Creative Stoke news update, 10th December 2013

The fourth issue of the Factory creative industries magazine for Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire is now available online

Download the magazine (PDF, 8Mb).

This fourth issue of the free FactoryMag is 52 pages long, and includes interviews, event reports, market opportunities, an events listing, funding news, and a full report on the Factory Assembly conference which happened in late November.

Thinking of exhibiting at a trade show next year? Join the Factory team for a free event on Thursday 12th December, 6.30pm to 8.30pm, at the Burslem School of Art in Stoke-on-Trent. Find out more about the opportunities of promoting your creative business at trade exhibitions. Speakers will include Margeret Bunn, Director of the British Craft Trade Fair and Becky White, International Trade Adviser from UKTI. RSVP to:

Work:  B Arts, based in Newcastle-under-Lyme, have an opportunity for a Digital Developer. You’ll work on improving the usability of the social media streams for the £3m Appetite arts engagement programme in Stoke-on-Trent, by integrating social media more tightly with the main Appetite website. The detailed brief is available here. Deadline: Thursday 12th December 2013. For more information contact Trevelyan Wright at:

Work:  The Stoke-on-Trent City Council Children’s Centres at Burslem, Tunstall and Norton are each aiming to develop a ‘sensory area’ within the children’s creche area. A commission (AN2013/284) is available for the provision of these. Application deadline: 10th January 2014. Full details from:

Work:  The Stoke-on-Trent City Council ‘Aiming High’ Short Breaks Programme aims to provide access to short breaks to enable children and young people with disabilities to try out new things, gain new experiences, and to have more opportunities. The Council now has a commission (CYPS2013/206*) for providers of these Short Breaks. There seems to be an obvious opportunity here for arts and other creative activities. Application deadline: 18th December 2013. Full details from:

Work:  Staffordshire University is currently advertising for:

* Head of PR
* Head of Content Marketing
* Head of Marketing
* Schools and Colleges Marketing Officer

Middleport Pottery and the Prince’s Trust have announced the specifications and availability of their new workshop and studio spaces for crafts production in the Victorian era factory, which is still a working pottery. Two units are already taken, but six are said to be “up for grabs”. The units may be especially suitable for start-up pottery ventures. Note also that the Burslem School of Art (located a short walk up the hill from Middleport Pottery) will very soon be able to offer “hot wheeling” rentals to potters: it’s like ‘hot desk’ office rentals, but for ceramics production.

Need to access higher training for an employee? Staffordshire University’s Funding for Higher Level Skills has a deadline of 24th December 2013 for claiming their 15% training discount. Employers can access… “100% funding to develop a bespoke course or accredit an existing in-house programme, plus a 15% discount on a range of existing programmes”. Interested? Contact their Business Team at:

The 1000 Lives Network Stoke-on-Trent has a new Community Matched Fund to award grants as community matched funding to local community based groups or organisations. You must be proposing a new project which involves people as volunteers, especially people who are not currently active in their communities. You can apply for up to £1,000. The total fund available is £4,000, and they expect to fund at least four projects. The closing date for applications in Round 1 is 11th January 2014. There will be a second round of funding in the Spring of 2014. See the website for full details.

Staffordshire University Community Winter Singers are inviting people to…

“come and sing traditional and unusual, simple, fun seasonal songs – on 5pm Weds 11th and Thurs 12th December 2013 in the Learning Exchange, Floor 2 of the Flaxman building on College Rd (above Film Theatre, Stoke campus) and Tues 17th Dec at 4.30pm in the Science Centre on Leek Rd, Stoke.”

To find out more email Penny at:

Disappointed that Google StreetView doesn’t cover your favorite bit of North Staffordshire? Google has just launched a new tool that enables anyone to make a seamless set of StreetView photographs of a place or route, and upload them to Google Maps for public viewing. You can also use the new tool to create a virtual tour inside a building, for your visitors.

Staffordshire University has a new one-day “Stay Safe on Twitter” workshop, set to run throughout the year. It will provide people “with the basics of media law” regarding Twitter use and libel, contempt of court, incitement, etc.

Job:  The Lichfield Festival in Staffordshire is currently seeking to appoint an Artistic Programmer to programme the Festival, on a fee paid freelance contract. You must be…

“an individual with a proven track record in programming of festivals and other events, a knowledge and understanding of music and arts, the vision to guide and develop the Festival’s future programming direction in challenging times, and the ability to work collaboratively with the Festival staff and board.”

To request an application pack please contact the Festival Office at:

Arts Connect West Midlands have a new pilot project, as part of their development programme aiming to explore how film and digital media can be used to enhance collections and venues in museums, heritage, and libraries. Applications are now invited from artists who are inspired by heritage collections and libraries, and who are interested in producing interpretative work in film and digital media. Deadline: 17th December 2013. Interested? Contact: Susan Goodwin, Programme Developer for Museums, Heritage, Libraries, at Arts Connect WM at:

Some very good news on North Staffordshire’s connectivity: 4G EE mobile broadband is now live in Newcastle-under-Lyme, and EE say that Stoke-on-Trent is due for 4G switch on before Christmas. There is also good news on intercity train access to London: those needing to get back late to Stoke-on-Trent after evening events, meetings, etc in London now have a new Virgin intercity train departing London Euston at 10:50pm for Stoke-on-Trent. The new train service should mean that visitors to London can now stay at evening meeting or events until perhaps 9:50pm, before departing for Euston in time to catch the last train home.

There was also good news in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement last week (full audio | full text), with many of the business measures and changes also impacting on the UK’s creative industries:

* more money allocated, £160m over six years, to the Start Up Loans initiative supporting new businesses. A report on how the new money might be spent, Small Business: Great Ambition, should be published before Christmas.

* a ‘re-occupation relief’ that will halve business rates for new occupants of empty retail shops on the High Street.

* a discount on business rates over the next two years for every retail premises in England with a rateable value of up to £50,000, worth £1,000.

* the annual business rate rises will be limited to 2% in England and Wales next year.

* shops and firms must be allowed to pay their business rates in 12 monthly installments.

* easing of the eligibility requirements for UK Film Tax Relief, from April 2014, subject to EU approval.

* the EU “cultural test” for UK Film Tax Relief on films / broadcast animation / high-grade TV programmes will be eased and made more straightforward.

* the government will seek to extend the UK Film Tax Relief scheme to cover regional theatre productions.

* from April 2014 certain types of investments made in organisations with socially worthy aims will qualify for a 30% tax credit.

* scrapping of employer National Insurance contributions for young people between 16 and 21, thus reducing by £1,000 the cost of employing a new young employee earning £16k a year.

* personal income tax allowance to rise to £10,000 from April 2014, meaning those earning below £10,000 a year (such as many artists and bootstrapping startup owners) will pay no tax.

* cuts in corporation tax, falling from 23 percent to 21 percent in April 2014 and to 20 percent in 2015.

* moves to promote employee ownership of companies.

* doubling to £50 billion of the export finance capacity available to British businesses.

* the government will take more action to improve small business access to public sector contracts.

* the government will change the law, so that firms and organisations cannot disguise employment by claiming that the people who work for them are self-employed.

* an increase in 2014 of 30,000 university student places, and no cap at all on places in the higher education system from 2015-16.


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