange is a quarterly meeting run by the Enterprise and Commercial Development team, as a forum to share best practice and showcase projects and activity. If you are interested in industrial and commercial product design, and would like to attend please contact Information Officer Elizabeth Plant at:  e.j.plant@staffs.ac.uk

01.02.13   
Job:  The Victoria & Albert Museum has created an unusual residency opportunity for a videogame designer, creating work inspired by the museum’s collections displayed in the Britain 1500-1900 galleries. It lasts six months in London, followed by a stint in Dundee. A monthly bursary is included. Full details for applying can be found on the V&A website. The deadline for applications is 8th February 2013.

01.02.13   
The BIG Assist is a new £6m funding stream from the National Lottery, aimed at organisations which support the work of other groups in the voluntary and community sector. On offer are voucher awards for help with:

* Strategy, planning and managing change.
* Financial sustainability.
* Innovation, new products and ways of working.
* Marketing and building strategic relationships.
* Supporting and developing people & your organisational culture.

01.02.13   
The contest to find the UK’s next City of Culture (2017) is now open. Could it be Stoke-on-Trent, perhaps? We seem to bid for everything else, so why not this? Cities need to register with the DCMS by the end of February 2013. Outline bids must be in by the end of April, for a June shortlist.

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