Creative Stoke news update, 13th February 2014

13.02.14   
The fifth issue of the Factory creative industries magazine for Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire is now available online


Download the magazine (PDF, 8Mb).

This fifth issue of the free FactoryMag in-depth interviews, previews and advance news for the Stoke Your Fires film festival, plus an events listing, and funding news. There are also advance details of the Local TV broadcast service, set to start in Stoke-on-Trent in 2014.

Note that if you use the popular Foxit PDF Reader to read PDFs, you will need to enable clickable Web links in PDFs. To enable links in Foxit go to… File | Preferences | General, and then Uncheck “Make Hand Tool Select Text” + Check “Create Links from URLs” | then click OK.

13.02.14   
Stoke-on-Trent’s bITjAM has a competition ahead of the launch of their Innovation Qube, set to open on 7th March 2014. The IQ is a new equipped space at the YMCA in Stoke-on-Trent for young people to investigate innovative technologies. The Qube competition asks you to think of how to use technology in an innovative and fun way, to solve an everyday problem in your school or company.

13.02.14   
Growth Vouchers have just been launched. These are £2,000 vouchers, for small businesses to spend on independent specialist business advice for your small business. Advisors must be accredited by a bona fide trade organisation or industry body.

13.02.14   
Stoke-on-Trent’s Appetite now has details of the Kitchen programme to develop new artworks for public spaces. Kitchen aims to… “be a place to cook up new projects, develop new ideas and share practice with other artists” and local people. There are several strands of Seed Fund and R&D funding. Application deadline: 10am on 5th March 2014. Further funding rounds are planned for July 2014 and September 2014. See the Web page for full details.

13.02.14   
Appetite and the Stoke South Carnival Committee are seeking an artist, group of artists, or arts organisation “to capture the imagination” of local people on a First World War theme, for an annual Carnival in Stoke on 9th August 2014. Artist brief | Commission application form. Application deadline: 10am, 24th February 2014.

13.02.14   
Stoke-on-Trent’s SWOCA are now looking for artists to take part in this summer’s London Road Festival in Stoke town, Stoke-on-Trent.

13.02.14   
NASA is set to land in Stoke! The National Association of Street Artists (NASA) is having its annual general meeting and gathering “For The Love Of It” in the city on 21st — 23rd February 2014. Two days of inspiration, creation, and skills sharing at the annual gathering for UK street arts professionals. Cost is £33, and NASA membership is reportedly not required for attendance.

13.02.14   
Staffordshire University’s The 72 Project requires two students to each serve as a Production Assistant, as part of a three day feature film shoot in Birmingham in July 2014. £400 tax-free bursary on successful completion of the project, per person. Application deadline: Friday 28th February 2014.

13.02.14   
The Creative Communities Unit (CCU) at Staffordshire University, in partnership with the SAP scheme, is calling for students with technical and artistic expertise to produce…

1. a graphic/comic art/illustration case study
2. a case study using textile surfaces & surface pattern design
3. an experimental case study using ceramics
4. a crafts case study

Projects begin in March and run until 30th May 2014. The case study charts a member of the public’s journey in experiencing art/art events with reference to Appetite, a three year Arts Council-funded project. There is a £300 tax-free bursary on successful completion of project. Application closing Date: 27th February 2014.

“The student will be responsible for developing materials that will be used to promote and disseminate the research as the 72 Project unfolds. This will include the development of Facebook banners, viral videos, as well as front slides and graphics for the film itself.”

13.02.14   
A new five-week creative ceramics course is set to start on 12th March 2014 at the Burslem School of Art, Stoke-on-Trent. The course will run Wednesdays, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. Full Fee is £20, with JSA, ESA and Income Support Claimants paying £16. See the Web link for details and booking.

13.02.14   
Stoke-on-Trent best-selling crime novelist Mel Sherratt has launched her new novel, Watching Over You. There’s also a recent 30 minute video interview with Mel, on the realities of life as an entrepreneurial writer…

13.02.14   
Stoke-on-Trent’s Prototype magazine is seeking “someone rather lovely, talented and inspired to assist in our new direction”. They need bloggers who can write, interview and source creative inspiration to feature on the Prototype blog. Interested? Email  info@prototype-mag.co.uk  with a link to your current blog or a piece of your writing.

13.02.14   
Billy Smart’s Circus will soon be hoisting their tents at Trentham Gardens, Stoke-on-Trent, and the Circus is holding an… “Open Day on Sunday 16th February where you can tour the Big Top and look backstage all for free.”

13.02.14   
There’s an excellent feature article on Stoke-on-Trent’s ceramics renaissance in the latest issue of Monocle magazine (Feb 2014).

The revival of the Potteries also featured on Channel 4 News (video link).

13.02.14   
Ceramics historians might be interested in a one-day conference being held on the other side of the Peaks, in Derby, on 21st February 2014.

13.02.14   
Newcastle-under-Lyme town centre has renewed and reburbished its public market, which is set for an April relaunch. They are now seeking takers for pitches at £20 per day, and say that “incentives are available”. Interested? Phone: 07771 568172

13.02.14   
The 2014 King’s Market (King’s Hall, Stoke town, Stoke-on-Trent) is inviting applicants for a 6′ pitch from just £30, for their 23rd March 2014 event. Interested? Email@ markets@stoke.gov.uk for further information.

13.02.14   
Job:  The Brewhouse Arts Centre, Burton-upon-Trent, requires a casual dance worker (15 hours per week).

13.02.14   
Job:  The Lichfield Festival is seeking to appoint a freelance Artistic Director to devise and programme Lichfield’s October 2014 Literature Festival and Lichfield Festival in July 2015. Fee: £12,000. Application deadline: 21st February 2014.

13.02.14   
These nearby seminars might interest local museums and heritage attractions which are interfacing with film / crafts retail / or cultural tourism…

  * Film Friendly Museums – 27th Feb (Birmingham)
  * Running a profitable retail department – 11th March (Ironbridge, Shropshire)
  * The Tourism Economy and Museums – 18th March (Ironbridge, Shropshire)

Details:  barbara.taylor@ironbridge.org.uk

13.02.14   
Shrewsbury Folk Festival requires unpaid Children’s Festival Directors. Application deadline: 21st February 2014.

13.02.14   
Staffordshire University has formally announced it will move more than 3,000 students and staff to Stoke-on-Trent, from its old Stafford campus. This will mean a large influx of computing and videogame development talent into Stoke-on-Trent, probably by Sept 2015. The university is said to have around 500 students on the videogame courses, and a new Epic Games Centre funded by Epic Games (developer of the world-leading Unreal Engine videogames engine).


Creative Stoke news update, 21st January 2014

21.01.14   
Are you a local film maker or producer with a completed feature script, completed documentary treatment, or completed film or series? Stoke Your Fires Marketplace gives you to the free opportunity to pitch your project one-to-one with experienced screen industry figures. Marketplace will happen in Stoke-on-Trent on 11th March 2014, and the application deadline is 24th January 2014. See the Web page for full details.

21.01.14   
Photographers from Staffordshire are invited to submit printed and framed entries for the Keele University Art Gallery’s Three Counties Open Photography Competition. Entries are via the 2014 entry form.

21.01.14   
Concept Collective now has a date for the first meeting, Thursday 30th January 2014 (2pm-4pm), to discuss the idea of creating a central hub for local designers and makers from Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. The venue will be the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce offices on Festival Park, Stoke-on-Trent [Google StreetView].

21.01.14   
Opportunities for artists are now available for the London Road Festival 2014, a major community-led summer festival held in Stoke town, Stoke-on-Trent. See the website for full details.

21.01.14   
Jobs: Six Dance Artists & six Emerging Dance Artists (and some voluntary dancers to shadow them) are required for a joint outdoors project with Cheshire Dance and the Just So Festival. Just So is the annual young children’s arts festival, held amid a wooded estate five miles north of Stoke-on-Trent.

21.01.14   
The Just So Festival is the young children’s arts festival, set in a woodland estate located five miles north of Stoke-on-Trent. The organisers are now calling for volunteers for the 2014 festival. They especially want local art students who can be involved in the visual design and dressing of the site.

Just So are also looking for non-food vendors for the festival, and have a paid position for a Site Manager.

21.01.14   
Stoke Film Theatre will host a free Arthur Berry: a celebration screen event on 22nd January 2014 (7.45pm) at Staffordshire University’s College Road campus in Stoke-on-Trent. The date will be the 20th anniversary of the last filmed record of Arthur Berry, reading his “Homage to the Oatcake”. The screening will show a compilation of Arthur caught on film from 1959 to 1994, featuring his painting, poetry, and plays.


Arthur Berry.

21.01.14   
Work:  Nearby Telford & Wrekin Council are planning a spectacular outdoor theatre experience in June 2014, with the theme of “A Midsummers Night’s Dream”. They would like to hire artists, creative teams and projects that are highly motivated and have experience of working in a community setting to deliver one of the following: art installations; fun arts activities and workshops for the public; and artists and makers to create spectacular and large scale puppets, sculptures or similar, that will be able to move around a park terrain. Deadline: 25th February 2014. Full details and briefs from Sarah Belcher via:  sarah.belcher@telford.gov.uk

21.01.14   
Jobs:  North Staffordshire’s Alton Towers is now recruiting its staff for the new £8m theme-park extension, BBC CBeebies Land. The five acre attraction is aimed at the many toddlers and preschool children of the UK’s ‘new baby boom’, and is set to open 24th May 2014.

21.01.14   
Rachael Lines and Clare Reynolds have volunteered to find out who is currently working in dance, and studying dance, in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire and around the borders. They’re also interested in discovering who may be interested in joining a dance network, and in what capacity. They are also keen to hear from those who have trained/studied, but who are not working in dance, and those working in dance administration or management. Interested? In the first instace, please complete the online survey.

21.01.14   
RIBA West Midlands are looking for organisations, businesses and individuals who would like to contribute to its Love Architecture Festival 2014. They are holding an open meeting at their office on 29th January at 5.30pm, and would like to invite anyone interested to attend. If you have events or project ideas, please get in touch with RIBA West Midlands to RSVP for the meeting, via: riba.westmidlands@riba.org

21.01.14   
The Buxton Poetry Competition 2014 is now open. The closing date for entries is 7th April 2014. See the wesbite for full details.

21.01.14   
Down in South Staffordshire, the Bilston Craft Gallery is calling for contemporary crafts makers to exhibit as part of a “Beside The Sea” (seaside, coastal and nautical) springtime 2014 show. Application deadline: 3rd February 2014. See the Web page for full details. Further ahead, they are also seeking exhibitors for “A Glass Act: contemporary glassware for the table”, 28th June – 30th August 2014.

21.01.14   
Stoke-on-Trent’s Denise O’Sullivan Ceramic and Design Ltd are creating a planets/ space themed commission with the Etruria-based Sculpted Steel, to be installed at Keele University. The commissioner would like to catalogue the processes, and is offering this out to students or recent graduates who would like experience or would like to use documenting this project as course work. Work would start from February 2014 onwards, for installation at the end of April 2014. Please contact Denise on Facebook if you are interested.

21.01.14   
Two actors are required as part of the 48 Hour Film Challenge at Staffordshire University, 24th-26th January 2014.

21.01.14   
Stoke-on-Trent’s Gladstone Pottery Museum is seeking crafts stallholders for their March Makers Market on Sunday 23rd March 2014. If you make toys, clothes, gifts or edible treats and are interested in having a stall then please email:  nerys.williams@stoke.gov.uk

21.01.14   
Staffordshire Living magazine is launching its own two-day lifestyle expo, Living Live 2014, in June 2014. This might be an event of interest for crafts makers and others looking for local selling opportunities.

21.01.14   
Cannonball Records is looking for individuals with screen-printing experience to make and design music-related merchandise, to run alongside their city-centre record-shop business selling rare vinyl. Interested? Contact Dave on 07704 300304, or call in the shop in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.

21.01.14   
There’s a new IndieGoGo crowdfunding project for Stalemate, a film about the fabled First World War Christmas football match. The makers aiming to raise £2,000 in funds, and plan to film in the Staffordshire Regiment Museum Trenches.

21.01.14   
Independent Cinema Network is a new arts programme that aims to connect independent cinemas in the West Midlands with children and young people. Film Ambassadors, aged 14-25, will be connected with their local independent cinema or screening venue. They will develop arts experience for other young people, experiences which go beyond both ‘gawp and popcorn’ blockbusters and ‘worthy and depressing’ art-house cinema. If you are an independent cinema or screening venue and would like to be involved in the Independent Cinema Network, please email Rebecca Hardy, Programme Developer (Film and Digital) at:  rebecca@edge21.co.uk

21.01.14   
The UK’s Creative & Cultural Skills (CCS) body is seeking to provide young people aged 13 to 18 with an insight into job roles and skills for working in cultural heritage. They now want to hear from museums and galleries interested in helping to deliver an event or school visit, as part of their initiative. There is no funding available, but CCS can provide event support and expertise, merchandise, and some out-of-pocket expenses. For more information email:  aine.markey@ccskills.org.uk

21.01.14   
The IPA (the UK’s professional body for advertising and marketing agencies) is looking for Midlands companies who are looking to take on a young apprentice in September 2014 in either Creative and Digital Media, Marketing, or Design. In the Midlands they’ve assigned Birmingham’s Creative Alliance to… “support [agencies] through the process, from job description to recruitment, including facilitating the interviews. As the training provider we will be working with you and the apprentice throughout the apprenticeship.” To take advantage of this opportunity contact Creative Alliance by Monday 27th January and register your interest. Interested? Email:  sophie@creativealliance.org.uk

21.01.14   
Interested in sourcing fashion supplies, fabrics, texiles, and accessories in the UK? Let’s Make it Here is a comprehensive industry-supported directory of UK fashion manufacturing.


Creative Stoke news update, 7th January 2014

07.01.14   
The airwaves of Stoke-on-Trent will have a brand new sound in January, as Internet-based 6 Towns Radio starts to broadcast on 87.7 FM. The community radio station starts to broadcast independently for a four week period on Monday 20th January 2014, until Sunday 16th February from its base in Queen Street, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent.

07.01.14   
Stoke-on-Trent’s Make It Your Business and the Factory programme have ten places on offer on a new year-round mentoring opportunity. The opportunity is open to creative and digital professionals in North Staffordshire. Successful applicants will have advice, support, and a bespoke action plan for getting their projects funded, made and out there. The support will be led by the team behind the Sheffield Doc/Fest, who will devise an individual mentoring plan for 2014 consisting of a total of 12 hours one-to-one mentoring. A series of workshops and activities will also enhance the mentoring experience. Interested? Email:  miyourbusiness@stoke.gov.uk with the following information:

* One page on what you hope to achieve from the mentoring, especially the goals you hope to achieve as part of it
* One page of biographical information (not a C.V.)
* Any supporting visual materials

Deadline for all applications is: 5pm on Friday 24th January 2014.

07.01.14   
The Leek Arts Festival organisers want to know about your planned events a bit earlier than usual, for 2014. Programme content deadline: 31st January 2014.

07.01.14   
Staffordshire University has Paid Graduate Internship Programme for 2013/14, providing employers with the opportunity to recruit talent from their graduates from summer 2013. Employers will be able to use the University’s in-house recruitment agency, Unitemps, which covers: advertising vacancies; sourcing talent; pre-selection; and payroll. The University will also payroll graduate interns for you, at a much discounted rate, for 12 weeks. Thereafter you have the option a free conversion to your own permanent payroll. Interested? Please contact Carol Bragg, Recruitment Consultant at:  internships@staffs.ac.uk

07.01.14   
Cheshire Dance is seeking a temporary Dance Development Artist for Cheshire East Borough. This is for a fixed term of 9 months, as maternity cover — with a possible extension to 12 months. For an application pack, please contact Evelyn Thomas at:  evelyn@cheshiredance.org

07.01.14   
The Heritage Lottery’s Start-up grants scheme is seeking individuals who are… “thinking about creating a new organisation to engage people with heritage”. Applications can be submitted at any time, and grants of between £3,000 to £10,000 are available.

07.01.14   
Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce are able to offer two training workshops free of charge to local SME firms who are also Chamber members, thanks to ERDF funding. Training days available include:

* 15th January 2014: Increasing Sales to Grow the Business.
* 29th January 2014: Spring Clean Your Marketing.
* 19th February 2014: Powerful P.R.
* 27th March 2014: Getting Started with Project Management.

Free attendance will be allocated on a “first come, first served” basis. Interested? Contact Linda McQuade at:  linda.mcquade@staffordshirechambers.co.uk

07.01.14   
Do you work in local museums or similar cultural heritage institutions? Museum staff and volunteers are invited to various free ‘Winter Warmer’ information events in early 2014 at the Shire Hall Gallery, Stafford town centre…

* “Making the Most of Donations and Gift Aid”, 16th January, 10am – 12 noon.
* “Getting a Helping Hand with Volunteering and Give and Gain”, 20th February, 10am – 12 noon.
* “Getting Involved in National Initiatives (Museums at Night, Takeover Day and Heritage Open Days)”, 13th March, 10am – 12 noon.

They say… “there is no need to book a place at any of the sessions, please just drop in and see us!”

07.01.14   
The Stoke-on-Trent creatives behind the Blood and Bone China video series have a new horror music video online, Cardinal, “I’ll Be Damned”, directed by Chris Stone.

07.01.14   
Assistant Writers are needed for the Write On! Writing Squads across the West Midlands region. These voluntary roles will involve working alongside the Lead Writers at some of their Writing Squads for 8 to 16 year olds. The Assistants provide additional support; help with mentoring and providing advice and creative writing exercises for the children and young people taking part. They also shadow the Lead Writers to learn new skills with the opportunity for career development. Writing West Midlands is able to cover travel expenses. Deadline for applications: 1st February 2014.

07.01.14   
BBC Radio 3 is inviting applications for the 2014 edition of New Generation Thinkers. Specifically they want to hear from early-career university researchers… “with a focus on arts and humanities topics”. Successful applications will have the opportunity to develop radio programme ideas and to appear on air. They are especially keen to hear from people with an interest that encompasses biomedical and humanities. Full details at the Web page.

07.01.14   
You wait for years for some creative website neighbours, and then three come along at once! Say “hi!” to: Creative Walsall; Cannock Chase Creative Hub; and Lichfield Arts.


Creative Stoke news update, 10th December 2013

10.12.13   
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.

10.12.13   
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: factory@stoke.gov.uk

10.12.13   
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:  info@b-arts.org.uk

10.12.13   
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:  mandy.new@stoke.gov.uk

10.12.13   
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:  kirsty.fairbanks@stoke.gov.uk

10.12.13   
Work:  Staffordshire University is currently advertising for:

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

10.12.13   
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.

10.12.13   
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:  forbusiness@staffs.ac.uk

10.12.13   
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.

10.12.13   
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:  p.e.vincent@staffs.ac.uk

10.12.13   
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.

10.12.13   
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.

10.12.13   
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:  info@lichfieldfestival.org

10.12.13   
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:  susan.goodwin@wlv.ac.uk

10.12.13   
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.

10.12.13   
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.


Creative Stoke news update, 25th November 2013

25.11.13   
Work:  Newcastle-under-Lyme’s B Arts are looking for artists and writers for their new project “The Box”, a three-year creative literacy programme with Stoke-on-Trent City Library. “The Box” will be aimed at boosting reading levels among children aged 9 to 13. B Arts now needs:

  * a Writer for Young People, deadline: 13th December 2013.
  * an Immersive Theatre Designer/Maker, deadline: 9th December 2013.
  * a Digital Media Artist, deadline: 9th December 2013.

25.11.13   
Work:  Coventry’s Creative Enterprise organisation, which sometimes runs workshops in Stafford / Stoke, wants to commission a new £3,000 promo video. Deadline: 28th November 2013.

25.11.13   
Work:  Stoke-on-Trent City Council is looking for a training provider to develop and deliver a series of business development workshops, preparing companies for trade show activity. Closing date is 5pm on Friday 29th November 2013. If you are interested in this opportunity, or would like more information, please email:  marc.wootton@stoke.gov.uk

25.11.13   
BIC Staffordshire has three new 2014 workshops in Stoke-on-Trent, all from 4-6pm at the Sutherland Institute in Longton…

  * 13th February: Profit from Innovation.
  * 27th February: Protect & Fund your Innovation.
  * 13th March: Leadership Skills for Innovation.

25.11.13   
Aiming to build on recent success of The Potteries Tile Trail project, the new Ceramic City Stories project is seeking help to identify, explore and tell your own stories about the people, buildings, and industry that continue to define our unique ceramics city today. There will be an initial briefing session on Wednesday 27th November 2013, 3pm-6pm at the CoRE centre, Enson Works, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent. They are looking for volunteers who can commit to attending 12 sessions of approximately 3 hours each month, over the next 12 months. More details from Danny Callaghan at:  danny@mcardlecallaghan.com

25.11.13   
The 2014 Stoke Your Fires film festival in Stoke-on-Trent wants your movies. Do you have a feature-length production ready for screening, and would you like the chance to have it shown at Stoke Your Fires Film Festival 2014? The organisers are looking for a feature length production of any genre to add to next year’s 2014 programme and to potentially open the 2014 festival. See the website for full details.

25.11.13   
There’s a new Kickstarter campaign for the Stoke-on-Trent film Grandma’s Ashes.

25.11.13   
There’s now a new Facebook Group, Concept Collective, for discussion of the possibilities around setting up a central physical space or hub for local designers and makers from Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.

25.11.13   
The Venue in Burslem is looking for new stage acts.

25.11.13   
Stoke-on-Trent City Council is hosting a training day for tattooists, at the Civic Centre in Stoke town, Stoke-on-Trent. This day should also be a good networking opportunity, as it is also open to tattooists from Staffordshire and Shropshire. Interested? Contact the Staffordshire and Shropshire Health and Safety Group on:  01782 232003.

25.11.13   
There’s a new Staffordshire County Council Superfast Staffordshire website which has news of the BT superfast fibre broadband fibre being rolled out into the rural parts of the county.

And according to BT’s superfast home broadband rollout plans, the wiring of the Stoke-on-Trent BT exchange called Stoke City WMCIT (which appears to be Stoke Civic Centre and Stoke town) has been brought forward. This is now listed as November 2013. The town of Stone appears to have slipped back to March 2014, and Trentham is now listed as May 2014. The key Newcastle-under-Lyme and Hanley exchanges already offer superfast home and business broadband.

As for mobile connectivity, the uSwitch 2013 mobile broadband speed survey shows that Stoke-on-Trent gets an average 14.34Mbps, and that the city has one of the most stable 3G city connection speeds in the UK…

“… Stoke-On-Trent having the average [3G] broadband speed change by just 0.7% between 4am and 9pm, showing they have a very consistent broadband speed” (uSwitch)

25.11.13   
Creative Nation is creating 6,500 UK jobs for creative people, in 1,000 days. Funding is available to arts and creative industries employers to take on apprentices and offer paid internships.

25.11.13   
Staffordshire University has a date for your shiny new 2014 calendar. The opening night of the 2014 art and design graduation shows will be Friday 13th June, with the shows then running through to the 21st of June 2014. They are also planning a third year for the accompanying Fringe Festival.


Creative Stoke news update, 17th November 2013

17.11.13   
The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise has an Introduction to Self Employment (over 50s) workshop, on 4th December 2013 at Burslem Methodist Hall, Stoke-on-Trent.

17.11.13   
The Use of Social Media as a Marketing Tool is a workshop event on 20th November 2013 (11.30am – 1pm) in Congleton…

“Gain an overview of current Social Media trends and the most popular social media channels including LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube. Understand how you as a small to medium sized business can use social media to promote your services […] The free to attend Hub workshops and networking events are aimed at anyone considering self employment, new and established businesses and the third sector (e.g. charities and social enterprises).”

17.11.13   
Oatcake Camp 2 is a unique Stoke-on-Trent grassroots discussion and talks evening, to be held at the YMCA North Staffordshire. There will be three sessions on ideas for improving city life, with media and innovation strongly to the fore. The line-up is:

   * How do we measure success of community engagement across social networks? (Carl Plant, BiTjAM).
   * How can local institutions be #morelikepeople? (Clare White, WEA).
   * Is innovation in the public sector dying? (Dan Slee, Comms2point0).

Grab a brew and cake from 6pm, and Oatcake Camp 2 officially kicks off in the YMCA Sky Room at 6.30pm on Tuesday 26th November (finishes at 8.30pm). This event is free, book your ticket now.

17.11.13   
The curators of the AirSpace Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent are inviting submissions from walking artists, and artists who walk, to send in documentation of their practice. This can be historic or current, in all forms of media. Submissions will form part of their forthcoming The Walking Encyclopaedia show at AirSpace, timed to coincide with the Richard Long touring exhibition at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery (opens 30th Nov). Deadline: 13th December 2013. Email to:  mail@airspacegallery.org

17.11.13   
“Robots, Cyborgs and the Ghosts of Christmas Future” is the title of a public talk/demo at Staffordshire University (Stoke campus), on 11th December 2013…

“Intelligent robots and real life cyborgs will be on view in this exciting interactive presentation. You will be able to see if you can tell the difference between humans and machines in conversation and will have to think about what it means for a robot to be intelligent. Can robots have a biological brain like yours? Have you thought about what Christmas present to get your robot in the future? Suitable for both humans and robots of all ages as long as you have an open mind! Booking required:  public@staffs.ac.uk

17.11.13   
18th – 22nd November 2013 is Global Entrepreneurship Week at Staffordshire University. Details on the flyer, or email:  beinspired@staffs.ac.uk

17.11.13   
Added to the Directory: photographer Alex Harford.

17.11.13   
Alex Clowes writes that he is looking for volunteers to help set up an arts group at the day centre he manages in Stoke-on-Trent, for older people with physical disabilities and dementia. He would like to hold an art exhibition in the Spring of 2014. Interested? Please phone 01782 324715 and ask for Alex, or email:  alex@thegrocottcentre.co.uk

17.11.13   
Small Business Saturday (7th Dec) will see a Christmas market at the Burslem School of Art and another at the Victoria Hall in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. Spaces are now available for creative businesses and small traders. Businesses who attend will also be given a free business training guide, and have the opportunity to attend free business training workshops through the Make It Your Business project. Interested? Please contact:  business.growth@stoke.gov.uk including contact details, a description of the business, and your location preference.


Above: Victoria Hall, Stoke-on-Trent.

17.11.13   
The major Acoustic Festival of Britain, held at Uttoxeter, now has 2014 dates: 30th May to 1st June 2014. Note that this may also be a selling opportunity for crafts makers and instrument makers — enquire for details of market pitches / tables.

17.11.13   
Jobs: Artist-led children’s artist workshop providers are needed for hospitals in Sheffield, on the other side of the Peak District. Application deadline: 29th November 2013.

17.11.13   
The Manchester Writing for Children Prize is offering a £2,000 first prize for the best individual portfolio of poetry that is aimed at children aged between five and 12. The competition is open to all writers aged 16 or over, whether they are established or unpublished. The portfolio should consist of between three and five poems of no more than 120 lines in total. The poems must not have previously been published anywhere else. Deadline: 28th February 2014.

17.11.13   
The leading PC operating system Windows 8.1 is now available free from Microsoft, for charities and non-profit companies.

17.11.13   
The Design Council’s Design Leadership Programme is open to larger UK-based businesses, offering a subsidised programme of up to 10 days of design and innovation-focused mentoring, over a period of 6 to 18 months.

17.11.13   
The New Art Gallery Walsall will be hosting a two-week artist residency from 20th January – 2nd February 2014, to be awarded to an artist living and working in the West Midlands. Applications are now invited. The selected artist will receive a fee of £500, plus £250 towards travel and materials. Application deadline: 29th November 2013.

17.11.13   
Congratulations to Stoke-on-Trent Library Service and Newcastle-under-Lyme’s B Arts. Together they’ve recently had £90,000 of Arts Council England funding to produce a new project called The Box, aimed at boosting reading levels among children aged 9 to 13. The Box will travel around North Staffordshire during the school holidays during 2014-2017, encouraging children to devise short one-to-one mini theatre productions. There will also be a showcase exhibition of children’s work in the City Centre Library in Stoke-on-Trent (for which local sponsors are needed, up to £9,000).


Creative Stoke news update, 3rd Nov 2013

03.11.13   
The Factory creative industries conference for Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire is coming up soon, and free places are still available. This major conference will be on 21st November 2013, at the Victoria Hall in Stoke-on-Trent. See the latest quarterly Factory magazine for full details and speakers…

03.11.13   
Volunteer jobs: Volunteers are required for North Staffs TV, which will soon be in a position to start delivering local TV content to North Staffordshire and the world via the Internet. North Staffs TV will be holding two open-days at the Staffordshire University campus at Stoke. The first will be on Wednesday 6th November 2013 at 6.00pm, with the second on Saturday 9th November 2013 at 1pm. See the website for full details and the application form.

03.11.13   
Job: Painsley Catholic College, in Cheadle, near Stoke-on-Trent, requires a temporary Teacher of Art. Deadline 15th November 2013. Apply via:  janekelly@painsley.staffs.sch.uk

03.11.13   
The Axis Arts Centre, at nearby Crewe, is hosting a Brand Me workshop on 3rd December 2013 (6pm-8.30pm), a practical workshop on branding. Cost is £10 for non-CIM members. For more details contact: cimevents@cim.co.uk

03.11.13   
Youth Enterprise CIC is the local delivery organisation for the government’s Start-Up Loans for people aged 18-30 in North Staffordshire. Despite their name, Youth Enterprise can now offer Start-Up Loans to those aged over 30, following recent national changes to the scheme’s age limits. Last month the government also approved another £34m for the Start-Up Loans scheme, as well as promising dedicated special help for former members of the armed services to start their own businesses.

03.11.13   
There will be a free life drawing class in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, on 15th November 2013…

03.11.13   
“Drawing with Light” is the title of a two-day masterclass in experimental tonal drawing. The dates set are 23rd and 30th November 2013 (10am-4pm), at Shire Hall in the centre of Stafford. Cost is £25. Other upcoming adult arts workshops at Shire Hall include :

* “Landscape, developing a personal response”, on 1st February 2014 (£25)

* “Portrait Drawing with David Gleeson”, on 8th February 2014 (£25)

See the new 2013-14 Shire Hall brochure for full details of all adult workshops.

03.11.13   
Sarah Armitt at The D.J. School in Stoke-on-Trent is looking for a volunteer Building Manager, with experience of working in a community building, to help manage the repairs programme. Interested? Please email your C.V. and experience to:  info@djschool.org.uk

The D.J. School also has an Open Day on Thursday 7th November 2013 (12 noon till 3pm). All invited. Free drinks, entertainment, and much more with info packs for all. Also free D.J. sessions for the unemployed — send a txt to book a slot to: 07816 318676.

03.11.13   
Stoke-on-Trent artist Rob Pointon has a new 2014 calendar, made with images from his “Year of the Boat” project. Sales help to support the Canal and River Trust, the self-funding successor to British Waterways.

To order please email:  enquiries@robpointon.co.uk

03.11.13   
Cat’s Curiosity Shop is a Stoke-on-Trent based online shop, specialising in hand-crafted and unusual steampunk/gothic accessories.

03.11.13   
Waterside Arts Centre in Cheshire is offering… “£3,000 + support, for an emerging theatre company to develop a new work for The Chambers space at the Arts Centre in April 2014.” Deadline: 15th November 2013.

03.11.13   
Added to the Directory: Richard Swancott Associates, a public relations firm based in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

03.11.13   
UKTI, the UK’s official export support service, now has over 50 useful Web seminars, using online video listed and coming very soon. Many of these are multi-sector introductions to the export markets in particular countries.

03.11.13   
UKTI, the UK’s official export support service, is running Great Creative Weeks, which will bombard selected export nations with large numbers of creative firms at any one time. Cost of participation in a “Great” overseas sales trip will be just £700. These Great trips will run across a period of 18 months, and our UK ambassadors overseas will actively help push the export sales events. See the Great website for full details.

03.11.13   
Creative England has launched a new £250,000 Innovations and Partnerships Fund. The Fund is looking for… “companies who have new and innovative ideas for ways to help the film sector to grow and develop outside London.” The funding on offer is between £10,000 and £50,000 per project. They are especially “looking for projects that demonstrate a commitment to cross-sector collaboration and to the use of new technologies and platforms.”

03.11.13   
The Big Music Project is a new £4 million investment from The BIG Lottery Fund, recently announced. As part of this the BPI will deliver a… “music-focused programme of training, job opportunities, and community outreach for young people aged 14-24 across the UK, focussing on deprived areas.” The programme is expected to start in Spring 2014 and run until 2015. There’s no website yet. More news on the The Big Music Project as Creative Stoke gets it.

03.11.13   
The Spectator magazine has a new UK wide competition for cartoonists. Win a one-year contract with The Spectator.

03.11.13   
Interesting national news: peer-to-peer funding (such as Kickstarter) is to be regulated in the UK from April 2014 with new EU laws. The main legal change with be that those pledging funds will not be “locked in” at the end of a successful Kickstarter, as is currently the norm. Instead they will be given 14 days in which to cancel their pledge to you.

03.11.13   
New funding of £260,000 has reportedly allowed Shropshire’s Business Enterprise Fund to extend to cover… “the Telford & Wrekin and the Staffordshire area”…

“The programme has grants available of up to £1,500 for individuals to start-up a company, and £5,000 for existing businesses to improve performance, enter new markets or to assist in diversifying. The capital investment has to be match funded at least 50% by the business.”

Shropshire County Council’s website appears to have totally crashed over the weekend, but if it’s still not up by Monday then an enquiry via  customer.service@shropshire.gov.uk  should get you some details.