Creative Stoke news update, 25th March 2013

25.03.13   
Stoke-on-Trent’s BIGred Studio has released a super new five-minute animated documentary. This creative film celebrates the life of the neo-gothic architect Pugin (1812-1852), with some especially delightful animated ceramic tiles seen in the introduction. The eastern part of North Staffordshire has been called “Pugin-land”, because there are so many of Pugin’s great gothic buildings there. The animation has been funded via the Heritage Lottery and local sponsors…

25.03.13   
Shane Oakley‘s new Channel Evil graphic novel (with major writer Alan Grant) was published by Renegade on 13th March 2013. Shane is an internationally-acclaimed professional comics artist, and an illustrator of horror and the gothic. He works from the Wolstanton Marsh area of the Potteries.

Shane Oakley

25.03.13   
Somewhere Nowhere is Sam Dahl’s documentary graphic novel, illustrating five stories of homeless people living in Stoke-on-Trent. It appears to have been made available for free in a limited-edition b&w print form, at an event last year on homelessness — but is not yet available for public purchase. A possible opportunity here, for a local publisher or digital distributor?

25.03.13   
The UK’s Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) has unveiled a new £4m initiative to use the new digital technologies to help communities explore their culture and heritage. The funding is available to AHRC-accredited research institutions, including museums. The new initiative was launched at a showcase event in March 2013, as part of the Connected Communities Programme. A podcast about the programme is available here.

25.03.13   
Job:  Staffordshire University requires a Senior Lecturer in Journalism, specifically… “a pioneering digital journalist”. Application deadline: 1st April 2013.

25.03.13   
The Technology Strategy Boards’s National Innovation Voucher Scheme can help UK small and medium businesses to pay the cost of working with a consultant from a local university — specifically, to explore the innovative uses of ‘open data’ (i.e.: official data sets and databases, openly published under permissive usage licences). This Innovation Voucher application system opened on 26th November 2012, and is currently still open.

25.03.13   
The Innovation Networks scheme for the West Midlands has been awarded funding to carry on until March 2015. The scheme offers small £10,000 grants to West Midlands projects that are…

“…truly innovative, resulting in a new product, process or service and provide tangible benefits for the West Midlands economy”

25.03.13   
Create Innovate is a new six-month development programme for feature-film producers interested in online content. The programme is being delivered by Northern Film & Media, but appears to be open to experienced filmmakers who are… “based in one of the English regions”, rather than being restricted to those based in the north of England. The Create Innovate programme will support four teams… “as they explore the commercial and creative potential of their feature-film story-worlds online”. Application deadline: 30th April 2013.

25.03.13   
Job:  Chester Council wants to commission a lead artist… “to have an overarching view” of a project in their Odeon Units (a new theatre and public library), and then to coordinate a programme of creative activity within the spaces. Fee of £6,000. The project’s start date is May 2013, running until the end November 2014. Application deadline: 15th April 2013. For a full brief please email:  artswest@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

25.03.13   
Job:  The managers of Stoke-on-Trent’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund want to commission a new design concept for the Fund. Application deadline: 28th March 2013. A copy of the design concept brief for ‘Tender CR2013/878 New Design Concept’ is available now from Natalie Baker at:  natalie.baker@stoke.gov.uk  The scheme is part of the government’s £266 million investment in local sustainable transport schemes.

25.03.13   
It’s been a week in which North Staffordshire’s ceramics industry has had good news to celebrate on keeping energy costs static, but also a week in which we’ve also seen the stability of the UK’s shaky energy-supply system severely tested by the bitter weather. In such a context one might also ask: are there also energy savings to be made in cultural buildings? The UK Theatres Trust has recently published a substantial free report on this very topic, titled Energising Culture: a guide to future energy for cultural buildings

Energising Culture surveys strategic issues around energy demand, supply and implications for business models; the current range of financial incentives and sources of funding and investment models available; and examples of innovative and bold responses to the energy challenge showing the potential of the cultural sector.”

25.03.13   
Staffordshire University and Enterprising Futures are surveying the current ‘social enterprise’ activity in North Staffordshire. They would like interested parties to complete their online survey.

25.03.13   
Lloyds Banking Group’s Social Entrepreneurs Programme is now available, for the first time in the Midlands, to help local community projects. For successful applicants the package includes: training; from £4,000 to £25,000 in project funding; and a senior mentor from Lloyds Banking Group. Application deadline: 2nd April 2013.

25.03.13   
Royal Bank of Scotland has a free “Kick Off in Business” course from 22nd-23rd April 2013 (9.30am-4.30pm), at the Britannia Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent. The aim is to give participants the basic knowledge needed to set up in business on their own.

25.03.13   
After a slow start, the UK’s Startup Loans service has now loaned “more than £10 million” to 18-30 year old entrepreneurs in the UK. They now report that they have another £5.5 million to spend, taking the Startup Loans fund to £117.5 million. The service is intended for those who would rather start a business than go to university, and offers a low-rate £2,500 loan to fledgling entrepreneurs.

25.03.13   
Burslem’s 6Towns Radio has available… “discounts [on radio advertising] to new business startups trading in Stoke-on-Trent”. They also have the ideal vehicle for ads for new creative firms and services, in the form of the regular Leeka’s Kulture Klub show on Wednesdays. Interested? Email: sales@6towns.co.uk

25.03.13   
The Staffordshire Moorlands now has all the dates available for their informal Arts Forums networking events, from May to November 2013.

25.03.13   
Want to try market trading on local markets? The ‘New First Pitch’ initiative will offer six free market-stall spaces in Stoke-on-Trent. Five in Hanley and one space on Longton Market, available for five days from mid-May 2013.

25.03.13   
The Creative Communities Unit at Staffordshire University is to run a one-day masterclass workshop in coaching skills, on 16th April 2013. Cost is £60 to £100, with discounts available. Full details from: 0800 169 2148.

25.03.13   
Developing Arts For Health Training is a professional development programme accredited by Staffordshire University. It costs £300 and is aimed at artists, arts development workers and health workers using the arts. Includes three days of workshops, and a practical work placement. The deadline for expressions of interest is: 12th April 2013. Full details at the website.

25.03.13   
All the Web links in the Creative Stoke directory have been checked by hand, with dead links being either repaired or deleted.

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