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03.03.13    Ready to export? There's a Staffordshire export support breakfast event for business, called New Markets : New Horizons. The date is Thursday 7th March 2013 (7.30am-10am) at Keele Hall, Keele University. This event is... "particularly aimed at businesses which have no or limited previous experience in exporting" and is aimed at "manufacturing and services" businesses.

03.03.13    Stoke-on-Trent's Factory has small capital grants of up to £1,500 for equipment, tools, software etc. These must be 100% match-funded by the applicant. Applications are now invited and will be reviewed from 1st April 2013. For the application forms and to get on the Factory mailing-list please contact:  factory@stoke.gov.uk

03.03.13    Job:  Stoke-on-Trent City Council is seeking to commission an artist/design agency to develop and design a sculpture trail for the city's public art infrastructure. The trail will be both Web based and a print "pullout" version that can be popped into a bag or pocket. Especially welcome will be submissions offering an innovative and dynamic approach to animating a sculpture trail, while at the same time engaging a range of ages, interests and abilities. Submission deadline: 18th March 2013 for delivery by 26th July 2013. Maximum budget is £12,000 (excluding VAT). Details from Paul Bailey, Cultural Development Officer at:  paul.bailey@stoke.gov.uk

03.03.13    The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), in partnership with the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce, would like to invite local businesses to come and find out more about the work of the LEP, and to seek your views on its future priorities. This is a free evening event at the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce, on Festival Park, Stoke-on-Trent. The date is Wednesday 6th March 2013.

03.03.13    Artist Willard Wigan MBE will be giving a free talk about his well-known "micro-sculptures", as part of Staffordshire University's "Art Meets Science" talks series. The date is Saturday 16th March 2013 (11am), at the Staffordshire University Science Centre on Leek Road, Stoke-on-Trent.

03.03.13    Those developing interactive media and services for digital might be interested in Mobile computing: connecting the world, an open showcasing event at Staffordshire University on 20th March 2013 (10am-2pm)...

"See examples of recent work in this area and meet the people who are currently delivering successful projects with commercial and academic partners."

03.03.13    The Staffordshire Business Innovation Centre has a range of free business development workshops in Spring 2013...

  13th March 2013 (4pm-6pm), "Marketing your Innovation" in Stoke-on-Trent.

  11th April 2013 (9am-1pm), "What Intellectual Property (IP) do you Own?" in Stoke-on-Trent.

  17th April 2013 (4pm-8pm), "New Product Development" in Stafford town.

  1st May 2012 (12pm-2pm), "Research & Development Tax Relief to help fund your Innovation" in Stoke-on-Trent.

The BIC also has dates for workshops later in the year. For full details see their 2013 brochure (PDF link).

03.03.13    The Women in Rural Enterprise annual conference is set to happen nearby. The WiRE Annual Conference 2013 will be on Tuesday 9th April 2013 at Harper Adams University College in Shropshire.

03.03.13    Stoke-on-Trent's Middleport Community Design Festival is running a photography competition, "What makes a house a home?"...

"We are seeking your photographs of what makes a house a home. What makes it more than just a building, what makes it special, something attractive, a home to enjoy, a home to be jealous of, a design feature you would include in a self-build housing project?"

There are £200 in prizes on offer. Deadline: 5pm on 20th March 2013. The pictures will be printed for display at the Middleport Community Design Festival on 22nd & 23rd March 2013 (at St. Paul's Church, Dalehall nr. Middleport). Submit up to five pictures (up to 2Mb each, at a print resolution/size if possible) to:  bmlocalforum@gmail.com

03.03.13    Stoke-on-Trent F.E. College currently has grants of £1,500 per business, for any enterprise which takes on young apprentices (up to ten per firm). Details are available from:  business@stokecoll.ac.uk   Newcastle-under-Lyme College also has the same £1,500 offer available, with details available from:  employers@nulc.ac.uk   Bear in mind also that the government is about to launch a major arts and creative industries apprenticeships programme. See the last Creative Stoke News Update for details on that.

03.03.13    Newcastle-under-Lyme is seeking private and public sector partners for a new £40,000 youth apprenticeships scheme. For details contact the N-u-L Apprenticeship Helpline for Business on 0300 111 8002.

03.03.13    The ACAVA (Association for Cultural Advancement through Visual Art) has been asked to do a preliminary assessment of supply-and-demand for artists' studios and similar creative production spaces in Stoke-on-Trent. If you'd like to have your say, either on your past experience or your future plans, please contact ccheung@acava.org and they'll send you some questions by email.

03.03.13    The 2nd Stoke Craftworkers Bazaar has set a date for Saturday 5th October 2013 at the Mitchell Arts Centre, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. Stalls are £20 each, but all items for sale must be handmade only and stallholders must have relevant insurance in place.

03.03.13    As part of the London Road Festival 2013 in Stoke town, this year there will be an even bigger arts, crafts and makers market. The Pop-up Vintage market will also be there, along with bands and other musicians, so a good crowd is anticipated. The pitch fee is £20 and you need to bring your own tables and chairs. They're trying to have a wide variety of stalls, but... "we won't exclude anyone if we have space for you. However, we are limited to space, so please get in early". They can have about 20 makers. Interested? Contact Alan via the Facebook page.

03.03.13    Artists, makers, local producers and vintage sellers are invited to take putches for a FABulous series of festival days at the Arts & Music Festival in Newcastle-under-Lyme town centre (outdoors, 4th, 5th, 6th May 2013). To express interest please email Denise at:  info@popupemporium.com

03.03.13    It's good to hear that the historian Nigel Daly is set to publish a book on the life and work of the neglected artist from North Staffordshire Robert Bateman (1842–1922). Bateman was one of the “last romantics” in the school of Burne-Jones, and also one of the Bateman family sired by botanist and garden designer James Bateman (designer of the eccentric gardens at Biddulph Grange, now in the National Trust). Nigel wants to locate images of Robert Bateman’s large major oil painting “Saul and the Witch of Endor”, given into the trust of the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery — but which has since been mislaid. The painting was last heard of hanging in Longton Town Hall in the early 1950s, and it appears that not even a photographic record has survived. If you know anything of this painting, please contact Nigel at:  nigel@nigeldaly.co.uk


Robert Bateman, "The Pool of Bethesda", 1877. Currently at Yale University in America.

03.03.13    ReStoke are looking for volunteers for their "Palace" site-specific performance project in Stoke-on-Trent. They are asking for each volunteer to be able to work a minimum of two performances between: 27th and 30th March 2013, in the evenings, or a matinee on Saturday 30th March. Full details from:  gemma@gemmathomas.co.uk

03.03.13    Ready to rock? In the coming Easter Holidays there's to be a youth rock music event at the Mitchell Youth Arts Centre in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. 10-16 year olds will have two days of workshops and stage performance opportunities, 5th-6th April 2013. Details from: info@waltonsway.co.uk

03.03.13    Futura is a one-day science-fiction convention (literature oriented, not TV-and-Trek), which will be running at the Light House in nearby Wolverhampton on Saturday 15th June 2013. It sounds like a great chance to network with other Midlands SF writers...

"A £25 ticket will get you access to a range of activities from 11am until late — including readings, panels, Q+A sessions, our fabulous book market and much more. Guest of Honour author line-up: Ken Macleod, Adam Roberts, and Ian R. Macleod".

03.03.13    Added to the Directory:  Soul and Jazz, based in Leek and run by Brian Hurst (a well-known DJ in the soul and jazz scene in America and the UK). His website offers a subscription-based curated programme featuring HD audio streaming over the Web, letting you hear neglected gems from the back catalogues of record labels from across the world. Currently a subscription to his commercials-free programme is just £57 a year, a bargain compared to what the records might cost a collector. There is also an iPhone app, and a series of albums called The Hurst Selection.

03.03.13    British Telecom has this week announced details on when it will expand its fast 24Mbits/sec+ broadband Internet service to Stoke-on-Trent and adjacent areas. The so-called "superfast" broadband should be available by the end of 2013 for the telephone exchanges at: Dimsdale; Burslem; Longton; Kidsgrove; and Stone town. Work should be completed by the end of Spring 2014 for exchanges at: Hanley; Stoke City; Blythe Bridge; Trentham, and Milton Lee. The exchanges at: Newcastle-under-Lyme; Biddulph; and Alsager are already wired for 24Mbits/sec+ broadband, and are accepting orders now.

22.02.13    National organisation TACS (Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society) and local creative Danny Callaghan have been recruiting local people for a unique "community research team" on local ceramic tiles. Those taking part will visit key collections, access unusual archive material and visit recognised — as well as forgotten — architectural ceramics located on buildings across Stoke-on-Trent. The team will also visit key resources and locations in Ironbridge and London. Participants will also look at present-day production in the city of Stoke-on-Trent. The research team will then share their findings at events in each of the city's famous Six Towns, to inform the development of a new Potteries Tile Trail.

There are still a couple of places up for grabs but you need to be quick! This opportunity is valuable and places are offered on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. You will need to be available and commit to four day-long ‘study visits’ taking place over six weeks and starting next Wednesday 27th February at Gladstone Pottery Museum. The other study visit dates are Tuesday 12th March, Wednesday 27th March and Wednesday 10th April 2013. For more information and to express your interest, please contact Danny Callaghan at email: danny@mcardlecallaghan.com

22.02.13    Staffordshire and Keele Universities are jointly running a research project called "And the Doctor Said...". An opportunity is now available for a freelance creative writer to run two x one-day workshops as part of the project. The purpose of the workshops is for people to discuss their experiences of health care, and to develop creative writing based on these experiences. If you are interested in this opportunity then please contact Jackie Reynolds, the Project Coordinator, for further details at: j.reynolds@staffs.ac.uk

22.02.13    There's a new Facebook group for Staffordshire and Cheshire Event Organisers.

22.02.13    Staffordshire Moorlands Open Art 2013 now has details and dates. Bringing-in day will be Saturday 6th April 2013 and the exhibition will open Saturday 13th April 2013. Up to 3 submissions can be made for an entry fee of £10. See the Web page for an entry form. Part of the Leek Arts Festival.

22.02.13    Andrew Cliff, aka Second Voice from The Moon. Andrew works in photography and pen-and-ink.

22.02.13    Fifteen of Staffordshire Moodlands's blog writers had a face-to-face get-together in Leek this month...

Yummy Mummy in Training has a Web links set for all those who attended.

22.02.13    The Sentinel newspaper needs more local models for its Saturday Supplement magazine.

22.02.13    Stoke-on-Trent's Trentham Gardens is to run a Garden Design Workshop on Monday 11th March 2013 (9.30am - 4pm), with award winning Garden Designer, Clive Mollart. £39.50 per person, includes garden entry and lunch at the Italian Garden Tearoom. 10% discount for Annual Ticket Holders and Royal Horticultural Society members. Must be booked in advance, call 01782 646646 or visit the Gardens Entrance at Trentham Gardens.

22.02.13    Stoke band GreaterGhost have posted two new video 'studio diaries', on their experience of recording their new Fear The Distance EP...

Part two.

22.02.13    Two song tracks from Narn, as heard live this week on BBC Radio Stoke. Narn (Rheana Forrester) has recently made it through to the Regional Finals of Teenstar.

22.02.13    Sledge Hammer Films, based in Newcastle-under-Lyme, are holding auditions for their planned feature-film BoXeD, in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, this coming Saturday 23rd February 2013.

22.02.13    Draycott, Derbyshire is to hold the Draycott Festival of Arts & Gardens 2013 (5th and 6th May) and is inviting artists and designer-makers to take selling pitches. There is an exhibitors fee of £35 for the whole weekend. To apply please send three images (at least one needs to be print-ready at 300dpi) with an artist's statement and description of the works you would like to show, to:  startlearts@yahoo.co.uk

22.02.13    Congratulations and good luck to four new graduate companies arising from the Staffordshire University degree courses in videogames design: Labyrinth Interactive; Expositus Games; Ridicule Games; and None Studios.

22.02.13    GameDev Midlands 1: Insert Coin to Begin is the first informal networking get-together for creatives and indie developers working in the Midlands videogames industry. In central Birmingham (a very short walk from New St. station), on 9th March 2013. Free. (Note the change of date from the 2nd to the 9th).

22.02.13    Ideas Fund Shorts 2013 is offering eight filmmakers or animators aged 16-25 up to £5,000 funding each — and expert mentoring — to turn their short film ideas into reality. Your finished film will be no longer than 20 minutes long, and must "do something that has not been done before" and "something that you would not be able to do without the funding". Application deadline: 28th March 2013.

22.02.13    The Writing Platform Bursary is a fund... "designed to support inter-disciplinary learning and collaboration between writers and technologists". The fund will support two one-off bursaries of £3,000. Application deadline: 12th March 2013. See the Web page for sull details.

22.02.13    The North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce is taking bookings for a half-day training workshop, "Make an impact on your business with free PR and publicity". The date is 16th May 2013, and the cost is £120.00 + VAT for members, and £160.00 + VAT for non-members.

14.02.13    Congratulations to 16-year-old Ciaran Algar from Stoke-on-Trent, who has won the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards "Young Folk Act of the Year" title. Ciaran lives in Tunstall, and attends St Joseph's College in Trent Vale, Stoke-on-Trent.

Ciaran's new album The Queen's Lover, made with Chester-based partner Greg Russell, is out now. Listen to track samples from the album for free on Amazon.

14.02.13    Those interested in folk music in Stoke and North Staffordshire now have a new Stoke folk Facebook group for networking and information.

14.02.13    The government will launch the new Creative Employment Programme in a few weeks time. The initial aim of this major £15m programme is to have 6,500 apprentices (aged 16 to 24) working for pay in the UK's arts and creative industries, within two years. The National Skills Academy is heading the programme — and the National Theatre, the V&A Museum, and Covent Garden are all signed up to be among the first users of the service. Details of the launch, and the first national roadshows, are available here. Some local creative firms such as Burslem's Barewall have already employed several apprentices, but this major new programme would seem to present a very substantial opportunity for creatives in North Staffordshire — both for creative young people and creative employers. More details as Creative Stoke gets them.

14.02.13    Stoke-on-Trent's Stoke Your Fires Film Festival now has the 2013 Festival brochure (PDF link) available for download.

As well as screenings, the programme launches with a practical day of workshops and talks in Hanley on Friday 1st March:

 * New Model Cinema student symposium, with keynote speech, starts 10am. This includes a lunchtime panel discussion, 1pm-2pm, on "Film In The Region" — with Stickleback Productions / Reels in Motion / Staffordshire University / Edge Hill University. Potential questions can be submitted beforehand to Jon Fairburn at:  jon.fairburn@staffs.ac.uk

 * Masterclass on Pitching and Packaging Film Projects, 1pm to 3.30pm.

 * Masterclass on Crowd-funding, 4pm - 5.30pm.

Also several other masterclasses on other days, plus a networking meeting for film-makers on the 4th March 2013. See the programme and website for full details.

14.02.13    Stoke-on-Trent film-makers Reels in Motion are set to make a bit of digital history by having their first feature-film, Pulp as the first ever movie to exclusively premiere and then be distributed on the Microsoft Xbox videogame console. The film's Xbox premiere is on 4th March 2013. Here's the trailer for Pulp...

14.02.13    Job: an Independent Evaluator is required for Stoke-on-Trent's Stoke Your Fires Film Festival. Application deadline: noon on 15th February 2013.

14.02.13    Staffordshire Business Innovation Centre is running a series of free free innovation workshops in Stoke-on-Trent, during February and March 2013. These are:

 * Protect & Fund Your Innovation, 27th February 2013 (4pm-6.30pm).
 * Leadership Skills For Innovation, 6th March 2013 (4pm-6pm).
 * Marketing Your Innovation, 13th March 2013 (4pm-6pm).

14.02.13    The West Midlands Economic Forum is holding a "Stimulating Innovation: Financing Exports" business breakfast event on 22nd February 2013 (7.30am-9.30am), at room BG21 on Staffordshire University's Stoke campus. Admission is free, but attendees must register in advance via:  stoke@westmidlandseconomicforum.co.uk

14.02.13    Jobs:  Stoke-on-Trent's £3m "Creative People and Places" programme has just submitted the business plan to the Arts Council, and if approved they will start in April — with the first activities rolling out in the city during June/July. In anticipation of approval they are now advertising three paid posts:

 * Project Director - £32,000.
 * Creative Producer - £24,000.
 * Programme Manager - £24,000.

All posts are fixed for the funding period, finishing between December 2015 and April 2016. Deadline is noon on 28th February 2013. For more information and an application pack please email:  appetite@picl.uk.com

14.02.13    Job: The Faculty of Arts & Creative Technologies at Staffordshire University requires a part-time 0.8 Technical Instructor (ref: ACT12-15) at the Stoke campus. The role will be based within the 2D/3D technical team supporting the academic and technical areas in woodwork, plastics, resins, metalwork, fine metals, ceramics, surface decoration, 3D printing, laser cutting and traditional print services. Application deadline: 24th February 2013.

14.02.13    Job:  Staffordshire University requires an Academic Group Leader in Visual Communications (ref: ACT12-06RA). This covers managing degrees in: Graphic Design; Illustration; Animation; Cartoon & Comic Arts; VFX; Photography; Photojournalism; Advertising and Brand Management; and Entrepreneurship. Application deadline: 27th February 2013.

14.02.13    Job:  Stoke-on-Trent City Council are seeking an animator to create a Staffordshire Saxon Animation (Contract Ref. CR2013/848). You will create "a unique animation that will add value to the story of the Staffordshire Saxon", which is the large figurative sculpture located in the foyer of the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent, inspired by the Staffordshire Hoard. Application deadline: 5pm on 1st March 2013. Maximum budget is £10,000 (excluding VAT). If you are interested a full brief for this commission please contact Paul Bailey, Cultural Development Officer at:  paul.bailey@stoke.gov.uk

14.02.13    Jobs:  The Enson Works in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, currently has a variety of commissions for its "Past, Present and Future Project". These include producing a community animation of approx. 10 minutes (£8,000-£10,000), and being a Facilitator for the projects (£5-7,000). Full details available on the Creative Stoke Facebook group page, or from  elise.turner@stoke.gov.uk

14.02.13    There are now 2013 dates for Stoke town's annual London Road Festival. The main days will be on the 8th & 9th of June 2013. Artists "from a range of art forms" are now invited to submit a commission proposal for the festival's Open Air Gallery 2013. The full artist brief is available here (PDF link). Expressions of interest are also invited from potential volunteers, via emailing:  swoca.info@gmail.com

14.02.13    Newcastle-under-Lyme town is developing a new Arts Strategy aimed at boosting town centre trade, and also developing ideas for commemorating the First World War during 2014-2018. They are currently confirming these strategic priorities. The schedule after that is...

 * March 2013: Develop Action Plan.
 * Up to April 2013: Develop ideas to encourage the creative business sector and cultural leadership.
 * April 2013: Publish (draft).

14.02.13    Leek town's 'Astound 2013' art exhibition has a Kickstarter-like crowd-funding call going on now, over at Sponsume. The exhibition (25th May - 15th June 2013) is being put together by graduates of the Foundation Degree in Contemporary Art Practice at the Leek School of Art. So far they've raised nearly a quarter of their target amount!

14.02.13    Staffordshire University now has dates for its annual art & design and media graduation shows. Show & Tell 2013 will launch on the evening of Friday 7th June 2013, and the free shows will run from 8th-15th June 2013. The shows will again be accompanied by a series of fringe events.

14.02.13    Stoke-on-Trent's Prototype magazine is currently setting up the sixth issue, which will have the theme of 'Enchantment'. To submit your work to issue six, simply add three to five examples of your work to the Prototype Flickr group or post them to the magazine's blog. Work must be in PDF or JPG, sized for print, and saved at 300dpi. Please also include a paragraph about yourself and your work. Deadline: 11th March 2013.

14.02.13    Staffordshire University has produced its first ever magazine for its alumni, SA, designed by Birmingham's Pink agency...

14.02.13    Volunteer job: Hanley's Stroke Art Cafe requires a volunteer. The Stroke Art Cafe runs fortnightly in Stoke-on-Trent, helping those who have had strokes.

14.02.13    The Staffordshire Festival of Performing Arts has announced that in 2013 there will be — for the first time — an art exhibition as part of the Festival. If you're an artist (of any style, including live art) and would like to show your work then please contact them.

14.02.13    Job: A musician is wanted to run a ten-week group project at Ellesmere House at St George’s Hospital in Stafford, a 12-bed low-secure ward for men with a range of needs including mental health problems. £1,000 to cover artist fees for ten two-hour sessions. Deadline: 15th February 2013. Details from Eleanor Babb at:  eleanor.babb@sssft.nhs.uk

14.02.13    Job: a Graphic Designer is wanted at Panda Press in Stone town.

14.02.13    The Robbie Williams Give It Sum Fund Community Chest is offering up to £1,000 grants to voluntary organisations in North Staffordshire. Latest application deadline: 27th February 2013.

14.02.13    The nearby Wolverhampton Art Gallery is offering a 3-week artist's residency opportunity, 11th-28th March 2013. This will provide a studio for the making of new working in any medium. Application deadline: 5pm on 15th February 2013.

14.02.13    School art teachers in the Midlands are having a free get-together evening in Birmingham. 4MAT: Network Meeting for Midlands Art Teachers will be on 6th March 2013 (5–7pm), at the contemporary Ikon Gallery near Birmingham city centre (a moderate walk from Birmingham New St. station).

14.02.13    The New Art Gallery Walsall is to host "Outside the Box: developing art projects for beyond the gallery space" on the afternoon of Saturday 23rd March 2013. The event is free but limited to 40 places. Please book via an email to:  andersonh@walsall.gov.uk

14.02.13    Birmingham's queer arts and cultural festival, the Shout Festival, is calling for volunteers for 28th February - 10th March 2013. Full details from:  abberobinson.blgbt.org

14.02.13    The Perform Rights Society's New Music Biennial commissioning scheme is open to organisations (not just those working primarily in music) which would like to commission a music composer to write a new work for 2014. The programme will support and promote up to 20 new works selected from around the UK, to be performed in 2014. Any kind of organisation is welcome to apply. Deadline: 4th March 2013.

14.02.13    The UK's Perform Rights Society's new Music Industry Development Fund is offering grants of up to £15,000 to... "help talented artists and bands to take their career to another level". Application deadline: 31st May 2013.

14.02.13    DepicT! 2013: the UK's Super Short Film Competition asks screen creatives to create "a 90 second masterwork" in film or animation. £1,500 prize money, a national broadcast slot on the UK’s Channel 4, valuable industry exposure, and other exclusive prizes. All screen production techniques are welcome, including animation. Free to enter. Deadline: 8th July 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.

20.01.13    Here's a trailer for a new horror movie made in North Staffordshire by Ray Andrew Wilkes / Flashgun Films, called Molly Crows. Warning: you may find it shocking!

20.01.13    Added to the Directory: KaleidoStoKe, a community music organisation working with young people in Stoke-on-Trent and combining recycling, junk, rhythm and songwriting.

20.01.13    Creative Ceramics courses at the Burslem School of Art are now open for registration for 2013. There are 10 places available in each class...

Morning class: Wednesday 20th February – 20th March, 10am – 12pm.
Night class: Thursday 21st February – 21st March, 6:30pm – 8:30pm.
Morning class: Friday 12th April - 10th May, 10am - 12pm.
Night class: Wednesday 15th May - 12th June, 6:30pm – 8:30pm.

Also available is a "Ceramics Introduction" course at the Burslem School of Art, on Tuesday nights (6pm-9pm) from 26th March - 7th May 2013.

20.01.13    Burslem School of Art's pottery studio is opening its doors to local artists who would like a low-cost space to work with clay. Artists are invited to work independently and on their own time during open studio hours at the School's pottery studio...

"The Open Studio is a monthly program, you can start any time you’d like. So for example, if you were to start on the 15th of this month you would go to the 15th of next month until your next payment was due. Open studio time is any time the School is open and there are open wheels or open tables, except a couple mornings in a week when studio is booked for other activities. Cost is £30 per month. Your monthly fee comes with 6kg of clay (additional clay can be bought for £0.50/kg), 1 storage shelf for work in progress, firing for the tenant's rate (self-cost) and access to potter`s wheel, limited amount of glazes etc."

Interested? Contact:  ieva@burslemschoolofart.com

20.01.13    Rachel Evans is running a willow basketmaking course at the Oakamoor Village Hall, Staffordshire, 2nd or/and 3rd February 2013 (10am-4pm). Make a round basket in a day, or spend two days making a shopping basket or a log basket. Suitable for beginners or intermediate basketmakers. Cost £50 (one day) or £100 (two days). Booking is essential. For full details email:  wheatcroftwillow@googlemail.com

20.01.13    TRANSCEND is a new 12-week programme from Stoke's Frontline Dance, aiming to give disabled people new skills and the confidence to find jobs. The programme will use creative dance, voice and speech work, drama and role-play, to help develop skills and confidence. The progamme will run on Tuesdays, 9:30am to 3:00pm, at the Mitchell Arts Centre in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. The first 12 week block starts on 12th February 2013. TRANSCEND is free, and is funded by the European Social Fund. Full eligibility details and contact info are available online.

20.01.13    The Button Project, at the Macclesfield Silk Museums, is calling for entries. Artists and makers are invited to make a contemporary button for the exhibition taking place in Macclesfield from 14th June – 8th August 2013. Handmade silk buttons were a key part of the flourishing silk industry which once centred in the Leek/Macclesfield area. The deadline for submissions is 4th March 2013. Entry is free and application forms can be downloaded at www.barnabyfestival.org.uk

20.01.13    Fancy some big money, to do something big in North Staffs? Open is a new £1 million initiative by Artangel and BBC Radio 4 for new site-specific commissions across the UK. See the website for full details.

20.01.13    Stoke-on-Trent's Gladstone Pottery Museum is seeking community groups interested in becoming involved with the Gladstone's "Fired Up" project, a collaborative and community-based heritage project...

"weaving together original words music drama and dance, to celebrate the beauty grit and resilience of the Potteries’ most famous product and its people, past and present."

Interested? Get more information via the Facebook page.

20.01.13    Stoke-on-Trent's Regent Academy is holding an Open Dance Audition on Thursday 28th February 2013 (5pm) at The Victoria Hall in Hanley. Email  stokecreativelearning@theambassadors.com  for an application form. They are looking for young (aged 11+) male and female dancers to join the company, which meets every Thursday. Regional and national productions are created, and the company has links to the venue's Creative Learning Department projects and activities. Fees are currently set at £85 per term (10 x 2hr sessions), paid in advance. The Academy may also offer a fully-funded Scholarship place.

20.01.13    The Royal Academy of Dance still has places available on its Coppelia Children's Ballet Workshop, to be held in Stoke-on-Trent on 10th February 2013. Application deadline: 21st January 2013.

20.01.13    The University of Wolverhampton has 3 x 0.2 teaching posts available for contemporary arts practitioners working in: Art in the Public Sphere; the Experimental Moving Image; or Design and Hybrid Craft. Application deadline: 15th February 2013.

20.01.13    Six contemporary artists, curators and gallerists will be undertaking various studio visits to artists in the West Midlands this Spring. If your West Midlands studio or gallery wishes to apply for a studio visit, then please download an application form here. Deadline: 15th February 2013.

20.01.13    An experienced practitioner is needed to run a full day's workshop for boys at a school in Staffordshire. The aim is to "encourage writing by using an urban art form or possibly a creative writing workshop." Fee is £150 plus expenses. Interested? Please email with a 150-word summary of the proposed activity; and a note on all costs inc. travel, to:  sissy@streetstylesurgery.co.uk

20.01.13    North Staffordshire's Douglas Macmillan Hospice is seeking a local artist or sculptor who could spare some time for a special project. Interested? Email:  fundraising@dmhospice.org.uk

20.01.13    Staffordshire Patchworkers & Quilters now have their 2013 programme available, including a major workshop with Carolyn Forster in September 2013.

20.01.13    Stoke Craftworkers Bazaar is looking for fantastic handmade stalls to attend the event at The Mitchell Art Centre, Hanley, on 3rd February 2013. Whilst fully booked for cards and jewellery, any other craft is welcome. For more information visit the website. Stalls are £15 each or £16.50 to include 30 business cards or flyers into the customer goody bags.

20.01.13    Leek's Borderland Voices is seeking continuation funding for its Tuesday morning Creative Writing workshops, enabling the workshops to continue after mid 2013. They would like to hear from any organisations or individuals who would like to help with funding these writing sessions. Full details from Andy Collins on: 01538 528708.

20.01.13    Stoke-on-Trent City Council now has a pot of £20,000 to help bring live street performers and entertainment to the City Centre over the next 12 months, following a successful application to the government's Town Team Partner funding scheme. It's reported that "a part-time member of staff" will be employed to organise, deliver and market the Stoke-on-Trent events. Full details from Janet Jones, City Centre co-ordinator, on: 01782 234217.

20.01.13    The government has now slashed red tape related to the 2003 Licensing Act, making it easier to put on a local theatre and dance show. From April 2013 groups will...

"no longer be required to have a [local Council] licence to host a theatre play or dance performance, between the hours of 8am and 11pm, where the number of people in an audience is fewer than 500."

20.01.13    The first international festival of improvised dance is set to be hosted by the Department of Contemporary Arts at MMU’s Crewe campus, next month. Process Product will take place at the Axis Art Centre from 25th February to 1st March 2013. Performances will be given by the Liverpool Dance Collective, New York’s Complex Stability, Pittsburg’s Gia T. Presents and MMU Dance. The festival is open to academics, students, local schools, artists and members of the public. Four free discussion events will also run alongside the performances. See the website for full details.

20.01.13    The UK arts charity IdeasTap is seeking fresh ideas from recent graduates, about new additions to IdeasTap's range of services. The person with the winning idea will get £9,000 knocked of their student loan!

20.01.13    The University of Birmingham is to hold a one-day research seminar in April 2013, Women Entrepreneurs, Training and Education: First Research Seminar. Deadline for research papers: 31st January 2013.

20.01.13    The Digital R&D fund for the Arts is a three-way £7 million partnership between Arts Council England, the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and NESTA. It is running for three years from 2012-2015 and is funding projects up to £125,000. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, until 30th December 2013. If you are interested in collaborating with Staffordshire University on a bid to this fund, please contact: externalprojects@staffs.ac.uk

10.01.13    Added to the Directory: Paul Clay / alphawham. Paul is a Staffordshire illustrator with a fresh style...

10.01.13    BBC Radio Stoke is offering a 1-4 week work placement at its Hanley radio studios in Stoke-on-Trent (placement ref. No. 59811-4/13). Closing date for applications 31st January 2013, for a placement in April 2013.

10.01.13    The organisers of Keele University's Three Counties Open Photography Exhibition are inviting submissions of framed prints. Deadline for entries is 8th and 9th February 2013. Entry fee: £12, or £10 concessions. For details see the Web page or email:  arts@keele.ac.uk

10.01.13    The Staffordshire Enjoy Art initiative is calling for local artists and makers to take out an annual membership fee of £100, enabling promotion in various Destination Staffordshire print publications including the County's main Visitor Guide, the Out & About newspaper, and the Staffordshire Enjoy Art brochure which will be available through Tourist Information Centres. A Staffordshire Enjoy Art 'Exhibition Series' is also planned for 2013 (at Shugborough over Easter; at Barewall in Burslem in July; at the Museum of Cannock Chase from mid October 2013). Sign-up for membership during January 2013 to be included in the new 2013 brochures.

10.01.13    Staffordshire University now has 2013 dates for its "Show & Tell" 2013 art and design degree shows. The opening Stoke-on-Trent campus launch evening will be on Friday 7th June 2013, and the shows will then run from 8th-15th June 2013. The additional public programme of 'Fringe' events is also set to happen again in 2013.

10.01.13    Stoke-on-Trent Guitar Club is a new club based at the Beehive Inn, on Honeywall in Penkhull. The inaugural monthly meeting will be on Tuesday 22nd January 2013 (8pm). All abilities and music types are welcome.

10.01.13    Application forms are now available for school rock bands to appear at the Staffordshire Rocks 2013 event. This competitive rock event gives school rock bands a chance to perform in a prestigious venue to a large audience.

10.01.13    The Friends of Staffordshire Young Musicians are inviting entries for The John W.R. Taylor Memorial Singing Competition 2013. The competition is open to singers aged 11-19 who live and are educated in Staffordshire, and who can perform as solo singers, or in duets, trios or quartets. Deadline: 28th January 2013.

10.01.13    Entry forms are now available for the Staffordshire Young Musician of the Year 2013 competition. Deadline: 21st January 2013.

10.01.13    The West Midlands Arts Health and Wellbeing Network is looking for six "Artist Champions" to facilitate a series of regional events. These events will bring artists and health workers together to explore what makes a quality arts & health project, and to develop a "Quality Framework". To express an interest please send a C.V., a link to your website / online examples of practice, and tell them which sub-region of the West Midlands you would like to work in. Closing date: 22nd February 2013. Email to:  kategant@creativehealthcic.co.uk

10.01.13    Staffordshire University is to host a HEA training workshop day on Embedding employability within Drama and the Performing Arts at undergraduate level, on 14th May 2013. The venue will be Studio One at Staffordshire University's Stoke-on-Trent campus. Full details at the Web page.

10.01.13    Job:  The Walsall Creative Development Team, in partnership with the Parenting Team and Teenage Pregnancy Team (NHS), are seeking proposals from community arts workers / media companies to creatively design, develop and deliver a film-making project. The project will result in a film which shows parents/carers how to talk to children (aged 11 and above) about having sex. Deadline: 18th January 2013. Full details from Leah Wilkes at:  wilkesleah@walsall.gov.uk

10.01.13    "Fantasy February" is a residential writing weekend at the nearby Dove Valley Centre (nr. Buxton, the Peak District). The weekend for fantasy authors will run 15th - 17th February 2013, and the guest author will be Adrian Tchaikovsky. Places cost £150 — including two nights accommodation, meals, tea/coffee throughout, goodie bag, and a variety of writing activities. To book your place, please contact Alex at:  alexdavisevents@hotmail.co.uk

10.01.13    The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities has five paid fellowships available for... "early career researchers seeking to build relationships with creative sector SMEs or third sector cultural organisations". Fellowships last for three months. Application deadline: 16th January 2013.

10.01.13    The Prince's Initiative for Mature Enterprise is to offer a "Preparing to Run Your Own Business" course for the over 50s, in Stafford town. The course dates are 11th - 22nd March 2013.

10.01.13   Creative England is running an Open Networking Event, at the Wolverhampton Light House on the 5th February 2013 (from 6pm).

03.01.13    Start up Your Creative Business is a two-day training event at Stafford, 27th Feb - 1st March 2013. This is a practical free course that is open... "to any [university] graduate based in the West Midlands and who is starting a creative business (in arts, design, or media)." Hurry, only 27 tickets left!

03.01.13    Need to know the basics of writing a business plan to attract funding? Writing Winning Business Plans is a morning seminar at the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce, on 11th January 2013 (8.30am - 10.30am). £10 + VAT, for non-members.

03.01.13    Stoke-on-Trent's British Ceramics Biennial 2013 is shortly to hold an Open Day for teachers who might like to be involved in its Fired Up Stoke programme, at the old Spode factory in Stoke town. Fired Up Stoke is open to secondary schools and colleges in Stoke-on-Trent. The Open Day will be in February 2013, with the full project starting in May 2013. Full details at the Web page.

03.01.13    Stoke-on-Trent's British Ceramics Biennial 2013 now has details of volunteer opportunities in 2013. Full details at the Web page.

03.01.13    Added to the Directory: Iron Work by Neil Harris of Stoke-on-Trent. Neil makes large-scale sculptural iron works, such as this life-size dodo and huge Anglo-Saxon style cross...

Neil's works are suitable for a wide range of spaces, such as private gardens, heritage attractions, business foyers, and more. Private and public commissions are accepted. His work can currently be seen at Burslem's Mothertown Gallery (The Old Post Office) in the town centre.

03.01.13    Added to the Directory: Echomap, the sound artist duo of Shaun Bailey and Clive Mollart. Shaun & Clive created the interactive 'Sound Wall' at the Royal Horticultural Society's 2010 Tatton show, and this structure was later re-built at Stoke's Trentham Gardens where it still runs today. The duo are currently making new experimental interactive sound sculptures.

03.01.13    Added to the Directory: Milestones Photography, based in North Staffordshire.

03.01.13    The first Stoke Craft Alliance Networking Evening will be at the Charms and Chains shop in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, on 9th January 2013 (6pm - 8pm). Bring yourself, your business cards and an open mind!

03.01.13    Nearby Eccleshall has been startled by the appearance of a new raunchy rural novel, Rotton Row, allegedly based on life in the village!

03.01.13    How do you photograph reflective ice in the fierce light conditions of the polar summer? Find out from Professor Fiona Tweed's public talk on her photography of glaciers and other ice formations, to be held at the Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent. The date is Saturday 12th January 2013, at 11am. The talk is accompanied by an exhibition of Fiona's pictures (runs at the Science Centre until 27th January 2013).

03.01.13    "Making It Happen with Community Arts" is a three-day short course offering an introduction to participatory arts projects in community settings. The venue will be The Learning Exchange at Staffordshire University's Stoke-on-Trent campus. Dates are: 20th February; 13th March; and 17th April 2013 (all 10.30am – 4.30pm). Full details from:  creativecommunities@staffs.ac.uk

03.01.13    City Voices chairman Alan Barnett is running a writing workshop at Stoke-on-Trent's City Library in Hanley, on 9th January 2013 (11.30am-1.30pm). Call 07900 967685 for details.

03.01.13    Smashh Theatre Company has places available on its acting, devising and improvision classes for 14-19 year olds. Classes are held on Mondays at the Mitchell Youth Arts Centre in Stoke-on-Trent, and members will work toward a small performance in March 2013. Details via Facebook or call 07930 532372.

03.01.13    Stoke Your Fires, the Stoke-on-Trent film festival, is to host a special Marketplace event on 4th March 2013. Marketplace is for those who... "have projects ready to go", and who want to pitch these to potential investors and partners. Cost: £50, application deadline 1st February 2013. Full details from:  info@producersforum.org.uk

03.01.13    Aged 15 to 19? A free Mobile Phone Film-Making Workshop is set for 21st, 28th January and 4th February 2013 in Stoke-on-Trent.

03.01.13    The Enson Works in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, has gained Heritage Lottery Fund money to employ a Heritage Project Officer and to run a number of projects in the town. Their first two projects will be: "Look-Up Longton" (reminiscence workshops and investigations into the history of Longton Market); and "Listening to Longton (training volunteers to collect oral memories of living in Longton). Both have potential for the use of creative/media-production skills, and are now open for quotations, with closing dates of 12 noon on 16th January 2013.

Other possible future projects in Longton, but not yet open for quotations, might include: a "Bottle Ovens Conservation" Touring Exhibition; a "Psycho-Active Photography" project about finding meaning within communities/spaces; and a project on "Heritage Embroidery". Local organisations are now invited to express an interest as participants, stakeholders and possibly paid delivery partners. Interested? Contact Elise Turner at:  elise.turner@stoke.gov.uk

03.01.13    It has been announced that the funding for the UK's Start-Up Loans scheme is set to be increased by £30 million to £110 million, over the next three years. The age limit for applying is also set to be raised from age 24 to age 30.

03.01.13    The Creative Industries Council has a new Access to Finance report on the UK finance needs of small to medium firms which produce creative digital content.

03.01.13    Interested in how internet-only journalism is managing to pay for itself? There's a new free online report/book on that subject, Chasing Sustainability on the Net (Nov 2012), which looks inside the business models of 69 journalistic ventures around the world.


20.12.12    A happy Christmas and New Year to all readers! During 2012 Creative Stoke has posted regular news of over 690 opportunities, events, funding invites, listings, competitions, and more. See you again in 2013!

20.12.12    Job: A Teacher of Art is wanted in Stoke-on-Trent. Deadline: 21st December 2012.

20.12.12    Re:Source Me has a free digital music workshop at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, on 28th December 2012. Use cutting-edge technology to create your own interstellar soundtrack to complement the gallery's new "Moon" exhibition, celebrating NASA's Apollo moon landings. Re:Source Me has also created a new music soundtrack for the exhibition.

20.12.12    Historian Andrew Lound also has a public lecture on the 28th December 2012, at the Potteries Museum, part of the Moon exhibition. The illustrated lecture (£2, 2pm) is on the history of H.G. Wells's famous novel The War of the Worlds. Wells lived in the Potteries during 1888, before he became famous, and his macabre short story "The Cone" (1895) is set in the Etruria Iron Works. The story is all that remains of a sweeping drama of Potteries life, which Wells wrote but which he later destroyed.

20.12.12    Added to the Directory: Garrick Middleton, Leek-based photographer and designer.

20.12.12    Added to the Directory: Loud Dance Studio, based in Westmil Street in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.

20.12.12    Added to the Directory: Picture Nation is a stock photography library based at the Staffordshire University Business Village.

20.12.12    Added to the Directory: AlexFloyd is a local service offering music & songwriting services. Carl at AlexFloyd offers: song critiques; songwriter demo & bespoke music production; online session guitar; and guitar lessons.

20.12.12    Stoke-on-Trent's Airspace gallery will be hosting a Business Development for Artists advice workshop, on Monday 28th January 2013 (10.30am- 12.30pm). The event will be led by Elizabeth Hawley. To attend, please email:  amf@airspacegallery.org

20.12.12    Job:  Stoke-on-Trent City Council currently has a tender invite (CR2012/763) to supply "All Our Stories: collection of people's memories about heritage parks". The successful applicant will collect stories using video and audio, and these stories will then be delivered to park visitors via methods such as QR codes and mobile phones. Application deadline: noon on 21st December 2012. Full details from Kay Grice at 01782 232546 or   kay.grice@stoke.gov.uk

20.12.12    Are you an artist or arts organisation in North Staffordshire, with a community-focused arts project due over the next six months? Could your project benefit from a supported student placement? Newcastle-under-Lyme's B Arts has just launched a new project called Social Agents, providing community arts experience for creative students from Staffordshire University. If you're interested, please get in touch with B Arts at:  info@b-arts.org.uk

20.12.12    Need graduate interns? Graduate Advantage offers the free front-end recruitment of unemployed graduate interns, for private-sector SME businesses / registered charities / social enterprises in the West Midlands.

20.12.12    Stoke-on-Trent's Steelworks Performing Arts Academy has its entry auditions coming up, on 21st January 2013. Steelworks offers a three-year Dance & Musical Theatre Diploma, and British Ballet Teaching Qualifications from Level 3 to Level 6.

20.12.12    North Staffordshire's Keele University and the New Vic Theatre are offering local drama practitioners a free course in "Ageing, Drama and Creativity". To run February-April 2013, in 6 x three-hour workshops that will combine theory, research & practice. Interested? Deadline: Friday 11th January 2013. Application forms from Tracey Harrison: t.l.harrison@keele.ac.uk

20.12.12    Three public 10-week courses are available at the University of Wolverhampton, which is easily accessible on the inter-city train from Stoke. The courses are: Videogames Design; Introduction to Life Drawing; and Jewellery Making.

20.12.12    Birmingham's DanceXchange is offering a free training course for West Midlands dance artists who want to run dance activities with groups from "hard-to-reach" communities. 12 places are available on the 3-day "Strive" training course (12th-14th February 2013) followed by mentoring opportunities from March to July 2013. Application deadline: 17th December 2012. Full details at the Web page.

20.12.12    The Start programme offers funding and support to arts venues for them to develop relationships with "deprived" local schools. Start is a national grant-giving programme set up by The Prince’s Foundation for Children & the Arts. The aim is to enable schoolchildren to experience the arts, by introducing them to an outstanding local cultural venue, possibly leading to a long-lasting relationship between the venue and a local school. Children & the Arts now wishes to recruit new organisation partners for the 2013/14 academic year. Application deadline: 31st January 2013.

20.12.12    The Henry Moore Institute Research Fellowships (2013–14) scheme is now open to applications. Research Fellowships are intended for artists, scholars and curators researching on historic and contemporary sculpture who can make particular use of the Institute's resources in Leeds. Deadline: 14th January 2013. Full details from:  kirstie@henry-moore.org

20.12.12    The DCMS has a new free report, Digital Giving in the Arts, which examines what works in digital fundraising and also...

"sets out 10 recommendations to show how [UK] cultural organisations can boost fundraising by engaging audiences through new technology"

20.12.12    The Museums Association is currently consulting on a new UK workforce action plan, building on the existing Cultural Heritage Blueprint, to be published in 2013. They would like to read your views on staffing and skills in the UK's cultural heritage sectors.

20.12.12    Are you based in the more rural parts of North Staffordshire? Are you planning to help your village through a creative-based community enterprise that will engage the whole village? Then the Plunkett Foundation would like to hear from you. They have been awarded over £450,000 from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation to create a new comprehensive support service for villages considering setting up or diversifying community-owned services. The support service will provide a combination of adviser support, training, feasibility research grants, and opportunities for networking with other community enterprises. The support is specifically focused at the early stage of a community’s ideas, and will help them progress to the next stage. Eligibility for support will depend on communities aiming to raise at least £10,000 themselves through community shares. Applications are invited now. Full details from:  info@plunkett.co.uk

20.12.12    Your editor's Scoop.it for Good News from Stoke & North Staffs has now harvested an entire year of genuine 'good news' press and media reports about the region.

20.12.12    Are you researching and writing your undergraduate dissertation, or maybe a new business plan or a gallery exhibition, over the Xmas & New Year holidays? Your editor's JURN search-engine lets you freely search and retrieve the full-text of over 4,400 free ejournals in the arts & humanities — 3,000 of which are in English.

12.12.12    The Write On! Writing Squad group in Stoke-on-Trent has vacancies for young writers aged 11-16. Details from Joanne Penn, Projects Manager at Writing West Midlands at:  joanne@writingwestmidlands.org

12.12.12    Job:  An Online Fashion Stylist is required by a recruitment agency, for an unnamed business apparently based in North Staffordshire.

12.12.12    Job:  Manchester Metropolitan University's Department of Contemporary Arts (Crewe campus) requires a Senior Lecturer in Popular Music.

12.12.12    The Faculty of Humanities at Keele University is looking to support applications for the 2013 Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship competition. Fellowships support academics who are... "at a relatively early stage of their academic careers, but with a proven record of research." Keele invites proposals around its specialisms in English and Creative Writing, or Music and Music Technology. Deadline is 12 noon on 21st January 2013. Full details at the websites linked above, or discuss your application with Professor Ann Hughes, the Director of the Research Institutes for the Humanities and Social Sciences, at:  a.l.hughes@keele.ac.uk

12.12.12    Staffordshire University's Creative Communities unit is hosting a free "This is Youth Work" workshop on 7th February 2013. The workshop is based on the book/DVD This is Youth Work: Stories from Practice and will... "use participative methods to explore, analyse and debate youth work and its place and possibilities currently".

12.12.12    Staffordshire University's SPoTS Atelier Collection, a commercial collection from B.A. Surface Pattern students, now has a Flickr gallery online...


Above: SPoTS Atelier Collection: 6.

12.12.12    Staffordshire University is offering a free "Step Up to Higher Education" course, running for ten weeks from 14th January until 26th March 2012 (Mons & Tues, 10am-2pm). This seems like a useful potential stepping-stone to one of the university's many arts and media degrees.

12.12.12    Classes in "Creative Ceramics" start at two community centres in Stoke-on-Trent early in the new year. The venues are St. John's Community Centre at Trent Vale (Wednesdays, 12.30-2.30pm) and the Sutherland Primary Academy (Fridays, 9.15-11.15am). St. John's also has a class in "Theatrical Make Up" (Mondays, 10-12 noon). Full details from:  adult.learning@stoke.gov.uk

12.12.12    Get a free download (legit!) of the new E.P. by Stoke band GreaterGhost...

12.12.12    The Communities in Focus photography competition is seeking "inspirational images" of local communities and grassroots events across the UK. Deadline: 19th December 2012. Full details at the website (free membership required).

12.12.12    Pop Up Business for Dummies is handy new book, written by Dan Thompson of the Empty Shops Network. It presents a UK-oriented step-by-step guide to setting up and running a "pop-up" shop. Get Chapter 2 ("Planning") for free (PDF link). The whole book is available to buy in print, or as an ebook for the Kindle ebook reader.

12.12.12    Mickleover Public Library, on the outskirts of Derby, has a one-day "Writing Fiction for Women's Magazines" with Joanna Barnden, on 16th February 2013. Joanna has an M.A. in English Literature from Cambridge University, lectures in creative writing for the Open University, and has been writing commercially for 10 years. Cost is £25, booking essential. Full details from:  mickleover.library@derby.gov.uk

12.12.12    The Arvon Hurst residential writing centre, in nearby Shropshire, has short residential Winter Warmer courses in January 2013: "Starting to Write" on 14th - 19th January 2013; and "Putting Together a Poetry Collection" on 21st - 26th January 2013.

06.12.12    What's billed as Europe's largest expo for the hobby crafts trade is to be hosted at the NEC in Birmingham, easily accessible on a direct inter-city train from Stoke-on-Trent. Craft Hobby + Stitch is on 17th-19th February 2013. Details of the seminars are online here. Hobby crafts are said to be worth around £5bn annually in the UK.

06.12.12    The next Cre8NET event has been announced, 13th December 2012 (6.45pm-9pm) at the Pop-up Emporium in the Lancaster Building in the centre of Newcastle-under-Lyme. The topic will be: "Designer makers are for life, not just for Christmas", with a focus on the current support and other initiatives (such as 'pop-up shops') available to help designer makers.

06.12.12    Stoke-on-Trent's bITjAM has announced a partnership with the Hanley YMCA, to develop a three-month open source digital creativity project called "Node". This digital hothouse will test ideas which might attract future funding. Possibilities include preparing for superfast broadband, training in creative coding, citizen journalism and peer research training, and microbusiness development. An Open Day is planned for early in the New Year of 2013. Full details at the bITjAM blog.

06.12.12    From 6th-21st of December 2012, the Burslem School of Art will be hosting the Burslem Christmas Salon, providing an opportunity for artists to display and sell their artworks... "at a discounted commission charge". If you would like more information please contact Laura Sargeant in advance, at the Burslem School of Art, on:  01782 810808.

06.12.12    Added to the Directory: Robert Simms, a fine art and social documentary photographer from Biddulph.

06.12.12    The Centre for Business Research at the University of Cambridge is undertaking the first UK-wide survey of interactions between the UK's cultural institutions, on behalf of the Arts and Humanities Research Council. They want to hear from those running museums, galleries, theatres, music venues, cultural heritage sites and others. The survey is available online.

06.12.12    Black Country Co-operative Arts Network invite Midlands artists to register an interest in contributing to a major three-year action research project in South Staffordshire. If funded, the project would aim to develop sustainable arts engagement by local people and communities in the Black Country region. The Councils of Voluntary Service (CVS) for Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton are working together, along with arts partners Black Country Touring and Multistory, to coordinate this ambitious action research plan. The plan will be submitted to Arts Council England in December 2012. Interested? Full details and project outline from Saffi at:  saffi@scvo.info

06.12.12    There's a new JISC-funded free open online university course available from a Midlands university. It's the third-year undergraduate module in Photography & Narrative from Coventry University...

"Photography and Narrative is a B.A. Hons. third-year undergraduate class [...] ten weeks of practical study"

06.12.12    A free afternoon consultants/ideas event is set to happen in Birmingham. "Making More of Outdoor Arts" is led by Helga Henry and Orit Azaz. 11th December 2012, 1pm-5pm. Azaz has recently been working with Nofit State Circus, which is set to visit Hanley Park in Stoke-on-Trent for a residency next summer.

06.12.12    Stoke-on-Trent Boat Club is to host a free talk on the tasks involved in editing a niche news and features magazine. "Navvies — the magazine of the Waterway Recovery Group" will be on 8th February 2013.

06.12.12    The Unit Twelve Gallery has a list of crafts workshops in 2013. The gallery is at Tixall Heath Farm, nr. Stafford town. Workshops include, among others:

  * 19th Jan 2013, Gillian Lee Smith, "Whimsical Creatures".

  * 26th Jan 2013, Jennifer Collier, "Experimental Techniques".

  * 23rd Feb 2013, Jennifer Collier, "Experimental Sketchbooks"

  * 2nd March 2013, Jennifer Collier, "Paper Shoes".

And many more through into May 2013. See the Web page for full details.


Above: Whimsical Creature by Gillian Lee Smith.

29.11.12    The West Midlands Museum Development Officer network has issued its 2012 activities report, A Sixth Sense. They also have an initial exploratory report on the use of QR codes in 17 Midlands museums and galleries.

29.11.12    Newcastle-under-Lyme's Buy Local pop-up emporium shop website now has the PDF programme for their Buy Local Workshops programme. Buy Local also has handy PayPal-friendly online booking pages for the workshops. Workshops include: an Anita Harris masterclass in art pottery design; ceramic painting workshops; Lisa Olson's needle felting workshops, and more.

29.11.12    Job:  Lenzflare require a creative full-time Motion Graphic Designer / Video Editor. Software skills required are: Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, Motion, Cinema 4D, Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro. Lenzflare's offices are at Penkhull, on the hill above Stoke town. Deadline: 30th Nov 2012. Full details from:  info@lenzflare.com

29.11.12    Job:  Staffordshire University requires a Senior Lecturer in Marketing and Enterprise to be based at the Business School at the Stoke campus. Application deadline is 20th December 2012.

29.11.12    Grants for community groups of up to £2,500 are available for projects which benefit and involve people in the former Burslem North electoral ward of Stoke-on-Trent. There's no mention of application date on their website, but a recent post on the Burslem Facebook group says that the application deadline is 8th February 2013.

29.11.12    Stoke-on-Trent performance company Re Stoke is looking for vocalists for March 2013. You'll join their Vocal Orchestra and perform alongside dancers, and amid a stunning visual display, in a unique performance event for the city. Interested? Request a 'Vocalists Brief' by 30th November 2012, from:  info@restoke.org.uk

29.11.12    A Jan-Apr 2013 events plan is currently being put together for Stoke-on-Trent's Gladstone Pottery Museum. Manager Nerys Williams is asking local creatives is there are types of events not normally put on, but which people would like to see. Or if there's anyone who would like to run a joint project with the Museum. Interested? Suggest ideas and projects via the Gladstone's Facebook page.

29.11.12    Added to the Directory: Amanda White photography, based on Stone and specialising in top-quality children and family portraits.

29.11.12    Added to the Directory: Birchwood Handcrafted Invitations, based in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

29.11.12    Added to the Directory: Polly Jane Yarns, of Blythe Bridge.

29.11.12    The Shugborough Food and Craft Fair now has a 2013 date, 18th May 2013, and is seeking stall holders for the event.

29.11.12    Down in West Bromwich, The Public arts centre is seeking submissions for its Screening 2013 event, which will show video art suitable for large-scale digital projection or large screens. Artists may submit up to three works each (30 mins. or less), but these must be submitted on DVD and be able to be exhibited on DVD. They say that....

"priority will be given to early career artists and filmmakers and those living or working in the West Midlands."

Deadline for submissions is 13th January 2013.

25.11.12    A new Stoke-on-Trent arts/heritage project called "The Potteries | Tile Trail" has been awarded £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project is a partnership with the Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society. Local people will have the opportunity to join a research team, who will explore the historic and present-day stories behind Stoke-on-Trent's internationally significant tile and architectural ceramics industry. The team will then share their findings with the wider community, through a series of public roadshow events in each of the city's six towns. Other residents will be encouraged to add to the stories using their own knowledge, and or contributing memories, during these events. The stories gathered in this way will contribute to the development of "The Potteries | Tile Trail" — which will be a dedicated booklet and website featuring a series of self-guided walks. These resources will be useful for local people and tourists alike. For more information, or to provisionally register your interest in participating in the project, please contact Danny Callaghan at:  danny@mcardlecallaghan.com

25.11.12    The second round of the Employer Ownership Pilot (EOP) is now open to Staffordshire firms. Employers are invited to develop fresh proposals that raise skills, create real jobs, and drive enterprise and economic growth. The deadline for bids is 28th February 2013.

25.11.12    The West Midlands Region of the Embroiderers' Guild is celebrating the discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard with a new project for all members, including young embroiderers. This is entitled 'Inspired by the Staffordshire Hoard'. Work from this will go on display in 2013. Interested embroiderers should ask their regional Guild contact for details.

25.11.12    Katherine Morling's new ceramic sculptures, based on creatures depicted in the ancient Staffordshire Hoard, are now on show at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery. Katherine's new 'Morling and the Hoard' set of creatures are on show in the main free Staffordshire Hoard gallery from 24th November 2012 - 1st Sept 2013. These works have been created for a new publicly-funded £70,000 commission for the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, commissioned by Stoke cultural officer Paul Bailey and Arts Council England.

Photos by Creative Stoke.

25.11.12    Added to the Directory: Ian Weightman Media Services of Newcastle-under-Lyme, specialising in visitor destination and tourism PR.

25.11.12    Added to the Directory: Creative Stoke doesn't cover local artisan foods, even though there's a strong case to be made that they should be included in the creative industries. But an exception is made for sculptural sugarcraft for cake decoration, since it's so creative and individual. Maisie Parrish is a leading sugar artist who has just announced a series of 2013 workshop classes at her Sugarcraft Academy, at the Chatterley Whitfield Enterprise Centre, Stoke-on-Trent...

  * 17th February 2013: "Absolute Beginners" Workshop, £150.
  * 27th-28th April 2013: "2 Day Intensive" Workshop, £275 inclusive.
  * 23rd June 2013: "Facial Expressions" Workshop, £150.
  * 3rd-7th June 2013: "5 Day Masterclass", £595.

Maisie also has seven tutorial books and a DVD tutorial set available. Her latest book is Fun & Original Cakes for Men & Boys...

25.11.12    Bret Shah is organising a free informal 'Crafters Meet Up' event on Friday 30th November 2012 (10am to noon), in the Mitchell Arts Centre's cafe, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. Attendees can choose to be interviewed, and have your craft products promoted, on Bret's radio show.

25.11.12    LAUNCH Choreographic Platform 2013 is a new dance choreographic platform for the West Midlands, for new and upcoming graduate choreographers. LAUNCH will run from 10th - 14th June 2013, at a West Midlands venue to be confirmed. Over five evenings, emerging dance artists will have the opportunity to develop and then showcase their work on a professional level, and to network with experienced people from the dance world. Current undergraduate dance students who are concluding their studies this academic year are welcome to apply. Full details from: seditiondance@live.com

25.11.12    Wolverhampton Art Gallery is running a free workshop on how to "Get more funding into your museum: creative projects to create new audiences", on 8th January 2013. The workshop will also run at Walsall, on 16th January 2013. Full details at the Web page.

25.11.12    Staffordshire University's EU-funded Localise project has recently investigated 'the study trip' as model for vocational training in community arts work. Localise, in partnership with Warsaw University and Vytautus Magnus University, is now coming to an end — but the project has been documented on a new website. A book of case studies will also be published soon.

25.11.12    Got yobs? There's a "Behaviour Management and Youth Arts Training" day on 19th March 2013, in Leamington Spa (accessible via a direct intercity train from Stoke station). This Artswork day will aim to develop an understanding of behaviour management in youth arts projects. Cost is £75 per person. Full details from:  artsplan@artswork.org.uk

22.11.12    Stoke-on-Trent's British Ceramics Biennial 2013 is inviting entries for its big prize of £10,000. Entries are invited in: ceramic design for manufacture; craft studio production; and one-off art ceramics. Entry deadline: 15th February 2013.

Also on offer is a chance for recent graduates to show work at the 'Fresh 2013' exhibition in Stoke-on-Trent, where a single prize of £3,000 will be awarded. Deadline for Fresh is: 5th July 2013.

There are also residencies on offer: with Johnson Tiles (£3,000); and three short-term at the Spode site (£1,000 each). Application deadline: 15th February 2013.

Full details and application forms at the Ceramics Biennial website.

22.11.12    The New Vic Theatre's Education Department is organising a consortium for local freelance drama and theatre practitioners. The first free informal networking event will be on 7th December 2012 (1pm-3pm) at the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme. Full details from Katherine Hughes at:  khughes@newvictheatre.org.uk

22.11.12    There will be a High Growth Mentoring Business Showcase three-course lunch event in Stoke-on-Trent, at Stoke City F.C.'s Britannia Stadium on 14th December 2012. "Invite only", £66 per ticket.

22.11.12    The University of Virginia is offering a free online course in Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Private Businesses. The University of Maryland is also running a free online course in Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies. These are open global-access free courses. Both run for five/six weeks, starting 28th Jan 2013.

22.11.12    Job: Keele University requires an Enterprise Business Manager (Ageing & Arts). Application deadline: 28th November 2012.

22.11.12    Job:  Staffordshire University requires a Lecturer in Photography (0.6). Application deadline: 29th November 2012.

22.11.12    Staffordshire University's media/film graduation movies (June 2012) are now available to view online.

22.11.12    The Arts & Humanities Research Council and BBC Radio 3 have launched their 2013 New Generation Thinkers Scheme. The scheme invites applications from arts and humanities academics who wish to become one of BBC Radio 3's resident New Generation Thinkers. Full details via the Web page.

22.11.12    Considering venturing into exports? Need to evaluate the risks of doing business with a particular country? The government's Overseas Business Risk Service is a free service which assists British companies, particularly those exporting to high growth and emerging markets.

22.11.12    Excellent news for the North Staffordshire pottery industry. Europe has imposed heavy UK import duties (from 17.6% to 58.8%) on ceramic tableware from China, in a move which should strongly benefit Stoke-on-Trent's pottery makers. The move follows a European Union investigation in China, which revealed the Chinese government were unfairly subsidising the costs of machinery, materials, and fuel for its ceramics industry. In addition, all Chinese exporters get a 'special' favorable currency exchange-rate, plus a tax rebate on exports, which together mean a further concealed export subsidy of around 30%.

22.11.12    The North East Cheshire Decorative & Fine Arts Society is holding a special art history study day, on The lives & art of the Bloomsbury painters, on 20th February 2013.

22.11.12    The 'Visit the Peak District' website now has a comprehensive listing of all the well-dressing folk-art ceremonies and festivals planned for summer 2013.

22.11.12    Wildworks has announced Jan/Feb 2013 dates for their willow-weaving courses at Belper (about 15 miles east of Stoke).

22.11.12    Creative Stoke's Directory listings/links for nearby parts of Cheshire have been updated, on the Community and Local Arts page. These Web links are now:

  The Textile Triangle (Macclesfield, Congleton and Leek).

  Cheshire Open Studios.

  Cheshire Artists' Network.

  The Avents Factory, Crewe.

  Love Music Trust (Cheshire East).

  Cheshire Dance.

  Cheshire Rural Touring Arts

  MMU Cheshire, at the Crewe campus.

  Macclesfield Imagination.

  Stoke and Cheshire Open Arts Collective.

  Cheshire East Arts Officers.

16.11.12    North Staffordshire's FRONTLINEdance requires new Committee Members and Directors from February 2013. FRONTLINEdance requires strong, experienced, reliable and dedicated members who can work together in a supportive and cohesive way. Application deadline: 14th January 2012. Interested? Please email:  rachael@frontlinedance.org.uk

16.11.12    Added to the Directory: Re:Source Me are highly experienced youth workers who deliver creative arts and digital media projects in North Staffordshire.

16.11.12    The popular Just So festival of young children's arts has announced dates, 16th-18th August 2013. The venue will be Rode Hall Parkland, Scholar Green (five miles north of Stoke-on-Trent). Tickets are on sale now.

16.11.12    A new art cafe is opening soon in nearby Crewe, No.159.

16.11.12    The deadline for applications to the Staffordshire Community Arts Fund (grants of up to £800) is coming up soon, on 20th December 2012. Full details and application form at the Web page.

16.11.12    Weston Park in Shropshire has announced its first 'Graduate Show' to be held in the Granary Art Gallery, Weston Park, from the 4th to 31st January 2013. They are now looking for arts students or graduates to participate in this exhibition. To take part, students must submit a Graduate Show application form. Final date for submissions is 3rd December 2012.

16.11.12    The Midlands Youth Dance Festival is taking place at Nottingham Playhouse on 20th April 2013. Around five groups from across the West Midlands will be selected to present at the MY Dance Festival, and the best two groups will be selected to represent the West Midlands at the national U.Dance 2013. Applications are invited now, and the deadline is 30th November 2012.

16.11.12    An Artist's Book and 'Zine Fair is to be on Saturday 24th November 2012 (12pm-4pm) at the New Art Gallery Walsall, and promises... "stalls, screenings, talks and workshops."

16.11.12    Keele University's Internship Scheme for new graduates is now available to local firms. Keele can advertise and shortlist on the employer's behalf, for free. The University can also cover National Insurance contributions of 13.8%. The minimum wage for this scheme is £255 for a 37 hour working week, or £6.90 per hour. Places are unlimited and the scheme runs until September 2013. If you need a new graduate intern during this time, please contact Keele's Internships Team at:  internships@keele.ac.uk

16.11.12    An additional £4m of funding has been announced for the Midlands' SPEED Plus scheme, to be spread over the next three years. The SPEED Plus scheme provides advice and support to West Midlands university graduates planning to launch a small business.

16.11.12    Writing West Midlands has announced a West Midlands Short Fiction Competition for 2013. They invite short fiction under 1,800 words long, on the theme of Travel. The prize is £100 and a writing workshop of the winner's choice. Entries must be submitted by 31st January 2013.

16.11.12    The new Library of Birmingham is seeking proposals via the Regional Growth Fund for new digital products and services which are focused on...

  * developing audiences
  * opening up digital access to the Library's services and collections
  * bridging the gap between digital channels and the physical building
  * exploring new business models

Individual projects should last 9 months or less, and have a total value of less than £100k. Expressions of interest (max. two pages) are required by 20th November 2012.

09.11.12    Local businesses might be interested in a new free Skype service for small business, Skype In The Workplace.

09.11.12    The Stanford University spinout Udacity is offering a free online course in How to Build a Startup.

09.11.12    Stoke-on-Trent pottery firm Steelite has this week opened the firm's first retail shop, for its 'unbreakable' ceramics on Monday, at Trentham Gardens in Stoke-on-Trent.

09.11.12    A weekly 'Creative Writing for Beginners' class started Tuesday 6th November (12.30pm - 2.30pm) at Tunstall Library, Stoke-on-Trent. More information available at Stoke Adult Learning.

09.11.12    There's a new novel by Jonathan Taylor, Entertaining Strangers, which is based in Stoke-on-Trent. Jonathan grew up in Trentham, and has used the city as a backdrop for a novel of eccentricity, obsessions, and fiery visions.

09.11.12    Staffordshire County Council has a "Made in Staffordshire" marque that makers can now sign up for, the use of which costs £50 a year.

09.11.12    The new Stoke Craft Alliance is having an informal Networking Evening for local crafts makers on 9th January 2013. Full details at the Facebook event page.

09.11.12    Bunker 13 is Stoke-on-Trent's new dedicated rock and metal music club, financed and run by a team of young rock fans. The venue opens on November 17th (10pm).

09.11.12    Stoke-on-Trent's 2nd Noisefloor sonic art conference has announced dates: 30th April to 3rd May 2013. The organisers are now calling for proposals for audio or audio-video works, live sound, audio-based installations, and for academic papers on the sonic arts. Submission deadline: 7th January 2013.

09.11.12    The Society for Music Analysis will hold its annual Theory and Analysis Graduate Symposium day for music postgraduates on 18th-19th April 2013, at Keele University in North Staffordshire. TAGS welcomes student papers in any fields of music theory or analysis. Non-speakers are also welcome. Please send enquiries to: Becky Thumpston at  r.m.thumpston@keele.ac.uk  or Dr. Nicholas Reyland at  n.w.reyland@mus.keele.ac.uk

09.11.12    The new book Ben Bennions DFC: Battle of Britain Fighter Ace is a biography of a Burslem man who went on to become one of Britain's best fighter pilots, and who played a key role in the Battle of Britain. The book is by Stafford-based author Nick Thomas.

09.11.12    Added to the Directory: Judith Brown Jewellery. Based in Chatterley Whitfield, Judith has only recently arrived to live in North Staffordshire.

09.11.12    The London ceramicist Katharine Morling was commissioned earlier this year to create a body of new work around the Staffordshire Hoard at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery. This is now set for permanent display at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery. Studio pictures of the unfired works are now online. Katharine will have a private viewing of this special commission, in late November at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery.

09.11.12    Burslem Park, the newly £2m Lottery-refurbished Victorian park in the north of Stoke-on-Trent, is set to host free Sculpture Workshops with local art gallery ArtWaves. Work made will be inspired by Burslem Park. The first three provisional dates are: Tuesday 20th November (10am-12pm); Wednesday 28 November (10am-12pm); and Wednesday 5th December 2012 (10am-12pm). If you'd like to register your interest, please let the organisers know so they can begin to gauge numbers. They'll confirm the final arrangements as soon as they have them. Call Tom on 07787 005946 or email  burslem.park@stoke.gov.uk

09.11.12    Five designer makers will be available to chat and explain their wares, at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent, on Saturday 1st December 2012 (10.30am-4.30pm). The local designer makers involved include: Anita Harris; Emma Louise Wilson; Steven Shaw; Carole Glover; and Denise O'Sullivan.

09.11.12    Visitors to the Visit Stoke events listing website can currently find a printable voucher for 20% discount, on purchases over £40 made in the Potteries Museum foyer shop.

09.11.12    Job:  Stafford Grammar School requires an Art & Design Technician, three days per week. Details from:  headsec@staffordgrammar.co.uk

09.11.12    Job:  Sessional Life Models (to pose for artists) are required at Stafford College. £8.02 per hour. Application deadline: 19th November 2012. Details from:  c.goodwin@staffordcoll.ac.uk

09.11.12    Stoke's Stoke Your Fires film festival and The Script Academy are collaborating on a feature-film script competition for screenwriters. First Prize is a place on the The Script Academy's Mentor programme, worth £2,000. Entry deadline: 1st February 2013. Full details available at the competition Web page.

Stoke Your Fires 2013 is also looking for feature films to screen, which must have been completed on or after 1st December 2011. The entry deadline is 3rd December 2012.

09.11.12    The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is offering a new "Engaging with Government Programme" starting in 2013. Successful applicants will participate in discussions with a range of senior civil servants, researchers, politicians and media professionals on the challenges and opportunities involved with the policy making process for the arts and humanities in the UK. Participants will be active researchers who may have opportunities within their own research that could contribute to public policy. For further information, please contact: Danielle Moore-Chick at  d.moore-chick@ahrc.ac.uk

04.11.12    Stoke-on-Trent's ReStoke is looking for...

"dancers and vocalists of all ages and experience to be part of our upcoming performance taking place in Spring 2013 in Stoke-on-Trent. So, if you like new challenges, meeting new people and don't mind the cold, send us an email"

Interested? Request either the 'Dancer Brief' or the 'Vocalist Brief' from:  info@restoke.org.uk

04.11.12    A new webcomic from Stoke-on-Trent, Bad Science, is now available to read online...

Staffordshire University's recent "24hr comic book challenge" has also been documented on a short video...

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j58NjaRZI9A&w=300&h=169]

04.11.12    A new women's choir (age 16+) is being formed in Stoke-on-Trent. Stage Productions wants female choral singers for their forthcoming production of The Sound of Music at The Regent in January 2013. Application deadline: 7th November 2012.

04.11.12    2013 dates have been announced for the The Leek Textile Festival — 29th June to 15th September 2013.

04.11.12    Staffordshire University's Film Theatre is to present Showcase 2012 on 14th November 2012 (6pm-8pm). This screening will show...

a selection of new films made by our current and graduating M.A. Film Production students at Staffordshire University.

...and as such it seems likely to be a good networking event for local filmmakers.

04.11.12    A Potteries Hackspace has newly opened in Newcastle-under-Lyme, in the former Randles Garage on Keele Road [ On Google Maps ].

04.11.12    Newcastle-under-Lyme's social media developers Future Year have launched their version 2.0. Their Future Year product is a shared social "year planner" that plugs into Facebook.

04.11.12    MEMIC is seeking to provide a Midlands platform for experimental filmmakers and video artists. You're invited to submit works to MEMIC's first Film Salon, which will happen on 30th November 2012 in Leamington Spa. Deadline for submissions: November 15th 2012

04.11.12    Added to the Directory: Longnor Landscapes, landscape photographer Michela Griffith based on the Staffordshire/Derbyshire border.

04.11.12    Theatrically inclined local students might like to note that Staffordshire University currently has an active Amateur Dramatics Society which is putting on two shows.

04.11.12    Staffs Live TV has a video round-up of the the recent three-day Hippy Horror festival (Oct 26th-28th in Stoke-on-Trent). Interviews with local bands Six Towns, 3's a Riot, and Moral Panics...

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQ6dK3_zWAE&w=300&h=169]

04.11.12    The Staffordshire Wildlife Trust is running a series of arts and crafts courses this winter...

  Introduction to Hedgelaying (18th Nov, might be useful for land artists).

  Woodcarving (5th-6th Dec 2012).

  Willow Weaving (20th-21st Nov 2013).

  Watercolour Painting (Feb-Mar 2013).

04.11.12    Arts Connect West Midlands is a new regional agency concerned with the arts and culture 'offer' for children and young people.

04.11.12    The Prince's Trust Enterprise loans service has been launched for the Midlands. £3 million will be invested in unemployed or under-employed young people aged 18-30, to help them move into self-employment. More than 2,000 young entrepreneurs are expected to be helped in the West Midlands region, with loans of between £1,000 and £5,000 to start-up in business. See the website for full details.

04.11.12    The leading Kickstarter crowd-funding website has just launched in the UK. Kickstarter UK appears to give British crowdfunding campaigns access to the large pool of affluent investors in the USA.

04.11.12    Birmingham's CBSO is hosting two introductory training seminars on Audience Development (27th Nov) and Audience Research (13th Feb 2013). Tickets are from £75 to £150 per day.

04.11.12    Arts Council England has this week released details (PDF link) of its cost-saving organisational changes, which will "be in place" from 1st July 2013. To save money there will be a single Arts Council Midlands office (not one in the East and another in the West Midlands, as there is now), based in Birmingham. Stoke-on-Trent, the Moorlands and the Peak will all still be classed as being in the Midlands. The new combined Midlands office will have 42 staff, compared to 58 in the current East/West setup. Property costs will be cut in half by the changes.

04.11.12    A major region print fiction publisher, Birmingham's Tindal Street Press, is set to be sold to a London publisher with the loss of four jobs in Birmingham, according to The Birmingham Post. Despite the article's suggestion that the closure is down to government cuts, the journalist doesn't mention that the Arts Council RFO 2012-2015 settlement gave Tindal Street £40K of Arts Council funding for 2012-13, with a further £40K in place for 2013-14.

28.10.12    The launch date for Conjunction, Stoke-on-Trent's third biennial contemporary art festival, has been announced: 6pm on Friday 2nd November 2012, at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery. The full Conjunction events programme is now available in PDF...

28.10.12    The Staffordshire University Games Academy will be taking part in the 2013 Global Games Jam in January 2013. The event will ask indie videogame coders to work for 48 hours flat, to create their own new videogame using either Unity, or the UDK, or a PC. Anyone can participate. Bring your own PC and kit, some survival pizza, and have a go!

28.10.12    Job:  Staffordshire University requires a Principal Lecturer / Academic Group Leader for Graphics, Illustration and Communications Design. Deadline: 9th November 2012.

28.10.12    Job:  The West Midlands WEA requires a part-time (0.6) Programme Area Manager (Arts and Humanities), to travel around WEA venues in the West Midlands.

28.10.12    Job: Stoke's Emma Bridgewater pottery requires a full-time Design Studio Assistant.

28.10.12    Job:  The Buxton Opera House requires a Marketing Manager. Deadline: 5th November 2012.

28.10.12    Job: Staffordshire University requires a Technical Team Leader for the Media Centre at the Faculty of Arts & Creative Technologies. Deadline: 3rd November 2012.

28.10.12    As part of Denise O'Sullivan's Buy Local pop-up shop in Newcastle-under-Lyme, a series of maker workshops will take place. All levels are welcome, and a ground-floor spot will be available to ensure disabled access. Denise is also inviting applications for a 6-week maker residency — the Buy Local pop-up shop will open in November, and run for six weeks. If you are interested in either opportunity, then please email:  info@popupemporium.com

28.10.12    After a very successful first Stafford Arts Festival in summer 2012, the organisers are now asking attendees to complete a survey. Interested parties, especially potential sponsors, are also invited to ask for... "information on how to get involved and support the Stafford Festival 2013". Interested? Email:  events@staffordbc.gov.uk

28.10.12    The dates for North Staffordshire's 2nd Creative Minds Festival have been announced: Tuesday 2nd to Saturday 6th July 2013.

28.10.12    The UK's Resurgence & Ecologist magazine is running a Nature Writing 2013 competition. You're invited to write...

"an engaging and inspiring 2,000-word non-fiction piece celebrating/exploring the wonder of nature and your own relationship with and to it." [and your text must be a] "true account"

Entry deadline: 6th Jan 2013.

28.10.12    Job:  A rare funded PhD studentship is available at Coventry University's Centre for Dance Research. This is a fully funded three-year opportunity to do advanced research, which will contribute to a major project titled: "In-visible Difference; Dance, Disability and Law". Application deadline: 29th October 2012.

28.10.12    Mike Rawlins is seeking someone to take over Stoke-on-Trent's Pits 'n Pots political blog, as he is reportedly... "leaving the city."

28.10.12    A Big Funding Breakfast is set to happen on Friday 2nd November 2012 (7am–9am) at the Moat House hotel in Stoke-on-Trent. Tickets cost from £53.65 to £320.

22.10.12    Stoke-on-Trent's Prototype magazine has launched the fourth issue...

22.10.12    Newcastle-under-Lyme College is starting a new commercial gallery and is inviting...

"submissions from contemporary craft makers, artists and designers to be part of a new commercial gallery. Selected work will be exhibited and on sale at the gallery throughout November and December 2012."

22.10.12    Newcastle-under-Lyme's Academy For Theatre Arts have places on two "fully funded" courses in 2013-2015. These courses are: the Extended Diploma in Performing Arts Course; and the Extended Diploma in Production Arts (Technical Theatre). They are now booking prospective students for the first audition, which is on Tuesday November 13th 2012. Interested? Phone 01782 631895 for an information pack.

22.10.12    Are you a Dance Therapist? Would you like to be part of an innovative new project in North Staffordshire, researching the benefits of Body Image Dance in improving self esteem and positive body image? Newcastle-under-Lyme's Dance 123 project aims to...

"improve body image and to reduce the numbers of children and young people developing eating disorders and other destructive coping strategies, by enabling them to express their feelings and emotions in a creative and safe manner through music and dance."

A series of workshops are planned to be delivered at Newcastle-under-Lyme College during the academic year 2012-2013. If you would like to find out more about this opportunity, and how to get involved, please contact Wendy at:  wendy.davies6@mypostoffice.co.uk

22.10.12    An actor is required for a short domestic drama film in Stoke-on-Trent. The work will involve a two (possibly three) day shoot, solely in Staffordshire.

22.10.12    The Bearded Theory Festival is currently recruiting art groups, artists and art students to help transform the festival site at the 2013 festival. Bearded Theory is a large 10,000 capacity festival to be hosted at Kedleston Hall (north-west of Derby) from 16th to 19th May 2013. The organisers are...

"looking for groups and individuals to work under their own steam and with imagination to create sculptures, and to decorate and transform the site. There are a number of opportunities including: decorating trees; sculptures; creating gardens and peaceful areas with wooden fences; creating a 'front room from junk' for the camp site; decorating a woodland walk with lights and artworks."

A small budget is available for artists. Interested? The application deadline is 11th November 2012. Please send a proposal and costed quote for services (inc. materials) to Aimee Blease-Bourne at:  ableasebourne@hotmail.com

22.10.12    Added to the Directory: Amanda Jane's Jetsunn Designs, based in Stoke-on-Trent.

Above: Amanda Jane's knitted cupcakes.

22.10.12    Are you a Staffordshire-based designer maker, crafter, local producer of foods, or do you create something that celebrates 'Buy Local'. Would you like to sell at the 'Pop Up Emporium BUY LOCAL' on Newcastle-under-Lyme High Street? This pop-up shop will run from mid November 2012, for six weeks. The starting price is £10 per week. Interested? Please email:  info@popupemporium.com

22.10.12    Creative England's Film Culture Lottery Fund is now open to applications. A total of £700,000 is available for film-based projects in the English regions outside London. The Fund has two strands. One strand runs to July 2013 and aims to increase...

"opportunities for audiences to access and enjoy a broad range of film" [via] "venues, festivals, archives, and rural and community cinema".

The other strand is for organisational development. Awards will be from £2,000 up to £40,000. Applications deadline: 30th November 2012.

22.10.12    The 2012 Flip Animation Festival is hosting a one-day animation postgraduate research event, at Light House in Wolverhampton, on 1st November 2012. Six research papers will be presented.

22.10.12    Are you interested in using social networks for arts and cultural fundraising? Birmingham is to host the UK's major National Social Giving Conference on the 15th November 2012. The keynote speaker is Matt Robinson, talking about the launch of the new social investment institution Big Society Capital.

21.10.12    A new Volunteer Centre at Keele University is the first Volunteering England -branded centre in the UK. If your group or organisation would like to work with the North Staffordshire Volunteer Centres team, to develop opportunities specifically for Keele students to engage with, please contact Sarah Amphlett at:  su.volunteering@keele.ac.uk

21.10.12    The 2nd Potteries Empty Bowls Project is nearly here. All potters are invited to a 12-hour bowl-making marathon: Empty Bowls Throw-A-Thon 2012, at the Burslem School of Art. The date is Wednesday 24th October (10am – 10pm). Phone the School of Art to arrange your preferred time-slot: 01782 810808. Empty Bowls is a community-based effort to raise money to fight world hunger: potters and others create handcrafted bowls; supporters are invited to a community meal of soup, bread, and a pudding; guests who donate are asked to keep a bowl as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world. Full details at the School of Art Facebook page.

21.10.12    biTjAM have an 'open studios' event at their Artisan Studios, 552 Hartshill Road, Stoke-on-Trent [ on Google Maps ] on Thursday 1st November 2012.

21.10.12    Job:  Stoke-on-Trent City Council requires "an artist of the highest calibre" to make artwork suitable for cladding an electrical power sub-station in Hanley, the city centre of Stoke-on-Trent, by March 2013. £100,000 is available for the work. Interested? Contact Paul Bailey, Cultural Development Officer at Stoke-on-Trent City Council at:  paul.bailey@stoke.gov.uk

21.10.12    Job:  the Shropshire-based Society for Storytelling requires a Website Manager. Deadline: 28th October 2012.

21.10.12    Code Clubs for kids age 9 to 11 allow them to learn the basics of computer coding, using MIT's Scratch software. There are currently four such clubs in Stoke-on-Trent, and one in Buxton. The children learn to make things such as a flying witch game.

21.10.12    The Stoke-on-Trent Writing Squad is a new creative writing group for those aged 11-16. The group started in September 2012 and meets at the Mitchell Youth Arts Centre in Hanley. The group is led by Emma Purshouse. Sessions cost £5 on the day. Full details from:  emmaasif@hotmail.com

21.10.12    "Into the Greenwood" is a new combined 'writing & walking' workshop, on the wild heathland of Cannock Chase in mid Staffordshire...

"This is all about getting into the 'heart of the woodland', testing both your physical and creative strengths. Writers will be asked to draw inspiration from a myth or fairytale, as well as landscape. Small writing tasks will be set along the way. Further writing will continue at an indoor venue, where warm food and refreshments will be available. Writers will be given the time and space to work on their writing without interruption, followed by group discussion, and readings."

Starts on the morning of 3rd November 2012, cost is £14. For full details email:  email@valleyprojects.org

21.10.12    A Gifted and Talented Conference is set to happen in Stafford town on 5th February 2013. The conference is aimed at inspiring and equipping classroom teachers to work with their most talented children. Cost is £199 per place.

21.10.12    U.Dance is a national programme of children's dance in 2013. Applications to participate in U.Dance Midlands 2013 are now invited. For more information about U.Dance opportunities in the West Midlands please contact Birmingham's DanceXchange.

21.10.12    An Artist & Designer-maker Fair is to be held at the Foxlowe Gallery in Leek, on 1st-2nd December 2012. The organisers are the Foundation Degree students at Leek College, and they are now looking for local artists and crafts makers who would be interested in taking a stall at this event. Details are "to be confirmed", but in the first instance please email Joanne Reay at:  joannereayart@gmail.com

21.10.12    Creative craft makers are invited to the first Stoke Craftworkers Bazaar, to be held on the 3rd February 2013 at The Mitchell Arts Centre in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. Full details at the website.

21.10.12    The 2012 Reginald Haggar Memorial Lecture will be on Saturday 10th November (2.30pm) at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent. Architectural historian Gavin Stamp will explore the work of Sir George Gilbert Scott, with particular reference to his neo-Gothic work in and around North Staffordshire. This event appears to be free, but please contact the Museum to make sure.

21.10.12    Job:  a rare paid Phd in Art History: "Painter and Place: Exhibiting the Art of Joseph Wright in Derby, 1800-1900", to be supervised by the University of Nottingham. Deadline: 1st November 2012.

21.10.12    An interesting free art history curatorship workshop at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham. The date set is Thursday 1st November 2012, and the workshop will discuss: the perceived loss of independent curatorial expertise and salaried posts in Britain's major regional arts collections and museums; and the rise of new University research partnerships in their place. There will be a debate, break-out groups to consider best-practice, and a final session on solutions and ideas for the future. Place are limited, so please contact the Barber to book in advance.

21.10.12    Manchester Metropolitan University — which has a major campus and arts centre at Crewe — has started a new GradMatch scheme. This is North West based, but may interest MMU graduates who are living in North Staffordshire. The £100,000 GradMatchMMU project will create 100 internships for students who graduated in 2012, but have been unable to find paid full-time work. The graduates will be placed with businesses in the North West for a minimum of eight weeks. A report of the news in The Sentinel also implies that the definition of the North West might be 'stretched' by MMU to also contain Stoke-on-Trent, but any applicants should confirm that point with MMU.

21.10.12    Shell LiveWIRE Grand Ideas Awards are for those aged aged 16-30. An award gives you funding to get your new business idea or project off the ground. There are 5 x £1,000 prizes every month, awarded to the most innovative ideas submitted by new businesses (those in their first 12 months of trading). Apply until the last day of each month.

21.10.12    Arts & Business Birmingham is offering Fundraising Diagnostic Surgeries on 25th October 2012. One-to-one session are available, that will provide an opportunity for Midlands arts organisations...

"to gain an understanding of how fundraising works, and how they can help in developing fundraising activities."

The venue will be Suite 16-18, 21 Bennett's Hill, Birmingham city centre (an easy two-minute walk from New St. train station). Interested? Please contact Peter Collins at:  peter.collins@artsandbusiness.org.uk

21.10.12    The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) makes awards ranging between £1,000 and £18,000 to crafts makers of all ages (there are no age limits) to help advance a career in crafts. The deadline for applications for the Spring 2013 round of funding will be in January 2013. Online applications will open tomorrow, 22nd October 2012.

21.10.12    Regional creative industries researchers who would like to attend the Creative Regions Summer School in June 2013 (Cardiff) are invited to apply for Regional Studies Association bursaries. These assist with travel expenses and fees and are intended for students, post-docs and young researchers who are facing financial difficulties. Deadline: 31st January 2013.

21.10.12    New government funding has enabled a new joined-up Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent music education partnership to be launched. The launch heralds an eight-year plan for local music organisations and schools, which will include working in partnership with the likes of Lichfield Cathedral and the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. More details on opportunities as and when Creative Stoke gets them.

21.10.12    The North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce has been awarded almost £4.2 million to run a Regional Growth Fund grant scheme for growing firms. More details on opportunities as and when Creative Stoke gets them.

21.10.12    The Parliamentary Culture, Media and Sport Committee has launched a new inquiry into the support that the government gives to the creative economy. The Committee is now inviting written submissions and views, and especially wants to hear opinion about matters such as...

* the barriers to growth in your sector of the creative industries.
* your difficulties in accessing private finance.
* any problems arising from a lack of co-ordination between government departments.
* the UK's framework for the regulation of Intellectual Property.
* the role of further and higher education in supporting the skills needed for the creative economy.
* the work of public bodies responsible for supporting the creative industries.
* if the focus on creative "clusters" and "hubs" creates innovation and genuine growth.

Further information is available online.

11.10.12    Gladstone Re Fired 2013 is a planned heritage and arts event at the Gladstone Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent, in September 2013. The organisers are working with a local music and drama group, and also have expressions of interest from local orchestras and theatre groups. The aim is to produce a dramatic event of new work, which celebrates the Gladstone and the lives of those connected to the Potteries. Workshops are due to be held soon at the Gladstone for people interested in taking part in the event. The organisers also need: a patron; interviewees especially local potters and designers; funding to support their existing match-funding arrangement. Interested? Visit the Gladstone Re Fired 2013 Facebook group for more information.

11.10.12    Are you interested in how to use festivals, pop-up shops, and the arts to bring people into your market town? The Towns Alive programme is having an event in Leek on 29th November 2012...

"This workshop will consider how market towns can implement the recommendations from the Portas Review — from setting up and managing a 'Town Team' or strengthening an existing one, through to making the most of the new community planning rights to encourage town centre regeneration."

11.10.12    Added to the Directory: Gary Birks, hand-painted china from Stoke-on-Trent...

11.10.12    Unemployed people in Stoke-on-Trent who are over 50 will be able to seek business advice via the Prince's Initiative For Mature Enterprise. A free three-day course to encourage older people in the city into business will be held at tableware ceramics firm Dudson, in Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent, 18th October / 8th November / 29th November 2012. See the Web page for full details.

11.10.12    The Prince's Trust has a series of Explore Enterprise workshops in Stoke-on-Trent, for those aged 18 to 30. The free four-day startup business courses are: 29th October– 1st November / 26th – 29th November / 17th – 20th December 2012.

11.10.12    Startup Britain's tour bus comes to North Staffordshire at the end of October. It visits Keele University campus on 31st October 2012 (9am–12pm) and then moves to Staffordshire University's Stoke campus (2pm-5pm). There will be an Innovation Workshop at the Staffordshire University stop (2.30pm – 3.30pm); followed by sessions on Social Enterprise; then ending with "Understanding Crowdfunding". The latter is especially important, as Kickstarter UK plans to launch soon. Full details of the programme are available at the Web page.

11.10.12    Coventry's Creative Enterprise team is hopping on a train to Stoke-on-Trent in November 2012, to deliver a free Starting your Creative Business workshop at Staffordshire University. This is a free two-day workshop for business people who are... "in the early stages of planning a creative business in the arts, design or media". Topics will include: the marketing mix; cash flow; budgeting; costing your product or service; your business model; and an overview of the various types of businesses. This workshop is to be run by Clare Hudson & Peter McLuskie. The dates are 7th and 8th November 2012 (9.30am to 4.30pm) at the Stoke Creative Business Village, on Staffordshire University's Stoke-on-Trent campus. Interested? Contact Peter McLuskie for more information at:  pmcluskie@cad.coventry.ac.uk

11.10.12    Cath Ralph at the Burslem School of Art has small grants of up to £1,000, for events that promote or celebrate the Stoke-on-Trent town of Burslem. It's hoped these can be bundled into a rolling programme of events. Also being worked on at the School of Art is an Event Support facility for Burslem, which would offer equipment for outdoor events (with lower hire fees for non-profits). More details from Cath Ralph via the School of Art website.

11.10.12    Interested in wildlife photography? The team at Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) are inviting nature and landscape photographers to a series of photography workshops over the next 12 months. The sessions are free, but places are limited and must be booked. Contact Emma Beaman-Green at:  emma.beaman-green@staffordshire.gov.uk

11.10.12    Would you like to learn more about digital photography? Gladstone Pottery Museum are running a Digital Photography for Beginners course on 17th October (10.30am - 4pm). The course costs £30 (including museum admission). To book call: 01782 237777.

11.10.12    The Cultural Sisters are offering fused glass -making workshops on Saturday 24th November and Saturday 8th December 2012 (1–4pm). Design and create your own beautiful fused glass jewellery and artworks. Cost is £20 per session. Full details from:  fiona.waddle@theculturalsisters.org.uk

11.10.12    Local storyteller Alan Barrett will be running a "Talk is Cheap" day of free workshops at the Burslem School of Art, on 15th October 2012 (9.30-10.45am, 11-12.15pm ,and 1-2.15pm). Full details at the Facebook page.

05.10.12     Stoke-on-Trent's own vampire series Blood & Bone China has its official DVD edition out now.

05.10.12     The organisers of StokeTEDx are seeking short films for inclusion in the TEDx programme on 13th October 2012. They're looking for:

1. Films that showcase Stoke-on-Trent, or the surrounding urban areas, as an interesting location for a global audience.
2. Films reflecting any of the City 2.0 themes: health, public spaces, transportation, food, play, housing, safety, recycling.
3. Films that tell a powerful story about an aspect of city life, or include an "idea worth sharing".

Maximum length of two minutes; MP4 video format; 4:3 screen ratio. Upload to the free services Dropbox or SendShare or equivalent, and then email the Web link to:  tedxstoke@gmail.com

05.10.12     Global Entrepreneurship Week has a Stoke-on-Trent event, in the form of 'Be Inspired Leadership' talk by Kevin Oakes, the dynamic CEO of the successful local ceramics firm Steelite International. The date is 15th November 2012 (starts 6.30pm), and the venue is the Ashley Conferencing Centre on Staffordshire University's Stoke campus. Kevin will talk on... "enterprise, entrepreneurship and innovation in his business and the Stoke context." To request a place, please email:  beinspired@staffs.ac.uk

05.10.12     Staffordshire University Business School is hosting an event titled "Stimulating Innovation: financing expansion for small and medium enterprises", on 30th November 2012 at the Ashley Building on Staffordshire University's Stoke campus. See the Web page for full details.

05.10.12     Five places are currently (as of today) still left on the adult pottery evening course at Burslem School of Art. The next course starts very soon, and the times will be 6pm-9pm.

05.10.12     Stoke town's Stoke Christmas Lights Switch On and Crafts Fair is seeking stallholders, especially artists and crafters (sorry, no food or produce stalls). The event is on Saturday 1st December 2012 from 12 noon. Interested? Please contact Alan Barrett.

05.10.12     The managers of Hanley's Mitchell Youth Arts Centre are looking for volunteers, for a number of different roles. Application forms can be picked up from the box office.

05.10.12     A locally-edited and published anthology is available now. The Alchemy Press Book of Ancient Wonders has been edited by Jan Edwards and Jenny Barber.

05.10.12     North Staffordshire Press and The Business Village at Staffordshire University will host an evening of readings from Arnold Bennett's novel The Card (1911) on Tuesday 11th December 2012, 7pm. Clips will be shown from the excellent feature-film comedy of The Card (1952), which starred Sir Alec Guinness. A paper will also be read by Malcolm Henson, on "Association Football and The Card: fact or fiction".

05.10.12     Are you a budding museum exhibits designer? The Spitfire Gallery at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery is running a competition for makeover designs. Show the curators how the new Spitfire Gallery should look, to give the real-life Spitfire "future appeal". Deadline: 19th October 2012. Full details at the Web page.

05.10.12     A date for your diaries. The famous Glyndebourne opera is performing in Stoke-on-Trent from 5th to 8th December 2012. The visit is sponsored by The Daily Mail newspaper and part-funded by the Arts Council, so we can hopefully expect details of workshops and talks to be announced soon.

05.10.12     Master B&W landscape photographer John Blakemore will be in conversation with Aline Kisina at the Light House in Wolverhampton, on 23rd November 2012. Tickets are £5. See the Web page for full details. The event is accompanied by a show of Kisina's "City of Home" works in the Light House photography gallery.

05.10.12     "Starting a novel... and finishing it" is a forthcoming eight-week course delivered by Alex Davis looks in detail at the process of writing a novel, from first developing the idea, through planning and plotting all the way to completing the manuscript. The cost is £100, and the venue is The Light House in Wolverhampton (a short hop on the train from Stoke). The course runs on Tuesdays from 8th Jan to 26th Feb 2013. Bookings open in November.

05.10.12     The Brewhouse Arts Centre and Theatre, down in Burton-upon-Trent, has a Christmas exhibition/sales opportunity. Their pre-Xmas selling show will run from the 10th November to 24th December 2012. They are looking for affordable work, up to around £50 maximum retail price per item, which is "ideal as a Christmas gift". Application deadline: 8th October 2012. For an application form please email:  david.gilbert@eaststaffsbc.gov.uk

05.10.12     The Digital R&D Fund for the Arts is a new £7 million fund, spread over three years. The aim will be to research new digital business models, and to help reach audiences more effectively. Applications are open now. See the website for full details.

05.10.12     DACS Payback scheme allows visual creatives to claim a share of the £3-million DACS Payback fund. If you've had an image of your work published in a British magazine or newspaper, or seen on a TV programme, yet not been paid for it — then applying could get you a DACS cheque. The Payback cash is raised from the annual photocopying and video/TV/DVD duplication licenses paid for by British schools, colleges and universities. All claims must be submitted no later than the 31st of October 2012. See the website for full details.

05.10.12     Sky Arts is offering five young artists (age 18-30) £30,000 each. The cash is intended to fund their work for a full year, as part of the Sky Arts Ignition: Futures Fund. Applicants are welcome in the following fields: Performing Arts; Dance; Music; Visual Arts; and also Producing. Deadline: 19th December 2012. Full details at the website.

05.10.12     The BFI's new Youth Film Academy Network will give talented 16-19 year olds help to get into the future film industry. The government has committed £1m of annual funding, from April 2012 to March 2015. In the first instance the BFI is seeking to appoint partners to help deliver this ambitious programme. Full details from:  filmacademy@bfi.org.uk

05.10.12     There will be an afternoon of Creative Industries fringe events at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham on Monday 8th October 2012. Sessions include "Creative Industries Start Ups and Growth", and "The Creative Economy".

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.

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."

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0TQKm5ciY0&w=300&h=169]

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.

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    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 book 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 24x7 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.

26.06.12    Creative Stoke will now be taking a customary Summer break. Since January 2012 Creative Stoke has posted around 400 items on the "What's New?" page. See you again in September 2012!

26.06.12    Staffordshire University has made a welcome entry into the 2012 Artists' Access to Art Colleges list. The annual national AA2A scheme offers university placements for visual artists and crafts makers. Application packs for places on AA2A (starting Oct 2012) should be available from the end of July, with application deadlines in September 2012. For details about the art-making facilities that will be on offer at Staffordshire, contact Anna Mawson at:  a.mawson@staffs.ac.uk

26.06.12    Added to the Directory: Staffordshire University has a Staffordshire University Film Production Class (2010-2013) channel, on the Vimeo video service.

26.06.12    North Staffordshire's New Vic Theatre is celebrating 50 years of making theatrical works which span the generations. The 'Our Age Our Stage' celebration is happening on Tuesday 3rd July 2012 (1.30pm) at the Brampton Museum and Art Gallery, Newcastle-under-Lyme. This special event will...

"see members of the Ages and Stages project, a partnership between the New Vic and Keele University, join forces with the New Vic's Youth Theatre to tell the stories of theatre-goers spanning the generations"

To book a place, contact Lynn Parry at:  lparry@newvictheatre.org.uk

26.06.12    Submissions are invited from contemporary textile artists for an exhibition at the Shire Hall Gallery, Stafford, in January 2013. The show will be aimed at primary school children on school trips, and will show how stories are represented by different cultures. Application deadline: 16th July 2012. Full details at the Web page.

26.06.12    The M.A. in Creative Futures at Staffordshire University is recruiting now for September 2012. 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.

26.06.12    Added to the Directory: elloDave, a local advertising, design and marketing agency. Their recent work has included the design of the 2012/13 Newcastle-under-Lyme College prospectus...

26.06.12    Burslem's Business Innovation Centre has a variety of business workshops in the second half of 2012. Including...

4th July: Intellectual Property Rights.
19th July: Will Your Idea Work?
3rd October: Protect and Fund Your Innovation.
31st October: New Product Development.
21st November: Marketing.

See their events flyer for full details.

26.06.12    Added to the Directory: Ray Sheldon. Ray is an artist based in Stone, Staffordshire...


Ray Sheldon: "Tim Toft, Cello Player".

26.06.12    The North Staffordshire Volunteer Centres have free "walk leader training" sessions available on the following dates, which might be useful for those leading 'arts trail' and similar walks...

24th July 2012 - Newcastle Community Fire Station.
30th July 2012 - Biddulph Community Fire Station.
7th August 2012 - Cheadle Community Fire Station.
13th August 2012 - Leek, SMCVS, Bank House.
18th August 2012 - Kidsgrove Community Fire Station.

26.06.12    Stoke-on-Trent's Paul Hackney has helped to re-stock North Staffordshire with around 250 magnificent barn owls, creatures that were once close to extinction here. He's now written and published a book on the experience, Growing Barn Owls In My Garden...

26.06.12    There's an "Owl and Raptor Photo Workshop" at The Trentham Estate, Stoke-on-Trent. The date is Saturday 21st Jul 2012, and the cost is £99 per person. And on 16th January 2013 the North Staffordshire Conference Centre, Hartshill, will host an evening talk by Nick Martin on "The Secrets of Wildlife Photography".

26.06.12    Fast and affordable rural broadband is essential for the creative industries in the Midlands. Staffordshire County Council is investing £7.44m in broadband, to be matched by the Government — and you can help the Council to get the cash and spend it in the right places, by filling in a short survey on your need for broadband. Closing date: 1st July 2012.

26.06.12    Birmingham's Grand Union is offering a writing bursary for "new or emerging" West Midlands-based arts writers. Specifically, writing about contemporary art. On offer are six half-day mentoring sessions, and a £1,500 bursary. Deadline: 27th July 2012. Full details at the Web page.

19.06.12    Stoke-on-Trent's Lumi wants to discover new writing about the real Britain...

"Here at Lumi we want to produce an anthology of writing about the many places of the UK, with the theme "Hometown". We want people up and down the nation to write about their hometown. It can be fiction, fact, journalism, poetry. The word limit is 2,000 words, and the deadline is the 15th of August 2012. All submissions should be sent to:  editorlumi@gmail.com

19.06.12    AmeCon is the largest UK convention dedicated to the celebration of Japanese animation, comics, culture, and cosplay. This major event will have screenings, guest creatives, cosplay parties, and more. The venue this year is the University of Keele, North Staffordshire, from 10th to 12th August 2012. Hurry with your booking, as tickets are going very fast!

19.06.12    Stoke-on-Trent's bITjAM is to run a Geeklab at the Burslem School of Art, on Saturday 14th July 2012 (12 noon - 4pm).

"Hack into Xbox Kinect sensors, turn an iPhone into a guitar, build a dubstep bass out of old hard-drives, or build 'Insultabot', a roaming robot that loves to insult."

Geeklab also will be streamed live, on the Web...

"... with guest artists talking about their favourite gear, gadgets, techniques, experiences and also a few tutorials thrown in."

19.06.12    Job:  the New Vic Theatre, at Newcastle-under-Lyme, needs a full-time experienced Fundraiser.

19.06.12    Job:  North Staffordshire's B Arts is seeking an unpaid part-time Trustee, in the form of a "dynamic Chair". The successful applicant will be expected to attend four Board meetings per year, held in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, in addition to any Strategic Planning Day/s and the Annual General Meeting. For an informal chat about this role, contact Trevelyan Wright on: 01782 717326.

19.06.12    The 2012 Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham (7th-10th October 2012) is inviting Midlands start-up businesses to present themselves at the conference in a special business exhibition hub. A competition will select start-ups from different sectors. To be eligible your business has to have launched after May 2010. 12 finalists will be invited to the conference. Application deadline: 30th June 2012.

19.06.12    The Arts Tour Programme provides funding to help people across England to bring great art to their local area. Projects over £10,000 are eligible for funding. At least 10% of the total cost of the activity is expected to come from other sources. Projects must take place over a maximum of three years. Application deadline: 29th June 2012. See the website for full details.

19.06.12    The £4m Community Learning Innovation Fund wants to fund "new and imaginative" projects to encourage ongoing learning in adults. The maximum amount for any bid is £65,000 and the minimum is £10,000. Deadlines in June and July 2012. See the website for full details.

19.06.12    Submissions are now being accepted for the Muslim Writers Awards 2012. The competition includes prizes for: "Unpublished Children's Story"; and "Published Children's Book Prize". Deadline: 20th July 2012.

19.06.12    Are you a member of a grassroots community group? COuld you use 12 months of free Internet broadband service from BT? The BT Community Connections website has all the details on applying for this offer.

19.06.12    Job: Staffordshire County Council and Craftspace require a West Midlands exhibition technician, to deliver their 'Making Moves' contemporary crafts touring exhibition, between September 2012 and August 2013. This will involve 24 days spread over 12 months @ £75 per day (inc. VAT & travel). Full details are online at the 'Making Moves' website

19.06.12    Keele University's new Nova Centre is looking for... "Businesses that have been trading for less than 12 months" and which have "big plans" for the future. The Nova Centre's Business Growth Programme Round 1 is now accepting applications. Successful applicants will have access to a two-year business growth programme including: advice on growth, strategy, marketing, sales, and finance; opportunities to network; access to Keele facilities; and a flexible low-cost monthly tenancy on the Keele campus.

19.06.12    Advance notice of the date of the annual "Let's Do Business" business showcase event at the Britannia Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent. This year the date is set for 8th November 2012, and the organisers are hoping for... "95 exhibition stands and 600 visitors".

16.06.12    Cre8net 3: the 'Fringe Festival special' is happening this coming Thursday, 21st June 2012! This event is one of a series of four networking evenings happening in the city of Stoke-on-Trent...


Click on the picture to see the large version of the flyer.

The venue for this third event will Staffordshire University's main Stoke Campus, from 5pm. The first hour will be informal networking and showcasing, followed by a routine by stand-up comedian Tony Vino, then more informal networking from 7pm-9pm.

16.06.12    Added to the Directory: Bespoke Birdhouses is a crafts business run by Nigel Green who is based at Stone, near Stoke-on-Trent. Nigel recently created his "Peckingham Palace" bird-house for the Queen's Golden Jubilee, which has been showcased around the British Isles by the sponsors Cuprinol.


Above: 'Peckingham Palace' bird-house by Nigel Green, seen in front of the real Buckingham Palace.

16.06.12    Added to the Directory: Stoke Edits, a Stoke-on-Trent video specialist in producing BMX bike and skateboard films.

16.06.12    Creative Stoke now has a 'taster' gallery of 10 pictures from Staffordshire University's "Show and Tell 2012" art & design graduation exhibitions. The shows run until 23rd June at the main Stoke-on-Trent campus.

16.06.12    Creative Stoke now has a 'taster' gallery of 10 pictures from "Firing Up", a children's ceramics showcase exhibition. This is the culmination of a Crafts Council project to boost interest in ceramics education, involving four Stoke-on-Trent schools. The "Firing Up" show runs until 23rd June 2012, at the main Stoke-on-Trent campus of Staffordshire University.

16.06.12    The Staffordshire University Fringe festival has a new addition — a "Big Arts Debate" panel discussion event on Friday 22nd June 2012, from 7pm at The Pavilion on the main Stoke campus. The Fringe website doesn't currently offer tickets for this, but the Fringe's printed brochure appears to suggest that "advance bookings" might be advisable for it. The event will ask...

"What is the future for the arts in Stoke and North Staffordshire? What does the area need and what to the people deserve?"

13.06.12    There are now a total of six Business Enterprise coaches across North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. The free personal service is...

"available to any resident who is looking to explore the idea of working for themselves ... from an initial idea through to setting up a business."

Here are the June 2012 contact details for the various coaches...

* For Bentilee contact Gaynor Parkinson on 07834 657828 or e-mail: gaynorp@enterprisesupport.org

* For Burslem contact Gayle Jessiman on 07969 557915 or e-mail: gaylej@enterprisesupport.org

* For Hanley, contact Mark Edwards on 07972 083318 or e-mail: marke@enterprisesupport.org

* For Longton, contact Julie Holmes on 07866 807134 or e-mail: julieh@enterprisesupport.org

* For Newcastle-under-Lyme, contact Gemma Kirkland on 07875 418968 or e-mail: gemmak@enterprisesupport.org

* For Leek and the Staffordshire Moorlands, contact Sharron Freeman on 07834 031997 or e-mail: sharronf@enterprisesupport.org

16.06.12    Artists are being invited to exhibit work at The Famous Lion pub in Stoke town, Stoke-on-Trent. Interested? Contact manager Nathan Williams via the pub's Facebook page.

16.06.12    "Making Money From Your Photography" is a training event set to happen in Stoke-on-Trent on 1st September 2012 (provisional date). Cost is £195. See the website for details.

16.06.12    Stoke-on-Trent ceramics firm Potclays is hosting a series of hobbyist and crafts maker training events in 2012...

* 7th Aug 2012: Raku Kiln Building with John Wheeldon.

* 18th - 19th Sept 2012: Ceramic Relief Sculpture with Neil Dalrymple.

* 17th - 18th Oct 2012: Pot Throwing with David Frith.

* 13th Nov 2012: Glazing & Firing.

* 14th Nov 2012: Electric Kilns, Operation & Maintenance (in-depth).

16.06.12    Crossing Frontiers in Music Education is a national conference set to happen on 5th - 6th October 2012, at Stone town (just south of Stoke-on-Trent).

16.06.12    The first issue of Stoke Rocks! magazine is now available online, covering the thriving Stoke music scene...

16.06.12    Staffordshire University's annual creative writing publication Indent: a journal of new writing should be available very soon, in a £6.99 print edition at the university's Fringe Festival.

16.06.12    Stoke-on-Trent's BitJam and Letting in the Light are teaming up to run animation training workshops for young people with learning disabilities. No dates yet, but it's 'one to watch' if you know someone who might be interested in participating.

13.06.12    Innovation and Growth 2012 is a one-day event to be hosted by Staffordshire University on the 4th July 2012. The venue will be the Ruxton Technology Centre, at the Beaconside Campus in Stafford...

"how businesses across the region can engage to access finance and funding opportunities [via] Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, collaborative R&D, SMART Awards, and SBRI [the Small Business Research Initiative]"

13.06.12    Digital Cultural Heritage Demonstrator: the Breakfast Road Show is an event happening on 21st June 2012, at Light House in Wolverhampton (a very short walk from the train station). The times are 8.30am - 10am and the event is free...

"The new £2.4 million ERDF-funded West Midlands Digital Cultural Heritage Demonstrator project is now underway. The project aims to demonstrate how collaborative projects, exploring the use of digital technology with the Cultural and Heritage sector, can develop new markets and increase profits for business. [...] The project will offer tailored support from a wide range of experts in the field of digital technology and innovation and [at Birmingham University] will provide access to a suite of innovative multi-user, 3D multi-touch technologies, mobile devices and tablets, advanced user-testing facilities and augmented reality tools, all integrated into a unique digital prototyping lab."

13.06.12    Small "CommUni Action" grant of up to £50 are available to individuals and groups in Stoke-on-Trent. Anyone can apply to CommUni Action for help with a project idea. You can apply for support and advice from University staff and students, use of buildings and equipment, and for up to £50 in funding. The project is being supported by Staffordshire University and Student's Union, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the Hanley Building Society. Forms can be obtained directly from Staffordshire University by contacting Janet Hetherington at:  J.Hetherington@staffs.ac.uk

13.06.12    Added to the Directory: UK Film Location is a film and TV location finding service based at Blythe Bridge near Stoke-on-Trent. They offer a directory of 600+ locations, spanning the Midlands and the UK.

There is also another service called the Stoke Film Office which can offer local locations advice, and which now has a new Facebook presence.

13.06.12    Added to the Directory: the website for the Staffordshire University Film and Animation Society.

13.06.12    News that the Black Country Reinvestment Society's Small Business Loans service...

"plans to raise its lending limit to £100,000 this year [per business]"

The BCRS celebrates its 10th anniversary this April, and it makes loans to small businesses in the Black Country and Staffordshire. They now also have a new Stoke-on-Trent Business Loan Fund.

13.06.12    There's a new free photobook available, created by Mark Treacey, called The Gritstone Trail: a photographic ramble from Kidsgrove to Disley. The book creatively documents the famously tough ridge-and-hill walk called The Gritstone Trail...

The Gritstone Trail currently terminates at Kidsgrove rail station. But this week your editor has also produced a new free ebook (PDF link), which unofficially takes the Trail from Kidsgrove into Stoke town. This extension is in keeping with the tough terrain of the Gritstone Trail, since it follows the ridgeway and offers sweeping views over Stoke-on-Trent.

13.06.12    Creative Stoke doesn't usually list arts and crafts exhibitions, but makes an exception for the end-of-year student shows:

  * Staffordshire University Show and Tell 2012 is the main arts and design graduation show. This huge show is spread over the ground floor spaces of the main Stoke-on-Trent campus, and opens on Friday the 15th of June 2012, from 6.30pm.

  * Inviso Exhibition: Staffordshire University's 2012 photography graduates — including Robert Simms: independent shops in Leek, and Ian Hilditch: Neolithic and Early Bronze Age sites in Derbyshire and Cheshire among others.

  * This year there is a Fringe festival based around the main Staffordshire art and design shows. These include: a "Gothic Storytelling Night", Tues 19th June, 7:00pm at Spode in Stoke town; and a free talk by Nick Clements on 'The Artist As Entrepreneur', also on Tues 19th June 2012, 7:30pm, at the Staffordshire University Stoke campus.

  * Staffordshire University students have spent 12 weeks on making a Lego movie version of Christopher Nolan's dream invasion movie Inception, now available for viewing online.

  * 'Astound' is the exhibition showcasing the work of students completing the Foundation Degree in Contemporary Art Practice at Leek College. The show is now at the Nicholson in Leek town, until 23rd June 2012.

  * 'Made' is the Newcastle-under-Lyme College media, art and design final show, running from 23rd - 29th of June 2012.

13.06.12    The Guardian newspaper has an obituary for North Staffordshire artist Jack Simcock (1929-2012), as does The Sentinel newspaper.

13.06.12    Staffordshire County Council is currently consulting on its volunteering strategy. Deadline for responses is 8th August 2012.

13.06.12    Local historian Fred Hughes has a new video online, in which he talks about the May un Mar Lady dialect comic strip published daily in The Sentinel newspaper...

The May un Mar Lady strip is also set to be made into a series of short radio performances, on Burslem's 6 Towns Radio.

13.06.12    The ATG Foundation's 'Ripple Effect' project is set to happen at the Regent Theatre, in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. Local...

"young people from diverse backgrounds with limited experience of arts engagement"

...will work with playwright Ursula Rani Sarma, to make a new 15-20 minute play. Performance Date: Friday 6th July 2012. Full details:  karentownsend@theambassadors.com

B Arts also has a couple of places available for practitioners on a Ripple Effect developing professional-practice weekend, set for 16th-17th June 2012. Interested? Contact B Arts at:  info@b-arts.co.uk

13.06.12    An innovative new pub game called 'Librium' has been invented / designed / produced from Stone, near Stoke-on-Trent. Kits for playing the game in your pub are now on sale online.

13.06.12    The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) has...

"launched a new scheme offering creative residencies at its London HQ. Open to individuals or groups who want to explore their creative potential and the English traditions, by undertaking a residency at Cecil Sharp House to research and develop new work. Bursaries in the region of £2,000. Application deadline: 30th June 2012. The residencies will run from September 2012 to March 2013. It is envisaged that three awards will be made."

13.06.12    Up to £2,500 Community First grants are available for community activities in four Stoke-on-Trent Council wards. There are various deadlines in June 2012. See the websites for each area, for details:

* Hanley West and Shelton (inc. Etruria, part of Cliffe Vale, the Staffs University campus and halls, and the river area);

* Fenton;

* Burslem North and Burslem South.

13.06.12    Your editor's JURN search-engine can now have its search results sorted by date, as well as by relevancy. JURN searches and delivers the full-text articles from over 4,000 'open' (free) arts and humanities academic journals.

13.06.12    Photo sets of the Olympic Torch children's carnival parade and the evening Torch Celebrations performance in Hanley Park.

31.05.12    The Singing for Pleasure Summer School 2012 is to be held at Keele University in North Staffordshire. The event provides an opportunity for singers, conductors and vocal leaders alike, to enjoy a high standard of music making geared to all levels of achievement in a stimulating and friendly environment. The dates are 19th - 27th August 2012. Full details at the website.

31.05.12    Singing for Pleasure Midlands is a five day, non-residential summer school for talented young singers (age 9-13) from the West Midlands, who are developing their choral and musicianship skills. It runs from 23rd - 27th July 2012 in Walsall. Cost is just £25 for the week, generously supported by business sponsorship from the John Lewis Partnership.

31.05.12    The Department for Education has funds for four new 'In Harmony' projects, which aim to inspire children in deprived communities through orchestral music-making. £250,000 is on offer for 2012-13. Arts Council England is managing the projects, and organisations are invited to apply. 25th June 2012 is the application deadline. See the Arts Council's website for full details.

31.05.12    A Keele University Writing Retreat will be held July 29th - 3rd August 2012. Run by four established writers of poetry and fiction, the retreat can also be converted into credits towards the Keele University M.A. degree in Creative Writing. Cost is £550, inclusive of accommodation and all meals. See the website for full details.

31.05.12    Shropshire's Arvon Foundation house, the Hurst, is booking now for their acclaimed Graphic Novels Course to run from 25th - 30th June 2012. Run by Bryan Talbot (Luther Arkwright) and other leading graphic novel creatives. Cost is £655, with some bursaries available. See the Web page for full details.

31.05.12    Added to the Directory: Camila Prada is a Stoke-on-Trent ceramics designer, finding success by transferring the vinyl toy aesthetic into fine ceramics...


Above: "TumTum" figurine, fine bone china, real platinum. Available from the Camila Prada online store.

31.05.12    There's a new government £82.5m StartUp Loans scheme, for young people aged 18 and 24 to start a new business. The website is still in beta, but you can apply now. There are personal loans of £2,500, to be paid back over five years at market rates. There is also a new free guidebook to starting a small business (PDF link).

31.05.12    Staffordshire University is offering a nine month business start-up course to its past graduates, with 27 places available for people planning to start a business in the West Midlands. There's a "£4,000 grant". Application deadline is now: 9am on Wednesday 6th June 2012.

31.05.12    Newcastle-under-Lyme Business Boost is a local business awards ceremony, backed up by cash prizes of £1,500. The website has not yet updated for 2012, but the entry deadline will be: 20th July 2012.

31.05.12    This summer the Staffordshire Newsletter is teaming up with the Stafford Gatehouse Theatre, The Post House and Virgin Trains... to find a local star in the making! Entry is free, and the first prize in this talent competition is worth over £1,000.

31.05.12    Job: A Teacher of Media Studies is required at Congleton High School, to start with the September 2012 term. Application deadline: 11th June 2012.

31.05.12    Newcastle-under-Lyme College is running three one-day courses for people aged 14-18 and undertaking GCSE Art, during the June half-term school holidays. These are:

  6th June | GCSE Art Booster Workshop: Ceramics.

  7th June | GCSE Art Booster Workshop: Large Scale Drawing.

  8th June | GCSE Art Booster Workshop: Three Dimensional Studies.

Each costs £20 per day, or all three days can be booked for £60. For more information, and to book your place, please phone: 01782 254323.

31.05.12    Newcastle-under-Lyme Museum and Art Gallery's Christmas contemporary craft fair is set for 15th - 17th November 2012, and the organisers are seeking crafts makers to take tables. Full information on bookings from:  beverley.jennings@newcastle-staffs.gov.uk

31.05.12    Chase Arts Festival and Cannock Chase High School are offering either a visual artist or a maker one week of free usage of classroom facilities, including a ceramics kiln. Students will see you in practice. Further details:  m.allsopp@cannockchase-high.staffs.sch.uk

24.05.12    Added to the Directory: There's a new free "taking on an employee" five-step toolkit, online now.

24.05.12    Business Initiative has a "Startup Course in Finance & Marketing", starting in Stoke-on-Trent on 11th June 2012. There are free daytime sessions, and paid-for evening sessions. The venue will be the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce offices on Festival Park (across the road from the cinema). Full details from: 01782 202222.

24.05.12    "Digital Staffordshire" is the title of a breakfast business event happening on 31st May 2012 (8am-10am) in Stafford.

"The event, organised by the Stoke-on Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), will look to ways we can improve business growth in the ICT and digital sector [with a focus on] collaboration between the public and private sector"

Register via:  contactus@stokestaffslep.org.uk

24.05.12    The Midlands National Forest is running a Woody Tales Short Story Competition. Prizes include Group Tickets for the National Forest's Wood Fair. To enter, just...

"spin a woodland yarn for the National Forest Wood Fair’s Woody Tales short story competition. Whether it’s a forest fable or a tall tale about trees, stories of up to 750 words can be entered [under] two categories, under 15 years and 15 years plus/adult"

Entry is free. Deadline is Friday 29th June 2012. The National Forest is a new forest that intends to cover 200 square miles of the English Midlands, across parts of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire.

24.05.12    Artists, scientists and creatives — with an interest in ancient history, storytelling, conservation, symbology and the changing landscape — are invited to a special out-of-hours candle-lit visit to the Staffordshire Hoard at the Potteries Museum. To be followed by a picnic at a Saxon site in Trentham Gardens. The date is Friday 8th June, 5pm-9pm. Application deadline: 4th June 2012. Only fifteen people will be selected, and a small bursary will be offered to successful applicants. To apply, email 150 words on your current practice, medium or interests, and why you would like to attend. Attach two or three pieces/images of recent relevant works at low resolution, and/or Web links, and send to:  info@rednile.org

24.05.12    Added to the Directory: Leek's Literary Connection is a new group meeting at the Foxlowe Art Cafe in Leek town, North Staffordshire.

24.05.12    Added to the Directory: Konnektiv Drama does experimental and physical theatre, and is run by a qualified drama therapist.

24.05.12    Would you like to be the Poet Laureate for Staffordshire? This is a new role open to those who live or study in Staffordshire. The selected poet will hold the position for twelve months from October 2012, and do all the usual promotional activities on behalf of the county. The role is being organised through Staffordshire County Council, Libraries and Arts. Deadline for applications is: 14th July 2012. Full details are here (.doc Word document).

24.05.12    A date for makers, textiles crafters, and scrapbook makers, and indeed just about anyone who needs to stock up on a year's supply of beautiful beads. The Staffordshire Bead Fair is on 9th September 2012. The venue is the Moat House Hotel on Festival Park, Stoke-on-Trent.

24.05.12    Stoke-on-Trent's Barewall gallery is calling for artists, ceramicists and designer makers for a pop-up shop in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, on 16th June 2012 — for one week only. Interested? Email:  info@barewall.co.uk

24.05.12    A new contemporary art exhibition will take place in Spring 2013 featuring selected work by B.A., M.A. and PhD fine art graduates from 2010, 2011 and 2012. New graduates from Staffordshire University will be eligible to apply. To receive application details, email:  newartwestmidlands2013@bcu.ac.uk

24.05.12    Reasheath Agricultural College (Nantwich) has three one-day workshops for flower designers coming up:

* 26th May 2012. Bridal Designs with Flowers. Covers the latest trends and techniques for bridal wedding design with flowers.

* 23rd June 2012. English Garden Arranging. For those designing with traditional English garden flowers.

* 7th July 2012. Introduction to Floristry. Basic principles plus introduction to hand tied, arrangements and wired work for flower designs.

24.05.12    "Writing for Children and Young People" is a one-day workshop for adult authors, happening at Mackworth Library, Derby. The date is 23rd June 2012. To be led by award-winning children's author Caroline Pitcher. Cost: £25, and booking is essential. Details from:  mackworth.library@derby.gov.uk

19.05.12    Cre8net 2 is happening on Wednesday 23rd May 2012, from 7pm. Mitchell Youth Arts Theatre in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. Leading the presentation element of this free Cre8Net networking and learning evening will be Harold Sharples — a leading Management and Leadership Consultant. The following panel discussion will look at Innovation and its sustainability in the city. There will also be details of free 'Office Space package' on offer at the Burslem School of Art. It's worth £300: host an event, use an office for two months, develop a class, and apply for a residency. Here's the flyer for this free event...


Click to see the full-size version.

19.05.12    Staffordshire University's B.A. (Hons.) Art & Design public exhibitions open with the preview launch evening on Friday 15th June (from 6.30pm), and end on Saturday 23rd June 2012. Opening times can be found here.

As part of the annual shows, there is a business breakfast event on 19th June (8am). Local creative, design and media businesses are invited to network with graduating students in art, media and design...

Those interested in undertaking one of the wide range of creative degrees and other higher education courses on offer in North and Mid Staffordshire might want to attend the Staffordshire Higher Education Fair 2012. It's on 27th June 2012 at the Sir Stanley Matthews Sports Centre in Stoke-on-Trent...

19.05.12    Newcastle-under-Lyme College will have its annual Art and Design Exhibition open from Saturday 23rd June - Saturday 30th June 2012. Opening times available here. The College is also recruiting now for its September adult evening classes in art and design subjects.

19.05.12    Newcastle-under-Lyme's Barts is working in Burslem Park on 2nd/3rd June 2012 with associate artist Rachel Grant, and will be offering free textiles workshops. Full details at the Barts website.

19.05.12    Job: Derbyshire's Wirksworth Festival requires a Festival Manager. Application deadline: 24th May 2012. Full details from:  assistant@wirksworthfestival.co.uk

19.05.12    Congratulations to the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent. This week they won a "Museums + Heritage Award for Excellence" for their Once upon a Time exhibition.

19.05.12    "Creating the Change: developing a sustainable social or community enterprise" is a one-day event at Staffordshire University (Stoke-on-Trent campus) on Wednesday 20th June 2012. The cost of the one day event is £60 — with the option of an additional two hours support to develop your enterprise idea for £40 (total cost £100). Click the link above for full details.

19.05.12    Creative England has just relaunched the old EU-funded regional film production scheme, Advantage Media Production Fund. It has funding of £450,000 to distribute, as seed money for feature-film production by registered Ltd. companies based in the West Midlands. Application deadline: 8th June 2012. Guidance sheet is available here.

19.05.12    The Design Council and the Nominet Trust are challenging the UK's creatives...

"to design, build and launch new digital products and services that help young people [16-24] develop their talents and make a living."

They'll be offering three winning teams up to £50,000 each to cover design and development, plus support and publicity to make things happen. Full details at their Working Well website.

19.05.12    The Shire Hall Gallery, in the centre of Stafford town, is to host Handmade, a contemporary art and craft fair on Friday 2nd November and Saturday 3rd November 2012. Artists and makers are now invited to apply. Application deadline: Saturday 30th June 2012. Full details at the website.

19.05.12    The Granary Art Gallery at Weston Park, Staffordshire, has a Fine Art Open Competition. The main prize is £2,000, with a further £500 prize for artists from Shropshire or Staffordshire. Entries cost £15.00 per piece, and the deadline is Friday 29th June 2012.

19.05.12    Wolverhampton is calling for expressions of interest for a light art commission to feature at Junction 2012, an arts festival taking place in Wolverhampton, 3rd-5th August 2012. Artists living or working in the West Midlands are invited to apply. Fee: £600 fee inclusive of materials. Wolverhampton has previously staged excellence in light art, and on a grand scale — namely the magnificent "Charge" in West Park in the year 2000. More details of the Junction 2012 commission at their website.

19.05.12    Job: Birmingham Museums is seeking to recruit a part-time Museum Assistant at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter (30 hours a week, permanent position). Closing date: Tuesday 21st May at 10am. More details at the website.

19.05.12    North Staffordshire's Rideout is running "In Closed Spaces" at the Birmingham School of Acting, 10th-14th Sept 2012. Five day training programme for those developing theatre and drama in prisons. Cost is £475 - not inc. meals, travel or accomodation.

19.05.12    Job: Writers in Prison Network is seeking a new Writer in Residence at Stafford prison. 1-2 Year contract @ 880 hours / £14,485 p.a. Applications close Thursday 1st June 2012. Apply to Writers in Prison Network at: wipn@btinternet.com

19.05.12    Job: Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College is advertising for a full-time Teacher of Music: GCE A Level and BTEC.

19.05.12    "How to Predict Trends" is a workshop in Birmingham for interiors and lifestyle companies in the Midlands, and will be delivered by trends expert Kate Thorley. The date is 29th May 2012, at the British Jewellers’ Association building in Birmingham. Bookings by 21st May 2012 via: info@ilfutures.co.uk

19.05.12    Would you like to be an artist-in-residence on a canal boat floating around the Manchester and Pennine waterways for four weeks? AND (the organisers) are seeking applications from individuals / groups who are...

"established [artists] working in emerging artistic practice that questions normality."

Fee is £1,500 plus "travel expenses to the UK of up to £1000". Application deadline: 25th May 2012. Full details at the website.

13.05.12    Dates for your diary: the Staffordshire Open Studios weekends for 2012 will be: Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th September 2012, followed by Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd September 2012. Full details on participating artists will be announced in due course.

13.05.12    Stoke-on-Trent's Prototype magazine is having a grand launch party on Tuesday 15th May 2012 (from 7pm), and the editor is interested in exhibitors for the event. You will need to have your own display equipment, and be available from 5pm or earlier. Interested? Please contact:  prototypemag@Gmail.com

13.05.12    The Federation of Small Businesses is running a North Staffordshire event on Monday 14th May 2012 (7pm) at the Potters Club, Federation House (just over the road from Stoke's main train station). The event is titled: "Pick me, pick me! How to convince customers to buy from you." Cost is £7, and non-members are welcome. Book via Eventbrite (hurry, bookings end soon!)

13.05.12    The AirSpace contemporary art gallery in Hanley has a Graduate Residency on offer. It's only open to students who are about to graduate from a B.A. (Hons.) Fine Art course. On offers is: a rent-free 7' X 9' foot studio space for 6 months (July 2012 - Jan 2013); monthly support meetings with gallery director; your first solo show at AirSpace. Full information is available at the AirSpace website.

13.05.12    Denise O'Sullivan is seeking a ceramic or crafts student who would like to volunteer some time on a ceramic schools project. The project is one that Denise is undertaking at the beginning of June 2012 in Stoke-on-Trent. You would be helping to run workshops with Denise, and would also get a chance to run a small group? If interested, email Denise at:  info@deniseosullivan.com

13.05.12    Passionate Drama Tutors are required by the Axis Arts Centre (at Manchester Uni's Crewe campus) for a three day project on Grimms' Tales. Payment is £100 for the whole three-day project.

13.05.12    Job:  St Peter's Academy School in Penkhull, Stoke-on-Trent, requires a Director of Learning: Creative & Performing Arts Application deadline: 22nd May 2012, for a September 2012 start.

13.05.12    A volunteer Sound Engineer Trainee is wanted in the town of Leek...

"Trainee sound engineer required to undertake duties at monthly gigs based in Leek. (Gigs will be twice per month from March 2012). Volunteers will be given full training in all aspects of the role. This is a great opportunity for anyone wanting experience of the music industry."

13.05.12    Bob Catterall has kindly placed online his extensive selection of photos of the opening night of Unilateral, which was the recent art show by first and second-year art students at Staffordshire University.

13.05.12    The newly refurbished Mitchell Youth Arts Centre — in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent — is currently seeking volunteers for their front-of-house team. They also have some limited Internships available, based around specific projects. Interested? Email:  info@mitchellartscentre.co.uk

13.05.12    Added to the Directory: Lightwood Games - based in Stoke-on-Trent, and specialists in games for mobile devices. Stoke-on-Trent's Lightwood Games have created the award-winning entry of the UK's first GameHack event. The two-person team won prizes for "Most Innovative Idea" and "Best Use of Mobile" at the hackathon, held at Pinewood Studios on April 28th-29th 2012. GameHack challenged participants to design and develop an original game in just 24 hours. Lightwood Games has now pledged that the "Plasma Party" game will continue to be developed.

13.05.12    The Stoke-on-Trent City Voices writers' group is to run their 6th Words & Music Festival on 13th May 2012 (4pm-10pm), at The Leopard pub in Burslem. Tickets are £5. More details at the website.

13.05.12    Congratulations to Les Jones, based over at Woore on the Stafforshire/Shropshire border. His one-man creative magazine, Elsie, has just been voted one of the top ten new magazines of 2011 by the New York Library Journal...

"It's a bit risky to select the creation of one individual as one of the best new magazines of the year, but Jones's wit, artistic eye and insight make Elsie a unique treasure. The love and creativity he pours into this magazine is impressive. Every beautifully printed issue features a few personal touches... Elsie will be a freshly distinctive addition to any library's collection of works on the creative arts."

13.05.12    Rosemary Hale is running two outdoor painting days in North Staffordshire in Summer 2012. Cost is £35 per person per event (includes painting tuition all day). The first is on the 14th of July at Cotton Dell, Oakamoor, a beautiful Staffordshire valley. The second is on 8th August at Hen Cloud and the Roaches, for stunning rock and moorland views. Full details at Rosemary's website.

13.05.12    The Arnold Bennett Society is booking now for the 9th annual conference, 9th June 2012, at the North Staffordshire Conference Centre in Hartshill.

13.05.12    The AGM of the North Staffordshire National Trust Association is happening on 15th May (7pm), and will be followed by a talk by Fiona Walker — "Behind the scenes at the New Vic theatre".

13.05.12    The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is running an Enterprising Britain competition, to find the most enterprising place in the UK. There are three categories: the most enterprising place in the UK, the organisation that best promotes enterprise, and the organisation most successful in encouraging businesses to export. The entry deadline is 30th May 2012. To register an interest, send your firm's contact details to:  enterprisingbritain@bis.gsi.gov.uk

13.05.12    The John Betjeman Poetry Competition 2012 is now open to children aged 10-13 in the British Isles. You are invited to write one poem on the theme of "place", a place that's important to you... "Put into words what that place means to you." The closing date for entries is 31st July 2012. The winner will have a £1000 prize, and runners up have a chance at winning Eurostar train tickets and book tokens.

04.05.12    Stoke's Dan Hopkins has a new Landcrash music album out, Landcrash: Sunrise/Dark, via the Rural Colours label.

04.05.12    Jack Kurasik is a local Stoke-on-Trent classical guitarist, with a grade 8 level. He is currently looking for other guitarists or musicians to team up with. Interested? Contact Jack at:  jadvk5@gmail.com

04.05.12    ST1 is a new Stoke-on-Trent documentary project, which is currently seeking 100 people from the ST postcode area who...

"... have a story to tell, people who make a difference with what they do in their day-to-day lives."

See the project's Facebook page for more details.

04.05.12    The photographer Martin Parr will be visiting Stoke-on-Trent, to give an illustrated talk about his career as a documentary photographer and photobook collector. The venue will be The Wedgwood Museum at Barlaston, on Friday 18th May 2012 at 7pm (doors open 5.30pm). This is a ticket-only event, and tickets cost £5 each. To book call: 01783 371900.

04.05.12    Are you interested in experience in theatre lighting, theatre sound, or stage management? The Regent Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent is offering a unique opportunity for just three people (16+ only) will be given the opportunity to work alongside theatre professionals and be mentored on the youth production of Footloose (offering stage experience in August 2012). Interested? Please email: stokecreativelearning@theambassadors.com for an application pack. Deadline: Friday 4th May 2012, 5pm.

04.05.12    Jonathan Wilkes' "Stoke's Top Talent" contest now has a PDF giving application details online. The first auditions will be at the end of July.

04.05.12    Stafford Library and Staffordshire Libraries are running a Short Story Competition. No more than 2000 words, in English. All ages welcome. There is no entry fee. Winners will be announced at the Stafford Arts Festival in September. Entry deadline: 4th August 2012. Full details and rules at the website.

04.05.12    There's to be a Jubilee Jamboree event for Stoke-on-Trent's younger kids (age 3-5), on Wednesday 30th May 2012. The venue is Tunstall Park (Floral Hall). Play sessions and activities run from 10.15am until 12 noon, then 12.45pm until 2.30pm. Workshops include music-making, play with clay, storytelling, and movement-and-play.

04.05.12    Stephen Harvey has a new Kindle ebook edition of his Staffordshire Strange Tales booklet. 34 pages of eerie and strange tales from North Staffordshire...

"some very strange and some very true tales of the area including Molly Leigh who was a very real witch who lived in Burslem, the mermaid of Blackmere, the chained oak of Alton Towers, and the headless corpse of Harecastle Tunnel. There is even a haunted radish, that terrified a woman in Leek!"

04.05.12    Are you interested in what's going on up in the nearby Peak District, in terms of tourism / heritage / culture? A date has been announced for the Peak Tourist Board's forthcoming free annual showcase event in Buxton, at the Pavilion Gardens on Wednesday 9th May 2012...

"Around 60 businesses ranging from activity and accommodation providers to attractions and food and drink producers will step into the spotlight in a special exhibition at Visit Peak District & Derbyshire's day-long event"

There is also a tourism and leisure industry conference for the Peak, running alongside the free showcase, which costs £25 + VAT. See the website for full details.

04.05.12    Could your creative business help homeless people in the city of Stoke-on-Trent? There is to be a free business event on the topic, on Friday 25th May 2012 (from 5.30pm) at the Mitchell Arts Centre in Hanley. The event will...

"discuss the opportunities for businesses in Stoke-on-Trent to get involved in creating opportunities for homeless people."

To reserve a place, contact Marguerite Castille at Brighter Futures:  Marguerite.Castille@brighter-futures.org.uk

04.05.12    The North Staffordshire Women in Rural Enterprise (WiRE) group now has summer meetings dates posted.

04.05.12    Author Izaak Walton's famous Fishing Cottage is to host a 'Greenwood Garden Crafts' free event on Sunday 27th May 2012 (1pm-5pm)...

enjoy traditional garden craft demonstrations with willow weaving and pole lathe turning.

04.05.12    A date for the late autumn. 'Material World', at the Ancient High House in Stafford Town, is an event set for Saturday 13th October 2012 (10am-4pm). The day will offer free...

"displays and demonstrations from experts in embroidery, crochet, knitting, sewing, lace-making, spinning and weaving."

04.05.12    Job (voluntary):  The Woodland Trust wants volunteer local press-and-media liason people in Staffordshire...

"We are looking for volunteers [ to undertake ] writing press releases and letters, and liaising electronically or by telephone with local press and media networks to inspire publication ... in the following locations: ... Staffordshire"

04.05.12    A new local photo-booklet has been published, for the North Staffordshire Woodland Walks week. The Two Universities Way documents a tree filled five-mile walk, linking Stoke train station / Staffordshire University with Keele University. The booklet is free online (PDF link, 5Mb).

04.05.12    Added to the Directory: The Crooked Wabees are a Staffordshire folk band specialising in traditional Northumbrian -style folk music, including the classic and ancient Northumbrian pipes.

04.05.12    A weekend adult course in Traditional Bow Making is to take place at Stafford Castle, 16th to 17th June 2012 (9am-4.30pm each day)...

"Work with our medieval bow making expert to build your own longbow using traditional materials."

Places are limited for this two day workshop, and the cost is £150 per person. Pre-booking is essential. Full details from:  heritage@staffordbc.gov.uk

04.05.12    "Evolve 12" is an evening of final films made this year by first and second-year media / film production students at Staffordshire University. These will be a range of documentaries, experimental films and personal films. The date is Wednesday 16th May 2012 (7.45pm) at the Film Theatre art-house cinema in Stoke (just around the corner from the city's main train station). Easy access by bus and rail, and there is secure bicycle-locking at the Film Theatre or train station. Sure to be a good networking and talent-spotting opportunity!

04.05.12    "How can mainstream and community media co-exist and collaborate?" is the title of a BBC College of Journalism 'Connecting Communities' event, to happen at Salford in Manchester, on 24th May 2012.

04.05.12    Trove in Birmingham are seeking modified and hacked toys for an exhibition. They want toys that... "have been altered, hacked, modified or electronically changed". Deadline: 6th May 2012. See the Web page for full details.

04.05.12    Job:  A Development Curator in Culture, Arts and Heritage is required at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, for a 30 hours per week post until 31st March 2013. Job ref: WHCC00079O. You will assist the Curatorial Services and Programme Development Manager with developing new ways of working and to develop new partnerships. Deadline: 14th May 2012. More details from:  Marguerite.Nugent@wolverhampton.gov.uk

04.05.12    Job:  A Gallery Technician is required at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, for a 37 hours per week post. Deadline: 7th May 2012. More details from:  Marguerite.Nugent@wolverhampton.gov.uk

04.05.12    Advance notice of a new Creative Industry Finance scheme run by Arts Council England. This will offer...

"a limited number of business development loans of £5,000 - £25,000, repayable over a maximum of three years."

Applications open on 22nd May 2012. See the Web page for full details.

27.04.12    The Stafford (Beaconside) campus of Staffordshire University is set to host its third annual Noise Floor sonic arts festival, from 1st to 4th May 2012. There will be live performances of experimental electronica and electroacoustic music from over 50 composers. See the website for full details.

27.04.12    Added to the Directory: Staffordshire Artists and Makers Cooperative, at Gallery 12.

27.04.12    Added to the Directory: Oakland Studios, the website of Bob Thacker, a stained glass artist living and working in the village of Church Eaton.

27.04.12    Added to the Directory: Kate Lynch, an environmental artist based in Stoke town.

27.04.12    Summer art stalls are due to be set up each Saturday in July 2012, in Piccadilly, Hanley. If you're interested in booking a stall, then please email for more information:  info@popupemporium.com

27.04.12    Stoke's Blood and Bone China team has a new short film online. It's a... "science-fiction short action film [...] originally made for the Sci-Fi London 48 Hour Film Challenge 2012".

27.04.12    Local historians Neil Collingwood and Gregor Shufflebotham have a new illustrated book available, Newcastle-Under-Lyme Through Time, with a focus on what was destroyed in the 1960s.

27.04.12    Gabriel Gregory has a review of Marcus Wemyss's recent exhibition of recent painting, in Burslem.

27.04.12    "Responding to Change" is an afternoon arts-and-health event at PICL, Kings Street, Newcastle-under-Lyme. The date set is 21st May 2012 (4pm - 6pm). The event is decribed as a...

"round-table discussion to explore the changing landscape for arts, health and wellbeing. What impact will current developments have on practitioners and what might our response be? Do we need to re-examine our practice and revisit the rationale behind established ways of working?"

27.04.12    Staffordshire Council's Community Arts Fund is now open for applications. The main Community Arts Fund invites applications for up to £800 are welcome to run an arts activity or event... "which benefits the community, widens participation and promotes accessibility". There is also a Community Arts Development Programme, open for applications of up to £2,500 to... "run an arts project which address social issues, develop new audiences, target marginalised groups and supports community development". The deadline for application to the latter is 30th April 2012. See the website for full details.

27.04.12    The Stoke Pride Gala Ball 2012 is happening in Stoke-on-Trent in June 2012. The organisers are inviting local business, those supportive of the LGBT community, to sponsor a table at the event. Full details from:  events@lgbtstaffordshire.com

27.04.12    "Evaluating Youth Arts Projects" is a one-day training day to be held at WAYC, Leamington Spa, on 3rd July 2012 (10am - 4.15 pm). Cost is £75. See the website for full details.

27.04.12    A new 40-page pamphlet on the history of the ceramic flush toilet is now available, Ceramic Toilets (North Staffordshire Press, April 2012). Stoke-on-Trent was of course the birthplace of this vital but often-overlooked invention, at the Twyfords factory at Cliffe Vale.

19.04.12    Fancy a walk with some art? "The Golems" is a newly independently-designed walking trail through Stoke-on-Trent, which takes participants on a tour of some secret places such as Festival Park, and its hidden sculptural treasures. The aim is to...

"promote, preserve and perpetuate some of the city’s unnoticed, neglected and overlooked sites and artefacts."

19.04.12    An exhibition is planned in Birmingham, presenting... "the strongest B.A. and M.A. work from students coming through the art colleges and universities in the West Midlands". Submission deadline: 27th April 2012. Full details here (PDF link).

19.04.12    Entry forms are now online, for Staffordshire Open Art 2012, at the Shire Hall Gallery in Stafford town.

19.04.12    The Stafford Arts Festival and the Stafford Town Centre Partnership are calling for creatives to participate in the 2012 events. They are seeking...

"a wide range of artists and performers to take part in their second arts festival, a community event held on Saturday 15th September 2012, [...] to add life and vibrancy to our town centre"

Application forms are available at the Festival Web page.

19.04.12    Burslem Festival is taking place on Monday 7th May 2012, including a fair and entertainment from local bands. There will be a Burslem Market and Table Top sale. If you are interested in taking a stall, please contact Stephanie McClelland by today (19th April 2012).

19.04.12    Staffordshire University media students will be broadcasting to the city on 87.9 FM, for 25 days from 30th May 2012. They'll be covering the Olympics Torch run-through events, and also the annual Staffs Uni Art & Design Degree Shows in June. Joining them will be the team from Burslem's 6Towns Radio.

19.04.12    Interested in carnival costume-making or flag-making? Local community arts group B Arts is running Olympics Torch flag and costume-making workshops at the disused Spode factory in Stoke old town, from 23rd - 27th April 2012. Full details at the B Arts website.

19.04.12    Here's a quick round-up of local-ish folk festivals happening in summer 2012, with website links...

*  May 4-6 Rogues Picnic, Hurdlow, nr Buxton, Derbyshire.

*  May 4-7 Clun Green Man Festival, Clun, Shropshire.

*  May 18-20 Bearded Theory Festival, Ashbourne, Derbyshire.

*  May 25-27 Acoustic Festival of Britain, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire.

*  Jun 1-4 Chester Folk Festival, Kelsall, nr Chester, Cheshire.

*  Jun 15-17 Lichfield Folk Festival, Lichfield, Staffordshire.

*  Jun 15-17 Middlewich Folk & Boat Festival, Cheshire.

*  Jul 20-22 Festival At The Edge, Much Wenlock, Shropshire.

*  Aug 10-12 Bakewell Music Festival, Bakewell, Derbyshire.

*  Aug 24-27 Shrewsbury Folk Festival, Shropshire.

19.04.12    One for the diary for crafts makers. Mark Vardy writes, to...

"announce the launch of a brand new 'Celebrate Staffordshire' Craft and Food Fair this December. We aim to attract the very best designer makers, craft-workers and producers from across Staffordshire to participate in this exciting event. The fair will offer hand-made goods and locally produced food and drink."

The first such event will take place at The Stoke-on-Trent Moat House Hotel on Festival Park, on Sunday 2nd December 2012 from 10am until 4pm. Stalls are now booking, offered at £50 per 6ft frontage. This includes tables, chairs & electricity. Exhibitors will also be listed on the dedicated fair website at www.celebratestaffordshire.co.uk. More details on 01782 850108 or via email at:  exhibitors@celebratestaffordshire.co.uk

19.04.12    Award-winning journalist Mary Murtagh is planning to share her media insider knowledge with crafts designer-makers in her "How to do your own PR" workshop, which is set for a North Staffordshire date "later this year" in 2012. Interested? Contact:  mary@marymurtaghmedia.co.uk

19.04.12    Added to the Directory: the new blog of author and editor Jan Edwards. Jan is based in North Staffordshire.

19.04.12    Faith in Photography is a new Christian photography group in Stoke-on-Trent, based at the Hanley Community Fire Station. The group meets every Friday in Hanley Community Fire Station, 6.30-9.30pm. Full details at the website.

19.04.12    The North Staffordshire Photographers' Collective is planning an event for World Pinhole Photography Day, on Sunday 29th April 2012. The venue will be the Burslem School of Art, from around 12 noon. Keep an eye on their website for further details.

19.04.12    The Heritage Lottery Fund has just announced details of a new £1m small grants programme. All Our Stories will make available grants ranging from £3,000 to £10,000 to community groups, heritage organisations and charities....

"from researching local historic landmarks, learning more about customs and traditions, to delving into archives, and finding out the origins of street and place names — this new programme will give everyone the chance to explore their heritage and share what they learn with others."

Applications will open online on 31st July 2012, and applicants will receive a decision by October 2012.

19.04.12    This year's TED Prize is the first ever given to an idea: The City 2.0. And instead of giving the $100,000 prize to one big idea, it’s being divided in 10 blocks of $10,000 each, to help seed 10 projects in cities around the world. Piches are now invited for one of these projects. Applications are invited until 15th May 2012.

19.04.12    Six months after the organisation's launch, the Creative England new website and branding has just gone live...

19.04.12    Creative & Cultural Skills is running an online Theatre Talent Survey...

"The survey will look to track the careers of people in the UK industry, and the talent that has emerged from it, to fully understand the impact that public investment in the sector makes."

19.04.12    The UK Design Council's Design for Demand programme is now open for applications. Designing Demand is the Design Council's mentoring service for small and medium sized businesses. See the website for full details.

12.04.12    NESTA currently has a call for online hyperlocal projects seeking funding of up to £50,000...

"to test the next generation of hyperlocal media services"

This comes alongside the launch of a new NESTA report on the state of online hyperlocal media in the UK, Here and Now: UK Hyperlocal Media Today (PDF link, sadly no Kindle edition)...

" To our knowledge, this is the first time that such a comprehensive review has been undertaken. [...] traditional media providers have found it hard to adjust their high-cost models to a sufficiently local area. Meanwhile, hyperlocal bloggers find it difficult to develop a critical mass of audience and to define the right business models to grow their offers into more sustainable services. Little evidence is publicly available on the success or failure of these services."

12.04.12    Added to the Writing and Publishing page, A Little Bit of Stone, a hyperlocal news website for the town of Stone.

12.04.12    Congratulations to Stoke-on-Trent's local politics blog Pits 'n Pots. With the support of the Journalism Foundation and Staffordshire University journalism students, 50,000 copies of a 16-page print version of the blog have this week been distributed to local homes in the city.

12.04.12    Khoros is a new interactive musical instrument developed and produced in Stoke-on-Trent. Available now, it...

"will have you creating aural masterpieces in minutes, whether a musical novice or seasoned composer!"

12.04.12    The Weston Park Granary Fine Art Open Competition 2012 is now on. There's a special prize for entrants from Staffordshire and Shropshire. Painting, drawing, mixed media, sculpture, print making, multi-media are all accepted. There is a £15 entry fee per work, and works must be for sale. The overall Winner will receive £2,000. The Shropshire/Staffordshire winning artist will win £500. Deadline: 29th June 2012. See the Web page for full details.

12.04.12    There's to be a special Owl and Raptor Photography Workshop at Trentham Gardens in Stoke-on-Trent, on 14th May 2012. The cost is £99. It seems to be "in the wild" photography, rather than photographing tame birds in studios. Interested? Call 01782 646646.

12.04.12    Cheadle and District Book Club is a new book discussion club which meets at the Moshi coffee shop, High Street, Cheadle, on the first Monday of every month, to discuss a pre-selected book.

12.04.12    Stoke-on-Trent's Prototype magazine for students and recent graduates has begun its new IndieGoGo fundraising campaign to raise awareness and funds for print editions...

12.04.12    Job:  Red Nile is seeking to commission an innovative print designer, based in the Midlands, to...

"produce a brand new Factory Nights publication [offering] creative ways to feature images from the Factory Night events, images of the artwork and events as part of Unique Commissions and pieces of creative and critical writing which respond to the innovative way Factory Nights commission artists and support their development."

The total budget for design and print is £3,000 and they are hoping to produce the publication by September 2012. Application deadline: 27th April 2012. Full brief and specs from:  info@rednile.org

12.04.12    Your editor is giving away book-cover rights on a new picture. This 6" x 9" inch (2925px x 1913px, 150dpi) version of my "The Pilot's Dilemma" is licenced as Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial NoDerivs. But if you are an author who is self-publishing a suitable novel (or a scholarly book on science-fiction, virtual worlds, or similar) then feel free to use it commercially 'as is', without asking. Note that the place to add the title and author name is at the bottom of the picture, rather than the top...

I'm also available for book-cover commissions, to make similar works.

12.04.12    The summer 2012 edition of the UK's Writing in Education magazine will reportedly have a focus...

"on the work of writers in schools. We should like to invite you to contribute to this, with the proviso that articles submitted will be subject to the normal selection process by the editorial board."

12.04.12    The Government is reportedly on the verge of letting £33m of contacts to organisations that will provide support and grants to communities seeking to use the new rights enshrined in the new Localism Act. Community groups can now force local Councils and other bodies such as the Post Office to hand-over buildings and other amenities deemed to be... "assets of community value" if they are under threat of official neglect or closure. This is potentially relevant to the survival of local libraries, galleries, museums, and other cultural venues.

12.04.12    Added to the Directory: RCA Entertainments is an entertainment agency based in Tean, Staffordshire.

12.04.12    Bursaries are on offer to eight selected students who intend to graduate in summer 2012 from B.A. and M.A. Fine Art or Art & Design degree courses in the West Midlands. Selected graduates will receive one year's free membership to Birmingham's Extra Special People (ESP) based at the contemporary art gallery Eastside Projects in Birmingham. Application deadline: 11th May 2012. See the Web page for full details.

12.04.12    Job: The New Art Gallery, Walsall, is currently seeking a marketing professional... "to work with its staff on an exciting year-long project for young people". This entails 20 days of work spread over over 12 months, until March 2013. The overall fee is £4,000. Application deadline: 18th April 2012. Full details from Ioannis Ioannou, Audience Development Curator, at:  ioannoui@walsall.gov.uk

12.04.12    Interested in the fusion of crafts and gadgets? The online crafts maketplace Etsy is offering $5k Hacker Grants for women to attend Hacker School in New York. This...

"is a three-month, full-time school in New York for becoming a better programmer. We're free as in beer, and provide space, a little structure, time to focus, and a friendly community of smart builders dedicated to self-improvement."

From the FAQ...

"Q: I'm not a US citizen. Can I do Hacker School?

Yes, assuming you can legally be in New York for the entirety of the batch (just under three months). We don't pay you, and we're not an official academic institution, so you shouldn't need a work or student visa."

The Etsy grants are worth $5,000 each, and there are 20 places available.

12.04.12    BT's Infinity "up to 100Mbs" fast broadband package should now be available in Leek and Stafford, from 31st March 2012. A roughly 38Mbps real-world download speed should be available, and BT have just announced that the upstream on Infinity (all varieties) will be boosted five-fold to 9.5Mbps. This upstream boost will be especially useful for those needing to upload huge media files to "need it yesterday" clients, live webcast with video, etc. Next on the Infinity upgrade list is Newcastle-under-Lyme, which is penciled in for a switch-on on 31st December 2012. Stoke-on-Trent will presumably follow in 2013.

02.04.12    Job:  Stoke-on-Trent Sixth-Form College requires a Photography teacher (0.6 part-time contract), on a maternity cover basis.

02.04.12    Underground in Legend and Tradition: The Seventh Folklore Society Legendary Weekend is an event happening nearby on the 1st and 2nd of September 2012. The venue is the Matlock Bath Pavilion, in Derbyshire. The event may especially interest historical and fantasy writers or artists.

02.04.12    Trentham-based PR agency Purple Sprout is offering "up to £5,000 worth" of public relations support, as the prize for a competition aimed at innovative new businesses (trading at least 6 months, no more than 3 years old). For full details, see the competition Web page.

02.04.12    'Multipack Staffordshire' is happened on 16th April 2012, at Penkridge near Wolverhampton. This is a local midweek offshoot of Multipack (the Birmingham-based professional networking group for Web creatives)...

"...join us for a midweek drink and an optional bite to eat, as we discuss all things web and tech in Staffordshire and the surrounding areas."

02.04.12    Congratulations to Stafford-based Sheringham Studios, who have reportedly finished their feature-length movie Money Kills, which is set for a premiere in Stafford in May 2012. The Money Kills Story Trailer is available online.

02.04.12    The Lichfield Festival is to host a free networking afternoon for Staffordshire writers. The date is Saturday 26th May 2012. More details at their website soon (they still have the old 2011 listings, at present).

02.04.12    Barewall gallery in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent are currently looking for an apprentice. Interested? Contact John on: 0121 224 7308. Closing date is in early April 2012. Last week the gallery won the Sentinel newspaper's Start-Up of the Year Award 2012.

02.04.12    Stoke-on-Trent City Council is calling for bids to run two big city-centre entertainment venues.

02.04.12    Cre8Net Launch Night report: "Resilience". At the Burslem School of Art, Stoke-on-Trent. Weds 28th March 2012.

AROUND 80 PEOPLE tucked into a sumptuous selection of locally-made pies and other refreshments, then sat in a cafe-style arrangement of tables in the main ground-floor space at the School of Art. Cath Ralph, manager of the beautifully restored and self-funding School, introduced the evening and the panel of speakers.

First up was a man who had flown all the way from Spain to be here. Andy Davies, former BBC 2 presenter and the producer of the Jonathan Ross radio programme. Andy had started out in 1989, in the days when a university degree in media was not a requirement to enter the industry. He was then managing three music artists, and regularly phoned in to the then-new GLR, the BBC's local radio station for London. He rather cheekily asked presenter Emma Freud for a date, and to his amazement she said yes. This led to Andy meeting presenter Chris Evans, and he blagged a job with Chris as a phone-in wrangler. Sometimes he had to be inventive, and fake comments and responses when the phone-in traffic wasn't really there. So, one of the first lessons of being resiliant is that you sometimes need to take your chances, and indeed to make your own chances. Eventually he worked for Jonathan Ross for eleven years. Andy talked about the press trouble he saw toward the end of that time with Ross, and his view of the London press. He's since been Executive Producer for "Pick of the Pops" and Sky's "Men in Frocks". On the latter he has learned how to handle low budgets, and to select prizes that look fabulous but actually don't cost much — such as a vintage M.G. Midget car the producers picked up for £3,000.

From the floor, John Holmes asked Andy "Where will he go next?". Andy replied that he's working with an indie firm which has a co-production deal with BBC Radio 2, following the requirement that 20% of all programming comes from independents. He's also working on an Engelbert Humperdinck radio biography show, and a "Sounds of the 1960s" project, and as a studio manager.

Andy noted that the media degree graduates he meets are rather limited in their range of skills and their worldview. In his view, life experience and knowing what the ordinary person wants is just as important to success in the media entertainment business. There is something of a generational clash between the new graduates and the "old guard". At BBC Radio 2 the older workers still value a face-to-face in the pub, whereas the younger ones are far more likely to network online.

Andy was later asked about what sort of notions the London media have of Stoke-on-Trent, but the answer was that basically Stoke doesn't even register on London's radar.

Peta Murphy-Burke, Relationship Manager for Digital & Creative at the West Midlands arm of the Arts Council, talked about her role in setting up the Stoke-based Cultural Sisters carnival arts organisation. There were comments about the contrast between low earnings and working for high-profile events such as the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony. Stoke is a good place to base yourself, on costs and transport, but you usually have to go outside in order to get serious income. In the community arts it can be difficult to make profits without employing others. Cuts were mentioned, including 50% admin cuts at the Arts Council by 2013.

Lisa Wilding talked about how she earned a degree in Science and went into project management, and then "fell into" the arts, transferring her project management skills. Lisa started a Stoke webzine called Culturing Stuff, and is now presenting the "Culture Club" radio show on Wednesdays for Six Towns Radio. Lisa said that if you're working in the arts on a public funding basis, then simply applying for the funding is hard slog. But you just have to keep applying, and keep cultivating potential collaborators for bids. Consider the arts lifestyle as "an outcome" that is also worth something to you as a creative individual, and that it also gives you the time needed to keep learning — even if all that tacit stuff can't be costed in a funding application. One way of "passing on" resilience is to pair newcomers with "old hands", which can allow the newcomers to hook into existing support networks. Every project has to be high-quality when you are working in such an insular city as Stoke, but in such a small city is can be easier than elsewhere to build up "a head of steam" with regular funders.

Janet Hetherington of the Creative Communities team at Staffordshire University talked of the planning for the adjunct free training course at Staffordshire University, which will run alongside the four Cre8Net evenings in the first half of 2012. This course was reportedly still in the planning stages, but invitations to apply have now gone out to interested people. As a Brummie, Janet's first questions of a community arts or creative project is "would my dad understand it?" and "how are you going to convince my dad of its worth?" The more people who can understand it, the more resilience your project can have.

A speaker from the floor thanked the managers of Burslem's Six Towns Radio for considering taking on her son — who has a history of troubled mental health — as a trainee journalist.

Ieva Alksne, the Latvian assistant manager of the School of Art, also spoke briefly from the floor to congratulate Burslem's Barewall gallery — on the previous evening the gallery had won the Sentinel newspaper's Start-Up of the Year Award 2012.

After the panel there was networking in the School of Art's spacious ground floor, amid the works in the Pop-Up Ceramics Gallery, which mingled the work of professional ceramics makers with the work made as part of the "Great Wall of China" project to entice local people into making and selling ceramics.

Here are portraits of a few of the many creatives who attended...


The second Cre8Net night will probably be in Hanley during April. Details to be announced.


27.03.12    Added to the Directory:  Wood Goldstraw Yorath LLP Architects, an architectural practice based in Hanley. WGY is also on Facebook.

27.03.12    Added to the Directory:  Alix McMurdo is a young photographer based in Stoke-on-Trent and can provide a variety of photography including band promotion pictures.

27.03.12    Added to the Directory:  Hannah Belfield is a ceramics maker based in Burslem, who hand throws ceramics and makes ceramic jewellery.

27.03.12    The Ark Stoke is a Stoke-on-Trent based local music website, specialising in reviews and features of local artists. The editors are currently in need of contributors. Interested? Contact Josh Doyle via their website.

27.03.12    Added to the Directory:  The curators of the Electric Picture House at Congleton are to have their premiere opening night on Friday 20th April 2012, to officially open this new cluster of nine studio spaces, and a group workshop and arts exhibition space in Congleton (just to the north of Stoke-on-Trent). The venue will thereafter be open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm (closed Sundays).

27.03.12    Susan writes from the Electric Picture House at Congleton. There's to be a MayDay! Street Fair at this venue, with stalls available for local and regional artists and makers. The date is Monday 7th May 2012. A pitch will cost £20 for the day (no commission taken on sales). The Fair has some tables available, or artists can bring their own table/stands. Book now to avoid disappointment! Full details from: electricpicturehouse@gmail.com

27.03.12    The curators of the Electric Picture House at Congleton are seeking entrants for a Picture Postcard Show, for exhibition in June 2012...

"Postcards can be any medium or subject, but must fit the specified postcard size of 4 x 6 inches. All works must be original and unframed. The pieces will be for sale throughout the exhibition priced at £15 each."

Deadline: 1st June 2012. Full details at the website.

27.03.12    Laura Allen's Stoke-based Prototype magazine, for creative 18-24 year olds, continues to develop. The editors and helpers are holding an official Launch Party...

On Tuesday 15th May 2012 Prototype magazine officially launches itself to the public and to the creative industries, when we hold our launch party at The Old Brown Jug in Newcastle-under-Lyme from 7pm-10pm.

Tickets are now on sale at www.prototypemagazine.bigcartel.com from only £5.

Issue one of Prototype is still available for the Kindle — and issue 2 is out but has already sold out...

27.03.12    There is to be a free traditional country crafts Hurdle Making workshop at Hem Heath Nature Reserve (on the edge of Stoke-on-Trent between Wedgewood at Barlaston and the Trentham Lakes industrial estate). The date is Sunday 15th April 2012 (10am-3pm). Hurdles are traditional rustic fencing made out of woven willow or hazel withies. Places are limited, so booking is essential. Full details from Karen Camara, Communities Officer, on: 01538 309416.

27.03.12    North Staffordshire Decorative and Fine Arts Society has two lunchtime talk events coming up in Stoke-on-Trent:

   * Tuesday 10 April 2012 — Sue Taylor: "Art Pottery" / Keith Potts: "Josiah Wedgwood, People & Places".

   * Tuesday 8 May 2012 Jessica Davies: "Staffordshire Figures 2" / Deb Skinner "William De Morgan & Tiles".

The Society also has two study days planned, in the form of trips to Birmingham.

27.03.12    The Moorlands Makers Artists' Market is calling for participants for a May 2012 selling event...


Click on the flyer to see the large version.

27.03.12    The gallery at Weston Park in nearby Shropshire is holding an open art competition for 2012. £2,000 first prize. Entry deadline: 29th June 2012. Full details at the website.

27.03.12    Park Your Yarn is looking for people to make pieces for their new knitting intervention project in nearby Wolverhampton. The aim is to transform Saint Peters Gardens, with the aid of yarn and knitting. There are specific plans to cover 15 benches with knitted covers. Interested? There are a series of drop-in workshops over the next three weeks in various locations around Wolverhampton. If you can’t make it to any of the workshops, but would still like to make pieces, then please get in touch via: info@stitchesandhos.co.uk

27.03.12    Junction 2012, a contemporary arts festival is set to take place in nearby Wolverhampton on 3rd-5th August 2012. Artists living or working in the Midlands and artists nationally and internationally with links to the Midlands are invited to apply. Proposals should be for site responsive or site contextual work. Application deadline: 28th April 2012. Full details at the website.

27.03.12    Job:  A Marketing Assistant is needed at Live & Local. Live & Local is a Midlands arts support organisation...

"for a network of over 200 voluntary organisations across the West and East Midlands who book and promote professional performances and other arts activities for their village halls, schools and community centres."

27.03.12    Job: A Lecturer in Marketing post is now on offer in North Staffordshire at Keele University (Keele Management School).

27.03.12    The Musicians Benevolent Fund (MBF) has opened a new small grants scheme for emerging musicians. Their Emerging Excellence Awards (PDF link) will offer up to £3,000 to selected individual musicians, composers and groups.

16.03.12    The Burslem School of Art is heading up a city-wide Crea8NET programme, of four creative training evenings happening this Spring. The first event will be at the Burslem School of Art, on the 28th March 2012 (from 7pm)...


Click on the above image for the full-size flyer.

Also on offer is a fabulous free 5-day professional development programme, delivered by Staffordshire University. This programme involves masterclasses, and guest speakers, and at the end of the week the participants will have the opportunity of a showcase event to reveal their creative idea. Interested? There are limited places available. Please register an interest via:  creativecommunities@staffs.ac.uk

16.03.12    Added to the Directory: the Staffordshire Marketing Academy. Bookings for their 30th March event "Action For Business" are being taken now.

16.03.12    Added to the Directory: Flank Recording Studio, based in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent.

16.03.12    Added to the Directory: Concrete Poetry, a graphic design company based in Stoke-on-Trent, established since 2000.

16.03.12    Added to the Directory: Emma Clayton. Emma is a private music tutor based in Lightwood, Stoke-on-Trent. Emma can tutor for Clarinet, Saxophone, Piano (for beginners), Recorder, and Music Theory. She also runs a small, friendly ensemble for Clarinet and Saxophone musicians of all ages.

16.03.12    Job:  A primary school Stoke-on-Trent is seeking a Music Teacher for a 6.5 hrs per week post.

16.03.12    Job: Hanley's Mitchell Arts Centre is now recruiting for a Chair and Board members. Apply by 10th April 2012.

16.03.12    Hanley's AirSpace contemporary art gallery is six years old this year, and they are having a fancy dress celebration on Friday 23rd March 2012 (6-9pm). The event will also showcase their recent Stocktake evaluation of the gallery's future. The event will be...

"Fancy Dress — come dressed as your favourite Artist or Artwork and receive a free gift..."

Studio spaces for contemporary artists are also currently available at AirSpace...

"We have a couple of studio spaces coming available. Get in touch if interested, be part of a marvelous studio group. If interested email:   mail@airspacegallery.org

16.03.12    Staffordshire's Shire Hall Gallery Summer Exhibition 2012 is now inviting visual artists and designer/makers to create work inspired by the colours gold, silver or bronze. You can also submit work in these materials. Application deadline: 31st March 2012. Send six images, a current C.V. and an artist statement to Kim Gould at:  kim.gould@staffordshire.gov.uk

16.03.12    A Pop-Up POT Shop is set to provide a selling opportunity for potters. The shop is to be at the Burslem School of Art, 24th March 2012 to 26th April 2012.

"As a part of The Great Wall of Stoke on Trent China program, we would like to invite everyone using clay as their main creative expression medium to show and sell their work at the Spring Pop-Up POT Shop, alongside with Burslem School of Art adult learners."

Full details from:  ieva@burslemschoolofart.com

16.03.12    Keele University is having a Grey Matters Open Day for older people (55+) in North Staffordshire, Shropshire and South Cheshire. The venue will be the Keele University Sustainability Hub on 10th March 2012, and the day will have a gardens and nature theme. Grey Matters provides a meeting facility and access to education programmes and links with academic and students at Keele. More details from:  01782 733986.

16.03.12    Leek town's Arts in The Park event (May 2012) is seeking a sponsor for its main marquee.

16.03.12    The Stoke-on-Trent Funding Fair is set to happen on 21st March 2012. This event will feature...

"funders and agencies able to advise on opportunities for large and small project ideas, core costs, constitution and set up and general advice on completing a good funding application."

Present will be 15 funders including the Big Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Esmee Fairbairn, Santander, Give it Sum, Staffordshire Community Foundation, Community Wellbeing Fund, Newcastle Partnership, and the Coalfields Regeneration Trust. For details contact Stoke City Council's External Funding Team on:   01782 233672.

16.03.12    Job:  Sundorne Infants School, in nearby Shrewsbury, is seeking a inspirational creative practitioner to work with children to design and make a maze within the EYFS1 garden area. They envisage the maze taking the form of a trail/pathway representing a journey. Applications deadline: 23rd March 2012. Budget is around £2,500. Interested? Please send a current C.V and details of previous projects/experience, and images, to Amanda Beadle at:  admin.sundorne-inf@shropshirelg.net

16.03.12    Job:  Staffordshire University requires a Senior Lecturer in Animation, to lead Animation at the university.

16.03.12    Job:  Staffordshire University requires a part-time senior lecturer in Surface Pattern Design.

16.03.12    Job:  Biddulph High School needs a part-time term-time Art Technician. Apply by 19th March 2012 via email or phone the school.

16.03.12    Job:  the North Staffordshire -based Autism Radio UK requires a Supervisor for the station. 25hrs per week. Manage the station, recruit volunteers. Understanding of autistic and Aspergers adults is needed. The station was recently funded by the Lloyds TSB foundation. Apply via website, deadline 29th March 2012.

16.03.12    The nearby residential Arvon Writing Centre in Shropshire is now recruiting for its 2012 courses.

16.03.12    The Light House art house cinema in nearby Wolverhampton has an online fundraising call on now, to buy new digital film projectors.

16.03.12    Birmingham's LGBT Festival is currently seeking: a Performing Arts Curator; a Visual Arts Curator; and a Volunteer Coordinator.

16.03.12    The official brochure for the Cultural Olympiad in the West Midlands is now online.

06.03.12    On 30th May 2012 the Olympic Torch passes through Stoke-on-Trent on its way to the 2012 London Olympic Games opening ceremony. As part of this event there will be a parade through the city centre, co-ordinated by B Arts and Stoke City Council. To make the parade memorable they need flag makers and people who can use a sewing machine, and who are based in North Staffordshire. There will be an open audition on Saturday 17th March 2012 to recruit a team of flag makers. No previous experience in flag making is needed, but machine sewing will be an essential skill. Successful applicants will work with Wendy Meadley for five days Monday 23rd to Friday 27th April 2012 inclusive, and also on the day itself on Wednesday 30th May. Interested? Email:  info@b-arts.org.uk

06.03.12    A new Director at the British Council has reportedly restored culture to the heart of the Council's activities, after it languished for many years under Labour. As part of the new policy there is a new Artists International Development Fund, a three-year programme to financially support English artists to travel the world. Administered by the Arts Council, it's now open for applications, and will provide grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 to artists...

"to travel and collaborate internationally while carrying out professional projects". The money will be given to artists who have so far... "carried out little or no work abroad, but who wish to capitalise on domestic success."

06.03.12    Stoke-on-Trent artist and illustrator Paine Proffitt has a new video, showing the West Bromwich Albion F.C. artwork he has done for their 2011/2012 match-day programmes (used, unused, covers and interiors)...

06.03.12    The five-piece Stoke-on-Trent alternative rock band The Hiding Place have released their first music video. Here's the video for the track "Popular Myths", taken from their recently released EP EP2...

06.03.12    Applications are now invited from school rock bands for Staffordshire Rocks, organised by Staffordshire Performing Arts. Application deadline: 23rd March 2012. Full details at the website.

06.03.12    Added to the Directory: Grand Independent is a new commercial film company spin-off from Staffordshire University. Run by Film Production Technology lecturers James Fair and Peter Rudge, Grand Independent will develop, produce and distribute films and documentaries...

06.03.12    Added to the Directory: Ieva Alksne Ceramics. Ieva is a Latvian ceramic artist, and an arts organiser working for the Burslem School of Art. Her work is mainly hand-built figurative sculptures, largely created in stoneware and porcelain, often combined with metal wire, which is implemented in sculptures after firing.

06.03.12    Added to the Directory: Minster Music, based at Stoke Minster & Blurton, offers a music teaching service providing curriculum music and extra-curricular activities for primary schools, and private music teaching for piano and organ. Jonathan Hill of Minster Music is a university-trained, practising professional musician with over sixteen years' experience in teaching music in the primary school setting.

06.03.12    Shackleford Pianos, of Macclesfield, are seeking submissions from designers and cabinet makers for music cabinets, piano lights, music stands and piano stools to be sold the Shackleford shop. Designs should be engaging, dynamic and captivating. Interested? Please send six images of your work, along with the name of the pieces, dimensions, price and any specific requirements. Also a brief statement about you and your work would enhance your submission. There is no deadline. The email address to send to is:  adshackleford@gmail.com

06.03.12    Advanced notice that the Northern Ceramics Society will have its AGM in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, on 18th May 2012 at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery. The day will start at 11.30am with a talk by Claire Blakey: "Town of Year-Round Thunder & Lightening": Jingdezhen & Stoke-on-Trent (Jingdezhen is the Chinese version of Stoke). Then the AGM is from 2.00pm, followed by a "Pot Session". Note that the Society is also planning a Summer School for 2012, fairly nearby at The University of Chester.

06.03.12    The University of Manchester has new funding for a large number of funded Ph.D. offers. Among the fully funded, three-year full-time PhDs in the MIRIAD Industry-based Studentships scheme are...

The Malcolm Garrett Archive, a Graphic History of the Future; The Visual Culture of Football Fandom: The National Football Museum; Art and Ecology; Pugin: Conservation and the Search for the True Gothic; Hat Works: a museum for Millinery and Hatting; Crafting the Contemporary, dialogues shaping practice, between India and the UK; Design, Technology and the Age Friendly City; Intergenerational Design and the Urban Environment; Textiles and Clothing Recycling; New Models of Digital and Performative Engagement; Creative Partnerships in an Urban Regeneration Context; The Intelligent Building Facade as a Cradle-to-Cradle Product; Formalising Sustainability and Motivation in Social Enterprise Projects within the Community Arts.

Application closing date: Monday 2nd April 2012.

06.03.12    Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) is a new Europe-wide research funding initiative that is now inviting submissions from the UK...

"The research programme will fund new and exciting humanities-centred projects on Cultural Encounters involving researchers from three or more participating countries."

26.02.12    Robert Burns has a new short drama film online now. The movie was filmed in Middleport, Stoke-on-Trent...

26.02.12    Added to the Directory:  Carse & Waterman Productions, animators based in Stoke-on-Trent. Ten months after starting their business, Carse & Waterman Productions are working with the likes of the Santander bank, and telecoms giant AT&T. Both animators were trained at Staffordshire University in Stoke-on-Trent, and chose to stay in the city after graduation.

26.02.12    Congratulations to Anne Rodgers. Anne and her Alsager Pottery featured recently in The Guardian newspaper.

26.02.12    AirSpace Gallery in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, is considering its future with a month-long stocktake this Spring...

"Over the next few weeks, we'll be holding a series of workshops, meetings and events, providing an open, public forum to feed into and create the critical evaluative content necessary to make the decisions we need to make."

No specific event dates yet, but watch the website for more information.

26.02.12    Job:  High Peak Community Arts, in the nearby Peak District, is looking for a permanent Arts Development Worker. You'll... "develop, co-ordinate and conduct High Peak Community Arts' outreach programme of community arts projects with children and families and local communities". Deadline: Noon on 27th February 2012. See the website for full details.

26.02.12    Jobs: a Lecturer in Music Technology and a Lecturer in Musical Theatre is wanted by the nearby University of Wolverhampton. Their School of Performing Arts also needs a Performance Hub Promoter. See their website for full details.

26.02.12    Job:  currently floating around anonymously on the recruitment agency sites...

"£110 - £140 per day. We are currently looking for an Art and Photography Teacher in Staffordshire to start immediately and continue for 2 terms in the first instance. The school is based just south of Stoke and has recently changed to an academy..."

26.02.12    Crafts makers based in the West Midlands may be interested in a one-day seminar event for those interested in... "the potential opportunities for working with industry". The Accidental Pathways event is in Birmingham on 14th March 2012.

26.02.12    Job:  The nearby Lichfield Festival is seeking a Development Manager.

26.02.12    The Library of Lost Books. The Library of Birmingham, one of the largest in Europe and currently undergoing a huge move-and-rebuild, is calling on book artists and crafts makers in the Midlands to...

"rescue old, discarded and damaged books and to re-work them"

26.02.12    The Theo Moorman Trust For Weavers is offering grants to recent-graduate weavers in the UK.

26.02.12    Some advance news for summer 2012. Summer of a Lifetime is aimed at young people in school year 11, who have just completed their G.C.S.E. exams, and... "who are up for a challenge over summer 2012." It's part of the UK's National Citizen Service Programme, and it's reported to be set to run in Staffordshire. More news on creative opportunities within this new scheme, as Creative Stoke gets them.

20.02.12    The Wedgwood Museum in Barlaston, just south of Stoke-on-Trent, is holding a crafts market on 20th May 2012 to showcase the best in local crafts and handcrafted foods. The organisers are now inviting applications from Stoke and Staffordshire artists, designers and designer-makers — as well as artisan food producers. Interested? Send JPG photographs of your work, and a short description, to:  emma.mather@wedgwoodmuseum.org.uk

20.02.12    Pierre writes from London that he is...

"a designer looking for a ceramist to source bisque porcelain bowls (30 to 50) for a commission as part of one of my projects. I was wondering if you could point me into the direction of one or more ceramists who would be interested in doing this kind of work for me."

Interested? Please contact Pierre on 07595 772101.

20.02.12    Preview test riders are wanted for the new Nemesis Sub-Terra theme-park ride at Alton Towers, scheduled to open in March 2012. Application deadline: 26th Feb 2012. The new mega-ride will form the centerpeice of the Alton Towers rides in 2012 and... "will take thrill-seekers deep underground the site in North Staffordshire to reveal an elaborate network of ancient caves".

20.02.12    Virtual Worlds in Education Forum is a one-day event at Staffordshire University's Stafford Campus on 21st March 2012 (9.30am to 4pm). The event is intended as a forum to share experience, information and good practice of using a virtual world (such as Second Life) in a teaching context. This is a free event, but please contact the RSC helpdesk, to find if your organisation is eligibile to access RSC events:  support@rsc-wm.ac.uk

20.02.12    Keele University appears to have a new(?) undergraduate degree course in Creative Computing. This is a Dual Honours course and melds Computer Science with... "computer animation, multimedia, web design, virtual worlds and games programming".

20.02.12    Keele University is to host a conference of historians and 19th/20th Century literary specialists, "Science and Literature, 1800 to Present: Two Cultures or Co-evolution?". This postgraduate conference is set for 12th May 2012. The event will examine the long history of interplays between the sciences and the arts, seen most especially in the 'hard' literary science fiction of the 20th century. The conference takes place against a backdrop of increasing interest by historians in how science-fiction has subtly but directly influenced the direction of scientific developments.

20.02.12    Need to hammer out the terms and conditions offered by your new business? The local solicitors Grideys are running a free lunchtime business seminar to... "provide you with an overview of the key elements of good Terms and Conditions of Business." The date is 1st March (12pm - 2pm) at the Chamber of Commerce HQ on Festival Park, Stoke-on-Trent. Lunch and refreshments available from 12 noon. See the website for full details.

20.02.12    Staffs Live has a video look behind the scenes of Stoke-on-Trent's massive 012 Dance event...

20.02.12    A one-day Puppetry Workshop is to be held at the Regent Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent, on Saturday 24th March 2012 (10am to 3pm). Explore puppetry performance by making your own puppet for short scenes. This appears to be a children's event and is open to those aged 10yrs+. Cost is £15 (£12 concessions). Tickets are available from The Regent Theatre Box Office on 0844 871 7649.

20.02.12    Stage Experience 2012 is a series of summer workshops at the Regent Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent. The pencilled-in dates (may be subject to change) are 6th to 18th August 2012 (9am to 6pm). 120 young aspiring performers will be selected to be part of the two week intensive summer school. Industry professionals will choreograph, direct and musically direct a large-scale stage production, supported with professional equipment. The experience will finish with four public performances of the chosen production, onstage at The Regent Theatre. The experience is open to those aged between 9 and 25. Cost is £180. Application packs are available via:  stokecreativelearning@theambassadors.com

20.02.12    Creative Minds Festival is set to be held at the Regent Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent, from 2nd to 5th July 2012. Application to perform are now welcome from any and all local community groups, schools, colleges. The Festival is open to school pupils from KS2 and above including, Further & Higher Education, as well as from Sixth Form Colleges and Universities. However, to qualify, the group or school wishing to participate MUST be within the city or county boundaries of Stoke-on-Trent or Staffordshire. More information from:  ianmoore@theambassadors.com

20.02.12    Advance notice that The British Council has announced it is launching a £750,000 fund to support English artists to travel, explore and collaborate internationally. The Artists International Development Fund will open for applications in March 2012. More details and a link will be on Creative Stoke after launch.

14.02.12    Added to the Directory: Heron Cross Pottery of Longton, Stoke-on-Trent.

14.02.12    The new Asda supermarket store at Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent, wants to commission a £25k road-junction sculpture.

14.02.12    Design Space in Birmingham is currently recruiting 20 jewellery designer makers, for 12 month self-employed business residences in the Jewellery Quarter. Application deadline: 29th Feb 2012.

14.02.12    The 2012 Staffordshire Performing Arts Festival is seeking... "unique and exciting films" in the following categories: Best Animation; Best Film; Best Short Film (UK); Best Short Film (International); and Best Documentary. Full details at the website.

14.02.12    A Stoke Stone & Stafford Social Media Surgery is set for 12th March 2012 (7pm - 9pm) at The Royal Exchange in the town of Stone.

14.02.12    BCRS, a local lender and manager of funds that provides finance to small businesses, is running an "Access to Finance" event in North Staffordshire. The date is 27th February 2012. Full details and booking form at the Web page.

14.02.12    Stoke's Pits and Pots political blog now has a Kindle edition, with a monthly subscription of 99p.

14.02.12    Keele University is currently offering a rare paid M.A. Studentship for 2012-2013, a Masters in Creative Writing. Application deadline: 17th February 2012.

14.02.12    The University of Manchester has a rare funded PhD Research Award in Art History available for September 2012. Application deadline is 15th February 2012.

14.02.12    The UK's Clore Leadership Programme is inviting applications for 2012/13 Fellowships in its "Strengthening Leadership in the Cultural Sector" leadership programme. Application deadline: 24th February 2012

14.02.12    Newcastle-under-Lyme College is offering firms using apprentices a free "training needs analysis" worth £250, £500 off purchased training courses, and... "a range of other special offers on adult learning courses at the College for their employees. See their website pages for more details.

14.02.12    Advance news, that the government's £1-billion Youth Contract scheme is set to launch in April. Employers will get a wage subsidy of £2,275 for employing a suitable 18 to 24 year-old for six months. In addition, all unemployed people aged 18 to 24 will be entitled to a shorter work-experience placement "lasting up to eight weeks", with 20,000 additional incentive apprenticeship payments to encourage firms to induct successful work-experience people into formal apprenticeships.

05.02.12    Applications are invited for the live/work apartments in Queen St, Burslem, in the north of Stoke-on-Trent (within easy walking distance of Longport train station). These are one-bedroom flats where you can live and run a business for around £300 per month. If you're starting a creative business, or already have one, enquire by email to:  livework@midlandheart.org.uk

05.02.12    James Capper is seeking local businesses with shop fronts, for his Shopscape photography series. Pictures will be included as part of the current "Picturing the Potteries" exhibition at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent. Interested? Email Ivy Wong at:  ivy.wong@stoke.gov.uk

05.02.12    Up to 50 apprenticeship places are reportedly available via Staffordshire University's careers service. Employers get the services of a graduate for six weeks, to help them develop part of their business, for pay of just over £1,500. Full details from:  internships@staffs.ac.uk

05.02.12    Added to the Directory: the Opening Doors design agency, based in Congleton.

05.02.12    Jollies Arts & Crafts is looking for creative people to run workshops, classes or sessions in their crafts room at 6-8 Liverpool Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme. These classes should complement the existing groups doing calligraphy, card-making, and parchment craft. They are keen to introduce a Saturday manga/anime art group for teenagers. Interested? Contact:  jolicoeur@btconnect.com

05.02.12    Ron Machin is a practising artist living in the Staffordshire Peaks, and for several months each year he lives and works in the northern Loire in France. He would like to offer a free talk to local groups about the French gite & arts studio. Interested? Please contact:  rtpmachin@btinternet.com

05.02.12    Ceramics: Making, Collecting & Selling is a course at the Burslem School of Art in Stoke-on-Trent. Built from several modules: take part in all of them, or choose the one that most appeals for you. Enrollment night is 7th February 2012. Full details are available online or from:  ieva@burslemschoolofart.com

05.02.12    J.W. Drums of Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, has teamed up with Afterimage Studios to offer affordable sound recording and video production to bands and musicians in the local area. Full details at their website.

05.02.12    Staffordshire Festival for Performing Arts is calling for creative writers (authors of short stories and poetry). They will be displaying several of the successful entries at venues during the Festival, and a select few will also be asked to read their work during the Youth Choir of the Year Competition. A book is also planned, to showcase the entries. Deadline: 30th March 2012. See the website for full details.

05.02.12    Staffordshire Festival for Performing Arts is holding a competition to find the Staffordshire Youth Choir of the Year. Any School or Youth group which wants to take part should contact the Festival organisers for an application pack. The competition will be on 3rd May 2012, and you could win a chance to record your song in a recording studio.

05.02.12    Stoke Your Fires film festival now has tickets available for events such as The Producers Forum Presents... and All Fired Up (Film Industry Calling), several workshops and masterclasses, and a 72 hour film-making challenge. Volunteer helpers are also needed.

05.02.12    Coming soon are several free creative half-term activities for 11-19 year-olds in Stoke-on-Trent. The venue will be the Victoria Hall, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. Tasters for film making, animation, drama, mask-making and more are on offer. Sessions run at the following times: 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm on the 14th, 15th, and 16th of February 2012. The organisers say: "Please try to arrive 30 minutes before sessions start — places will be allocated on a 'first come, first served' basis." For further information email:  integrated.services@stoke.gov.uk

05.02.12    Stoke-on-Trent's three Business Enterprise Support coaches have helped more than 150 people start businesses, and the scheme is now reported to have gained new funding of £380,000 from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). More information about the Enterprise Coaching scheme can be had through local Jobcentres or by e-mail from:  info@enterprisesupport.org

05.02.12    Stafford Art Group will be hosting a number of artist workshops during 2012, in Littleworth Community Centre, Stafford. The first is on 3rd March with watercolourist Sue Sareen. Cost is £20 per person. Full details from:  staffordartgroup@gmail.com

05.02.12    Job:  Wrekin View Primary school, in nearby Shropshire, is to hold an outdoor World Festival day on 13th July 2012. Expressions of interest are sought from arts practitioners who have experience of delivering exciting, inclusive & child-centred workshops, — based on the main geographical areas of the world — to children in School Years 1 to 6. Application deadline: 29th February 2012. Full details from the School Creative Project Manager, Nicky Dupays, at:  nicky@nickydupays.com

05.02.12    MyStreet is a nationwide UK competition for anyone in the UK to submit a short documentary film about their street. Animators are also welcome. Films can be from 90-seconds to 9 minutes long, and must be "PG"-rated. Winners get a share of £6,000 in prizes, and a showcase screening at the Open City London Documentary Festival. Deadline: 1st May 2012.

05.02.12    Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust runs an Older Adults service at Edward St Hospital, West Bromwich. They would like to offer the opportunity for a volunteer to work with the Occupational Therapy team there, to facilitate a creative Arts Group for older adults with poor mental health and/or dementia. This would involve a commitment of six hours a week on Tuesdays, for two sessions @ 3 hrs per session. If you are interested please contact the Creative Projects Co-ordinator at:  ruth.harvey-regan@bcpft.nhs.uk

05.02.12    Job:  Sound It Out Community Music is looking for a Programme Officer, to work in cultural cohesion and refugee arts. You will also be responsible for attracting and administering funding for these activities. See the website for full details. Application deadline: 8th February 2012.

05.02.12    Stockport Art Gallery is holding an Open Art show. They are inviting artists to submit two new art works (completed in the last year), which have not been previously exhibited. £6 per item entered. See the website for full details.

05.02.12    The nearby Peak District is running a Young Artist Competition, which is open to art students in the UK, aged from 16-19 at 22nd July 2012. Full details on the website.

05.02.12    Birmingham's The Silent Movies Animation Challenge is challenging animators to bring to life a unique collection of silent movie scores. The musical scores have been recorded by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. The ask animators to create a short animation that: resonates with the music and the era; conveys a flavour of a city that has 'rediscovered' musical treasure in its archives; uses the word Birmingham or includes an image of the city. Deadline: 10th April 2012. Entries should be sent as a .mov file via Dropbox to:  rgreen@cbso.co.uk

26.01.12    The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership is holding its first 'open access to finance' event on 26th January 2012, at the Staffordshire County Showground (4.30pm to 7pm). Find out the right way to apply for loans, and get expert advice on access to finance. There will be details on the successful* Staffordshire Business Support Fund from Staffordshire County Council (although those in Stoke might note that Stoke-on-Trent City Council has recently reportedly decided to hold off from setting up a similar Fund for the city). Bookings via:  events@bcrs.org.uk

 * Only seven firms with loans have failed, since the Fund started in 2010. 109 new jobs have been created, through the use of only £1m of loans.

26.01.12    The Mitchell Arts Centre, in Hanley, is hosting a lunchtime event to help local organisations find out about the creative apprenticeship scheme. The date is 10th February 2012 (12.30pm - 2pm). Bookings via:  bookings@creativealliance.org.uk

26.01.12    Ross Hetherington is planning to create and project a 50ft Super 8mm cine film (approx 3 mins 30 seconds) of Stoke-on-Trent. He's looking for suggestions that show the unknown / different / new / creative places, and small businesses that are really successful and which show the way forward for the city.

26.01.12    Added to the Directory:  Paul Briscoe, Biscoe Photography. Based in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.

26.01.12    Added to the Directory:   Sean Jones of Jones Instruments. Sean is a master traditional bagpipe maker, based at Biddulph Moor.


Above: a set of Sean Jones Shepherd Pipes about to go into action at a Bagpipes Society event.

26.01.12    Ashbourne Arts in the Peak District are seeking makers for their Street Theatre festival in Ashbourne (23rd/24th June). Specifically, for the paid creation of an 'army' of large-scale / life-sized scarecrows. The successful artist will also deliver scarecrow-making workshops in the community, predominantly to primary schools. Full details from Graham Shackell at:  sometimesoonarts@yahoo.co.uk

26.01.12    Wolverhampton's Looked After Children's Services participation team and Wolverhampton Arts & Heritage Service are working together to enable the production of a new film for children aged 9 to 11. The aim of the film is to communicate something of what it is really like to be in 'care'. Application deadline: 27th January 2012. Full details from Angela Tombs at Wolverhampton Art Gallery:  angela.tombs@wolverhampton.gov.uk

26.01.12    Free ceramics courses are back, at the Burslem School of Art! If you are 19+, unemployed, and out of education or self-employed (but on low income), then...

"this could be the right thing for you. Depending on your skills you can join a beginners pottery class or if you have some basic skills in ceramics making you can enjoy free ceramics studio time to work on your own projects. And it gets even better as you will have all materials and firing free-of-charge."

Visit the Web link above, or contact Ieva at Burslem School of Art at:  ieva@burslemschoolofart.com

26.01.12    The U.S. -based National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts has one grant available to sponsor one artist for participation in a six-week residency with A.I.R. Vallauris (starting May 2012). Application deadline: 1st February 2012. To request an application form, email with NCECA RESIDENCY in the subject line, to:  contact@air-vallauris.com

26.01.12    Sam Astbury has made an online documentary about the artist-run Electric Picture House project in Congleton...

The first exhibition has now been held there, and the team has completed all-but-one of the artists' studios.

26.01.12    Bilston Craft Gallery, down in the Black Country, is seeking exhibitors for their Drawn to Craft exhibition (21st July — 22 Sept 2012). This will explore the graphic line in contemporary craft, across a wide range of media. Application deadline: 12th March 2012. Full details from:  natalie.cole@wolverhampton.gov.uk

26.01.12    Birmingham Institute of Art and Design (BIAD), the largest UK art & design teaching institution outside London, has a rare funded AHRC Doctoral Studentship in Art and Design available, for an October 2012 start. Deadline: 11th April 2012.

26.01.12    The Patient Environment and the Arts is a one-day conference at Austin Court, Birmingham on 15th March 2012 (venue is round the back of Broad Street, within walking distance of the train station). The event will...

"look at the future of arts programmes across all areas of healthcare"

26.01.12    The Tatton Park Biennial, at Tatton Park in Cheshire, is seeking a Project Manager for Flights of Fancy.

26.01.12    A useful free book, from an offshoot of the Creative Regions in Europe Research Network, Creative Business: 10 Lessons to Help You Build a Business Your Way.

15.01.12    Added to the Directory:  Richard Hearn has set up the new Ardua Music music management company based in Stone, North Staffs, plus a new blog about artist development for musicians. He's also in the process of setting up a social-enterprise record label.

15.01.12    Added to the Directory:  Shelton Pottery, based in Alsager, near Stoke-on-Trent. Ken and Valerie Shelton offer hand-painted bowls, jugs, plates and vases.

15.01.12    Added to the Directory:  Mothertown at the The Old Post Office, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent. Mothertown Gallery & Studios offers exhibition space in our gallery and work space available for hire in the studios — which includes use of kilns, spray booth, casting area etc.

15.01.12    Added to the Directory:  Stoke-on-Trent storyteller Alan Barrett has a new website.

15.01.12    A free two-hour dance class is on offer in the North Staffordshire town of Leek. These are on Tuesday lunchtimes at Brough Park Leisure Centre in Leek, and are taught by Julia Griffin. Spring term starts 24th January for 10 weeks. Full details at the Web page.

15.01.12    Retina Dance will be holding open dance workshops at the new Jubilee 2, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, on Wednesday 15th February 2012 (10am - 12 noon, and again from 1pm - 3pm). Workshops cost just £1.50. Please wear loose comfortable clothing that you can move around in. To book a place please contact the venue directly.

15.01.12    Art in the Park is an annual arts celebration funded by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, in Brough Park, Leek over the weekend of 12th and 13th May 2012. Artists and crafts makers can book tables at £25 per table. Application deadline: 20th January 2012. Full details from Alice Lockett at:  alice@beyondthehills.co.uk

15.01.12    Aspiring crafts makers and land artists can learning the ancient art of hedgelaying, from rural crafts expert Simon Fowler. Simon will be running a course at Biddulph Grange Country Park on 10th and 11th March 2012 (10am to 4pm each day). No previous experience is necessary, and all tools will be provided. The two-day course costs just £35, and places can be reserved by calling the Countryside Team on:  01538 395522.

15.01.12    The PINT Contemporary Arts Festival in nearby Burton-upon-Trent is looking for artists and volunteers to become involved. Submission deadline: 15th February 2012. Full details at the website.

15.01.12    "Creative Connections: survival skills for artists moving into self-employment" is the title of a new evening course starting in nearby Wolverhampton on the 21st February 2012. 2 hours per week, for 15 weeks, 6-8pm at the City Learning Quarter, Wolverhampton. Enrolment is taking place now, for further information contact Moya Lloyd, lead tutor at the Adult Education Service on 01902 558180. If you are in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance or Work Related Employment Support Allowance then you will be exempt from course fees.

15.01.12    Jobs:  The University of Keele has a series of Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships 2012 available in English and Creative Writing, and Music and Music Technology. Early Career Fellowships aim to provide career development opportunities for academics who are at a relatively early stage of their academic careers but who have a proven record of research. Application deadline: 13th February 2012.

15.01.12    Jobs:  Down in West Bromwich, Multistory are seeking six Action Research community artists for a three-day residency in February/March 2012...

"to explore how new or existing connections to and from Dartmouth Park to West Bromwich town centre can be established, highlighted and improved." [you] "will produce a set (or family) of potentially realisable ideas for permanent public works (presented through drawings and models) or a new visual language that identifies, signposts and waymarks routes from the town to the park."

Fee is £800. Application deadline: 27th January 2012. Full details at the website.

12.01.12    Staffordshire University has teamed up with The Sentinel newspaper to organise the 2012 Young Journalist Awards. The competition is open to primary school and secondary school children, and also to sixth-form students. Simply research and write...

"an intelligent piece of journalism which might be worthy of publication in The Sentinel."

The submitted article must be no more than 400 words. It can be a news article or a feature article, but the writer must base their text on... "original stories from their community". Deadline is 18th April 2012. Send your entry including name, age, address, school or college, and daytime and evening telephone numbers to...

Young Journalist Awards, Newsdesk,
The Sentinel, Sentinel House,
Forge Lane, Etruria,
Stoke-on-Trent.
ST1 5SS

12.01.12    North Staffordshire's PiCl, formerly Creative Partnerships, has a number of afternoon creative sessions on offer in Spring 2012. These are: Animation (17th Jan); Music (9th Feb); Creative Writing (8th March); and Craft and Textiles (29th March). Each will run from 4.15pm to 6.15pm, and cost £20 each. See the website or contact PiCl for full details.

12.01.12    There is to be an Early Years Music Conference for music teachers and associated creative musicians in the West Midlands. The date is 23rd January 2012. The event will be free to attend, and will take place in south Birmingham. Full details from the above Web page or from:  donna_n_hounsell@birmingham.gov.uk

12.01.12    Staffordshire University's Creative Communities Unit is offering a number of short courses in community arts management, in the first half of 2012. These include: Managing in a Youth or Community Context; Community Arts in a Global Perspective; Regeneration; Volunteering; Project Cycle Management; Evaluation in Community; Working with Groups in a Youth or Community Context; and Commissioning Local Services.

12.01.12    Job: a Technical Assistant (ref: AMD11-8) is wanted by the Photography and Digital Imaging team at the Faculty of Arts Media and Design, at the Stoke campus of Staffordshire University. This is a full-time permanent position. Deadline: 16th January 2012

12.01.12    The Theatrical Management Association has a half-day training event, in Stoke-on-Trent...

"a half day 'Train the Trainer' course for those involved with the training of staff working in the field of Get ins, Fit ups and Get outs [in theatre]"

12.01.12    Newcastle-under-Lyme employers interested in youth apprentices are invited to a morning event on 14th February 2012, at Newcastle-under-Lyme College (8.30am - 12.30pm). There will be speakers from Staffordshire County Council, other Newcastle employers, and the National Apprenticeship Service. Please register your interest via an email to:  apprenticeshipevent@newcastle-staffs.gov.uk

12.01.12    UK Trade & Investment is looking for the UK's best new export ideas and has launched an Exporting for Growth competition open to all UK small to medium firms. If you have a big export idea, enter before the first-round closes on 31st January 2012.

12.01.12    Designer Maker West Midlands has an afternoon seminar event in Birmingham, "New Contexts: Contemporary craft in historic settings". The date is 19th January 2012.

"This seminar will explore ways in which makers can work within historical contexts, through a range of invited speakers who will be discussing their experiences and highlighting the variety of opportunities for makers within the heritage sector."

12.01.12    Added to the Directory:  Stamp Arts, based in Stoke-on-Trent. Stamp Arts is run by Teresa Pattison who has twenty years of experience working as a dancer, dance teacher and event organiser. Teresa was also Head of Dance at St. Margaret Ward Catholic College, Stoke-on-Trent. Teresa is also a mosaic artist.

12.01.12    Added to the Directory:  Haley Ryan, a make-up specialist based in Newcastle-Under-Lyme.

12.01.12    Want to learn how to plan, shoot and edit a short film using the camera on your mobile phone? Hanley's Uth Centre is offering a free mobile phone film workshop to 15 and 19 year olds. The workshops will be at Soniq Studios and City Uth Centre, Stafford Street, Hanley, on 21st and 28th January and 4th February 2012 (12 noon to 6pm each day). Full information from John Cummings at:  john.cummings@stoke.gov.uk

12.01.12    The nearby Buxton Festival Fringe organisers are now inviting entries for this Peak District arts festival, which is set for 4th - 22nd July 2012. Entrants pay £45, which rises from 1st March to £65, and again from 1st April to £80. Full details and an application pack can be found on the Fringe website.

12.01.12    The Prince's Regeneration Trust has released official video coverage of the recent visit of Prince Charles to Middleport Pottery, in Stoke-on-Trent...

12.01.12    The Big Lottery has announced it will extend the Reaching Communities buildings fund, which helps fund projects that improve or replace existing buildings where a wide range of community activities take place. The Fund will now run for an additional two years to March 2015. It only supports buildings or sites in the most deprived "Lower Super Output Areas" (LSOAs) in England — which are small local areas with concentrations of poverty and health problems, of which Stoke-on-Trent appears to have about 50.

06.01.12    'Apprenticeships for Growth' is a morning event to support small businesses in Stoke and Staffordshire interested in recruiting apprentices. The date is 8th March 2012, and the venue will be the Staffordshire County Showground. Full details from the Economic Development Officer of Stafford Borough Council, Mary Timmis, at: mtimmis@staffordbc.gov.uk

06.01.12    21st century learners: investing in skills for their future is a forthcoming education conference on 7th March 2012 in Stoke-on-Trent. Cost is £95. One of the four key themes is the "Creative Curriculum", and Partners in Creative Learning (aka Creative Partnerships, now PiCL) will be giving a talk on its work in Stoke and Staffordshire. The organisers say: "places are limited, so book now". See the Web page for full details.

06.01.12    North Staffs Minerals is the name of an addon pack being actively developed for the RailWorks Train Simulator 2012 3D train simulator videogame. The pack will feature an authentic 3D interactive recreation of the old industrial train lines in Stoke-on-Trent...

"The hub of the route is Stoke-on-Trent, headquarters of the Stoke Division of the London Midland Region, within Stoke are Stoke Yard, Cockshute Yard and Cockshute Holding Sidings, all local freight traffic originates from the two yards and serves the Collieries located along the former Biddulph Valley line and the North Staffs Colwich to Macclesfield Line."

06.01.12    Job:  The University of Derby is seeking a Lecturer / Senior Lecturer in Popular Music.

06.01.12    Job:   The Co-op Academy At Brownhills, Stoke-on-Trent, require a Teacher of Drama KS3 and KS4 for a one year maternity leave contract. Application deadline: 27th January 2012. See the website for full details.

06.01.12    The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery has several one day creative courses in early 2012. These include: An Introduction to Video Recording; An Introduction to Video Editing; and An Introduction to Digital Photography.

06.01.12    Staffordshire's first Humanities Conference for school teachers will take place at the Kingston Centre, Stafford, on 14th March 2012. National speakers and leading professionals will talk on shaping the National Curriculum in areas such as History and English Literature. Cost is £178.

06.01.12    Staffordshire Creative Health and Wellbeing Network is running a 'Writing a Case Study' event on 1st February 2012 (6pm) in the Mitchell Arts Centre in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent...

"a practical, hands on workshop on how to write a case study that effectively communicates your work and its benefits to potential employers. You will need to bring a laptop to write and upload your completed case study to the Praxis website."

To book a place or ask for more details, contact Sarah-Jane Watkinson at:  sarah-jane@praxisartsandhealth.org.uk

06.01.12    The new Foxlowe Arts Centre in Leek town is starting a new Saturday morning youth theatre class, for ages 7 to 16. These drama workshops will be led by Katie White, a graduate of the prestigious Central School of Speech and Drama in London. The workshops will start in late February 2012 and run in six weekly blocks to coincide with school term times. Each block will cost £39 per person.

06.01.12    There are places available on the Writing Squad writers' group for young people in Stafford town. The group is specifically for elective home-educated young writers. Full details from:  joanne@writingwestmidlands.org

06.01.12    Stoke-on-Trent indie band All The Young have set a release date for their first album. Welcome Home will be released on 12th March 2012, and will be the first of six albums released as part of their major Warner Brothers contract.

06.01.12    The South Cheshire Young Composer competition is also open to entries from North Staffordshire, and the entry deadline is 6th July 2012. Anyone aged up to 19 years old can enter. See the Web page for full details.

06.01.12    The FinboFinbo blog has posted a fascinating illustrated article on the Stoke-on-Trent painter John Shelton: "The oil paintings of John Shelton (1923-1993): an ongoing catalogue".

06.01.12    Blood, Sweat and Stone: A History of Mining in the Peak District is a new DVD documentary film. The 120-minute film is by Byron Machin, a local Leek geography teacher. The DVD is available for £10 from Byron's Seven Stones Publishing.

06.01.12    Wolverhampton Art Gallery is offering a workshop exploring the role of place and atmosphere in writing, on 14th January 2012. All levels of experience welcome but you must be over age eighteen and the group will not be working on poetry. Cost is £16. Full details are online here.

06.01.12    Applications are now being accepted from crafts makers and artists for stalls at the Lichfield Festival Market on 7th July 2012.

01.01.12    Issue One of the new Staffordshire University creative writing publication Work In Progress is now available online...

01.01.12    Tunstall Public Library in Stoke-on-Trent is offering a short course in the Windows Movie Maker video-editing software. Starts Wednesday 18th January 2012, 5pm - 6.30pm for six weeks.

01.01.12    Volunteer post: A Group Facilitator is required for the Stoke-on-Trent Libraries "Get Into Reading" scheme. Shared reading groups meet in libraries and other venues around the city. Stories, poems and extracts from novels are read aloud, and discussed by members of the groups, led by a Shared Reading facilitator. Members find that the weekly sessions are fun, relaxing and enjoyable. This opportunity is currently on offer with a closing date for applications of 31 January 2012. Training takes place on the first three Wednesdays in March 2012. For more information on becoming a Group Facilitator please contact Anne Mackey at:  anne.mackey@stoke.gov.uk

01.01.12    A new local blog has been started, to collect together just the good news from Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire.

01.01.12    Added to the Directory: Jennifer Collier creates unique one-off pieces with recycled vintage papers.

01.01.12    Stoke Stone & Stafford Social Media Surgery has a meeting on 9th January 2012 (7pm - 9pm), at The Sun Inn pub in the town of Stafford.

01.01.12    Staffordshire County Council's 'Making Moves' craft development initiative is offering a two month residency in Solihull (south Birmingham). This will run between 6th February and 30th March 2012, and will work with local elderly residents. Deadline for applications: 6th January 2012. Full information from Aimee Green, Solihull Arts Development Officer, at:  agreen@solihull.gov.uk

01.01.12    Woodfest is a festival of countryside crafts, set to happen as a fringe part of the major 2012 Staffordshire County Show (6th - 7th June 2011). Woodfest will include: Charcoal Making and Chain Saw Carving; Oak Swill Basket Making with one of only two professional oak swill basket makers in the Country; Country Crafts workshops; and Clog Making with Jeremy Atkinson, Britain's last remaining clog maker, and more.

01.01.12    Interested in playing folk music for dancing? Stafford Folk Players now have a variety of workshop dates set for 2012, including their big 2012 Music Day on Sunday 13th May 2012. Details of ticket costs at the website. The website says...

"All of our tutors are very well qualified to both teach and perform at a very high standard. They are well-known and highly respected on the National Folk Circuit, and abroad. Many are teachers of music, or lecturers at colleges of music. The caller is also of national repute and is also a musician."

01.01.12    Nearby Stockport Arts has issued its call for participants in its Artists 2012 Open (12th May – 24th June 2012). Deadline: 20th April 2012.

01.01.12    Redstone Willows has announced its 2012 programme of willow-weaving workshops. The workshops are held at Alsager, and are booking now.


Willow sculpture made at Redstone Willows.

01.01.12    The Textile Study Group is holding its residential summer school in nearby Shropshire in July 2012.

01.01.12    The nearby Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival is set to happen in April 2012, and will have a range of workshops and masterclasses on offer. The full programme will be listed online in early 2012.

01.01.12    The Peak District Artisans' Young Artist of the Year competition 2012 is now open, to those aged 16-19 who are resident... "in and around the Peak District". Young artists are invited to submit work on any subject matter and in any creative discipline, both 2D and 3D. The PDA are especially seeking work that... "demonstrates a unique insight and creative vision as well as skill with materials". There is a £200 cash prize, and the opportunity to take part in the annual PDA exhibition. Deadline for entries: 8th June 2012. Full details can be found here.

01.01.12    The UK Heritage Lottery Fund has recently agreed an increased budget for new awards in 2012-13 of £375m, an increase of £120m on the previous year. They currently expect the increased funds to filter into programmes with community arts potential, such as: the Parks for People budget (£24m across the UK); the Townscape Heritage Initiative budget (£14m, with an additional application round in 2012 for decision in March 2013); and the Young Roots programme (provides grants of between £3,000 and £25,000 for heritage projects which engage 13-25 year olds).

01.01.12    The Prince's Foundation for Children and the Arts has a 'Start' scheme, for children to begin to develop a lasting relationship with a specific arts venue and art form. 'Start' is now actively seeking passionate and committed partner organisations to work with it to develop and deliver 'Start' for pupils from primary and secondary schools in their local area. It is looking to recruit six to ten new partners for the 2012/13 academic year. Application guidelines are online here (PDF link). Application deadline: 1st February 2012.

01.01.12    The UK's Nominet Trust is currently inviting applications for funded projects working with older people (65+) to design new and better ways for older people to access and use the Internet. Deadline: 1st February 2012.


30.12.11    The Stoke-on-Trent Adult Learning Course Guide for Spring 2012 is now available as an online PDF. A number of the short courses on offer are in the arts and crafts.

30.12.11    Added to the Directory:  Despite the demise of local architects Hulme Upright, their former employees are still here. Two of these have started a new architectural practice in North Staffordshire. Hewitt & Carr Architects is based in Cheadle and run by Mark Carr, Natalie Hewitt, and John Sambrook (who designed the local New Victoria Theatre).

30.12.11    Keele University in North Staffordshire currently has several studentships on offer. The PhD Studentships in the Humanities (ref: RIHUMS 2012/13) include English and Creative Writing, Cultural Studies and Literature, and Music and Music Technology. Keele also has funding for an M.A. Studentship in Creative Writing (ref: RIHUMS MA 2012/13), and an AHRC Masters in Music, MRes (ref: RIHUMS MRes 2012/13). Application deadlines are in February 2011.

30.12.11    Staffordshire Library Service is running a £1,000 Poetry Competition. The deadline is 28th February 2012. Entrants can be of any age, and are asked to submit a poem of no more than 40 lines — along with a cheque for an entry fee of £4. Local, national and international writers are all welcome to submit a poem. Entries should be printed and posted to: Stafford Poetry Competition, Shire Hall Library, Market Street, Stafford.

30.12.11    Job:  The children's charity Spurgeons is looking for a group of experienced community artists on a Big Society project to help families affected by prison sentences. This arts project must be completed by 30th March 2012. Spurgeons will work with serving prisoners, and where possible their families, during prison visits and family days to develop "positive parenting artwork" that can be used as imagery across visitor centres within prisons in London and at HMP/YOI Drake Hall in Staffordshire. Application deadline: 18th January 2012. Full details from Jo Davis at:  jdavis@spurgeons.org

30.12.11    Job:  Artists or workshop leaders are required for an arts day for disabled children their families and friends, in Wolverhampton on Friday 17th February 2012; Application deadline: 4th January 2012. You'll run drop-in workshops, and funding is likely to cover two or three workshops or artists. Workshop leaders should have experience in working with disabled children. Please email an expression of interest in the first instance, with a brief description of your suggested workshop and how it could work in this setting, plus your fee. Please attach a current C.V. and website link. Max. budget: £300 including materials and travel. More details from: Christine McGowan at:  admin@newhamptonarts.co.uk

30.12.11    The UK Society for Storytelling's Annual Gathering is happening in nearby Chester in 2012. The dates are 30th March - 1st April 2012, and the keynote speaker will be the novelist Alan Garner.

30.12.11    Bill Cash, the M.P. for Stone, has published a new book, John Bright: Statesman, Orator, Agitator, on the Victorian statesman and free-trade advocate John Bright. This major new biography is the result of fifteeen years of research. Bright was an M.P. for Stockport, and then for Birmingham for thirty years, and his ideas led directly to the Tories giving the vote to the working classes. Bright's name lives on locally in the name of John Bright Street in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.

30.12.11    Local author Mel Sherratt has a new novel available, Taunting The Dead. The book tells a gritty and atmospheric crime story set in Stoke-on-Trent.

30.12.11    'Shooting for Success' is a forthcoming one-day training course, to be delivered by Helga Henry of Fierce Earth, and is part of the Stoke Your Fires film festival programme. The date is 22nd February 2012, and the venue is The Mitchell Arts Centre in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent...

"Your route to growing your business is by developing great relationships with current and potential clients. Winning more work from your existing clients while gaining new clients – and keeping all of them happy – is the way to make your future secure and helping your business grow. And if you want to deliver bigger projects and more ambitious work - one great way is to work for the public sector on large scale projects. But how do you get started? And how do you maximise your chances of winning work when tendering to the public sector?"

The event is free, with an application deadline of 31st January 2012. To obtain an application form please email:  dean@fierceearth.com

20.12.11    Creative Stoke will now be taking a break for the Christmas and New Year holidays. 835 items have been posted in the Creative Stoke "What's New?" during 2011.

20.12.11    The forthcoming museum in the old Spode factory in Stoke town is seeking a contractor who can fundraise and deliver a programme of exhibitions. The name of the museum will be The Spode China Hall, and it is hoped it will bring 80,000 visitors to Stoke town per year. Stoke-on-Trent City Council is now seeking a suitably qualified contractor...

"to develop a programme of exhibitions, a business and operations plan, investigate funding opportunities and make a funding application."

Application deadline: 9th January 2012. Maximum Budget: £4,700 excluding VAT.

20.12.11    The Creative Communities Unit at Staffordshire University is set to host a one-day conference on participatory video in Stoke-on-Trent, on 10th January 2012...

"This conference will be of interest to people working with communities and anyone concerned with issues of engagement and representation. Keynote speakers include Chris High (Lecturer in Communications at the Open University), Su Braden (Author of Video for Development), and Ray Johnson (Emeritus Professor of Film and Documentary at Staffordshire University). Speakers will outline issues in the use of participatory video, and set some questions for the participants to consider during the day."

20.12.11    In the nearby Peak District, freelance community artists are being sought by the High Peak Community Arts organisation. They are specifically seeking new project ideas for Project Earth, an environmental arts and health project for adults experiencing mental distress in the High Peak district of Derbyshire. The organisation works with adults experiencing mental distress. Application deadline: 31st December 2011. For a full brief please email:  alison@highpeakarts.org

20.12.11    Georgia Hamilton is planning to put on a steampunk / neo-Victoriana exhibition in Leek in 2012. to showcase some of the fantastic Steampunk art and creations that are out there. If anyone knows of artists or people interested in this who would like to get involved, please contact her via Facebook or through Leek Art Space.

20.12.11    The Marburae Gallery of Macclesfield, Cheshire would like to receive submissions for both 2D and 3D artworks for an exhibition from 26th April through to 1st June 2012 (preliminary dates). Commission of 25% on all works sold. Submission deadline: 1st January 2012. Send eight images of your work (along with the title, dimensions, price inclusive of 25% commission and any specific requirements for hanging, statement) to: marburaegallery@gmail.com

20.12.11    Added to the Directory: the Traditional Arts Team. The Team delivers top quality traditional folk music and storytelling to venues across the West Midlands. They are now spearheading a new regional development programme for traditional music and song, fronted by their magazine Folk Monthly.

20.12.11    The Midlands folk music radio programme Folkwaves is set to return soon. Formerly broadcast to the Midlands, and one of one of the finest folk shows in the UK, the two hour show was tragically axed by the BBC in early 2011 — apparently because it was deemed "minority radio". The show is now set to return as a one hour podcast, as is currently seeking advertisers.

20.12.11    Cheshire East Council is inviting expression of interest to run the Lyceum Theatre in Crewe.

15.12.11    Michelle Holland is set to run four book arts workshops in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, during 2012. No dates as yet, but if you're interested then please contact Michelle at:  midgesaxon@yahoo.co.uk

15.12.11    Added to the Directory:  the Poetry Society Stanza Group meets regularly in The Leopard pub in Burslem. They generally meet on the third Tuesday of the month, but details are posted on their blog. It is not necessary to be a member of The Poetry Society to attend, and admission is free.

15.12.11    Added to the Directory:  Staffordshire Creamware, based in Burslem.

15.12.11    Added to the Directory:  Photosensor is a new online documentary photography magazine, edited from Stoke-on-Trent.

15.12.11    There will be digital photography workshops at the Etruria Industrial Museum in Stoke-on-Trent, on the 5th and 19th February 2012. The special one day photography workshops are intended to help you... "to find out how to make the most of your digital SLR or compact camera". The times are 10am – 4pm, and prices are from £75. Booking is essential and places are limited. Phone 07958 007004 for more details.

15.12.11    Added to the Directory:  One Media Group (OMG) is Staffordshire University's student-managed media station, available via radio, television and online. Currently covering "everything uni-related, including news, events, music and entertainment".

15.12.11    Emily & Jen Dance for Deeron is a new novel based around the ancient Abbots Bromley Horn Dance in Staffordshire. The book is said to... "blend folklore, fantasy, dance and music into a magical adventure of good versus evil and enduring friendship". The author has recently relocated from the South East to the Midlands, and is planning a related... "high quality film that will feature on many media platforms".

15.12.11    Added to the Directory:  Polly Shave, a photographer who has recently returned home to Stoke-on-Trent, from a degree at a university in the North East. Polly is set to have a show at the Burslem School of Art in early 2012.


Above: Self portrait, August 2010.

15.12.11    The President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Angela Brady will be hosting a "Meet the President" evening on 19th January 2012 (5pm to 7.30pm) at The Potters' Club at Federation House, Stoke-on-Trent (opposite Stoke's main train station). Full details at the The Potters' Club website.

15.12.11    The 3rd UK Tattoo Convention is set to happen in nearby Shropshire on 15th January 2012, at the Telford International Centre. Full details at the website.

15.12.11    Added to the Directory: Staffordshire Studies, an academic journal on the history of the county, published from Keele University.

15.12.11    Middleport Pottery — of Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent — has a new website. (The Burleigh brand still has its own website).

15.12.11    British Telecom has announced that the town of Newcastle-under-Lyme will be the next bit of North Staffordshire to get "super-fast" broadband Internet, sometime in 2012. Staffordshire County Council currently has an online consultation survey about fast broadband in the county (survey closes 31st Dec 2011).

15.12.11    Women in Rural Enterprise (WIRE) has details of its first two meetings of 2012. Meetings are held at the Tollgate Hotel in Stoke-on-Trent.

09.12.11    Staffordshire's Lord Stafford Awards 2012 is currently open for entries in the Midlands round. A prize of £5,000 available for the winners. The Awards recognise and encourage the development of collaborative relationships between businesses and universities, highlighting the value and importance of such partnerships. The objective is to generate increased competitiveness, knowledge, support, growth and economic prosperity. Universities across the Midlands can compete in the following four categories: Innovation in Development; Innovation Achieved; Innovation for Environmental Sustainability; and Open Collaboration. The closing date for entries is 28th June 2012. Full details at the website.

09.12.11    Blog writers may be interested to hear that the UK's national event for bloggers is happening in the Midlands in 2012. BlogCampUK 2012 will be held on 21st April 2012 in Birmingham.

09.12.11    Job: Stoke-on-Trent City Council's City Renewal department wants to engage casual tutors to deliver on a range of adult education courses. Tutors are required with subject expertise in Arts and Crafts; Sugarcraft and Cake Decorating; Ceramics; Photography. Pay is £13.61 per hour, although it's not clear if this is only for classroom-contact time, or if it also includes class preparation time.

09.12.11    Birmingham's Producers' Lab is running a free workshop for film producers, at the Mitchell Arts Centre, in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.

"find out what it takes to become a film producer [...] The two day Producers’ Lab will offer participants the opportunity to learn all about the role of the producer and how to prepare, produce and distribute a short film [...]"

The dates are Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st February 2012 (10am-6pm, each day) and you must be available to attend both days. Application deadline: 20th January 2012. Full details from:  info@stokeyourfires.co.uk

09.12.11    The 2012 date has been announced for the Staffordshire Festival of Performing Arts — 6th May 2012. This is a festival of dance & drama, set to take place it the Mitchell Arts Centre in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.

09.12.11    AmeCon is the UK's largest residential convention dedicated to the celebration of Japanese animation (anime) and comics (manga), and in August 2012 it will be held at Keele University in North Staffordshire.

09.12.11    The Staffordshire Artists Cooperative is looking for new full members or guests to exhibit in Gallery at 12, Eccleshall. Gallery at 12 is the showcase gallery of a group of artists and makers who live or work in West Staffordshire or surrounding areas.

09.12.11    The annual Voluntary and Community Sector Conference from Stoke-on-Trent is to take place on 24th January 2012, at The Bridge Centre, Stoke-on-Trent. Full details at the website.

09.12.11    Newcastle-under-Lyme Cultural Grants can offer up to £1,500 in public funding to suitable applicants.

09.12.11    Job:  Burton upon Trent's Brewhouse Arts Centre needs an experienced Casual Gallery Development Officer. See the website for full details.

09.12.11    Creative England has just opened the British Film Institute's Lottery Funding scheme for film-makers "in the English regions". Note that short animations can now be funded...

* The Development Fund is inviting applications from individual writers, writer/directors and/or producers based in the English regions for the development of all types of feature films, including animation and documentary. [...] Awards will range from £2,500 to £25,000.

* The £150,000 Film Networks Fund is open to networks and organisations whose work supports and promotes filmmaking activities in the English regions [...] Awards will range from £2,500 to £25,000.

09.12.11    Job: Kedleston Hall, in Derbyshire is a National Trust site. The custodians are seeking expressions of interest for a major contemporary arts commission in the late summer and autumn of 2012...

"The intention is for an artist, architect or designer with a strong track record, to realise a new way of experiencing this incredible site for a period of four months, August to November 2012."

The fee (inc. materials) is £60,000. Full details from either : james.lee@nationaltrust.org.uk  or  kate.stoddart@nationaltrust.org.uk

09.12.11    Down in the south of the West Midlands, The Courtyard at Hereford is seeking women's subversive crafts that involve flowers. Full details from:  kate@kateowens.com

09.12.11    Staffordshire's Lichfield Festival invites applications from Education and Community artists in any art form, to take part in the Festival's "Aspire L+P programme" which provides summer activities for school groups and 'taster' workshops. Full details from:  jennifer.smith@lichfieldfestival.org

04.12.11    Job:  The Buxton Festival requires a Chief Executive, with effect from July 2012. Deadline: 9th Dec 2011. Full info: recruitment@buxtonfestival.co.uk

04.12.11    The Co-op have a new Simply Start-up website and guide for those starting a community business...

"A guide for anyone involved in the creation of an enterprise that will be owned by, run by, and supported by the community in which it operates."

09.12.11    Down in South Staffordshire, the Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust would like to offer a work experience placement opportunity for an artist or student artist specialising in photography. You'll offer older adult inpatient and day hospital mental health patients the opportunity to engage in a new productive, meaningful project involving 'photography with nature' as the subject matter. The project will run for eight weeks between March and June 2012, depending on the availability of the successful applicant. Application deadline: 20th January 2012. Full details from the Creative Projects Co-ordinator:  Ruth.Harvey-Regan@bcpft.nhs.uk

09.12.11    Job:  Cheshire East Council is seeking community artists...

"to work with identified community groups and children’s centres across the Borough to create bespoke artwork as part of the sub-regional Cultural Olympiad programme for 2012. The art form is open to interpretation and we are welcoming artist proposals as to which art form they would like to use in order to create a visual, movement based or audible interpretation of the concept."

Application deadline: 19th December 2011. Full details from:  jocelynmcmillan@cheshireeast.gov.uk

04.12.11    Added to the Directory:  Pro Poly are a Stoke-based firm providing business design, animations, and more.

04.12.11    Added to the Directory:  Stoke-based Jason Leon Georgiou can provide basic stop-motion workshops.

04.12.11    Added to the Directory:  The Stoke-on-Trent arts and experimental music group InDustrascapes.

04.12.11    The British Glass Biennale is set to happen on South Staffordshire (Wordsley and Stourbridge) in late summer 2012, and the organisers are calling for expressions of interest from Midlands glass artists. All works must be available for sale and must have been made since 31st March 2011. No size restrictions. Deadline for application or entries: 20th February 2012. Full details at the website.

04.12.11    Job:  Stoke-on-Trent City Council requires a creative agency / consultant / project manager to develop and deliver a series of bespoke training programmes/activities to...

"[encourage] locally-based emergent and established artists/companies build capacity within their practice and creative businesses" [and help] creative industries to consider business models and revenue generation" [and to] "deliver relevant training to creative industries driven by inspirational facilitators and speakers ..."

"the successful organisation will be required to work with partners to coordinate provision across the city and help prioritise investments and interventions that delivery across the six identified themes set out in the North Staffordshire Creative Industries Strategy and Development Plan."

Maximum Budget: £15,000 excluding VAT. Application deadline: 5th January 2012. "Programme to be delivered by March 2012". Full details from:  john.holmes@stoke.gov.uk

04.12.11    The privately-funded Foxlowe Arts Centre in the town of Leek opened on Fri 2nd December 2011, with the cafe set to open on this coming Wednesday.

04.12.11    Added to the Directory:  Matthew Basham, a Stoke-based photographer specialising in street photography, photojournalism, and the urban landscape.


Above: Matthew Basham, from a series made inside the abandoned High Peak College.

04.12.11    Shell's LiveWIRE Grand Ideas has four £1,000 awards to give away in December 2011, to the most innovative ideas submitted by new businesses. Entrants (and any business partners) must be aged 16-30, been trading for less than 12 months, and be based in the UK. Deadline: 31st December 2011.

04.12.11    The Stake gives 16 to 21 year olds the chance to decide how £100,000 is spent and allows you to turn a bright idea into a reality. You can either pitch or back an idea, with the chance of making it a reality. The top 20 ideas with the most 'stakes' on Facebook by 23rd December 2011 will be shortlisted and judged by a panel that includes representatives of Barclays Bank.

02.12.11    Job:  Vodafone in Stoke and is recruiting for a Video Content Coordinator (job ref: STO000002)...

"You’ll co-ordinate and deliver video production for Vodafone YouTube / social media channels. You’ll provide technical expertise in all areas of film and video production."

Application deadline: 6th January 2012.

02.12.11    The organisers of Leek's annual Art in the Park festival (12th-13th May 2012) are seeking exhibitors. Creatives can book tables from £25. Application deadline: 20th January 2012. Full details from Alice Lockett at:  alice@beyondthehills.co.uk

02.12.11    Added to the Directory:  A warm welcome to Ellen Rogers. Ellen is a fashion photographer who has recently moved to North Staffordshire, and she looks forward to meeting like minded creatives via Facebook and elsewhere.

02.12.11    The Revolution bar, at Newcastle-Under-Lyme, is putting on a special night for creatives. Bad Edit is to be held on the first Monday of each month, and tickets will cost £3 or £5 on the door. All money raised will be ploughed back into future events. More info at the Bad Edit website or the Facebook group.

02.12.11    Small businesses are being offered a two-year "growth programme" at Keele University Science and Business Park (KUSBP). Aimed at supporting...

"ambitious companies that have been trading for 12 months or less and want to expand and create jobs".

This business growth programme starts from February 2012. Full details from Lucy Delany at:  lucy.delaney@kusbp.com

02.12.11    There will be a free preview screening of the feature-film version of Stoke's Blood and Bone China YouTube vampire series, on the big screen at the Stoke Film Theatre next Wednesday, 7th Dec 2011, at 7.30pm. Most of the cast and crew will be in attendance. Come along and "say hello"! The Stoke Film Theatre is just around the corner from the main Stoke train station, and is very easy to find once you're at the station. Secure cycle locking at the Theatre or at the Station, and there are several pay car-parks around the station. Please just drop an email to:  info@bloodandbonechina.com  if you're coming, so that there's a tally of the likely numbers.

02.12.11    Birmingham's fiction publisher Tindal Street is running writing masterclasses for fiction writers in the West Midlands, starting in January 2012. Taking bookings now, limited to thirty places. The location will be Fazeley Studios, in Digbeth (just south of the city-centre, walkable in about 25 minutes from B'ham New Street train station). There will be a welcome evening on 6th December 2011 (6pm-8pm). Not sure about cost — their info page was supposed to be "live from 1st Dec", but it's now the 2nd and it's still empty.

02.12.11    Congratulations to Staffordshire University and to Keele University. Researchers there have jointly been awarded nearly £30k by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for their forthcoming collaborative project titled 'Medical Histories: stories about health, illness and medicine in North Staffordshire'. This will bring together creative writers, Staffordshire residents, health industry representatives, primary health care trusts, and charities. Together they will explore aspects of the local history of medicine, via a series of creative-writing workshops. The first such workshop will be held in March 2012. Watch Creative Stoke for more details in the new year.

02.12.11    The Department for Education is investing more than £171 million of funding in a network of music education hubs, between August 2012 and March 2015. There is currently an open application process to have a hub. Deadline for applications: 17th February 2012. Local music education hubs will ensure that every child aged 5-18 has the opportunity to sing and learn a musical instrument, as well as perform as part of an ensemble or choir. Hubs will also link into regional and national initiatives and opportunities. Hubs are evisaged as being a partnership...

"of organisations working in a local area, to create joined up music education provision for children and young people, both in and out of school. Hubs will be expected to form strong partnerships with local authorities, schools, music organisations, practitioners and communities, to provide quality music education"

Full details from Arts Council England, which is administering the selection process, can be found online here.

02.12.11    Job:  Wyre Forest District Council and University of Wolverhampton are offering an experienced mid-career crafts maker an Artist in Residence opportunity at The Boars' Head Public House in Kidderminster, as part of the Making Moves project. Making Moves is a crafts development project which builds on a seven year partnership between Staffordshire County Council and Craftspace. The residency is 20 days, between 23rd January 2012 and March 2012. Application deadline: 5pm on the 16th of December 2011. Full details can be had from Loz Samuels, Wyre Forest District Council Arts and Play Development Officer, at:  loz.samuels@wyreforestdc.gov.uk

26.11.11    Folklore and tales of North Staffordshire is a new Facebook group for...

"occasional news, chat and notifications on items of historical folklore and similar fantastical tales from Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire."

26.11.11    Rachel Evans is a Staffordshire basketmaker, based in Oakamoor. Rachel is running a 'Make a Willow Shopping Casket' course on January 14th and 15th 2012, at Oakamoor Village Hall (Oakamoor is a few miles east of Stoke). The course is two days and costs £100, including all materials. Eight places are available, to ensure everyone learns lots. There are currently three places left. Rachel can do vouchers, for a lovely Christmas present. Full details from:  wheatcroftwillow@googlemail.com

26.11.11    Arts Derbyshire is running a competition to celebrate the nonsense poet Edward Lear's bicentenary in 2012. The competition is open worldwide and entry is free. You are asked to write your own nonsense poem (up to 40 lines, one entry per person, not previously published). Chosen poems will also be published on the Derbyshire Literature Festival website. Entries must be received before April Fool's Day on Sunday 1st April 2012.

26.11.11    Placements:  BBC Radio Stoke has three placements on offer for February, March, and April 2012 respectively. For over 18s only. Application deadline: 30th Nov 2011...

"The placement is aimed at those who live, or who are based, in North Staffordshire or South Cheshire with a demonstrable interest in radio and online [media,] and some knowledge of BBC Radio Stoke's output."

26.11.11    An auditions call has been put out by the North Staffordshire Operatic Society, for their staging of Me and My Girl at the Stoke Rep Theater in early summer 2012. Pre-audition workshops will be held on Friday 2nd and Tuesday 6th December 2011. Auditions will then be on 9th & 10th December 2011 at Thistley Hough High School. Full information from:  ginabrian@tiscali.co.uk

26.11.11    Job:  A new sculpture is to be commissioned to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the award of Keele University’s Charter as a university. The commission, to be funded by alumni and other donations, is for an outdoor sculpture. The university is now calling for the submission of design concepts, with closing date of 5th January 2012. See the Web page for full details.

26.11.11    Placement:  The Glasshouse Studio, at Jephson Gardens in Leamington Spa (easily accessible on the train from Stoke), are seeking an enthusiastic West Midlands -based Crafts or Design graduate (graduation within the last three years), for a placement at The Glasshouse Studio. The placement will offer the opportunity to work alongside an experienced mid-career artist resident. The resident artist will be working with community and the graduate placement will work alongside the artist with these groups. Deadline for application: 16th December 2011. Full details at the Web page.

26.11.11    Job: Staffordshire's Lichfield Festival would like to hear from artists and facilitators, in any art form, who have experience of working on Education and Community projects. Each year the Festival's Aspire L+P programme engages hundreds of local residents in arts workshops, performance projects and masterclasses. The Festival organisers now want to expand the pool of facilitators who run principal performance projects with school groups, and who participate in the annual Get Creative taster workshop series each July. Interested? Please submit your C.V., along with details of your work and any references from previous projects, by email to:  jennifer.smith@lichfieldfestival.org

26.11.11    Job:  The new Creative England is going for a re-brand...

"we’re keen to shed our old, transitional branding and develop a whole new identity. We want a brand that really speaks to creative industries companies and talent, all around the English regions, and we’re inviting SMEs specialising in branding and design to pitch for a £5k contract to deliver our new style."

Proposals deadline is 9th December 2011. Interested? Email Martin Booth, Communications Coordinator at:  martin.booth@creativeengland.co.uk

26.11.11    Added to the Directory: Venombase Studios, a music and recording studio in Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent. They also have their VB Distribution and promotion company (to 17 digital stores worldwide). Studio costs are "priced in Stoke-on-Trent" and they don't charge for equipment hire.

26.11.11    North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce has a new package to help local small businesses become an employer or boost their workforces. They are offering...

* workshops on employment law and payroll.

* free recruitment service via the City Council's JET Business.

* possible grant aid of £500-£1,000 — if you create a new vacancy and fill it with a local person.

The first workshop is to be held on 12th December 2011 (4pm-6pm), at the Chamber of Commerce offices on Festival Park, Stoke-on-Trent. Interested? Full details from Jill Levens at:  jill.l@business.org.uk

26.11.11    Need to reach that "hard-to-reach" rural audience with some print advertising? Cheshire FarmMart regularly sends 1,000 monthly print magazines to farms in Cheshire, Shropshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, and North Wales.

26.11.11    There is to be a two-day public "Monsters Convention" in Manchester, accompanying the more formal academic conference called _Monsters: Subject, Object, Abject_ (12th-13th April 2012). The organisers write that...

We would be interested in hearing from anyone interested in offering a talk or seminar at this [public] convention.

For full information please email Dr. Hannah Priest at:  events@hic-dragones.co.uk

22.11.11    The Burslem School of Art is offering creatives a...

"free of charge stall for selling your crafts and artwork in exchange for your skills shared in a free drop-in workshop or demonstration during the event."

Application deadline: 7th December 2011. Interested? Email:  events@burslemschoolofart.com

22.11.11    Daniel Hopkins is trying to find out what happened to the graduates of Media Production at Staffordshire University, over the last ten years of working. If you are such a graduate, please get in touch with details of what you have been up to since graduation.

22.11.11    Michelin Development is a North Staffordshire based scheme that supports local small and medium sized enterprises with up to 250 employees. They can offer access to finance; unsecured loans from £5,000 through their associate bank at the Bank of England base rate; and a repayment period of 3 to 5 years. In most cases the applicant will be required to invest some of his or her own equity into the project. The loan is private so it can normally be used to 'gear up' public and other forms of loan funding.

22.11.11    The Awards for Young Musicians supports the nation's most talented young instrumentalists. Specifically, those aged five to 17 years of age in poor families who may be prevented from fulfilling their creative potential. Grants of between £200 and £2,000 are available. Application deadline: 23rd March 2012.

22.11.11    BBC Radio 3 are offering the opportunity for arts and humanities researchers based at UK universities to have their research ideas broadcast to the nation...

"Up to sixty successful applicants will have a chance to develop their programme-making ideas with experienced BBC producers at a series of dedicated workshops and, of these up to ten will become Radio 3's resident New Generation Thinkers."

Application deadline: 7th December 2011.

22.11.11    Job:  Make Some Noise, the Staffordshire music charity, needs a part-time (22hrs p.w.) admin person based in the town of Stafford. Deadline: 30th November 2011. Information pack from Tim Sharp, Chief Executive Officer at:  tim@make-some-noise.com

22.11.11    Are you 13-16 years old and interested in radio broadcasting? Future Creative: Radio is four-days worth of youth media training in the Midlands. To be held in February 2012 at NTI Birmingham. For £200 per place you get a...

"four day dip into the world of live radio with this fantastic four-day radio production workshop for 13-16 year olds. By the end of the four days, you’ll have recorded your own original short radio show for broadcast, utilising the library of pre-recorded audio you’ll have developed, captured and produced throughout the week. You’ll work in teams on elements of news, documentary, magazine, music, comedy and current affairs productions, while learning about the different markets for radio (commercial, public service, and community), scheduling, marketing and how to tailor your own show to listeners. Radio shows produced on Future Creative: Radio will be available for download online."

They have a £500 ten-day Future Creative: Games coming in April 2012.

22.11.11    Samantha writes to say that she is a final-year Creative Entrepreneurship student with Staffordshire University (specialising in Graphic Design for print) and that she is looking for a placement or shadowing position within art and design. Ideally one that will enable her to understand... "how some creative businesses operate differently than others". More details from Samantha at:  samantha.j.taylor13@gmail.com

22.11.11    The government has just announced that £250 million of public money will be diverted from colleges and other training providers, to directly fund employers to offer genuine vocational training to jobless 16 to 24-year-olds. This builds on the success of the existing apprenticeships scheme. A total of £50 million will be available for the first year of the scheme (2012), and "businesses of all sizes and from all sectors can apply for cash from the New Year." Hopefully some of the training will be among creative industries firms. Watch Creative Stoke for more details of this in the New Year.

22.11.11    The government recently confirmed that feature-film tax breaks would continue to 2015. Apparently these public subsidies do not cover animation.

16.11.11    There is set to be a short celebration/exploration of the Hanley Bus Station, Stoke-on-Trent, on 10th December 2011 (1pm - 3:30pm). Places are limited to just 15. Successful applicants will...

"explore the bus station and upstairs precinct with an introduction by Coffee Bar employee Carole, giving her personal account of the changing bus station over the last 16 years. [Also with] An introduction and dissemination of architects plans by Simon Hourihan, project manager for the new bus station development, and finally onto Peppers Garage for a tour by the owner Andrew Smith including footage of his extensive restoration."

To get a place on this, email  info@rednile.org   including the following information: 150 words on your current creative practices, mediums or interests, along with a paragraph on why you would like to attend. Attach 2-3 pieces/images of recent relevant works at low resolution or supply Web links. Application deadline: 2nd December 2011.

16.11.11    Stoke-on-Trent's Stoke Your Fires 2012 film festival has a new opportunity for film and animation students (currently in higher or further education in the UK). You're asked to create a 'sting' (around 10 seconds). The best will be screened before films being shown at Stoke Your Fires, and also shown on the website. The winner will also get two tickets to a core training programme, worth in excess of £500. All films need to be complete and uploaded to YouTube by 5pm on 13th January 2012, and your completed entry form sent to:  competition@stokeyourfires.co.uk

16.11.11    Small or medium sized Staffordshire businesses, with growth potential via real jobs, may be eligible for some financial assistance from the BIC to help fund specialist intensive support. Your firm has to be in the Information, Communication & Technology, Creative Digital, or Business & Professional Services sectors. Up to £2,500 public subsidy is available, 25% intervention, to pay for an intellectual property strategy, advice on new product design and development, marketing strategy, etc. Deadline for applications: 25th November 2011. Full details from the Business Innovation Centre on: 0845 8458020.

15.11.11    10,000 Small Businesses is a business-growth programme designed for...

"...leaders of established small businesses and social enterprises, who will benefit from targeted support and resources to help them define and achieve their business growth aspirations."

Successful Midlands applicants will get business and management education, delivered over twelve sessions lasting approximately 100 hours, at the Aston Business School in Birmingham from November 2011. Applications are open now.

15.11.11    Added to the Directory: David Barber Pottery in Newcastle-under-Lyme. David was born and raised in Stoke-on-Trent, and after a potteries apprenticeship went on to study a B.A. Hons. degree in Creative Arts, before embarking on a teaching career. In the last few years he has returned to the production of hand-crafted pottery that uses a stoneware clay which is dishwasher, microwave and oven safe.

15.11.11    'Poetry at The Film Theatre' is the title of a regional poetry evening event set for Wednesday 4th April 2012 (7pm-10pm). It will be at the Film Theatre on the Stoke campus of Staffordshire University, and it already has a slate of poets booked from Chester, Macclesfield, North Staffordshire, and Stafford. There will also be an 'open microphone' session during the evening. Tickets are available now (for collection at the box office on the night) for £4, from:  p_branson@sky.com

15.11.11    Stokies who dislike London may enjoy reading about the capital city's complete destruction. Your editor is now giving away the full 55,000-word historical anthology London Reimagined: an anthology of visions of the future city (PDF link). Yes, it's now free in digital form, although you can also get it as a paperback for just £4.99. It's generally a book intended as a ‘taster’ for science-fiction readers who think they might be interested in the Victorian fiction on the destruction of London, but who don't know where to start. It may also save a future scholar several days of work, when writing an article or dissertation that touches on the topics involved.

15.11.11    Your editor has published a short blog article surveying all known novels and fictions set in Stoke-on-Trent. Many thanks to Fred Hughes for pointing out three of these to me, and for loaning me one of them.

15.11.11    The Arts and Humanities Research Council has just launched its Skills Development Call. They want to help to develop...

"innovative, collaborative training packages, that will meet a range of capacity issues in the arts and humanities. Institutions can bid for up to £60,000 of funding for each award to propose a mixture of activities and programmes that will respond to skills gaps or capacity issues in strategic areas of need. Awards will be for up to 18 months in duration. [...] must be in one or more of the strategic areas of [...] Heritage and Design..."

15.11.11    StaffsLive has a short video report from the recent ceramics industry conference held at the Britannia Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent...

Other creative industries -related videos by the students at StaffsLive, that you may have missed in 2011:

Staffs University Creative Writing Society 'open mic' night highlights | Staffordshire University Art & Design Show 2011 - Opening Ceremony | Paine Proffitt's F.A. Cup paintings | Emma Bridgewater's Royal Wedding designs | and Potteries dialect ringtones

15.11.11    The BBC is reporting that the Stafford Post newspaper is to shut its doors this week.

15.11.11    AngelShares, the new crowd-funding website for arts organisations in the Midlands, has just launched.

15.11.11    Congratulations to the Spode Museum Trust. They report that a Spode museum is set to be launched at the former factory in Stoke town...

"Stoke-on-Trent pottery is expected to open next spring thanks to a £50,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant."

"Spode Museums Trust said it would be collaborating with artists, film-makers and photographers to capture the 'living history' of the site."

The Spode Museum Trust is now seeking volunteers to help with this new Museum. Full details at their website.

13.11.11    Producers' Lab is a forthcoming two-day free workshop for aspiring film producers, as part of the Stoke Your Fires film festival in Stoke-on-Trent. Dates are 20th and 21st February 2012 (10am – 6pm). It will give participants...

"the opportunity to learn all about the role of the producer and how to prepare, produce and distribute a short film. The workshops will be delivered through a series of interactive sessions, screenings of award-winning short films, and case studies."

Tickets are by application only, and you must be able to attend all hours on both days. Application deadline: 20th January 2012. To apply, email  info@stokeyourfires.co.uk  with a...

"one-page document listing your experience to date, why you want to take part in this programme, and how you think it will help you in the future."

13.11.11    "Write The World" is a new local competition being held by the Stoke-on-Trent City Library archives. Young people (age 12-19) are invited to write a new text (a poem, story, etc) inspired by documents held in the city's archives department in Hanley (on the third floor of the library). There's a £100 prize on offer, and your work will be displayed. Full details from Anne Mackey at:  anne.mackey@stoke.gov.uk

13.11.11    Self-employed creatives who are expecting or who have low earnings (below £5,315 in the tax year to 5th April 2012) can apply not to pay Class 2 National Insurance payments. You do this by completing form CF10 and submitting it to HMRC.

13.11.11    Burslem School of Art in Stoke-on-Trent is offering new short courses in digital photography (40 places) or ceramics (90 places) to local unemployed people. These part-time courses have been funded by the government's Skills Funding Agency, and thus presumably won't affect your dole money. Full information from the School of Art office on:  01782 810808 or email:  info@schoolofart.co.uk

13.11.11    Three textile felt workshops for advanced crafts makers are to be held in Lichfield, Staffordshire. The three "Exploring Surface Texture" days are all between 16th-30th November 2011.

13.11.11    Job: In what might be quite a relevant commision for large-scale ceramic makers, sculptural proposals are invited for a new public artwork that will form a large-scale floor work of the UK Geological Map. Fee: £20,000, inclusive of rock-cutting costs. Your editor can envisage patterned ceramic base elements holding shaped and cut rocks, for something like this. Proposal deadline: 6th January 2012. Full details from Dr. Darren Grocke at:  d.r.grocke@durham.ac.uk

13.11.11    Redstone Willows offer a range of country crafts workshops throughout the year at their rural training centre in Alsager, near Stoke-on-Trent. Redstone is booking now for creative workshops between December 2011 and June 2012.

13.11.11    Job: Stoke-on-Trent's Unity is advertising on their website for a Teacher with the ability to teach one or more national curriculum subjects. Arts and youth culture lead the provision at Unity. Full information from Matt on 01782 409508 or:  matt@unitystoke.co.uk

13.11.11    Job:  the Marie Curie Cancer Care West Midlands Hospice want to commission two artworks (£45,000 and £12,000, respectively) for their Hospice in Solihull, just south of Birmingham. 'Expressions of interest' deadline: 2nd December 2011. Full information from:  wmhart@mariecurie.org.uk

13.11.11    Down in South Staffordshire, there is an exhibition opportunity for contemporary West Midlands glass artists to help celebrate 400 Years of Glass Making in Stourbridge and Wordsley. The Broadfield House Glass Museum is to hold a special exhibition celebrating the 400th anniversary of glassmaking in the district in 2012. The... "new work will be exhibited alongside existing displays or features", and it appears it must be for sale. Full details are here (Word .doc).

13.11.11    A date for your diary.... what's being billed as a major national Arts Council England debate/conference, "State of the Arts", is set to be held in Manchester on 14th February 2012. It'll be part of the Manchester International Festival.

09.11.11    Added to the Directory: Denstone Contemporary Art Gallery, near Alton Towers. The Denstone also has a series of workshops coming up. They are unique in offering short glass or ceramic courses. Courses include 'Introduction to Throwing' or 'Decorative Slipware Techniques' with Paul Marshall, a senior technician in ceramics at the University of Derby for 25 years. Also available are 'Valucci Glass Courses' (an introduction to making glass dichroic jewellery). The Denstone has a cafe and even a B&B. More details at the website, or in this Uttoxeter Advertiser profile.

09.11.11    Do you run or attend a local poetry group? BBC Radio Stoke are looking for someone to go to their studios and record some poetry this week. Interested? Contact Amy on:  01782 221249.

09.11.11    Burslem School of Art is set to stage the 1st Potteries Empty Bowls Project. The School is calling for crafts makers and artists to donate handmade bowls for Empty Bowls 2011. See the Web page for more details.

09.11.11    The Ceramic Review magazine is offering a writing prize. Entrants should write a 650-word text that explores the Stoke-on-Trent Ceramics Biennial (now in its last few days for 2011, so catch the shows now) or the ceramic heritage of the city. Deadline for submission: 13th November 2011. Submit to: writingprize@ceramicreview.com

09.11.11    Surface Collaborative has an artists' opportunity in Burslem. A unique temporary pop-up art space is opening in Burslem town centre, Stoke-on-Trent, and they are looking for artists to exhibit their work. Artworks will also be displayed and sold online. Deadline for submissions is: 18th November 2011, at 5pm. For details about how to apply please email:  marcus.surface@gmail.com

09.11.11    The Stoke Your Fires film festival now has tickets available for its two-day masterclass. 'Seize the Future' will be held at the Mitchell Arts Centre in Hanley, from 23rd-24th February 2012...

"The workshop will feature multi-media presentations, breakout groups, and interactive sessions. There will be networking opportunities during coffee breaks, lunch, and throughout the workshop. Everyone will have a chance to connect and lay the groundwork for future collaborations. The workshop will be taught by Sandi DuBowski, producer of A Jihad for Love and Outreach Director of The Good Pitch, and Peter Broderick, leading distribution strategist and President of Paradigm Consulting."

This workshop costs £150. Places are strictly limited to twenty, are on "first-come, first-served" basis, and must be booked by 17th February 2012. Interested? Send a short proposal for a project you would like to work with at the workshop, along with a brief C.V. or biography, to:  floury@sidf.co.uk

09.11.11    The organisers of the forthcoming 'East meets West' exhibition are looking for...

"emerging photographers and filmmakers who are based in the East or West Midlands, or who have recently graduated (in the last 2 years) from a Midlands university."

Selected work will be shown at the Derby QUAD, and at the Light House in Wolverhampton in the Spring of 2012. Specifically, they are seeking...

"existing photographic works and short films that broadly relate to the theme of heroes. This could be the super heroics of costumed heroes, or documenting simple or unnoticed acts of heroism that occur every day."

Application deadline: 5th December 2011. Full details are here.

09.11.11    Following the recent Arts, Health and Wellbeing conference held in Stoke-on-trent, the Creative Health CIC and Staffordshire Arts & Museums Service have announce that they plan to merge the old praXis and Creative Remedies websites, and to develop a new online resource for arts and health practitioners across the region. Plans for the new West Midlands Arts Health & Wellbeing Network website are being developed, with a view to launching the site in February 2012. Membership will be free. As part of the planning process, Creative Health CIC and Staffordshire Arts & Museums Service are keen to hear your views about the content of the new website, so please get in touch via Kate Gant at:  kategant@creativehealthcic.co.uk

09.11.11    The Prince's Foundation for Children & the Arts is offering a new Face Britain exhibition opportunity, open to all children aged 4 to 16. Create a self-portrait, to be displayed in public across the nation. Simply upload your self-portrait to the Face Britain website between November 2011 and March 2012. Any medium is acceptable, including drawing, textiles, sculpture and carving, painting, illustration, digital CG, or photography.

09.11.11    Job:  The Stafford campus of Staffordshire University requires a full-time Film Technologies lecturer (ref: CET11-04) to teach on the B.Sc. Film Technology Awards. Application deadline: 17th November 2011. Full details are available at their recruitment website.

09.11.11    Job:  Staffordshire County Council and Craftspace's Making Moves craft development scheme is seeking experienced Exhibition Designers. Succesful applicants will design flexible and contemporary 'build and interpretation' for the project's touring exhibition. The exhibition will launch in June 2012, and travel the West Midlands region at twelve non-traditional venues until May 2013. The fee for the exhibition design and build is £7,500 (inc. travel, production, packaging and delivery to the first venue and VAT). Deadline for applications: 28th November 2011. For a full brief please contact Emma Daker at:  e.daker@craftspace.co.uk

08.11.11    A new crafts gallery is set to open at Congleton on Saturday 12th November 2011. The Peanut Gallery will be at located at the Victoria Mill Arts Centre in the town.

08.11.11    'Meet the Author' is a book launch with a difference, at Clayton branch library in Newcastle-under-Lyme on Wednesday 16th November 2011. Six local authors will read from their new or recent volumes, and chat to the audience about writing and publishing. The event begins at 7.15pm. The authors are: Phil Emery, The Shadow Cycles (sword-&-sorcery 'for the twenty-first century'); Ralph Alcock, The Loving Son (crime fiction); Gill Hargreaves, A Triangular Affair (love, passion, and family tensions); Dennis Wilton, Battlefields of the Mind (philosophy and psychology); Roy Gray, The Joy of Technology (science fiction); Richard Ayres, Waterloo Sunset (relationships between people).

08.11.11    Business Birmingham is holding a two-day 2Digital event on 16th-17th November 2011. This aims to showcase what the West Midlands region can offer potential investors in the digital gaming sector. Places cost £99, but that package appears to be aimed at those outside the area who want to visit and see what we have to offer. They do however also have a Launch Future Gaming one-day conference, which seems to be open to those based in the Midlands, for which tickets are priced at £199.

08.11.11    Firms in Stoke and Staffordshire are invited to a free Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership seminar with "sales pitching specialist" Mike Kingston on the opportunities arising from the London 2012 Olympic Games, and how to access these. The seminar will cover: last-minute purchasing; the Torch Relay in Staffordshire; post-games conversion work on the Olympic Park; new-build housing and offices around the Olympic Park after the Games; and export opportunities around the Olympics. The date is 22nd November 2011 (9 a.m. to 12 noon) at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent. More details from:  p.mccarron@wmchambers.co.uk

08.11.11    The Chamber of Commerce Enterprise Club has a talk on "Relocating Your Business & How to Avoid the Pitfalls" on 10th November 2011 (4.30 p.m. - 6.45 p.m) at Staffordshire University. More details from:  annedeaville@nscci.co.uk

08.11.11    Audiences Central, the Arts Council-funded West Midlands audience-development consultancy, has announced it will cease operating at the end of March 2012.

08.11.11    Despite the ongoing massive cuts to the BBC production capacity in the Midlands (leaving the Midlands with just Doctors and The Archers and half the Asian Network), BBC Birmingham Drama is now...

"...searching for exceptional new and emerging writers from the Midlands who want to write drama for television. [The] Heartands [scheme] will provide an industry training and development opportunity for writers with some of the most experienced producers in the country. A shortlist will be invited to a masterclass day."

A 30-page sample script is required, deadline: 2nd December 2011. Full details at the Web page.

08.11.11    An interesting and unusual conference has been announced for 2012, at the Stoke campus of Staffordshire University. Hedgerow Futures Conference 2012. One of the strands is 'Relationship with People', which potentially opens it up to examining countryside crafts such as a hedge-laying. Your editor can imagine creative possibilities like — a foyer photography show that documents hedge-laying traditions and survivals in the West Midlands, along with portraits of the hedge-layers, accompanied by a print-on-demand Blurb book sold at the conference. The venue will be the new Staffordshire University Science Centre, and the conference is set for a weekend in September 2012.

08.11.11    The succesful young children's creativity festival called Just So now has 2012 dates for your diary. 17th - 19th August 2012, at Barnswood, near Leek, Staffordshire.

08.11.11    The North Staffordshire branch of the Classical Association has details online for their late-2011/2012 programme and reading groups.

08.11.11    Burton Writers is a new writers' group, down at nearby Burton-on-Trent.

04.11.11    Artists are invited to submit visual art (2D or 3D), photography, sculpture, animation, illustration, design. To be displayed in temporary artspace in vacant apartment units in the town of Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent. Also to be displayed and sold online. Interested? Application deadline: 18th November 2011. Please contact Marcus for further information, at:  marcusjwemyss@hotmail.co.uk

04.11.11    Midland Heart has Live/Work units at affordable rent in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent. For more information email:  livework@midlandheart.org.uk

04.11.11    The major U.S. publisher Random House has a new National Geographic book out now, on the Staffordshire Hoard, Lost Gold of the Dark Ages. The new book is named after the 2010 National Geographic TV documentary. In November 2011 National Geographic will show a further new documentary, "Secrets of the Lost Gold" which will update the story.

04.11.11    Added to the Directory: Verbal Arts is a website for a new group of...

"applied and performance arts specialists based in North Staffordshire. They provide poetry and theatre workshops throughout the West Midlands. Verbal Arts works with schools, college, hospitals and numerous other agencies and individuals."

04.11.11    Staffordshire County Council has small £600 music and arts grants for 2011/12. Application deadline: 31st March 2012.

04.11.11    Staffordshire University is hosting an 'Introduction to Film Directing' workshop, and a 'Cinematography' workshop, for people aged 19-25. The date is Sat 26th November 2011 (10am-4pm for each workshop, it seems you can't go to both). Full information from:  info@104films.com

04.11.11    Your editor has a slim volume of poetry available now, Visiting Myself, collecting the best poems I've had published in small magazines over the years.

04.11.11    Richard Bellamy writes from Grimsby. They need a potter there, since the one they had has let them down...

"We have built a pottery with a 14c.ft. kiln in our skills centre in Freemnan Street Market (an acre of covered market, community hub and Skills Centre). Our potter has let us down. Is any capable potter, unemployed, who might like to live by the Coast — Cleethorpes is two miles from site — at The Freemens Lincolnshire Pottery. [...] We hope to have a training pottery, as well as one that can produce decent mugs, etc (not bought in biscs). [...] ERDF bid for £1.5m, which will receive the final OK within a month or so, to build a state-of-the-art Creative Hub [...] great opportunities to develop a regional pottery."

Interested? Contact Richard at:  office@EnrolledFreemenOfGrimsby.org

04.11.11    Age 16 to 25? Need somewhere to... do something creative? www.somewhereto.com is a new UK website where you can find spaces that are willing to let young people do the things they love. 377 spaces listed so far, offered for free!

04.11.11    A new group for the older community in North Staffordshire, Shropshire and South Cheshire is holding an open day at the new Keele University Sustainability Hub on 24th November 2011. Project 'Grey Matters' at Keele is a new outreach initiative at Keele, and is aimed primarily towards the 'ageing' (55+) local community. The Open Day starts at 9.30am, includes a number of presentations and gives attendees the opportunity to become a member of the group.

04.11.11    Those living up toward the Moorlands and the Peak may be interested in knowing that Derbyshire is having a Creative Innovation Expo at B2net in Chesterfield...

"The 2011 Derbyshire Creative Innovation Expo will take place on Tuesday 8th November 2011. The event will link the Derbyshire Creative Industries Sector with both public and private suppliers of business innovation services"

01.11.11    The final chapter of the fabulous "vampires in Victorian Stoke-on-Trent" Blood and Bone China drama series has just been released: Chapter 12. Here's a link to the just-released "Director's Cut" version of Chapter One with Playlist to start you off, and here's an embedding of it...

01.11.11    CodEye, a new digital storytelling/illustration series from Stoke-on-Trent...

Episode One

Episode Two

Episode Three

01.11.11    Your editor is pleased to announce that my new and original 60,000-word novel is available now. The Spyders of Burslem is a historical mystery, with a dash of steampunk...

"It is the year 1869 in the pottery town of Burslem, where a new age of industry and learning struggles to be born. A young graduate has arrived to teach the workers, but finds himself on the trail of a deadly evil."

Available to buy in paperback, or as an ebook for the Amazon Kindle ereader on the Kindle Store at either Amazon USA and Amazon UK.

A free sample (Chapter 5) is available on the website.

01.11.11    The Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF) has announced that all oil paintings in public ownership in Staffordshire have been uploaded to the Your Paintings website for the nation to enjoy. This last batch completes the coverage of the West Midlands counties.


Above: The ironically titled "Brotherhood of Man" by John Maler Collier, depicting a leftist group planning a bomb attack. Acquired by the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in 1936, and now a centre-peice of the oil painting collection. Available as a print.

01.11.11    AirSpace Gallery in Hanley is inviting people to create one of the 24 boxes for display in their street-front show window in the weeks before Christmas...

"The box should respond to the festive season, love it or hate it, think Alternative, Conceptual, and Eyecatching. Each day of December one of the boxes will be opened — and the contents revealed"

A max. £10 donation is invited per application. Application deadline: 14th November 2011. Full details on the AirSpace website.

01.11.11    Added to the Directory: Robert Leyland, the Chief Photographer for the British Army and former department head at the Defence School of Photography. Robert now lives in Blurton, Stoke-on-Trent.

Above: "Buckingham Palace Scooter Run" No.18, by Robert Leyland.

01.11.11    The 2012 Acoustic Festival of Britain will be held locally, at Uttoxeter Racecourse, and now has 2012 dates for your calendar:  25th - 27th May 2012.

01.11.11    Added to the Directory: Timothy Christopher Osborne. Timothy specialises in portraits of the people of Stoke-on-Trent.

01.11.11    The Creative Communities Unit at Staffordshire University are offering a free workshop in "Youth Work: Bringing Communities Together". As part of the workshops they are hoping to produce a short video of participants' experiences, which they...

"can then share with partner organisations to help promote the positive youth work taking place across the region".

The workshop is being held on Friday 4th November 2011 (10am – 12.30pm) at the Learning Exchange (Room L225, Flaxman building, Stoke campus). Places are limited, so please phone to book a place on: 01782 294793.

01.11.11    Staffordshire University Creative Writing Society now has a website for their Work In Progress magazine.

01.11.11    Some advance funding news. Creative England has secured £5-million of funding for a forthcoming national "Digital Champions" scheme. This will aim to provide...

"[match-]funding and market expertise to [high potential ... SMEs in ... Birmingham and the West Midlands] working in cross-platform content and services [in respect of] new market propositions and content"

More details soon.

23.10.11    Stoke-on-Trent's Stoke Your Fires film festival has its 2012 dates: 10th-24th February 2012. Submissions are now being accepted. Added to the 2012 Awards roster are a new Music Video category and a new Under-16s category. Deadline: 16th December 2011. Full details at the website.

23.10.11    Stoke-on-Trent's Stoke Your Fires film festival has launched a new Open Film Commission, for professionals in Stoke-on-Trent / North Staffordshire...

"The successful film can be delivered in any format and embrace any genre — however must be filmed entirely on location within the city of Stoke-on-Trent, and as a minimum [will] have a full theatrical trailer ready for public viewing as part of the Festival programme in February 2012."

Deadline: 7th November 2011.

23.10.11    Staffordshire University Creative Writing Society will host up-and-coming Director Andrew Mark Simpson on 2nd November 2011. Andrew will be screening his new film, and doing a Q&A in the Film Theatre on the Stoke campus. Tickets are £2.50.

23.10.11    Artwaves CIC in Burslem is holding an Artists Surgery every Wednesday for the next four weeks....

"Drop in to Artwaves between 12 noon and 4pm. Tell is about any problems you face as a creative, and share your successes! View the building, meet the team, get a second opinion."

Finding the Artwaves gallery and artists' studios: Artwaves is in Nile Street, Burslem — it's not in the town centre and can be found at the opposite end of Nile Street from the disused Royal Doulton factory and the town.

23.10.11    Creative England's new Film Culture funding scheme is now open for applications from festivals and art-house cinemas.

23.10.11    Down in West Bromwich, The Public are now inviting... "submissions from interactive artists" for Touch Interactive 2012. Works must be suitable for... "large scale projection or monitor display". Application deadline: 2nd December 2011. Full details can be found here. They also have an associated exhibition opportunity for film and video artists, called Screening 2012.

23.10.11    Friends of the Potteries Museums & Art Gallery are hosting an evening talk on 23 November 2011 (from 7.15pm), featuring Matthew Rice. He is the author of the well-reviewed recent book The Lost City of Stoke-on-Trent and will be signing copies after the talk.

23.10.11    Keen to help create a contemporary circus scene in the West Midlands? "Activating Contemporary Circus in the West Midlands" is a meeting for interested parties at the Birmingham Hippodrome ('Stageside', Thorp Street, city centre)...

"join leading practitioners to explore creatively how we can develop a future for contemporary circus in the region."

Interested? Confirm attendance by 28th October 2011, via  sarahallen@birminghamhippodrome.com

23.10.11    The Community Development Foundation has announced that over £150,000 of funding has been made available across four Council wards in Stoke-on-Trent. Burslem North, Burslem South & Fenton will each have £33,910, and Hanley West and Shelton will have £50,865. The funding is to be given to bona fide community projects, offering grants of between £250 and £2,500. It will be awarded by "local community panels". Presumably there will be more details soon in the press about panel selection and application details.

23.10.11    Staffordshire County Council has a graduate placement on offer. You'll be a recent (i.e.: within the last 2 years) Crafts or Design graduate in the West Midlands. The successful applicant will work with an artist-in-residence at Eagle House, a purpose-built housing scheme, in the town of Stafford. A £500 bursary is on offer. Application deadline: 11th November 2011. Full details are online here or can be had from Anne Forgan at:  anne_forgan@yahoo.co.uk

17.10.11    Congratulations to Staffordshire University for successfully launching a new Masters degree in Film by Negotiated Learning. 18 students are signed up for this current year.

23.10.11    Staffordshire Daily Photo is a new daily photoblog from Mark Righter in Blythe Bridge.

23.10.11    Akademi, Sampad, and Kala Sangam are offering bursaries to South Asian dancers to attend the National Symposium for South Asian Dance conference on 28th October 2011 in Leicester, in the East Midlands. Application details: Akademi, mira@akademi.co.uk | Sampad, piali@sampad.org.uk | Kala Sangam, geetha@kalasangam.org

23.10.11    Artists' Newsletter magazine (aka AN) has published results (PDF link) from a large online survey of artists.

17.10.11    The ArtWaves Gallery in Burslem currently has affordable artists' work-spaces for hire. Resident artists are also promoted on the ArtWaves online gallery.

17.10.11    Congratulations to Stoke firm Mushroom Digital on launching their very interesting new social networking site called FutureYear.com. This new site lets users post their future long-term plans online — such as birthdays, weddings, business and product launches, conferences, and much more. Then you can share and co-ordinate your year with friends and family. At the moment it's "early days", and it's not immediately obvious how you add items to your timeline — but you add events by going to your "Profile" page and then clicking on the "+Plan" button.

17.10.11    Congratulations to Crewe's art-house cinema Big Cheese Film Club for attracting business sponsorship from Mornflake, who also sponsor the Crewe Alexandra football team.

17.10.11    Added to the Directory: Illustrator and designer Lee Holland has recently graduated and returned to Stoke. He is keen to collaborate with other illustrators on projects.

Above: Lee's proposed book design for a Penguin paperback, and his timeline of fossil fuels.

17.10.11    Staffordshire Performing Arts is launching a new youth choir. Aspiring vocal harmonists aged 11 to 18 are invited to an audition on 19th October 2011. Full details at the website.

17.10.11    Added to the Directory: Staffordshire University Creative Writing Society. They have an Open Mic Night coming up on 25th October 2011, which is linked to the B.A. Creative Writing degree course.

17.10.11    The BBC's new Ceramics: A Fragile History has broadcast its first episode, "The Story of Clay". This BBC documentary is currently on the iPlayer, and Stoke-on-Trent is said to feature heavily. Part Two, "The Age of Wedgwood", is scheduled for broadcast tonight.

17.10.11    Job:  Bilston Craft Gallery, down in the Black Country near Wolverhampton, has a £2,000 commission available. You'll work with the Exhibitions Officer and a specialist early years education team, to develop an interactive sensory area suitable for 0-5 year olds. Contact Carrie Jones for a full commission brief and application forms, at:  carrie.jones@wolverhampton.gov.uk

17.10.11    Job:  Nearby Wolverhampton, which has just launched its new City Strategy on the back of its Enterprise Zone win, is seeking submissions from artists for their Project Dandelion public art project. This is for a commission they are calling the "Interactive Welcome". Fee: £18,000 (including all materials, expenses and installation).

17.10.11    Los Angeles-based artist Ed Rucha is giving a free talk at Wolverhampton Art Gallery on 21st October 2011.

17.10.11    Wolverhampton Art Gallery is calling for crafts makers to participate in The Joy of Making exhibition (11th Feb to 14th Apr 2012). Full details and application forms at the Web page.

17.10.11    Despite the £1.3m EU-funded Build Up North Staffordshire scheme, it seems Stoke City Council is still having problems in finding local suppliers. The North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce is currently running an online survey on the Council's behalf to... "share your experiences of the local procurement process and let us know how you think the current system can be improved".

17.10.11    The North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce is running a Social Media for Profit in Business training day at their HQ on Festival Park. The date is 26th October 2011, and prices start at £222 inc. VAT.

17.10.11    The Staffordshire Marketing Academy is running a second half-day Action for Business. This will be a 'business growth through marketing' event, and will be at the Moat House Hotel on Festival Park, Stoke-on-Trent. Cost is £35. Full details at the website.

14.10.11    Your editor has a taster gallery of 12 pictures made at the huge 'Fresh' ceramics exhibition — which is now on at the old Spode factory in Stoke town, as part of the Ceramics Biennial 2011. The work of 41 ceramics graduates is on show, alongside displays of bricks and ceramics made by leading commercial firmsin the UK. There is a cafe, and much of the ground floor of the factory is open to photographers. The entrance is near the King's Hall.

14.10.11    Don't forget that paper tax returns for the self-employed are due in by 31st October 2011. Also of note is that the taxman has an amnesty on now for art, music and dance teachers who may have been taking "cash-in-hand" for lessons and not declaring it on their tax returns.

14.10.11    Mark Riley writes to say that "The Dance Floor" in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, is a new 3,000 sq.ft venue for hire in the town...

"Ideal for rehearsal space for drama or dance groups. Potential for a photographic studio."

Interested? Call Mark on:  0775 115 2634  or email:  thedanceflooruk@hotmail.co.uk

14.10.11    Advance notice of a major funding stream, called Catalyst. Some types of applications are already invited. Catalyst will help arts and heritage organisations to source private-sector money and sponsorship, and is described as a...

"private giving investment programme aimed at helping cultural organisations diversify their income streams and access more funding from private sources."

Application opening dates are...

* Heritage applications opened: 29th September 2011. * Arts applications open: 1st November 2011. * Capacity building and match funding scheme open: 1st November 2011. * Heritage fundraising capacity building grants open: 1st April 2012.

Full details at the website, including eligibility details.

14.10.11    Blitz Games, one of the biggest videogames makers in the Midlands, now has its registration open for its Student Open Days.

14.10.11    The Arts Council has released its 2010-11 spending figures for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. Spending in Staffordshire has been nearly cut in half — from £402,968 in 2009/10, to £214,935 in 2010/11. Spending in Stoke-on-Trent has increased from £213,150 in 2009/10 to £332,608 in 2010/11, but £100k of that increase is accounted for by the fact that the Ceramics Biennial falls in 2011.

09.10.11    Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council is looking for an artist or artists to exhibit at a new Health & Wellbeing Centre in the heart of Newcastle, due to open in January 2012. The work should be... "based on the theme of health and wellbeing, and have a fresh and contemporary quality". All media will be considered and large and small-scale work is welcome. The artwork will be on display for a three-month period. Deadline for applications: 18th November 2011. Full details from Bev Jennings at The Borough Museum and Art Gallery, at: beverley.jennings@newcastle-staffs.gov.uk

Also available from Bev, via the above email address, are details of opportunites for 3D designer makers to sell at the Newcastle-under-Lyme Christmas craft fair. Application deadline: 7th November 2011.

09.10.11    There's set to be an Enterprise Day at the Co-operative Emporium (former Co-Op Dept. store) in the town of Leek. The date is 14th October 2011 (12 noon to 7pm). Find out about the New Enterprise Allowance Scheme, Business Initiative, Staffordshire Business Innovation Centre, Women in Rural Enterprise, education opportunities, and meet members of the Staffs Moorlands Economic Regeneration team.

09.10.11    Walsall's Creative Development Team requires the creative design, development and delivery of a multi-media project to raise awareness and inform school children (Key Stage 3 and 4) about sustainable travel. Application deadline: 31st October 2011. Full details from Rachel Parker at: parkerr@walsall.gov.uk

09.10.11    The Big Lottery's Silver Dream Fund, in association with The Daily Mail, is challenging creative people to devise new ways... "to help vulnerable older people deal more effectively with life-changing events". Deadline for the initial submission of ideas is: 28th October 2011. Full details at the website.

09.10.11    Wolverhampton's FLIP International Animation Festival is coming up soon (27th - 29th October 2011). They still don't have a full programme out yet, but early-birds who want workshop tickets should probably start watching the website from now on.

09.10.11    The European Union funding scheme UK MEDIA is now welcoming application for funding Single Projects, Groups of Projects and Development of Interactive Projects.

09.10.11    There's a film and transmedia content-production workshop in Birmingham on 22nd October 2011. Tickets cost £30.

09.10.11    Youth Music is launching a new online portal to support new funding opportunities for music education activities. Priority areas are: children in challenging circumstances, encouraging talent and potential, and early years children. The new funding programme will open on 3rd November 2011. See the website on the launch day, or there is a launch event in Birmingham (Fazeley Studios) on 3rd November 2011.

09.10.11    Rob Pointon's new Vis Unita Fortior exhibition has been covered in video by 6 Towns Radio. The show is on now at Barewall, in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent. Warning: no SteadyCam - have your sea-sickness pills handy...

09.10.11    There's to be a one-day free conference called 'Stoke Stories' happening on Saturday 15th October 2011 at Staffordshire University's Stoke campus. The day aims to bring together representatives of Stoke-on-Trent's volunteering and charity groups with people from Councils and local business and with... "friends from outside the city". The venue is the Ashley Building on the campus, just around the corner from the main train station. Secure free bicycle-locking is available at the Film Theatre. Tickets from: stokestories.eventbrite.com

09.10.11    The Photographers' Collective North Staffs is set to host their Open Photography Competition at The Burslem School of Art in Burslem. The show will open to the public on 3rd November 2011. Want to enter? Get your images printed at a size no larger than 6" x 4" inches, and bring them to The Burslem School of Art on either 27th October (10am-5pm) or 28th October (10am-5pm) 2011. Photographers must live and/or work in North Staffordshire, and you can submit up to 3 images per person. More details via the Facebook group.

04.10.11    The Stoke-on-Trent Ceramics Biennial is now underway in Stoke-on-Trent. See the website for the full programme of exhibitions, demonstrations and open days.

Adult creative workshops are:—

* Re-Mould (Saturday 29th October, £15): "Join us for an afternoon of making. Inspired by the mould store at the original Spode factory site"

* Re-Design (2nd October & 23rd October, £15): "Join us for an afternoon of design, learn how to make your own ceramic transfer."

There will also be two talks and a symposium:—

* 13th October 2011. "Artists and Industry : a constructive relationship?", at The Potters Club, very near the university and Stoke train station. £25. This will offer "presentations by artists and industry figures showcasing their experiences, followed by lively panel discussions and opportunities for questions from the floor.".

* 21st October 2011. "Ceramics Practice as Research", at Staffordshire University. £25. This one-day "symposium will provide an opportunity to examine the nature of ceramics practice as research".

* 3rd November 2011. "Education Platform" at the old Spode factory in Stoke old town, a short walk from the main train station. £25. This afternoon talk "focuses on the promotion and use of ceramics and craft processes within formal and informal education".

The Ceramic Review magazine is also offering a writing prize. Entrants should write a 650-word text that explores the Stoke-on-Trent Ceramics Biennial or the ceramic heritage of the city. Submit to: writingprize@ceramicreview.com   Deadline for submission: 13th November 2011.

There is also a one-day Ceramics 2011 expo for the industry, on 10th November 2011. The venue will be the Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent.

04.10.11    The Three Counties Open Art Exhibition 2011 will be opening at Keele University Art Gallery on 8th November 2011, and will run through until 13th December 2011. Receiving days for the exhibition are Friday 21st October (between 10am and 4pm) and Saturday 22nd October (between 10am and 1pm). 2011 sees the added attraction of a major new prize. The Arthur Berry Prize is worth £1,000, and the prize-winner will be selected from all entrants to the exhibition who are aged over 16 years. Entry forms from: whatson@kfm.keele.ac.uk

04.10.11    Families Magazine Staffordshire is a new magazine for those with young children. This might be a useful vehicle for those seeking targetted advertising opportunities in this area.

04.10.11    Stoke-on-Trent City Council are currently offering a Travel Plan Grant Scheme to local businesses. You can bid for up to £5,000 to help give employees greener methods of travelling to work (such as secure bicycle-locking facilities, etc). Full details and an application form from: transportation@stoke.gov.uk

04.10.11    The North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce has a new online survey to try and find out more about the local companies already involved in the export market.

04.10.11    Stoke-on-Trent Libraries will host a workshop titled "Newly Self-Employed: The Basics", between 10am and 12.30pm on Friday 28th October 2011. This will focus mainly on practical tax and registration matters. The venue is the City Central Library, and booking is essential. To book a free place telephone 01782 238455.

04.10.11    From this week, the distribution of Lottery funds to support film production has transfered to the new Creative England body. Their new national Film Culture funding scheme opens for applications from festivals and art-house cinemas from 17th October 2011, and will...

"aim to ensure audiences have access to a wide and diverse range of film content, to deepen and enrich audiences' experience through education opportunities, and to integrate the unique resources of regional screen heritage into wider film provision."

From November 2011 there will also be a national Talent Development Fund, offering...

"support for organisations and networks working with talent on a local/regional level"

04.10.11    Staffordshire University is offering new innovation vouchers that are... "worth £3,000". These vouchers will enable qualifying businesses to purchase innovation consultancy support from Staffordshire University. To be eligible you must be a small to medium sized firm (i.e.: already employing 10 to 250 employees), be planning substantial growth over the next 12 months, and be located within the ST1 to ST21 postcode areas. The following areas of research expertise are available from the university, among others: design-led innovation; digital media; and intellectual property advice. Vouchers will be allocated on a "first come, first served" basis to qualifying firms. For further information please contact Libby Griffin at:  libby.griffin@staffs.ac.uk

04.10.11    Ashbourne Arts, up in nearby Derbyshire, is seeking street performers for their Ashbourne Festival. The aim of the commission is to create an original performance that is unique to Ashbourne and reflects the character, history and environment of the town making use of its character and public spaces. The new work will be performed on both the 23rd and 24th of June 2012. There is an inclusive fee of £6,000. Application deadline: 28th October 2011. For a full brief please contact Tim Challans at:  challansconsult@btinternet.com

04.10.11    Exhibition space is available at the Brewhouse Arts Centre in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire. Arts East Staffs is looking for exhibiting artists to show their work in our extensive exhibition spaces. They are open to regional as well as local artists, and have exhibition slots in 2012. In 2012 they have four hireable exhibition spaces on offer for a period of five weeks. Prices start from £80, and cost is dependent on space — but included is hanging of your work, inclusion in Arts East Staffs publicity material and the opportunity to sell. For more information and an application pack please contact Paul Challacombe at:  paul.challacombe@eaststaffsbc.gov.uk

21.09.11    The annual North Staffordshire "Let's Do Business" expo is back in 2011. 100 local businesses will be at the Britannia Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, on 8th November 2011. In previous years this has been strictly "businesses only" — business support organisations have been turned away on enquiring about stands.

21.09.11    "The Legacy of Susie Cooper" is a Wedgwood Museum Friends' Event on 25th September 2011 (2pm-4pm) in the Museum's Education Room. £7.50 for members, £9.50 for non-members...

"The legacy of Susie Cooper" is the subject of the Friends Lecture on 25th September 2011. Susie was always surprised that her cups and saucers should find themselves in museum showcases as well as on the table. Miss Cooper also has a few surprises for us when we take a look at her technical prowess using the trials and prototypes which she so kindly donated to the museum before she left for the Isle of Man in 1986.

21.09.11    Added to the Directory: Janet Sutton, a Chapterhouse trained proofreader based in Staffordshire.

21.09.11    Added to the Directory: Alive HQ, a well-equipped new music studio in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

21.09.11    Stoke-on-Trent band All The Young have officially signed to Warner Brothers Records, and they have an E.P. out on the 10th October 2011, preceded by a gig at The Kings Hall in Stoke Town on 8th October.

21.09.11    The Edwardian Electric Picture House in Congleton has been taken over by local artists and they're putting in artists' studios and an exhibition space. The project is supported by a £400 grant from Congleton Town Council. Chris and his friends hope to have the new venue open by the end of 2011. Video...

21.09.11    Your editor now has two new books available as ebooks for the Amazon Kindle ereader. Lovecraft in Historical Context: further essays is a 31,000 word collection of essays on the life and times of author H.P. Lovecraft, fronted with my new original short story "The Quest to Azathoth" — so by downloading a free 10% sample from Amazon you'll be able to read the first half of the story for free. Also available is my Walking With Cthulhu: H.P. Lovecraft as psychogeographer, New York City 1924-26 which weighs in at 51,000 words. You can also download it free as a PDF.

21.09.11    The Friends of The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery are hosting a talk by author Matthew Rice on 23rd November 2011 (7.15pm) on The Lost City of Stoke-on-Trent. Signed copies of his book, of the same name, will be available. Contact the Museum for full details.

21.09.11    2011's Reginald Haggar Memorial Lecture at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery will be given by Stoke-on-Trent M.P. Tristram Hunt, on "Priestley's three Englands, Haggar's six towns". The venue is The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, 5th Nov 2011 from 2.30pm. Contact the Museum for full details.

21.09.11    Guided tours of the Nicholson Institute (Stockwell Street in Leek) are available during September 2011. The building is a purpose-built late Victorian library and art gallery, by the Leek architect William Sugden. It is of Queen Anne style with original Arts and Crafts features in the interior and on the exterior. Tours only available by prior arrangement for groups of 4 persons or more. Contact Cathy Braddock tel: 01538 483206. The Institute still functions for its original purpose, and in Sept-Nov 2011 hosts Inspired by Flora — an Midland Textile Forum textiles exhibition celebrating both familiar and exotic flowers and plants which have inspired artists and textile designers throughout history.

21.09.11    The town of Leek is having a Silk & Celebrities week, with plenty of fabric-related adult creative workshops in early October 2011. The full programme is available here (Word .doc file).

13.09.11    Stoke Film Theatre re-opened on 12th September 2011, and they need volunteers. Interested in helping to run Stoke's unique art-house cinema? Please contact: admin@stokefilm.eclipse.co.uk

13.09.11    Local ceramicist Denise O'Sullivan is inviting bookings for her Arts & Vintage Pop Up Emporium event, a large selling event to be held at the PiCL Palace in Newcastle-under-Lyme. Applications need to be in by the 30th September 2011. See the Facebook page for full details.

13.09.11    Midland Federation of Museums & Art Galleries are holding a conference on "The Feel Good Museum", on 13th October 2011 (10am–3.30pm). It'll be at the Walsall Leather Museum, and will ask: "What can museums do to improve the nation's wellbeing and happiness? [and will present] a range of practical ways [to do this] through museum collections and resources." The cost is £22 for membership of the Midlands Federation of Museums and Art Galleries + the event fee.

13.09.11    The Sentinel newspaper website now has a new feature, one that lets you write and send in your own local news story (it's not meant for press releases). Go to the front page and look for "Write an article" on the right-hand menu bar...

Once you've signed up, you'll be sent to a simple blog-like form.

13.09.11    The Regent Academy of Performing Arts has launched in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. This drama club is the "next step up" from The Regent Theatre's existing 'Dots' and 'Dashes' children's groups. Full details are available from: stokecreativelearning@theambassadors.com

13.09.11    A generous bequest from the estate of Gertrude Ashton Bowater means that a small number of scholarships for M.A. degrees in art are available at BIAD in Birmingham. Deadline: 16th September 2011.

13.09.11    The 2011 Artists' Access to Art Colleges scheme is now open. Once again, the nearest participating colleges are Derby and Birmingham.

13.09.11    A short evening meeting... "open to studio, design and industry potters and anyone connected to the historic pottery industry" is to happen at the Wedgwood Institute, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent on Friday 7th October 2011 (5:30pm-8pm). This is part of the British Ceramics Biennial. There will be a guided tour of the disused property, and a talk by historian Fred Hughes. Full information from:  info@rednile.org

08.09.11    Staffordshire County Council is offering places on a course that can lead to a recognised qualification in the arts. The 'Bronze Arts Award' is open to young people aged between 11 and 14, and fully funded places are available. It takes place at the Shire Hall Gallery in Stafford town between September and October 2011. There are four stages to the programme which include: taking part in an a practical, hands-on workshop; attending an arts event; researching arts heroes and heroines; and sharing or demonstrating their creative skills to others. Interested? Contact Laura Hilton at:  laura.hilton@staffordshire.gov.uk

08.09.11    The annual Arnold Bennett Weekend October Seminar is to be held at Wedgwood College and Conference Centre, near Stoke-on-Trent, on 8th/9th October 2011. The title is Eighty Years On: The Enduring Legacy of Arnold Bennett. The Society also has dates for its 2012 annual conference, which will take place on 9th June 2012 at the North Staffordshire Medical Institute in Hartshill.

08.09.11    There will be a one-day Arts & Health conference in Stoke-on-Trent, at the newly refurbished Mitchell Arts Centre, Hanley, on 12th October 2011. Full information at the conference Web page.

08.09.11    A substantial 'taster' for Stoke-on-Trent's new Prototype magazine issue 1 is now available for the Kindle, directly from the Amazon store. It can't be priced as free, but it's set at the lowest possible price of 89p.

08.09.11    Staffordshire University is to get an extra £1.2m each year (until 2015) from the Higher Education Innovation Fund. This will help fund student research placements and internships in industry. The money will also help support existing ways for local firms to consult with university staff. The new funds can be spent on areas such as digital media and design, among others.

08.09.11    Keele University has a Postgraduate Open Afternoon on 14th September 2011 (3.30pm-6.30pm) in the Chancellor's Building, manned by representatives from the Faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Natural Sciences.

08.09.11    Keele University will be hosting a talk on the new European Horizon 2020 funding scheme on 12th October 2011. Horizon 2020 will be a new integrated EU funding system that will cover all research and innovation funding. The new programme will subsume the EU's previous Programme for Research and Technical Development (PRTD), the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP), and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). It will come into force (if the EU doesn't collapse first) in 2014. Funds are to be increased by 46% above the previous schemes.

08.09.11    Advance news on a creative/history conference in Stoke-on-Trent, Exporting Stoke and Beyond: Tiles and Architectural Ceramics in the World Context. This is a Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society conference, and will be held on 12th November 2011 at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Hanley. The conference seeks to place tile making in the city in context of the history of world trade, including the British Empire and its vigourous promotion of free trade.

08.09.11    The Burslem School of Art is having a competitive Open Exhibition. Entries are invited for 'bringing in' on 27th & 28th October 2011 (10am-5pm). The work must be: by someone from Stoke-on-Trent; completed within the last year; be professionally framed; and be for sale to the public. There is a hanging fee of £15 if selected. See the Web page for full details.

06.09.11    Stoke's-on-Trent's Place, Space and Identity programme of six artist commissions is having a Closing Event on 21st September 2011, from 1pm – 5pm (including lunch). Full details at the website.

06.09.11    Stoke-on-Trent's new Prototype magazine is now officially on sale to the public. Creative Stoke has coded a Kindle 'taster' edition, which should be available via Amazon in a few days.

06.09.11    The new West Midlands Independent Publishers Network (no website or blog, yet) is set to hold a publisher fair at the Eastside Projects venue in Digbeth, Birmingham, on Saturday 8th October 2011 (10am – 4pm). Offering... "a chance to explore the vibrant independent publishing movement in the West Midlands and beyond."

06.09.11    Novelist, playwright and poet David Calcutt is offering a writing workshop which includes a journey around Lichfield Cathedral. Saturday 24th September 2011 (11am – 2pm), meeting outside the cathedral entrance, and gathering later at the nearby Minster Coffee Shop for writing, sharing and lunch (lunch not included in cost). Cost: £8. To book a place please email:  davidcalcutt@hotmail.com

06.09.11    Added to the Directory: Arbour Productions, a video production service based in Stoke-on-Trent.

06.09.11    Dead Radio Society is a four-man indie band based at Keele University. The launch of their new Plan Z album will be on 14th October 2011 at the Rigger pub in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, North Staffordshire.

06.09.11    Keele Poets are running a tutor-led 'Writing Poetry' course at Silverdale Public Library in Newcastle-under-Lyme. The dates are 29th September - 8th December 2011 (Thurs, 10am - 12 noon). The workshops are aimed primarily at poets with some writing experience, although one or two newcomers are welcomed every year. Many of the group attended these poetry workshops when they were run by Keele University’s adult education programme. The cost is £70 per term. Booking is first-come, first-served and must be booked in advance. Please contact Caroline for further information and a booking form, at: carolinehawkridge@gmail.com

03.09.11    Job:  Stockport College requires a Lecturer in Graphic Design.

03.09.11    Stoke-on-Trent's new Prototype magazine is now officially on sale to the public. A Kindle edition is coming very soon. Subscriptions are £10 for 4 issues. Some advertising space is still available in the second issue.


Click the image for the large version.

03.09.11    Defying Definitions: a disability arts symposium will be happening 1st - 2nd December 2011 at the Arena Theatre, Wulfruna Street, Wolverhampton. Tickets on sale now. Full details at the conference Web page.

03.09.11    Will Kemp has a new educational website Will Kemp Art School. Will is running an art surgery on 12th September in Marton, Cheshire, "for artists who would like a professional critique on their work." This will be a small group of six per class, informal, and will cost £30 for three hour class. More details at the website.

01.09.11   The new July 2011 edition of "A Guide To Sources Of Small Business Finance In The West Midlands" is now available. Everything you need to know about the current funding landscape for small firms.

01.09.11 Job: The Stoke-on-Trent British Ceramics Biennial has a Resident Artist Opportunity, deadline 7th September 2011. They are seeking an experienced mid-career maker with an interest in using, exploring and adapting ceramic processes and/or clay for a residency at Willow Bank CIC medical centre. Full details are online here

01.09.11 M.A. in Creative Futures at Staffordshire University.
Recruiting now for September! 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.

01.09.11 Job: The University of Wolverhampton's School of Art and Design requires a Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Applied Arts (Ceramics) (Ref A5701). You should have a relevant Masters degree or equivalent, a PhD is desirable, plus a relevant track record and teaching skills. You will also be required to teach in glass and 3D design. Deadline: 16th September 2011.

01.09.11 Are you a nerd, geek, or techie? Know your Kindle from your dongle? GeekUp Staffordshire is having a meeting at Alsager, just north of Stoke-on-Trent, on Wednesday 27th September 2011 (7pm).

01.09.11 Barewall in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, has is taking part in the Open Studios weekend on 17th-18th September 2011. This will included live demonstrations by Rob Pointon and Kevin Millward, 10am - 4.30pm in the Barewall Studio. There will be a further Open Studios weekend at the same venue on 24th-25th September 2011.

01.09.11 Staffordshire Open Studios weekends are coming up fast, with the first on 17th-18th September 2011. The online PDF brochure for 2011/12 can be downloaded here (PDF link, 12Mb).

01.09.11 A new centre for the arts opens this year in an imposing Edwardian building in the Staffordshire Moorlands market town of Leek. The first event will be Saturday October 15th 2011 (10am-4pm). Borderland Voices and the Leek Community Benefit Society extend an invitation to high quality crafts makers to promote and sell their original work at this new and exciting venue in the centre of town, on a date which coincides with the monthly Fine Food Market. Tables are initially at the special introductory price of £10. Its hoped this will lead to quarterly Craft Fairs. If you are interested in booking a place please email: andy@borderlandvoices.org.uk by Monday 5th September 2011, with a description of your craft and a Web-link if you have one. They will then send a booking form together with a publicity flyer and further details.

01.09.11 The Borough Museum and Art Gallery, Newcastle-under-Lyme, are holding their 'Open Art and Craft' exhibition for artists and crafts people from the Borough and the whole of Staffordshire. The show will run from 17th September to 6th November 2011. To enter simply fill in a form available from the Museum reception from 1st August onwards, a downloadable version is also be available from their website. Delivery date for submissions: Saturday 3rd - 6th September 2011. Full details at their website.

01.09.11 As part of the national Artist's Access to Art Colleges scheme, Arts in the Peak will be offering four placements to artists and designer-makers. Any area of practice will be considered. Closing date for applications is: 21st September 2011. For an application pack please contact them directly at: artistsinresidence@chesterfield.ac.uk This is a rare local opportunity, since Artist's Access to Art Colleges usually comes nowhere near North Staffordshire. The other nearest participating institutions in 2011 are Derby, Birmingham, and Chester.

01.09.11 Birmingham's First Light are looking for people 16-25 years of age with some knowledge or experience of working in the film industry? Is that you? Would you like the opportunity to learn from award winning producers 'just what it takes' to become a film producer on a 4-day course?

The LAB will offer participants the opportunity to learn all about the role of the producer, how to develop, produce and distribute a short film, how to build a career as a film producer and the skills and experience required to work in the film industry. Through a series of case studies of short films, sessions from guest speakers, role play and project work participants will spend 4 days getting to grips with just what it takes to be a film producer. The Birmingham course will run 21st-22nd September & 28th-29th September 2011. Each day will run from 10-6 and you must be available to attend all hours on all four days. This course is free of charge to successful applicants and some travel bursaries may be available. Apply with a one-page C.V. and a letter stating why the course would be useful to you. Please send to: info@producersforum.org.uk with SECOND LIGHT LAB in the header subject-line. Your application should arrive no later than Friday 2nd September at 5pm.

01.09.11 Nearby Wolverhampton's Flip! Animation Festival is on from 27th to 29th October 2011, including guest talks by creatives at Aardman (confirmed). Check the website for full details of the talks and events.

01.09.11 Birmingham City University's BIAD School of Jewellery is seeking a mid-career Jeweller/Silversmith and a Textile Artist/Designer (both with a minimum of 5 years experience) for a residency in Oct 2011 - Mar 2012. The programme will offer nine residencies to "explore commissioning models", followed by a touring exhibition and opportunities for students, graduates and professional makers.

01.09.11 Red Door Studios, in Burton-on-Trent, is holding a September Weekend Animation School, for any age and ability. Students will have the opportunity to try their hand at drawn, stop-motion, and cut-out animation and more. Individual tuition £26 per hour, group sessions available. Price includes materials, equipment, software, time in a working animation house, and an 'end of term' DVD and showcase featuring your work!

01.09.11 The following free artists' talks will take place at the newly refurbished Mitchell Arts Centre (formerly the Mitchell Memorial Theatre) in Stoke-on-Trent , in September 2011...

* Thursday 8th September, 6pm: Anoushka Athique
* Thursday 22nd September, 6pm: B. Arts

There is also an on-site "Meet the Artist" event outside the main Stoke-on-Trent train station: Rich White on 20th September 2011 from 6pm to 7.30pm. (Meet at Platform 4 outside the train station). Rich will be talking about his new sculpture incorporating the Wedgwood statue in Winton Square.

Full information at: Place, Space, Identity.

01.09.11 Praxis is holding an arts & health event on 27th September 2011 (Staffordshire University, 10am–12.30pm), to... "Explore how to market yourself as an artist in health and wellbeing contexts and how to use social networking to promote you and your work."

They also have a session on "Tender Writing: Changes in the NHS" (artists will be invited to tender for health based work in future) on 8th November 2011 (6pm–8.30pm, Pie and Ale House, Stafford).

To book a place or for more information, contact Sarah-Jane Watkinson, Praxis Events Co-ordinator at: sarah-jane@praxisartsandhealth.org.uk

01.09.11 Job: In the autumn of 2011, Women of Wolverhampton are working with artists from Laundry on a project on the Scotlands estate as part of the Dreams and Realities project. They would like to offer a bursary of £900 to a young and emerging locally-based artist to participate in this project on the Scotlands estate. They have no preference for artform. We are more interested in artists seeking to expand their practice within a social context. Deadline for full submissions: 16th September 2011. For further project details, contact: Beverley Harvey, Participation Project Officer for WOW at: beverleyh@havenrefuge.org.uk

01.09.11 Stoke-on-Trent City Libraries are looking for volunteers to read to housebound and elderly people in the city. Starting September 2011. Interested? Call: 01782 234567.

01.09.11 The Arvon Foundation grant fund has some bursaries available specifically to help writers from the West Midlands. Successful applicants will be given grant of for up to 90% of the course fees. They have a relatively local residential centre in Shropshire. If you would like to attend an Arvon residential creative writing course on theatre, film, comedy, TV or radio and you live in the West Midlands, please contact: emma@arvonfoundation.org

01.09.11 Your editor has a new history book available now. Walking With Cthulhu : H.P. Lovecraft as psychogeographer, New York City 1924-26 is 55,000 words, 198 pages, illustrated, and heavily referenced. I'm experimenting with giving it away free, for a limited time. Yes, that’s right the whole book for free, at least in PDF form. In exchange... please consider putting a web link to the paperback version on your blog, or mentioning it to your Facebook friends? Download it free (PDF, 4Mb) — or buy a new paperback copy here! The contents list is here.

Also published over the summer, my new book of miscellaneous essays on Lovecraft. This also includes a new and original 5,000-word fantasy-horror short story, and has a new cover illustration, both by myself. Lovecraft in Historical Context: Further Essays and Notes. is available now in paperback.

01.09.11 Staffordshire horror author Phil Emery, based in Newcastle-under-Lyme, has a new novel out called The Shadow Cycles. This is a follow-up novel to writer and lecturer Emery's Stoke-on-Trent-set novel Necromantra (2006). The Shadow Cycles is a complex novel that updates the sword-&-sorcery genre for the twenty-first century, and is published by Stafford-based Immanion Press.

01.09.11 A new Arts Council funded research-paper on the economy and value of the small-scale visual arts sector in the UK, Size Matters: Notes towards a Better Understanding of the Value, Operation and Potential of Small Visual Arts Organisations.

01.09.11 Staffordshire is set to join new 'Web archiving' pilot scheme, being introduced by the UK National Archives. The aim is to archive suitable community websites. Staff from the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Stoke Archive Service will now be trained in how to develop a curated web archive of local sites. More news on this as it comes in.

01.09.11 Added to the Directory: Natasha Tideswell at Jeeberella's Craft Castle and her blog.

01.09.11 Added to the Directory: PS Mag is a new lesbigay magazine for Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. Regular editorial meetings are being held in Hanley in advance of the launch.

01.09.11 Added to the Directory: Philip Kempson sends details of The Chameleon Project, a new video-production project in Stoke-on-Trent.

01.09.11 Added to the Directory: Jewellery by Helen Smith.

01.09.11 Added to the Directory: TISCOart is what appears to be (after a little digging) a locally-based blog, with excellent interviews with pop surrealist and lowbrow artists.

01.09.11 Added to the Directory: Adam Pigford Bay is a specialist in urban design and graphic design practices, and has recently graduated from an M.A. in Design. His work can be seen online at his Flickr gallery. He's based in Whitley, Staffordshire.

01.09.11 Added to the Directory: Rebecca Lancaster Designs. Rebecca is a Leek-based illustrator and greetings card designer.

01.09.11 Added to the Directory: Vizz Books is a new "independent reviewer, dealer and specialist in creative publications" based in Stoke-on-Trent.

01.09.11 Added to the Directory: Assorted Records is a new independent record label for Staffordshire.

01.09.11 Added to the Directory: The village of Madeley now has its own choir.

01.09.11 Added to the Directory: Digital Delight are a creative digital agency based in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

01.09.11 All the Directory web links on Creative Stoke were checked by hand, and repaired if needed, at the end of July 2011.


29.06.11     Creative Stoke will now be taking a customary Summer break. Since January 2011 Creative Stoke has posted 550 "What's New?" items here. See you again in September 2010!


29.06.11     Added to the Directory: Eclipse Broadcast, broadcast technical experts based on the Parkhouse Industrial Site at Newcastle-under-Lyme.

29.06.11     The British Film Institute has funded Skillset to deliver A Bigger Future 2, a new scheme set to provide three-years of professional skills training in the UK. As part of this, the Birmingham-based Producers' Forum is running a mentoring scheme for West Midlands feature film producers. 10 producers based in the West Midlands region will be selected...

"to receive high-level mentoring advice and guidance from industry experts across finance, business affairs, sales and distribution, and creative producing skills during Summer/Autumn 2011."

To be eligible you have to be a West Midlands-based independent producer with one or more feature film projects in active development. Deadline: 8th July 2011. Full details and application forms are on this page.

29.06.11     Mid*point is a newly launched network for theatre producers in the West Midlands.

29.06.11     First Bite is a day of new theatre at the Midlands Arts Centre in south Birmingham. They plan to stage... "eclectic extracts and ideas" from theatre troupes, companies and performers across the West Midlands. Two will be selected to go on to receive a commission of £3,000. Full details are available here (PDF link).

29.06.11     The Public in West Bromwich is to offer a day of advice about careers in the arts and creative industries. Creative Journeys is a free event for young people, teachers and parents on 28th September 2011. For more information please contact:  john@creativealliance.org.uk

29.06.11     Romantic fiction publishers Mills & Boon plans to host creative writing workshops this summer in local public libraries across the nation, accompanied by marketing and publicity. Selected authors will teach creative writing groups how to write a Mills & Boon romance, as well as encouraging writers to take part in the 'New Voices' search for new romantic writing talent. Workshops are set to happen from 2nd August – 20th September 2011. To apply to run a workshop at your local library, please submit your pitch by Monday 4th July 2011.

23.06.11     Staffordshire's Beacon International Centre, located at Stafford, is hosting a lunchtime BIC talk on "New Product Development: the Value of Design". The talk is on 7th July 2011, 12 noon to 2pm. Full details from:  sandra.butterworth@thebic.co.uk

23.06.11     The Stone & District University of the Third Age (U3A) is considering the possibility of running educational courses for people not in full-time employment. There is also a meeting taking place to consider starting a much-needed Stoke branch of the U3A. As such they are now inviting initial expressions of interest from potential teachers, so they can work out the sorts of classes and courses that it might be feasible to provide. Interested? Phone Sandra Robson on:  01785 812730.

23.06.11     Midsummer's day has passed, and thoughts turn to... Christmas pantomimes! The Lyceum Theatre at Crewe is auditioning for children's roles (8-16) in their Snow White Christmas pantomime. The audition date is set for 3rd July 2011, 9.45am for a 10am start. Full details from:  01270 537333.

23.06.11     Stoke-on-Trent College is having an Open Morning on 25th June 2011. The Burslem campus is the one you want to visit for information about forthcoming creative courses in areas such as Media, Art & Design, and Music & Performing Arts.

20.06.11     Are you thinking of starting a new design business in the West Midlands? The Interiors and Lifestyle Futures 'Venture' programme is now...

"recruiting the best talent from across the West Midlands to assist them with starting up their company. We are able to support a total of 30 people within the interiors and lifestyle products and service sectors [with an] intensive 6 months of mentoring & business development workshops builds business confidence, entrepreneurial skills and develops focused business ideas."

£1,000 is awarded on setting up a business. Application deadline: 15th July 2011. To obtain an application form or for more details please email:  wendy@ilfutures.co.uk

20.06.11     Added to the Directory:  Kindermusik with Shelly is a new early-years music programme now on offer in Stoke-on-Trent. Kindermusik has approximately 6,000 educators worldwide in over 66 countries, and is only delivered by trained and licensed educators. Family members stay with the child during sessions, and participate in music, movement, chants, play and listening activities. See the website for full details.

20.06.11     A low-cost retailing and crafts workshop is available for monthly rental, 10 minutes from Newcastle-under-Lyme in North Staffordshire. Full details from:  info@slaters-village.com

20.06.11     The Surface exhibitors (opens 8th July, 6pm at Artwaves in Burslem) now have a Facebook page.

20.06.11     Congratulations to the Sugarmill in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. It was recently voted the NME's "best small music venue" in the Midlands.

20.06.11     Nottingham Trent University has a rare paid UK Ph.D -level studentship available in Applied Arts and Crafts / Textiles / Fashion...

"This studentship will develop connections between research in textiles focusing on the physical realisation of innovative designs, integrating technical enquiries with creative design work situated in fashion."

Application deadline: 4th July 2011. For informal discussions please contact Professor Tilak Dias at:  tilak.dias@ntu.ac.uk

20.06.11     The Craft Pottery Charitable Trust is now inviting applicants to apply for the 2011 Annual Grant Scheme. The scheme is open to all ceramists, whether or not members of the CPA. Deadline: 15th December 2011. Guidance for applicants is available from:  lizgale@interalpha.co.uk

20.06.11     Do you want to do a Masters degree in the music industry, but without all the expense and hassle of travelling down to Birmingham at peak-time and then catching another train out to Perry Barr? Birmingham City University's School of Media (located at Perry Barr in the north of the city) is now offering its M.A. in Music Industries by distance learning. See the website for full details.

20.06.11     The annual Birmingham Artsfest is inviting film and animation submissions from across the West Midlands. Films should be submitted on a DVD that's playable in a standard player, and your film needs to have some connection to the West Midlands. The film can be of any length and of any genre. Deadline: 26th June 2011. Submit at the Kino10 site.

20.06.11     Applications are now invited from young people in the Midlands for a Royal Birmingham Society of Artists Summer School Young Persons' Bursary. This is worth up to £99, and six bursaries are on offer to those aged between 14 to 18, and in full-time education in the UK. Those selected will take part in one of three selected Summer School Workshops (a maximum of two bursary students per workshop) at a much lower cost than usual. Full details at the website.

16.06.11     ChuffChuff is a new venue for the people of nearby Crewe, supporting local artists with new 'art pods' to rent. Located in a former railway warehouse, they have a performing art space and a dedicated dance studio, together with a performance space for bands, a music recording studio, and a vocals booth. Visit the website for full details.

16.06.11     The consultants in charge of planning the regeneration of the Spode site in Stoke town, URbed, are making a promotional film which includes a 'virtual walkthrough' of the site — envisaged as an artists' village. They would like to include images of local artists and crafts makers in this, rather than the standard stock photographs of people. Interested? URbed can be contacted at:   info@dbdigital3d.co.uk

16.06.11     On Tuesday British Telecom announced a new list of telephone exchanges being scheduled for a broadband upgrade. Congratulations to Leek and Stafford, which are set to benefit from faster "up to 40Mbps" broadband sometime in 2011 or 2012.

16.06.11     Planning to bid for work supplying the London 2012 Olympic Games? BiP Solutions is holding a Procurement Training Workshop at Yarnfield Park in North Staffordshire on 30th June 2011. More details from: 0845 270 7095.

16.06.11     Birmingham-based First Light brings young people together with film professionals for project-based work. First Light now requires a production company to make ten "how to" films of approximately 90 seconds each, each giving young people aged 14+ a very quick and fun idea of what's involved in one aspect of the film-making process (scriptwriting, storyboarding, editing, etc). Application deadline: 17th June 2011 (12 noon). Budget: Up to £10,000, inclusive of VAT and all expenses. Delivery in full by 30th September 2011. Full details from:  info@firstlightonline.co.uk

16.06.11     Museums at Night are asking people to fill in a short online survey, to help make this national event better in 2012. The Mill Meece Pumping Station in Staffordshire has so far provided the most interesting reply: their Museums at Night event in 2011... "paid for the coal used for the annual boiler safety-valve check". The survey is part of a thorough evaluation report which will be used for future fundraising.

16.06.11     The Three Shires Textile Festival has announced dates for the next festival: 1st — 31st July 2013.

16.06.11     John Gillow is set to give a lecture on Islamic textiles at the Heritage Centre in Macclesfield, on 23rd June 2011. This accompanies the exhibition 'Afghan Bazaar'. Gillow is a renowned non-European textile collector and author of many textile books. Cost is £5.

15.06.11     Job:  Stoke Your Fires, the Stoke-on-Trent animation and film festival, is seeking a Freelance Project Manager (PDF link). You'll deliver... "a comprehensive research and development project that will influence the future direction of the festival." Deadline: 20th June 2011.

15.06.11     Job:  Making Moves II requires a Freelance Evaluator. Making Moves II was a Midlands-wide crafts development initiative between Midlands councils such as Staffordshire County Council and Craftspace. Fee: £2,000. Application deadline: 1st July 2011. See the Web page for full details.

15.06.11     Newcastle-under-Lyme College will open its annual student art exhibition, at the new College campus, from 18th June to 25th June 2011. There will also be the opportunity to view the exhibition and find out more about the creative courses on offer, at the College's Open Morning on 25th June 2011.

15.06.11     Congratulations to Burleigh in Middleport, for completing the major re-funding and re-financing that will save this unique working Victorian pottery (after it was hit by embezzlement). There are now apparently plans to open spaces in the building as crafts making studios by 2012.

15.06.11     Young Enterprise Staffordshire is reported to be seeking corporate sponsorship to help expand its service to 15-18 year olds who are considering a business start-up.

15.06.11     A number of 'Factory Nights' for artists are being planned across the Midlands and beyond in 2011-2012, as an... "innovative, new approach to commissioning art work and inspiring collaboration", and these will aim to be... "experimental and spontaneous". Places will be limited to 25, and selected attendees will then be able to apply for bursaries of between £1,000 and £3,000 to... "conduct research residencies, collaborations or produce a piece of work responding to the [venue] space.". The 'Factory Nights' are reported to be partly funded by Staffordshire University and Stoke on Trent City Council, among others. Full details at the website.

15.06.11     The Leek Writers Group now has its own website.

15.06.11     Added to the Directory: Luke Reynolds is graduate photographer, who will shortly be returning to live in Stoke-on-Trent after completing a degree in Photography at Leeds.

15.06.11     Added to the Directory: David Sidley is a Staffordshire University student photographer who now has a new book available featuring his home city, focussing on his snatched photographs of Tontine Street in Hanley and the people who pass through it. A selection of the pictures can be viewed online and the book can be purchased here.

15.06.11     Added to the Directory: Adam Lowndes, a Stoke-on-Trent photographer.

15.06.11     Added to the Directory: Nicholas Proud Music, Stoke-on-Trent based and offering freelance music services including piano tuition and music production for film, theatre, visual arts, and dance.

15.06.11     Outside In, the UK network for outsider artists, is set for a website revamp and the launch of its 2012 Outside In 2012 Open exhibition in July 2011. Submissions of work will be accepted from 21st July 2011. They're also planning...

"regional surgeries delivered in your area by the Outside In team and 'artist ambassadors'. These surgeries will provide support and advice to local artists who want to create their own online galleries and who wish to submit their work for the 2012 Open competition."

Outside In are also looking for organisations who may welcome the chance to host a surgery and accompanying workshop at their venue. A website to watch, if you're making outsider or visionary art.

15.06.11     The Light House in nearby Wolverhampton has a Exhibition Talk on 'The Street' on Thursday 16th June 2011 (6.30pm). Pete James, Head of Photographs at Birmingham Central Library will be talking to Dean Kelland and Andrew Jackson about their exhibition The Street.

12.06.11     Fierce Earth's Helga Henry will be delivering a series of six 'Be Effective' workshops in partnership with the Exchange artists' shop in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. These one-day workshops are on offer to all local creative entrepreneurs who want to start a business using your talent and doing the things you love. There are still places available, and the series starts on 23rd June at the Mitchell Arts Centre (formerly the Mitchell Memorial Theatre), Hanley. See the schedule and booking form for full details.

12.06.11     Staffordshire Patchworkers and Quilters have a new venue in Stone, just south of Stoke-on-Trent. The programme of speakers for the second half of 2011 includes Annette Emms on 'Gargoyles, Ghosts and Graveyards', and a talk by the award-winning Ferret, among others.

12.06.11    A reminder that the entry deadline for the Halls Fine Art Open Competition is 30th June 2011. Artists' awards and prizes include a £2,000 first prize; a special £500 Shropshire or Staffordshire based winner award; and a Junior Award for artists under 16. For full details and an entry form contact:  Mary Peace at Weston Park, Weston-under-Lizard, Shifnal, Shropshire TF11 8LE. There will be an accompanying gallery exhibition, 1st - 31st August 2011. The competition and exhibition are sponsored by Halls — the Estate Agents, Chartered Surveyors, Auctioneers and Valuers.


10.06.11     Below is Creative Stoke's taster selection of pictures of works now on show at the annual Staffordshire University Art & Design Shows, which opened tonight. The show times are...

* Sat 11th June, Sun 12, and Saturday 18 June — 11am – 4pm
* Mon 13 and Wed 15 June — 10am – 8pm
* Tues 14, Thurs 16 and Fri 17 June — 10am – 6pm

Click the pictures for larger versions:

In Photography Chris Davis presents a series of wonderfully costumed triptych self-portraits with a definite Stoke flavour, which your editor thought were the most fascinating and fully-realised visual art works in the shows. The snapshot below really doesn't do the illustration-like quality of these works justice. Chris also has a book available for online purchase, Welcome to Chrisville. Prints are also available from Chris...

In Graphic Design there's this charming faux-vintage neo-Victorian poster by John Ellis...

In Crafts, Darren Kelly (no website) has this delightfully cheerful stool. He makes and fits all the materials himself, and intends to remain in Stoke after graduation...

Jonathan Colenso's characterful stop-motion animation 'king' model is just one of a very lively animation, stop-motion puppetry and 3D rendering room. Sadly there doesn't seem to be a YouTube channel or similar where all the year's final works in these degrees are collected together, but there's a big screening room plus PCs at the show.

In Fine Art, Laila Flood has some eerie Francesca Woodman -inspired prints...

Also in Fine Art, Tracey Barlow's magnificent walking-inspired painting — shown in the catalogue and website — has sadly been sold and hasn't been loaned back to Tracey for the show. But it can still be seen online.


10.06.11     There's a new Cartoon and Comic Arts degree at Staffordshire University, which your editor is told starts with its first cohort of students in September 2011. One of the tutors has a blog and a Tumblr page for the course.

10.06.11     An automated Linkbot-based checking of all Web links on the Creative Stoke Directory has been undertaken, and dead links either repaired or deleted. Please note that the What's New Page and its archive have not been included in the checking.

Please write if you know the online whereabouts of the following: Cheadle Choral Society, the City Music and Performing Arts Service of Stoke-on-Trent Council, Newcastle Operatic Society, Biddulph & District Youth Orchestra, World of Puppets, Stafford Art Group, The Academy of Theatre Arts, Miho Suganami, or William Eccleston.

A deeper hand-checking of the Directory will be undertaken over the Summer.

10.06.11     The Shire Hall Gallery is currently seeking artists to show their work in an exhibition space located in the Gallery's Balcony Coffee Bar.

10.06.11     The AirSpace Gallery in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, is having a Yard Sale from 12 noon on Saturday 11th June 2011.

10.06.11     Job:  St. Margaret Ward Catholic College (Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent) requires a part-time Dance teacher for the September 2011 term. Deadline: 15th June 2011. Full details from Karen Wilson at:  01782 236162.

09.06.11     Tonight at the Burslem School of Art, Stoke-on-Trent, there will be a free talk by three artists from Sheffield who are currently exhibiting at the School. Simon Kent is a self-taught sculptor who creates his large scale artwork in wood, Brian Holland is a professional ceramic artist, and Bernhard Culshaw is a painter. Their free talks will run from 5pm – 7pm.

09.06.11     Staffordshire University now has the PDF catalogue online (PDF link, 4Mb) for the 2011 art & design graduation shows. The shows open on Friday evening at the Stoke campus (just around the corner from Stoke's intercity train station).

09.06.11     North Staffordshire's Rideout prison arts organisation is seeking a designer or Lego enthusiast to design two small Lego models for then, using the Lego software. This software is free and easy to download. This work can be done from home and is to be paid via a fee-per-model. Please enquire for more details from Chris Johnston at:  chris@rideout.org.uk

09.06.11     500 organisations recently joined forces to chide Arts Council England about its lack of concern for the regular funding of digital culture...

"We the undersigned believe that clear national policies need to be developed to ensure that the UK can remain at the forefront of digital culture, globally, and that these must take account of the key role creative practices play in driving digital innovation. Whilst we appreciate that digital technologies have created exciting opportunities to engage with audiences, and to disseminate and distribute arts programmes in new ways, it is critical that funders and policy-makers understand that this is not the extent of digital culture. If we are to make the most of the digital opportunity, it needs to be recognised at a national policy level that digital culture is about more than extending the reach of existing arts practices. It is about entirely new forms of production, expression, practice and critical reflection that digital technologies have made possible. We are concerned about the place of art, creative practice, criticality and risk-taking in current and future funding policies."

In what would appear to be a first response Arts Council England has now brought in the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) to run a new £500,000 'Digital R&D Fund for Arts and Culture'. NESTA will fund digital research and development projects which... "have the potential to produce new data and research insights that can be shared with and benefit other arts and cultural organisations". The deadline for applications is 2nd September 2011, and organisations can apply via NESTA's Web page for the Fund.

09.06.11     The Light House in nearby Wolverhampton is running a one day Photographing People workshop. The workshop will run on Friday 17th June 2011 (10am – 4pm). The cost is £40 + VAT. See the website for full details.

09.06.11     The BBC's Performing Arts Fund is now accepting applications for community dance projects. The Fund has up to £200,000 to award, with grants of £500 to £5,000 available across the UK. Deadline: 12th July 2011.

06.06.11     DACS Payback launches its 2011 payback on 13th June 2011. The scheme allows visual creatives to claim a share of the £4-million DACS Payback fund. If you've had an image of your work published in a British magazine or newspaper, or seen on a TV programme, yet not been paid for it — then applying could get you a DACS cheque. The Payback cash is raised from the annual photocopying and video/TV/DVD duplication licenses paid for by British schools, colleges and universities. Last year the average individual Payback royalty payment to artists was for £295. All claims must be submitted no later than the 9th of September 2011. See the website for full details.

06.06.11     Advance notice that a photography competition, "A Year in the Life of the Churnet Valley", is currently being planned by the Friends of the Churnet Valley and the Phoenix Trust. The competition will run from 1st September 2011 to 31st August 2012, giving picture-making opportunities right across the seasons. More details on this competition in the early Autumn.

06.06.11     Job:  Manchester Metropolitan University's Department of Contemporary Arts, based at nearby Crewe, requires a full-time Senior Lecturer in Drama. You will have experience in professional theatre and a specialism in performance technique and training, ideally with a specific focus on voice and/or movement. Directing experience in text-based theatre practices is also desirable. As part of a team you will provide teaching across undergraduate Drama provision. Experience in supervising to PhD level and/or a record of external income and research activities would be of advantage. Full details from Carola Boehm, Head of Contemporary Arts at:  c.boehm@mmu.ac.uk

06.06.11     As an adjunct to the outdoor Art Market (2nd July 2011 on Piccadilly in Hanley, 11am - 6pm), artist Denise O'Sullivan is organising an 'English Tea Party' at The Exchange artists' shop, also on Saturday 2nd July 2011. This event will be in aid of the Red Cross Japan Tsunami Recovery Appeal, and will feature tea — a shared passion of both the Japanese and the British — together with Cakes for Japan cakes, a laughter workshop, vintage clothing, and cup-cake making.

03.06.11    Job: Thistley Hough High School, Stoke-on-Trent, wants a Media and Visual Arts Technician for the 2011 summer term. Deadline: 10th June 2011. Full details from: thhs@sgfl.org.uk

03.06.11    The Exchange artists' shop in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, is set to hold its third Saturday networking brunch on Saturday 11th June 2011 (11am to 3pm).

03.06.11    Creative Approaches to Artists' Support is a one-day discussion event at The New Art Gallery Walsall, on 17th June 2011 (11am to 3.30pm). Join a discussion on how Midlands arts organisations can: work with and support regional artists creatively; open up channels of communications between artists and arts organisations; work together to support artists collaboratively. There will be presentations from various organisations and groups. Booking required. To book your free place please contact Helen Jones at: joneshelen@walsall.gov.uk

03.06.11    The Arriva bus company is seeking entries to its photography competition. Submitted pictures will explore the role of public transport at work in the community and your local area. Prizes include a Sony digital SLR camera, and vouchers from a well-known UK photography chain. All winners will have their photo published on the company website. Deadline: 31st July 2011. Send you pictures and contact details to:  photo@arriva.co.uk

03.06.11    Network Rail trains has a photography competition, inviting pictures of... "Britain's beautiful rural and urban scenery". The top prize is £10,000. Deadline: 15th July 2011. The 2010 winning 'Lines in the Landscape' picture was of a local scene, showing a speeding train going through Grindleford station in the Peak District.

03.06.11    Birmingham Loves Photographers is a new website profiling local photographers, and they mention plans to... "run events for photography around the West Midlands" in future.

03.06.11    Bilston Craft Gallery, located down in the Black Country, is seeking Midlands crafts makers working in ceramics, metal, glass, enamel or leather. The planned exhibition called 'Craftsense' will celebrate the links between local historic manufacturing skill and modern craft practices, with a special focus on famous Staffordshire and Black Country trades such as metal shaping, ceramics, leather, glass, and enamel. Interested? Please supply a current C.V. with details and images of the work you would have available from September 2011 to October 2012. Deadline: 14th June 2011. Please also let them know if you would be happy for the work to be carefully touched by visitors. Email applications are preferred, but please limit emailed images to a maximum of five, with each file less than 1Mb. Submissions to:  carrie.jones@wolverhampton.gov.uk

03.06.11    Wolverhampton's Kirkland's New Empire Bioscope is seeking artists working in film/animation, to submit recent work or proposals that will be shown as part of a moving image and visual art event. Kirkland's New Empire Bioscope is a home cinema experience set within an ex-industrial unit, temporarily transformed into a classic British Edwardian 'fleapit' cinema. To apply please send proposals, artist's statement, short C.V. and stills of existing work along with links to websites to:  elenacassidy-smith@hotmail.co.uk   Films ideally should not exceed ten minutes. Deadline for submission: 1st July 2011.

03.06.11    Seen the light? The Crafts Council's unusual Lux Craft competition invites applications from new and established crafts makers working in all disciplines, to submit proposals for installations which capture the beauty of light. Works submitted for selection can either include light-emitting sources such as lamps, or be conceived to celebrate the beauty of forms and surface finishes when lit. Deadline: 7th June 2011. See the website for full details.

01.06.11    An outdoor Art Market will be held on Saturday the 2nd July 2011 on Piccadilly in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, between 11am - 6pm. The Market is open to anyone who would like the opportunity to showcase and sell their creative work in the city centre. Art Market is running in conjunction with Piccadilly Circus and The Exchange artists' shop. Full details from Marcus at artmarketsot.blogspot.com or call 07861 488 534. Marcus is also involved with the Surface group exhibition to be held at Artwaves in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, opening on 10th of June 2011.

01.06.11    Jobs:   Neighbouring Derbyshire's snappily-titled Derbyshire Magnesian Limestone Landscape Limestone Journeys Partnership currently has a number of creative arts projects that are inviting expressions of interest.

01.06.11    Job:   'If Wards Could Talk' is a local community history project that requires a freelance Education Workshop Leader. You'll devise and deliver a programme of five education workshops that reflect the stories and memories of former patients and staff in North Staffordshire. The project has been set up by the University Hospital of North Staffordshire to record medical history in the Potteries during a period of change. The main focus of the project is the response of individual people to the changing medical environment during the past half century. There is a fixed fee of £1,600 for the commission, and the closing date for applications is 3rd June 2011. Further details are available from the Project Co-ordinator Ian Lawley, at:  ian.lawley@tiscali.co.uk

01.06.11    A new regular Staffordshire Handmade and Vintage Fair is set to launch, appealing to the Etsy generation. This fair aims to mix contemporary crafts, art, vintage, and graduate work, all from the local area. It's hoped that this will build into a regular fair, so please feel free to email Lauren at: whimsicalandcurious@yahoo.co.uk   to apply for a stall or for more details.

01.06.11    Added to the Directory: Lindsay Smith, a graphic designer in the Crewe/Stoke area.

01.06.11    Joshua Platt blogs that he's in the planning stages for a regular Stoke-on-Trent Photographers' Photowalk.

01.06.11    Added to the Directory: Anna Cahalin is a freelance writer based in Hartshill, Stoke-on-Trent, offering services such as feature writing and copywriting. Anna has a particular interest in parenting and pregnancy/birth, blogging at www.dummymummy.co.uk and writing for Real Parenting Magazine.

01.06.11    Basic details of a planned Acting Workshop in Stoke-on-Trent in mid July 2011, with Lara de Leuw.

01.06.11    Are you young, in Stoke, and interested in making music digitally? There will be free drop-in workshops at Soniq Studios on Queensberry Road, Stoke-on-Trent during June 2011. More details from: info@b-arts.org.uk  or  01782 717326. No experience necessary. If you want to know more about making beats, tracks and all sorts of music digitally then "just turn up" (Editor's note: although if you've never been there before, get very clear directions because it can be a very difficult place to find for the first time).

01.06.11    Job:   The Dance Development Group for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent (DDG) is looking for exceptional dance artists to join the team of artists involved in Get Dancing!, a Staffordshire wide project. The DDG is offering choreographic commissions to produce a range of performance-based dance projects in various locations across Staffordshire under the artistic direction of Filip Van Huffell, Artistic Director of Retina Dance Company. Working in one specified location in Staffordshire, dance artists will devise and produce a series of workshops over twelve weeks which will develop into five performance based projects starting in either September 2011 (Phase 1) or January 2012 (Phase 2). The production of live dance will culminate in a series of district dance events (Jan – July 2012) as well as the county showcase in July/August 2012. The performance-based projects will be supported by a range of outreach workshops which will engage with communities across Staffordshire and provide appropriate participation events which will recruit dancers for the project. Artist Fee: £5,000 (to include all expenses) Deadline for applications: 20th June 2011. Full details at the website.

01.06.11    Job:   A QTS or NQT Teacher of Art and Design is currently required in Stafford... 'to start immediately'. No idea which school, as they currently have agencies anonymously spamming the recruitment feeds — but if you're interested then you might phone around, since there can't be that many schools in the town.

01.06.11    Comics Launch Pad is a new and unique one-day event in Birmingham on 18th June 2011. It's a one-day conference aimed at professionals, aspiring professionals and those with a serious interest in the business of making comics. A standard ticket is £45 (PayPal accepted).

01.06.11    BIAD in Birmingham, the largest art & design teaching and research university campus outside of London, is inviting applications for the Wheatley Bequest Fine Art Fellowship. This is... "directed at artists at the beginning of or at a critical point in their professional career". Applicants should normally have a first degree and/or a postgraduate qualification in Fine Art. The Fellow will be provided with a studio in the School of Art in Birmingham city centre, and will have access to all of the facilities there. The fellowship lasts for 10 months, commencing in October 2011.

23.05.11    Due to sell out performances and high demand for more tickets, the producers of the re:claim performance project at the old Spode factory in Stoke town are squeezing in an extra third performance of re:claim — on Saturday 28th May 2011, from 6.30pm. See the website for the booking form.

23.05.11    Create Radio is running from Staffordshire University in the run-up to the annual Art & Design degree shows, from 21st May 2011 to 4th June 2011. More details from the Facebook page and the online and radio listening details are available at cre8radio.com

23.05.11    Stoke-on-Trent's new Filmmaking Network is holding its second meeting for local professional film-makers, at Fat Cats Bar in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, on Wednesday 8th June 2011 (6.30pm to 9.30pm).

23.05.11    Congratulations to Samantha Eynon of the The Art Shop at Staffordshire University — she has artwork in two leading UK digital arts magazines this month, Computer Arts magazine and Digital Artist magazine.

23.05.11    Keele University is hosting its annual creative writing retreat from Sunday 24th July to Friday 29th July 2011. The five-day retreat offers morning master-classes delivered by high profile British poets and novelists, and afternoons spent writing in the old library at Keele Hall — then evenings dining together and listening to readings. The retreat is open to anyone with an interest in furthering their creative writing. The retreat costs £525 inclusive of accommodation and meals. Full details are available online here.

23.05.11    Keele University is to hold a series of Open Days for its Raven Mason collection of rare ceramics. The collection will be open to the public on the following Tuesdays, between 10am and 4pm: 7th June; 5th July; 9th August; 6th September; 4th October and 8th November 2011. Admission is free. This is locally made pottery created by Masons Ironstone was known for its exuberant designs inspired by the Orient. Curator Harry Frost, who travels worldwide lecturing on this wonderful collection, will be available to assist visitors with inquiries about the collection.

23.05.11    Neighbouring Derbyshire is to host its Open Arts 2011 event at studios and venues across the county. The free event takes place annually in the Spring Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May, with over 100 artists and crafts makers displaying their work. Further details, event listings and brochure are available from www.derbyshireopenarts.co.uk

23.05.11    There's to be a two-day conference on the future for theatre in the West Midlands. The 'Open Space' conference will take place on 23rd and 24th June 2011, taking as its theme the challenge question: "What more can we do to create a better future for theatre in the West Midlands?" The event is open to anyone working in the broad area of theatre within the West Midlands. The PDF flyer is available here (PDF link).

17.05.11    Job:  Stoke-on-Trent City Council is seeking to commission a digital media / film artist / arts organisation to develop an innovative and unique digital media/film-based community arts project during Summer 2011, with children in care and care leavers across Stoke-on-Trent. The high-quality project will engage professional film-makers and a creative writer to enable the young people to...

"develop and create a documentary film that explores issues about living independently and becoming active, positive and confident members of society. The film will be developed as a tool kit [ which ] can be used in a variety of settings [ and will be ] designed to be relevant and 'accessible' to a wide range of youngsters."

Application deadline: 10th June 2011. The fee available is £10,000, to include expenses, artists' fees, engagement workshops and materials, development of the documentary, and production and duplication of DVDs. More information and a full brief is available from Paul Bailey at:  paul.bailey@stoke.gov.uk

17.05.11    Job:  Stoke-on-Trent City Council's Communications Team needs a full-time Web Editor and "on-line champion". Application deadline: 27th May 2011.

17.05.11    A date for the opening of the annual Staffordshire University Art & Design graduation shows — the 2011 shows open with the usual Friday evening preview and launch on the 10th of June 2011, from 6pm.

17.05.11    Added to the Directory: Dan Weatherall, a contemporary music-maker based in Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent.

17.05.11    Job:  Wolverhampton Arts and Heritage Service are seeking a highly motivated Outreach Person to work with Wolverhampton's diverse communities to improve access to arts and heritage sites and collections, and to generally involve local people. The successful candidate will have outreach or community arts experience, excellent communication skills, creative ideas, the ability to complete a project to a time-scale. This is a Fixed Term Contract until 31 March 2012. For more information contact Angela Tombs, Head of Learning & Outreach on 01902 552033 or Francies Nielson, Outreach Manager on 01902 552055. Application deadline: 31st May 2011.

17.05.11    Jobs:  Writers in Residence in Prison, in association with the National Offender Management Service, are seeking five new Writers in Residence. Each contract is for 1-2 Years @ 18.5 hours per week. For an application pack, send a large, A4-sized stamped addressed envelope (66p stamp) to Writers in Prison Network Ltd, P.O. Box 71, Welshpool, Wales. SY21 0WB. Deadline: 27th May 2011.

16.05.11    A series of Stoke, Stone, and Stafford Social Media Surgeries are being scheduled for 2011. Creative Stoke has just learned that the first is happening today...

"The first of the SSSSMS's will be taking place at The Royal Exchange in Stone this coming Monday 16th May [today].

The event is planned to be monthly, and will rotate around North and Mid Staffordshire. The later mid-summer dates are: 13th June 2011 (Sun Inn pub, Stafford at 7pm); and 18th July 2011 (White Star pub, Stoke town at 7pm).

13.05.11    Staffordshire University is organising a free breakfast networking event on June 14th 2011. The Stoke-on-Trent campus will play host to employers within the creative industries, inviting them to come and meet the artists and designers of the future, and also to take the opportunity to view the June 2011 art & design degree shows. Please note that this is not a recruitment event: the University wants to provide an opportunity for students to develop their networking skills, and gain an understanding of working in the creative industries, and also for employers to appreciate upcoming talent. Full details from Andrea Pugh at: a.pugh@staffs.ac.uk

13.05.11    Rachel Wood has a new YouTube interview with Stoke-on-Trent sports artist Paine Proffitt, about his excellent recent F.A. Cup paintings...

You can also read Creative Stoke's interview with Paine.

13.05.11    Added to the Directory: Whimsical and Curious. Illustrations and collages of found objects and collections of forgotten photographs and letters.

13.05.11    Jude Theatre Company is a long-running children's theatre group based at King's Street Hall, Newcastle-under-Lyme. Their Young Ones group (Tues 6pm-8pm, 7-14 years) is offering one free taster evening per child — just print off the the voucher and take it along!

13.05.11    Landscape photographer Charlie Waite will be hosting "An Evening with Charlie Waite" in Stafford on 26th May 2011. The event has been organised by the Rotary Club of Stafford Knot as a fund raiser for a local Hospice (tickets are £12.50). Further information from David Stubbs at: holyroodstubbs@yahoo.co.uk Tickets hotline: 01785 254653.

13.05.11    The Exchange artists' shop in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, is to have its second Saturday brunch (breakfast/lunch) event on Saturday 28th May 2011 (12 noon to 2pm). This time it's a "bring your own food" event, but please still RSVP to: mail@thisisexchange.co.uk

13.05.11    Body Image Dance is looking for a female dancer. The selected dancer will work creatively on a new dance project, over a one-week residency in August 2011. The new work is written by local composer Ellie Davies, and the piece will be performed with live music at Newcastle-under-Lyme College in September 2011. Full details from:  amy_tomson@hotmail.com

07.05.11    Nantwich Festival of Arts now has its website online, with dates (17th-19th June 2011) and programme. The festival is partly sponsored by Honda, and supported by MMU's Crewe campus and MMU's £7m Axis Arts Centre at Crewe.

07.05.11    All the major providers of adult learning opportunities in North Staffordshire are combining for a joint public open day to present their courses. The venue is the Wedgwood Memorial College, Barlaston, on 21st May 2011 (11am - 3pm). Sounds like an ideal opportunity to cut through the online thickets, in terms of finding out about and comparing short creative courses that are set to be held locally.

07.05.11    Added to the Directory: Steelworks Dance & Performing Arts Academy, based in Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent. Their next audition date for September 2011 entry is 14th June 2011. The Studio offers professional tuition in a wide range of classes from pre-school to advanced, holding three examinations sessions annually in conjunction with the BBO (British Ballet Organisation).

07.05.11    Manchester Metropolitan University is creating a £10 million non-repayable scholarship fund to provide degree bursaries and grants to selected undergraduate students. MMU's Dept. of Contemporary Arts is based at the Crewe campus, within easy travelling distance from Stoke-on-Trent. The Dept. offers degrees in:  Contemporary Theatre & Performance; Creative Writing; Dance; Drama; Creative Music Production; Music; and Popular Music. Lower income households (earning less than £25k a year) are being specifically targetted for the bursaries — so as long as there are no geographical boundaries on the funds, that suggests that Stoke-on-Trent students may have a good chance of getting a bursary/grant. Further details will be available on this Web page "soon".

07.05.11    Frame has publicly-subsidised creative workspaces available in Birmingham city centre, at the very affordable price of just £39 per month. Only 15 full "memberships" are on offer and nine are already confirmed. There's no mention of the offer being limited only to those living in Birmingham. For full details and an application form please email:  lucy@framecreatives.com

06.05.11    A special free screening of the North Staffordshire-made film Pulp is set for 9th May 2011, at Vue in Newcastle-under-Lyme. Partly shot at the British International Comics Show in Birmingham, this new feature film is a comedy set in the world of British comics publishing. The makers are seeking audience feedback at this test screening, and attendees will be asked fill in feedback forms. Tickets are limited in number and only available to over-15s — to get one (or two, max.) send your email and phone number to:  bill@pulpthemovie.com

06.05.11    Added to the Directory: Flint is a new one-page broadsheet of new writing from West Midlands writers, produced by the Creative Writing Society at Staffordshire University. Two issues published, so far, in 2011.

06.05.11    The Spode re:claim performance project is inviting people to take part in an afternoon of costume-making with Jayne Lindley and prop-making with Sarah Nadin, on Sat 7th May 2011 from 2pm. The venue is 116 Church Street, Stoke town. The actual performance takes place on 27th and 28th May 2011, at the disused Spode ceramics factory in Stoke-upon-Trent.

06.05.11    Councillor Hazel Lyth has lost her seat at the May 2011 Local Council elections — so it seems that Stoke-on-Trent will be getting a new Cabinet member for Sport, Leisure and Culture in the near future.

06.05.11    Artists are invited to submit work to a Summer Exhibition at The Public in West Bromwich. Artists must have "a connection to Sandwell" (it's part of the Black Country in South Staffordshire) to qualify for free display. Deadline: 6th June 2011. To apply, obtain an entry-form from The Public and then email a photo of your work to:  exhibitions@thepublic.com

06.05.11    Craftspace's 'Made In the Middle' is now calling for work from crafts makers currently working in the West Midlands, or makers with "connections to the region through education, teaching or past practice". Selected work will be shown at an exhibition that will launch at the Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham in January 2012, and which will then tour for 18 months. For an application form please email: info@craftspace.co.uk

06.05.11    Stockport Art Gallery and SKarts are set to hold an Open Contemporary art exhibition, with over £1300 worth of prizes. The dates are 25th June to 14th August 2011. Handing in dates are: 9th, 10th, and 11th of June 2011. All work must have been created within the previous year and not previously have been exhibited at Stockport Art Gallery. The following media are acceptable: drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, photography, mixed media, and 2D digitial art. Up to three works can be entered, at the cost of £5 per work. Entry forms can be downloaded from SKArts.

06.05.11    Down at the other end of the Midlands, the Hereford Photography Festival now accepting submission for 2011. Deadline: 31st May 2011.

06.05.11    The University of Warwick (located on the outskirts of Coventry, moderately accessible on the train from Stoke) will be holding an unusual two-day event on 28th-29th May 2011. The event will be about colour in all its creative aspects. The event seems to be free? Kaleidoscope: New Perspectives on the Humanities is on the theme of "colour" and aims to...

"unite researchers, visual artists, writers, students, dancers and all others with an interest in the arts, for two days of productive discussion and collaboration all around the theme of colour"

06.05.11    London's Genesis Digital is offering free c-type prints to bona-fide UK students, until the end of May 2011. Your order has to include paid-for mounting and framing, and then they'll throw in the cost of the print for free.

05.05.11    "Connect Forward" is a second series of professional development events designed and supported by Partners in Creative Learning (aka PiCL, formerly Creative Partnerships). The aim is to... "bring together teachers with leaders from the local cultural and creative sector". There will be bursaries available for local creative practitioners — for more information on this please contact:  info@picl.uk.com

The first local date is Saturday 2nd July 2011 at Newcastle-under-Lyme. There will be a lecture by Professor Rob Pope of Oxford Brookes University, titled: "If culture and learning are about the same thing — making meaning of the world we live in — what does that mean for lead-learners and cultural providers?"

There are then a variety of similar events around England. There is a final and second local date, on Saturday 21st January 2012 at Newcastle-under-Lyme, when there will be a second chance to hear Professor Rob Pope's lecture of 2nd July.

Application deadline: 27th May 2011. To apply, please fill out the booking-form (link is not currently live, but it should be in the near future) available here (Word .doc link) and return to:  info@picl.uk.com

05.05.11    Congratulations to Staffordshire artist and BIAD graduate Roxanne Gooderham for creating 100 charcoal horse and farm portraits in 100 days. The work has been featured in Horse and Hound magazine, will be on show at the Family Festival at Reaseheath Agricultural College (Nantwich) on Sunday 15th May 2011. Photographs of the pictures can also be viewed online via this Web page.

05.05.11    eFestivals online magazine has an interview with Mike Stephens, organiser of The Acoustic Festival of Britain. The Festival takes place at Uttoxeter on 20th - 22nd May 2011.

05.05.11    The veteran music paper NME is now searching for the best small live-music venue in the UK. There are plenty to suggest from Stoke and North Staffordshire, and there's also a Midlands regional shortlist to aim for. A great opportunity for publicity, even if you only make the shortlist! Nominated venues have to hold less than 500 people.

04.05.11    Due to be available online today, the first issue of the North Staffordshire Press monthly poetry broadsheet, Fade.

04.05.11    'Meet me @ WAG' is the title of a series of new Wednesday morning arts discussions at nearby Wolverhampton Museum and Art Gallery, easily accessible on the train from Stoke-on-Trent. The 25th May event (11am) is themed "Making and Breaking", and the 29th June event (11am) is themed "Please Sir!". The museum curators bring relevant objects and artworks from the collection. No booking required. Full information from:  jane.james@wolverhamptonart.org.uk

04.05.11    Added to the Directory: The Daleian Singers, of Newcastle-under-Lyme.

04.05.11    Added to the Directory: Newcastle Male Voice Choir.

04.05.11    Added to the Directory: Stone Choral Society.

04.05.11    Added to the Directory: Newcastle Strings, a string orchestra based in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

04.05.11    Birmingham's Rotten Park Road is seeking a Midlands-based freelance theatre director to work with them for one day, as part of a series of short play readings/rehearsals in partnership with the Stafford-based writing group 'Rising Brook Writers'. The fee for the work is £150, and it will take place on Saturday 4th June. Application deadline: 20th May 2011. Full details from Lynne Payne at:  lynnep@rottenparkroad.com

04.05.11    Keele University has some rare fully-funded arts studentships available. AHRC Doctoral Awards (Ph.D) studentships are available in English Literature, and also in Music. There is also a Masters (M.A.) studentship award in Creative Writing. The application deadline is tight: 20th May 2011.

04.05.11    Parts Five and Six of the made-in-Stoke-on-Trent vampire series Blood & Bone China are available online...

Chapter 7 is due on the 15th May 2011.

30.04.11    A venue in nearby Derbyshire is seeking five Film & New Media Artists for a site-specific arts residency in Derbyshire. The Level Centre, Rowsley, is a well-equipped centre which is seeking artists for 1st to 5th June 2011. The application deadline is 20th May 2011. There are bursaries available for anyone selected for the residency, to cover accommodation and meals. The residency is open to individuals or groups. If you would like to apply then please email David Gilbert at:  info@re-place.co.uk   Include your C.V., links to your work on the web, and a short document telling them why you would like to take part.

30.04.11    Staffordshire Arts & Museums Service is inviting volunteers, in areas such as Museum & Gallery Work, Audience Development, and Arts Development. Full details and application forms at the Web page. Many of their volunteers are undergraduate or postgraduate students studying history or arts-related courses or museum/heritage studies.

30.04.11    The Birmingham Chamber of Commerce has published the March 2011 edition of its free booklet A Guide To Sources Of Small Business Finance In The West Midlands. This detailed and concise guide has everything you need to know about current regional and specialist sources of funding for your small business. The Chamber's website seems to have crashed over the long holiday, but Google has grabbed a cached copy of the March 2011 guide.

29.04.11    There will be a free talk by sculptor/carver/ceramicist Halima Cassell at Newcastle-under-Lyme Museum and Art Gallery on 4th May 2011 (5.30pm), accompanying her exhibition which runs to 5th May 2011. The flyer with full details is online here.

29.04.11    Stoke-on-Trent City Libraries are offering a chance to win a place on a creative writing course, includes one-on-one sessions with a published author and workshops, plus two leather-bound writing journals. A poem or a story story is invited (no more than 1,000 words) on the topic of "Summer in Stoke-on-Trent". Deadline: 7th May 2011. Entries can be emailed to:  louiseann.smith@stoke.gov.uk   or handed in at the Wedgwood College (Barlaston), the City Centre Library in Stoke-on-Trent, the Gladstone Museum, or the city's branch libraries at Meir, Bentilee, or Tunstall. Please note that any course-offer for the winner is not automatic — the course has a qualifying condition (a further qualifying 500-word piece must be submitted).

29.04.11    The Exchange artists' shop in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, is to have its first Saturday brunch (breakfast/lunch) event. "All artists and associates are invited to come along to meet others, do a bit of networking and share ideas." The date is 7th May 2011 (11am and 3pm) and the cost will be £2 per head — RSPV if possible, please. More details from:  charlene.h@virgin.net

29.04.11    Shropshire & Telford Artists in Residence programme is calling for Emerging Freelance Artists and Dancers. They have two placements for dance practitioners , with another five opportunities for practitioners in drama, music, new media and visual art. They aim to support dancers and artists who are at an early stage of their career, and who wish to develop their practice and work collaboratively with schools to learn about ways of developing creative curricula. Each placement involves 5 x 3 hour sessions in one allocated school, a total of 15 hours of work. Total fee for each placement is £270, travel is not included. Send an up-to-date C.V. detailing your artistic practice and a short statement explaining the following: Why you wish to apply for the position; Which preferred local area you wish to work in; What you would offer during a school placement; How would a placement benefit your future working practice. Deadline: 17th May 2011. Full details from Judy McFall at Telford Culture Zone at:  judy.mcfall@telford.gov.uk

29.04.11    Dr. Fred Hohler, founder and chairman of the Public Catalogue foundation, will be giving a free talk about the PCF's sterling work in recording and photographing the oil, acrylic and tempera paintings in Staffordshire's publicly-owned museum and other collections. The date is Saturday 21st May 2011 (11am to 2pm, booking recommended) at the Shire Hall Gallery in Stafford town. The resulting heavily-illustrated book for Staffordshire is available to order online from the PFC, or can often be picked up in used condition from Amazon UK. Those interested in the book may also be interested in the earlier 2005 Public Sculpture of Staffordshire and the Black Country catalogue, which was researched and produced by the School of Theoretical and Historical Studies at Birmingham City University.

29.04.11    Are you a young Staffordshire artist interested in rural topics? The Royal Bath & West Festival has a 2011 scholarship available. You'll be a practising young artist between the ages of 21 and 30 years old, inspired by any aspect of rural life or landscape in the British Isles. The Scholarship is worth £3,000 to help further your career, and you'll also be offered your own exhibition in the gallery at the Royal Bath & West Show, with the opportunity to sell your work. See the website for full details.

29.04.11    Firm dates have been announced for the major Stoke-on-Trent Ceramics Biennial — 30th September to 13th November 2011. Application forms are now available at the Biennial website for the 2011 edition of Fresh, an exhibition of the work of 40 graduate ceramicists. Also now available at the website are application forms for the Research Residencies (deadline: 31st May 2011), in which artists will be commissioned...

"to undertake explorative research, with the freedom to work within the [ceramics] industry to explore, challenge and work with its materials, processes and products."

There are also five small £1000 commissions for new work to be shown at the former Spode site from October 2011.

29.04.11    The Ideas Fund Innovators funding scheme is open to UK creatives aged between 16-25 who have a firm creative project that could do with a cash injection. They're offering 10 x £1,000 each to help get projects launch. Application deadline: 20th June. The project must take place between July 2011 and February 2012. Full details from the website or:  info@ideastap.com

29.04.11    Dogwoof are a leading UK film distributor for social issue films and documentaries, and they are currently looking...

"for bright, innovative, entrepreneurial people who are reliable, well-connected online and in their local area, and who are interested in film and/or social issues."

Interested? Call 0207 326 5979 for further information.

27.04.11    Job:  A children's summer holiday camp (split between nearby Shopshire and Guildford) requires a freelance practical Film Tutor for six weeks of production work. The selected person will work from 21st July – 4th September 2011. Application deadline: 17th May 2011. Full details from:  zoe@rollingsound.co.uk

27.04.11    Do you make artists' books? Over in the East Midlands, "Crop" are looking for selected works to exhibit in an exhibition, and to include in a catalogue published by the University of Northampton. Initial submission is via emailing three photographs in total, as either .tif or .jpg files at medium resolution (180dpi). Higher resolution images will be required if selected. If your work is "like a book" then submit photos of the cover, of a spread and of a close-up (cropped). If your work is "like an object/sculpture" then submit photos of front, of another view and a close-up (cropped). Original books must be under A3 in size, and under 1kg in weight (if it is selected and needs to be returned to you). There is no entry fee. Deadline: 1st June 2011. To get an idea of the type of work wanted, last year's catalogue can be viewed online here.

27.04.11    Added to the directory (blogs): Stoke photography student Joshua Platt has a new weblog.

27.04.11    The event listings are starting to pile into the new UK National Art & Design Month website. Their postcode search facility has currently crashed, but North Staffordshire events during May 2011 include Staffordshire University crafts makers exhibiting at the threatened Victorian Steam Mill at the Etruria Industrial Museum in Stoke-on-Trent (4th May - 5th June 2011); and the Burslem Arts Festival on 2nd May 2011.

27.04.11    The re:claim organisers are looking for team of volunteers to help out with their major performance event at the disused Spode pottery in Stoke town. The flyer with details is available here.

27.04.11    The local Potteye blog has dug up an interesting table which shows how much Stoke-on-Trent Council arts funding has been withdrawn from groups, since 2008/9. The list appears to show that local groups such as: Airspace gallery; Beavers Arts Ltd (aka bArts); Burslem Arts Festival; Cultural Sisters; Frontline Dance; Planet Sound; and the Youth Arts Forum have in total been cut by around £33,445 a year since 2008/9. (The table can also be downloaded here).

23.04.11    Job:  Stoke-on-Trent's Ceramics Biennial requires a Community & Education Programme Co-ordinator to deliver of a series of public engagement and education projects. Application deadline: 13th May 2011. Full details at the website.

23.04.11    The West Midlands film-making agency Screen WM is distributing £100,000 of Lottery/BFI money in the form of a new Transition Fund. The Fund is intended for projects in film education, film festivals, film-maker support-networks and film archives, and the money has to be spent in advance of Screen WM's closure. Bids are invited up to a max. of £25,000, and the activity must be completed by 30th September 2011. Application deadline: 20th May 2011. Screen WM will be replaced by a new film agency called Creative England, which is due to open in Birmingham in October 2011. Creative England will distribute Lottery money to film-makers in both the West and East Midlands.

23.04.11    Belinda Latimer is set to run a two-day "Creative Expression & Relaxation through Art" event at The Hayes in Stone, Staffordshire. The dates are Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th May 2011, (9.30am - 4.30pm each day). Full details on the course flyer.

23.04.11    Staffordshire Performing Arts is holding a "Day of Dance" workshops on 28th May 2011, from 9.15am - 3.30pm. Deadline for applications, 6th May 2011. The application form is available here.

23.04.11    There's a one-day course at Leamington Spa (easily accessible on the train from Stoke), "Marketing Projects for Young People in the Arts, Youth and Cultural Sectors". The date is 19th May 2011 (10am - 4.15pm). This is a professional development opportunity for those developing marketing techniques to promote youth arts projects successfully. Cost: £75. Full details from Artsplan at: artsplan@artswork.org.uk

23.04.11    Fancy motoring over to nearby Shropshire to learn how to build a treehouse? "Build Your Own Tree House with Rob Rowe" is the title of an afternoon event on 21st May 2011 (2pm — 6pm). Cost: £20. Find out how to pick the right tree, which materials and tools to use, how to plan and design. Places are limited, so it's essential that you book in advance. Full details from:  discovery.centre@shropshire.gov.uk

19.04.11    Place, Space and Identity 3 is the latest in a series of Stoke-on-Trent arts commissions connected with attempts to regenerate the city. There are six new commissions available to artists. The organisers are seeking proposals for... "exciting, visible, temporary and beautiful experiences" based on "ambitious, visible and physical interventions". Commission fees/budgets will range from around £7,000 to £23,000. Application deadline: 9th May 2011. Full details and application forms from: www.psi3commissions.wordpress.com. Note that there is a requirement of the artists that... "They will positively promote the work of RENEW" — which may be a significant ethical hurdle for those who know of Renew's treatment of vulnerable communities in places such as Middleport, and of Renew's broader failure in relation to the city's regeneration.

19.04.11    Added to the Directory:  Ripping Yarns is a knitting and textiles group, new in 2011. They meet on the first and third Saturday of each month, at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent.

19.04.11    Staffordshire Marketing Academy is holding an Action For Business event on 27th May 2011 at The Moat House on Festival Park, Stoke-on-Trent. The event costs £20, with profits going to charities. Action For Business will feature... "lively, short, interactive sessions" offering marketing ideas that any business can undertake.

19.04.11    The Collections Trust is offering volunteering opportunities at OpenCulture 2011, a major Birmingham conference to be held on the 6th, 7th and 8th June 2011. Application deadline: 26th April 2011.

19.04.11    Fledgling entrepreneurs looking for spaces that provide free wi-fi for netbooks/laptops/Kindles, without having to constantly spend on coffees, may be interested to know that all Staffordshire libraries now offer free wi-fi net connections. The only exceptions are the outlying libraries at Gnosall and Knutton. Stoke-on-Trent libraries don't currently seem to offer this useful service — a search for "wi-fi" on stoke.gov.uk produces zero hits.

15.04.11    "The Hidden Treasures of Festival Park, Stoke-on-Trent" is the title of a free photography-&-history walk being organised for 27th April 2011. Walk the site of the former National Garden Festival and the grounds of Etruria Hall, the home of the invention of photography. Meet at the China Garden pub on Festival Park / Trent & Mersey Canal at 6:30pm.

15.04.11    The organisers of the Staffordshire Festival of Performing Arts are currently looking for dance & drama acts to take part in the Festival on the 8th of May 2011. Interested? Email:  staffordshirefestival@gmail.com

15.04.11    Job:  Cheshire East Council's Cultural Services unit requires an artist to create vinyl-applied window treatments at the entrance to the re-developed Nantwich Pool, accompanied by an interior wall artwork inspired by local heritage, with community consultation and workshops. For a full brief please contact Jocelyn McMillan at Cheshire East Council:  jocelyn.mcmillan@cheshireeast.gov.uk

15.04.11    AirSpace Gallery, Hanley, is having a launch event tonight (15th April, 7pm-10pm) for the new exhibition by Jo Coupe & Linda Persson, "A Distance Between Two Points". The show... "explores crossovers within art, the sciences and philosophy", and the launch event seems like a good networking opportunity.

15.04.11    Added to the Directory:  StaffordAV, a new video production company run by Steve Bradbury, who is fresh from spending the last ten years in charge of a video production unit at Staffordshire University, and who has now gone freelance. Steve can work with both linear and nonlinear edit suites, as well as compositing software such as Adobe After Effects. Steve also has thirty years of audio and sound engineer experience.

15.04.11    Added to the Directory: Nic Dyde, a Stoke-on-Trent graphic designer with strong experience of producing print publications.

15.04.11    Added to the Directory: Staffordshire University's Art Supplies Shop welcomes local creatives dropping in to use their special photocopiers. The copiers can produce, among other things, colour transfers. Copier cards are available to buy from the shop for £3.48. You get £1.50 credit on the card initially, and you can top it up at the shop too... any value is OK, from 1p to £30. All they ask of those who are not students or staff, is that if you have high volume of copying you give prority to any students who need to use the copiers — especially at busy times. You can also buy art supplies at the same time! The shop is located on the Stoke-on-Trent campus — find the Film Theatre (can't miss it) and then ask a passing student to direct you to the Henrion building. Paid parking is available on the Stoke train station car-parks, and free secure cycle-locking is available at the Film Theatre or the station.

15.04.11    Interested in using film in education? The Light House at nearby Wolverhampton has a one-day seminar on this topic on 12th May 2011 (10am-3.30pm). This is aimed at West Midlands professionals already working with young people in schools and communities. Attendance is free but places are strictly limited. Full details from Ruth at:  ruth@21stcenturyliteracy.org.uk

15.04.11    Job:  Nearby Telford requires a creative facilitator for the Telford Culture Zone. You'll coordinate and lead on their next TCZ Partnership Event in June 2011. The TCZ events bring together local cultural organisations to develop projects for children. Specifically you will facilitate by examining the TCZ's achievements to date and considering ways the partners can continue to work together. Fee: £250 per day (travel will not be included). Full details at the website.

15.04.11    Oriel Wrecsam is looking for an artist to take part in their exhibition that aims to compliment the 2011 Welsh National Eisteddfod festival in Wrexham (about 35 miles west of Stoke). The exhibition's theme will be centred around transformation or metamorphosis of space, and they are looking for work that examines sense-of-place or perception/experience of spaces, and how this can change over time and be influenced by different interventions or occurrences. Welsh-speaking applicants will have an advantage. Submission deadline: 16th April 2011. Full information from:  oriel.wrecsam@wrexham.gov.uk

Oriel Wrecsam is also looking for an artist to document and respond to the experiences of local people in the changing landscape of a residential area in Wrexham where local homes are being demolished by the Council. Submission deadline: 16th April 2011. Full information from:  oriel.wrecsam@wrexham.gov.uk

15.04.11    The national Creative Campus Initiative is seeking project proposals for cultural collaborations between British universities and "the arts and sports". Three to five large-scale projects will be selected for a start in 2011 and these will run into 2012. These projects are expected to have "regional reach" and potential for national development. With two major arts & design campuses in the area (MMU at Crewe and Staffordshire at Stoke) and a very sports-focussed city in the form of Stoke with its two major football teams, our area seems to stand a good chance if suitable institutions could put together a joint bid. Proposal deadline: 29th April 2011. See the website for full information.

15.04.11    The Birmingham European Festival is a new festival of international performers, brought to Birmingham from across Europe. The festival will also have a visual arts aspect, in partnership with metal-working firm A.E. Harris. Midlands-based visual artists are now invited to apply to present work at A.E. Harris during the Birmingham European Festival. Three artists will be selected, and work should address the theme of borders and crossing borders. Application deadline: 29th April 2011. Full details and application form at the website.

15.04.11    Birmingham's Shout Festival of queer culture is inviting Midlands filmmakers and animators to submit films of up to 20 minutes. The films will be shown at the festival in Birmingham during November 2011. All types of film are welcome, from those of any sexual orientation, but your film should reflect the Shout ethos of celebrating / exploring queer culture in all its forms. The film must also have been completed in 2009 or later and must be submitted on a DVD (i.e.: no web links). The festival doesn't seem to request exclusivity, so the film can presumably have been previously screened at other events. Application deadline: 15th July 2011. See the Web link for full details.

15.04.11    The Royal Birmingham Society of Artists invites submissions of work for its Open Ceramics 2011 show. They welcome fired ceramics, work produced in clay, raku, earthenware, stoneware, porcelain, etc. Entry fee is £20. Deadline: 28th April 2011. Full details at the website.

15.04.11    Handmade: Digital | DIY | Craft is an interesting and unusual opportunity to exhibit craft-digital work in Manchester. Do you mix contemporary craft with digital hacking, interactivities and DIY maker culture? Handmade is looking for interactive objects, installations, and performances that explore the cross-fertilisation of digital and traditional media and materials. Application deadline: 18th April 2011. An online application form is available at the website, or contact:  info@futureeverything.org

15.04.11    Chester is holding a National Exhibition of Wildlife Art 2011. Please note that this does not include pet portraits or botanical/flowers art. They invite submissions of painting, drawing, sculpture, and also prints (if printed by hand, e.g.: screen, woodblock, etching, monotype etc, and selected from small print runs). There also appears to be a Photography Award with a cash prize. Entry fee for the Exhibition is £25. Deadline: 8th June 2011. Full details at the website.

14.04.11    Stoke-on-Trent's Ceramics Biennial now has its BCB Ceramic Awards 2011 application form online (PDF link). The Festival will take place in October/November 2011. The BCB Awards celebrate the energy and innovation of contemporary British ceramics, in the context of its long history in Stoke-on-Trent, and offer a total cash award of £10,000, across three categories...

 1. Art: one-off ceramics, ideas, installations
 2. Craft: studio production
 3. Design: ceramic design for production

Deadline for applications: 31st May 2011.

14.04.11    Job:  Chester Festivals require a Chester Literature Festival Manager for the literature festival which takes place annually in October. Full details from Tracy Lynn at:  info@chesterfestivals.co.uk

14.04.11    The Art Fund has announced it will increase its acquisition fund by 50 percent by 2014, with the help of the Wolfson Foundation (set up by the Great Universal Stores chain), committing £7 million a year to the acquisition fund. The fund helps to purchase art and archaeological finds (such as the Staffordshire Hoard) for gallery collections.

This move comes with new commitment by The Art Fund to support regional curatorial development — beginning with a new partnership with the National Gallery to nurture curatorial talent in regional museums. It's possible that some of this new support may reach North Staffordshire.

14.04.11    The Art Fund has launched a special National Art Pass for those aged under-26, and this is available from today from just £18.75 a year. The pass gives free access to a variety of galleries, heritage attractions, and some National Trust properties. This includes The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, which is reported to be considering entrance changes from July 2011. The pass also gives half-price entrance to selected ticket-only exhibitions, such as major London exhibitions.

14.04.11    Birmingham City University is reportedly accepting enquiries now for its M.A. in Music Radio, taught at the Perry Barr campus in the north of the city. This new course is said to be the only Masters degree in the UK that focusses on music radio.

14.04.11    Congratulations to Martin Carver for the publication of his major new book The Birth of a Borough: an archaeological study of Anglo-Saxon Stafford. The book can be previewed on Google Books. The hardback is rather expensive, but the paperback edition is forthcoming and will be accompanied by a substantial exhibition of Mercian artefacts at the Ancient High House museum in Stafford town (opening 28th June 2011), in association with the Potteries Museum and The British Museum. The exhibition will also have accompanying "Anglo-Saxon Artisans" children's arts & crafts workshops in July.

14.04.11    Garden designers in North Staffordshire may be interested in advance notice of the dates of a series of talks at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery on 11th, 12th and 13th July 2011. These talks will be part of a celebration and exhibition (11th June - 24th July 2011) of the work of James Bateman of Biddulph Grange Gardens, on his 200th birthday. Bateman was also the designer of the first ever public park in England, the Arboretum at Derby.

13.04.11    Added to the Directory:  A new group on Facebook, the Stoke-on-Trent Filmmakers Network, for professional filmmakers and film companies based in... "Stoke-on-Trent, and surrounding areas". Stoke-on-Trent City Council's Cultural Development Team has funded Junction 15 Productions to act as 'Creative Champions' for professional filmmaking in the area. It's not currently certain if animation is included in the Network's remit.

13.04.11    Jobs:  NHS Stoke-on-Trent requires experienced artists to deliver four arts-and-health commissions for the new Integrated Sexual Health building in Cobridge, Stoke-on-Trent, an area known for its street prostitution. Fee: £2,300 for each artist, inclusive. Application deadline: 9th May 2011. Full brief from:  jo.bradley@stoke.nhs.uk  or  info@theculturalsisters.org.uk

13.04.11    Out of Hours at the Light House, in nearby Wolverhampton, is hosting an evening with noted designers Jonathan Barnbrook and We Make Art. They will showcase their latest work, and discuss current trends in the world of graphic design. 14th April 2011, £1.50 on the door. Starts at 8pm.

13.04.11    Jobs:  Borderland Voices' one-year A Breath of Fresh Air project is now inviting artists to submit proposals for arts-based workshop. You'll run workshops that will promote mental well-being, and a more general sense of self-worth, in mental health service users / ex-users in the Staffordshire Moorlands. Full details and forms are available from:  info@creativeremedies.org.uk

13.04.11    'Creative Wellbeing: an arts and social care conference' is set to happen in nearby Wolverhampton on Friday 20th May 2011. Hosted by Wolverhampton Arts & Heritage, the conference will focus on arts and social care, and showcase funded work that has happened in Wolverhampton. There will also be the launch of ArtsinMind (a local arts and reminiscence project). For further details please contact Thanh-Giang Vo, Arts & Social Care Co-ordinator at:  thanh-giang.vo@wolverhampton.gov.uk

13.04.11    Job:  A Teacher of Art and Photography is required at Thomas Alleyne's High School, in Uttoxeter. Application deadline: 3rd May 2011.

13.04.11    The government is calling for submissions of evidence on how to best provide a rich and deep cultural education for school children and their teachers. This is part of the independent Henley review of cultural education provision in the UK.

13.04.11    The National Citizen Service Pilot scheme has opened the application process for organisations that want to help run the second set of National Citizen Service (NCS) pilots in summer 2012. NCS will bring together 16 year olds from different backgrounds in a summer programme of challenge, citizen service and learning, enabling them to develop the confidence, skills and attitudes they need to become more engaged with their communities and to become active and responsible citizens. The government hopes for a broad mix of organisations and groups of organisations to be involved, including arts and creative/media organisations. Application deadline: 5th May 2011. See the website for full details.

13.04.11    There's a new creative business survival toolkit available for free online, courtesy of Creative & Cultural Skills (the UK sector skills council for the creative and cultural industries).

11.04.11    Job:  Staffordshire University requires a creative and enthusiastic Theatre Practitioner. You'll be able to teach performance skills, direct student work, and lecture on aspects of 20th Century theatre. Deadline: 21st April 2011. See the website for full details.

11.04.11    Staffordshire University's dedicated art supplies shop (Stoke campus) has a Facebook page.

11.04.11    Staffordshire University has a new exhibition space, adjacent to the Film Theatre at the Stoke campus. The Flaxman building foyer is being curated by lecturer David Heap.

11.04.11    A West Midlands Writers in Schools Skills Sharing Day is happening on 21st May 2011, at the The Custard Factory, in Birmingham. Cost is £35. Full details at the website. There is also a "Getting Started as a Writer in Education" day planned for the 16th of September 2011, at Birmingham Central Library, which will then be followed in February 2012 by a further workshop on "Earning Your Living as a Writer in Education and Community Settings" — full details from:  a.caldwell@nawe.co.uk

11.04.11    Applications are now invited from crafts makers for the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2011 (Manchester, 20th-23rd October 2011). Discounted rates are available for for new makers, and applications for two people to share a stand are welcome. Deadline for applications is 29th April 2011.

11.04.11    Dates announced for the Nantwich Arts Festival: 18th-19th June 2011. There doesn't seem to be any website or blog yet. Volunteers are welcome — contact Lindsey at:  lionsmade00@hotmail.com

08.04.11    The re:claim workshops are continuing in Stoke town in advance of the performance at Spode, with additional dates added through April 2011. The first one of a new cycle starts this Saturday, 9th April 2011 (2-5pm). See flyer for more information...


Click on the picture for a larger version.

An Adobe After Affects user is also reportedly required to make a promotional video about the Spode Factory and its place in the potential regeneration of Stoke town. Ideally you'll be an After Effects user who is also a good 3D modeller and who can composite. Full details from:  andybrass@hotmail.co.uk

08.04.11    Creative firms in Biddulph and Cheadle should be getting "up to 100 megabytes per second" on their BT broadband after these Staffordshire towns were today announced for BT's phase 2 national rollout of superfast broadband. The new speeds should be enabled in those places by the end of 2011, but real-world speeds could well be lower than 100Mbps. Users may need new routers, and PCs with hardware that can handle the fast rate of data throughput.

08.04.11    The government has launched a Red Tape Challenge website, inviting retail firms to nominate examples of red tape and bureaucratic regulations that need to be scrapped. This follows the re-statement in the March 2011 Budget's supporting document of the commitment that...

"all regulations identified as burdensome [on small businesses] would be removed unless good reasons are given for them to stay;"

08.04.11    The UK broadcaster and broadband company Sky is offering over £1.2m of new arts funding via its Sky Arts Ignition series. Sky will choose six UK arts organisations over the next three years, and fund them to create new works. Sky will provide cash of up to £200,000 for each one, as well as free air-time and marketing worth far more. Application details are here.

They also have a scheme for "emerging artists" (which here appears to mean "young"), the Sky Futures Fund, which will give five artists a bursary of £30,000 each...

"to help young talent to bridge the development gap from school or college to becoming a working artist."

07.04.11    The organisers of this year's Penkhull Mysteries are calling for performers interested in appearing in a staging of The Book of Ruth. The performance will take place on 9th July 2011 on the village green at Penkhull, Stoke-on-Trent. They're also looking for potential sponsors. They already have some of the performers they need, but Creative Stoke understands that recruiting for actors and backstage hands is still underway for a little while longer. Selected performers will need to be available for rehearsals from 7th May 2011. Interested? Call Greg Stephens on:  01782 871691.

07.04.11    The Burslem School of Art, in the north of Stoke-on-Trent, now has several rooms and studios to let...

* Art studio (unit) — small and therefore cost-effective — suitable for media, arts, business.

* Training rooms — large, well serviced and can either be one suite or two as its served by a full acoustic partition. Would suit offices, training, etc.

* Large Studios — beautiful rooms benefitting from on street access with excellent light and original features. suitable as studios, offices, shop, training, galleries etc.

The pricing ranges, and the School can discuss this if there is an interest. But all spaces benefit from: staff car parking; managed workspace, so effectively the School operates a "front of house service"; low rents; low costs (heating, plus rates-subsidy included); beautiful circulation space (galleries etc) that is cool in the summer; coffee shop and restaurant conservatory.

The tenancy is an "easy in/out", being done on a monthly license rather than a binding long-term lease. This is advantage for projects or temporary programs, etc. If anyone is interested please get in touch with the office and arrange to the spaces/chat about the services.

07.04.11    Having a spring clean-out? Found some creative surplus to sell? Staffordshire Adult Autistic Society is inviting you to sell items on eBay for the benefit of the charity. SAAS was set up by Kevin Healey, Stoke-on-Trent's Citizen of the Year 2006. Proceeds will benefit events such as support services and the SAAS conference in June 2011.

07.04.11    Tickets are now available for the major re:claim event at the former Spode factory in Stoke town.

07.04.11    Advantage West Midlands' ICT Cluster is launching itself as an independent organisation following the replacement of the AWM regional development agency. The organisation advises technology-focused businesses in the region, putting them in contact with commercial partners, support agencies and researchers in universities. It will now change its name to ICTWM and will offer support through its website, networking opportunities, and an online directory.

07.04.11    Added to the Directory:  The Academy of Theatre Arts, based in Stoke-on-Trent.

04.04.11    The Shire Hall Gallery, Stafford is seeking applications from contemporary printmakers, to submit work to a group selling show that will run from 12th Nov 2011 to 8th Jan 2012. Artists selected for the exhibition will be required to supply a minimum of six framed works for hanging in the gallery. There will also be opportunities for selling your unframed/mounted prints and associated items eg. cards, ceramics, textiles etc if applicable. Deadline for submissions: 16th May 2011. To apply please post or email six images, C.V., price-list and artist statement to:  Kim Gould, Gallery & Exhibitions Development Officer at  kim.gould@staffordshire.gov.uk | or Lyndsey Catchpole, Exhibitions Co-ordinator at:  lyndsey.catchpole@staffordshire.gov.uk

04.04.11    Channel 4 is set to hold an Inspiration Day at Staffordshire University, aimed at 21+ year olds starting to developing their media production skills — but who are currently unemployed or in a dead-end job that doesn't fulfil their potential. The date is 20th June 2011 at the Stoke Campus of Staffordshire University. There will be a full day of workshops... "for you to find out what really goes on in the media" with a "chance to get stuck in and have a go". Interested? Sign up here.

04.04.11    Creative Remedies requires a Graphic Designer to create a series of innovative self-led activity sheets, unique to Cannock Chase and its 'Route to Health'. You'll involve the local community in the process, and promote cycling for health. An inclusive fee of £1,000 is available, not including the print-run. Application deadline: 18th April 2011.

04.04.11    Creative Remedies requires a Film Maker for its "On Ya' Bike!" project on Cannock Chase. The aim is to create two short positive news-report style films (approx five minutes each) which promote the health benefits of cycling locally, making the most of the local natural space on Cannock Chase and its bicycle routes. You'll work with children and teachers from Hednesford Valley High School. Application deadline: 18th April 2011.

04.04.11    Job:  A fab (if unpaid) job opportunity over in the East Midlands, and you'd only need to go to Nottingham from Stoke one day a week...

"Writing East Midlands is looking for a Marketing Intern to support the Alt.Fiction Festival, part of our year-round programme of fantasy, science fiction, and horror literature events."

04.04.11    Job:  Chester Performs is seeking two committed, enthusiastic and motivated individuals to take on the role of Marketing and Programme Intern. Application deadline: 14th April 2011. Full details at the website.

04.04.11    Job:  The British & International Federation of Festivals, based in Macclesfield, is seeking Charity Trustees with recruitment or accountancy qualifications and current experience. A minimum of six meetings a year, in Cheshire. Expenses only. Deadline: 19th April 2011. Interested? Please contact: liz@Federationoffestivals.org.uk

04.04.11    A big welcome to the new Creative Wolverhampton weblog, which launched in mid January 2011. Not to be confused with a blog of the same name that went dark about eighteen months ago.

04.04.11    Job:  Stoke-on-Trent's Lenzflare Creative Production requires a creative Video Editor. Deadline appears to be 11th April 2011...

"The candidate must be a good storyteller and have the ability to tackle projects creatively and to a brief. The candidate will ideally need to be located locally to Stoke-on-Trent in order to be flexible enough to meet the job expectations. We are looking for a talented editor who can manage projects from beginning to end, work to tight deadlines and achieve high quality results. You will be working on Final Cut Studio 3, and so experience is essential. The right person needs to have a passion for storytelling and postproduction and demonstrate a willingness to tackle non-broadcast videos creatively. You will be using your initiative when working alone and have good communication skills when working with a director/producer."

To apply please email a covering letter, C.V. and a link to a showreel (maximum of 5 minutes) to Kathy Plaskitt at  info@lenzflare.com

03.04.11    Stoke City Libraries' All Write and Write On writing projects now have funding for a new project called "What's the Story?". "What's the Story?" will run two longer courses — one for writers of prose fiction, the second for non-fiction writers. The courses are aimed at aimed at helping local developing writers to reach a professional level. The dates will be: Fiction — 18th June, 2nd July, 16th July, 30th July, 10th September 2011 / Non-fiction — 25th June, 9th July, 23rd July, 17th September, 1st October 2011. Each course costs £50, and you'll have to produce 4,000 words. Full details are online here.

03.04.11    Andy Mark Simpson, director and producer of award-winning independent film Young Hearts Run Free, is inviting creatives and film-fans to a screening at the Stoke Film Theatre cinema in Stoke-on-Trent, on Wednesday 6th April 2011 (7.45pm, £3 on the door). This will be followed by Q&A sessions with Andy which will elaborate on how the film was made, including the writing, directing, filming, producing and distribution. There will also be a good opportunity for networking after the event. Young Hearts Run Free is a low-budget indie feature-film, a coming-of-age story set amid the background of a Northumberland village caught up in the violent Miners Strike of 1974...

"Far from the dark, astringent territory of The Damned United or the Red Riding trilogy, it's closer in kind to Brassed Off and The Full Monty, fusing politics and romance to create a charming ... portrayal of working-class dream life." ... "honest, likeable" — The Daily Telegraph.

03.04.11    North Staffordshire artists may be interested in visiting an arts group that meets every first Wednesday of the month at Wolverhampton Art Gallery from 6-7pm. "No need to book, just drop in" is the blurb. The Gallery had a huge +73.3% increase in funding in the recent Arts Council 2012-2015 settlement. For more information on the group visit the website or call Helen Oliver, Curatorial Assistant on 01902 552045 or email:  artgallery@wolverhampton.gov.uk

03.04.11    The UK's 5th Annual GFEST lesbigay festival announced its call for new entries this week. Interested participants may submit suitable work in three different categories: short film, visual arts, and performance. This major cross-arts event will run from 7th-20th November 2011 in London. The festival is known for innovative displays of contemporary LGBT art and creative exhibition programming, and is a leading UK event for artists who portray love and eroticism outside of the mainstream. The festival is sponsored by major firms and galleries such as the National Gallery and the V&A, and supported by high-profile personalities such as Prime Minister David Cameron, actor Stephen Fry, and the London Mayor Boris Johnson. All entries may be submitted through the GFEST website, where full details can be found. The submissions deadline is: 27th June 2011.

03.04.11    Congratulations to the creative Foundation students from Newcastle-under-Lyme College (NULC), who were recently approached by Sainsbury's supermarket to produce and install a large piece of art at the Newcastle-under-Lyme store. Craig Hancock from the Foundation degree in Graphics & Digital Design was selected to create the winning design, a 25ft-square work which was mounted by Craig in the store with the aid of fellow student Ben Dunnet.

Students on Newcastle-under-Lyme College's creative Foundation degrees have also created their own excellent new video introduction to their Art, Design, and Media Production courses and campus...

03.04.11    Part four of the made-in-Stoke-on-Trent vampire series Blood & Bone China is now available for free viewing online...

01.04.11    A new YouTube video of entrepreneur Ness Butler, talking about her regeneration of Nile Street in Burslem, which has been aided by Heritage Lottery and AWM grants. These newly refurbished spaces in Stoke-on-Trent are aimed at providing recent graduates and young entrepreneurs with live-work spaces...

Interesting in renting one of these live-work units? The managing and letting agents can be contacted on:  01782 810221.

01.04.11    'OPEN 2011: works by selected artists based in the West Midlands', is a forthcoming exhibition at the Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum. The show will run from 21st April until 12th June 2011, and will feature work by artists based in the West Midlands. The exhibition is open to all professional artists based in the West Midlands, with the stipulation that work must have been completed after January 2010. Entrants can submit one or two works in any medium on Thursday 14th April between 1.30pm and 7.30pm. Entry forms are available from the gallery desk at the Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum or by phoning:  01926 742700

01.04.11    Added to the Directory: Modern Glass are an authentic stained-glass and glass-painting firm, based in Northwood, Stoke-on-Trent. They can work on new or old properties, and are currently undertaking a new stained-glass installation in a local school, and on a special memorial window for a widow in a very old church.

01.04.11    Basketmaker and willow-weaver Rachel Evans of Oakamoor, Staffordshire, will be running a "Making Willow Garden items" workshop on Friday 6th May 2011 at Oakamoor Village Hall. The workshop will be based around make plant supports, a sculpture to display in your garden, and a plant-pot snail. Cost is £50 per person, and there are currently only three places left! Please contact Rachel at:  07779 121031 or  wheatcroftwillow@googlemail.com Rachel is a trained basket-maker and runs courses in basketmaking and creating willow sculptures, and can also make traditional and contemporary baskets to order.

01.04.11    AirSpace Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent is running a Lo-Fi Photography Workshop on 2nd April 2011. This will be an introduction to an historic 'camera-less' way of producing a photographic picture. The "cyanotypes" are sometimes called "sun-pictures", because the photographic image in fixed onto paper using sunlight. The resulting image is called a photogram. The process was pioneered by a Stoke-on-Trent man, the photographic pioneer Thomas Wedgwood, in the 1790s. Please bring along your own objects to make these prints, such as leaves, flowers and feathers. Only ten places are available. To book please email:  newgenerationspace@googlemail.com

01.04.11    Job:  Geese Theatre — a Birmingham-based theatre group that had increased funding in this week's Arts Council settlement — requires a team of actors and group workers who present interactive drama and conduct workshops, staff training and consultation within the Criminal Justice System. Full training will be provided. Application deadline: 18th April 2011. Further information from:  mailbox@geese.co.uk

01.04.11    The Wirksworth Festival in Derbyshire (near Matlock) is seeking proposals for new and existing place-based work for their curated arts programme for 2011, and for the 2011 Film & Video Salon. They are interested in site-responsive, site-specific works that might encompass sites and non-sites, sense-of-place and locality, context and time, and discoveries involving surprise, awe and humour. Some approaches may possibly start from the early Situationist strategies of the derive, or could involve cartography, maps and charts. There may be possibilities of generating friction rather than cordial relations. See the website for full details.

30.03.11    The Arts Council has today announced various important changes to funding. Your editor's digest of changes related to North Staffordshire and surround areas is available here.

29.03.11    The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery has two new websites that are now live — Staffordshire Gifts and Staffordshire Reprints. These aim is to open up the museum collections, and offer new opportunities to sell unique gifts, prints of works in the collection, and local memorabilia online. There will be a formal launch and buffet lunch at the Museum on Thursday.

The Staffordshire Reprints website allows members of the public to buy individual prints of selected visual works. This joins the Museum's existing Staffordshire Images website for commercial licensing of pictures. An art-quality reproduction print of Samuel Palmer's magnificent late etching The Early Ploughman at A3 size, mounted and framed, would cost £125 — about a tenth of the price of buying an original (and much smaller, due to the technical limitations of the time) copy of the same etching at auction.


The ironically titled "Brotherhood of Man" by John Maler Collier, depicting a leftist group planning a bomb attack. Acquired by the Museum in 1936, and now a centre-peice of the oil painting collection. Available as a print.

29.03.11    Added to the Directory:  The North Staffordshire Press, based at the Business Village in Staffordshire University, plans to publish and distribute a new poetry broadsheet for North Staffordshire. Fade will be produced monthly, on a single-sheet of A4, and has an accompanying blog. Limited copies will also be available from local libraries and bookshops in North Staffordshire. Fade is now accepting submissions, from the 29th of March to the 20th of April 2011. The first issue is due out on the 2nd of May 2011, both in print and for download from the blog.

29.03.11    Commission:  Can anyone in Stoke-on-Trent make a special one-off custom Toby Jug? Jonathan Riches, senior account manager of Streamcore in France, has contacted Creative Stoke about the possibility of making such a jug. It's needed as a trophy for a memorial game, in honour of his friend who died in an avalanche last year. Ideally the jug would have a stylised caricature of his face. If you can do it, then please send some pictures of your work or your website address, to:  jonathan.riches@btinternet.com

29.03.11    Added to the Directory:  The government has today helped to launch a new StartUp Britain website. StartUp Britain is a not-for-profit company and is not funded by the government. Entrepreneurs setting up a new businesses in the UK can access £1,500 worth of support via the website. The package of assistance includes free services from the likes of AXA, Barclays, Experian, Google, Intel, Microsoft, McKinsey & Company, O2 and Virgin Media. Many other leading firms have agreed to provide free desk-space, marketing, and advertising to new start-ups. In addition Supper Club members — all of whom run growing and innovative companies that are "beyond start-up phase" and with annual revenues of at least £1m — will commit 1,000 hours of mentoring time to suitable businesses. Even school kids who want to develop their business skills can qualify for new £10 micro-loans, helping them set up their own playground business or other enterprises.

29.03.11    Job:  The Ambassador Theatre Group requires an experienced and talented part-time Creative Learning Manager for The Regent Theatre and The Victoria Hall, Stoke-on-Trent. Application deadline: 8th April 2011. Full details from the website or contact Patricia Crowther at:  patriciacrowther@theambassadors.com

29.03.11    Job:  The Arts Council requires a Senior Manager of Regional Arts Planning, based in Nottingham and covering the East Midlands. Application deadline: 11th April 2011.

29.03.11    The Mitchell Memorial Theatre in Hanley is re-opening soon as the Mitchell Arts Centre, after a major refurbishment. The Theatre has five spaces available for creative industries firms, and is now inviting expressions of interest for office space or hire of the venue. Interested? Contact:  john.holmes@stoke.gov.uk

29.03.11    Added to the Directory: Martin Kaluza is a Stoke-on-Trent photographer who specialises in golf pictures of courses and players. Martin graduated with a B.A. (Hons) Media Production degree from Staffordshire University.

29.03.11    Contemporary 3D artists and designer/makers are invited to take a selling slot at a three-day event at Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Museum and Art Gallery. By Me! Contemporary Craft Fair will run from Saturday 28th May to 30th May 2011, and the cost for each seller will be £50. Limited tables are available but artists may bring their own. Deadline for applications will be 23rd April 2011. For more information, or to apply for a space at By Me!, please send in five images of your work (or a link to your website or Flickr set), and an artist's statement to:  beverley.jennings@newcastle-staffs.gov.uk

29.03.11    Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Museum and Art Gallery is looking for artists and designer/makers to display their work in their new window-display area titled "Home Made". This area will showcase an eclectic mix of handmade items for the home, and will concentrate on quality handmade home-ware and decorative items. Work will be displayed for a minimum of six months. Artists are responsible for delivery and collection of work. The Museum and Art Gallery charges 25% commission plus VAT. Deadline for entries is ongoing, but some work needs to be selected by 23rd April 2011. For more information, or to apply to display your work in 'Home Made', please send in five images of your work (or link to your website or Flickr set), and an artist's statement. Please also specify prices / price ranges for your work, so they can select a range of work to suit all budgets. Send to:  beverley.jennings@newcastle-staffs.gov.uk

26.03.11    Congratulations to All The Young, a Stoke band who are reported to be on the verge of signing a six-album contract with Warner Brothers Records.

26.03.11    The Guardian newspaper has put a figure of £2.50 on the entrance-charges that the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery is considering introducing from July 2011, due to a planned £74,000 funding cut set to be made by Stoke-on-Trent City Council. The likelihood of charges was reported in the local press in November 2010.

26.03.11    Consall Forge Pottery will have Open Studio days on 4th-8th May 2011. The Pottery is located at Wetley Rocks, in the Staffordshire Moorlands.

26.03.11    The Stoke-on-Trent writers' group City Voices has a new website. They're also set to hold the City Voices Charity Words and Music Festival 2011 (15th May 2011, 4pm-10pm), with all proceeds going to the North Staffordshire Kidney Patients Association. Full details at the website.

26.03.11    With a massive baby-boom happening across the UK, it's timely that The Exchange artists' shop in Hanley will be holding a special "Celebrating Pregnancy" Life Drawing Class on 5th April 2011 (7pm-9pm). Posing for artists will be a female life-model in the late stages of pregnancy, showing a marvellous "baby bump". More details at the website.

26.03.11    Accomplished portraitist Behjat Omer Abdulla is set to hold a free workshop at the The Exchange artists' shop in Hanley, on 9th April 2011 (1.30pm–4.30pm). Only ten places are available and booking is essential...

"This workshop provides a unique opportunity to take part in innovative and inspirational self-portrait drawing session. It is a contemporary take on traditional drawing techniques using a camera as a tool to create self-portrait with ideas and concepts inspired by your own ID card photos. Participants will have the opportunity to learn observational drawing skills and experiment with a variety of media. They will have the chance to draw their own ID-style photos that are to be taken on the day and provided at the start of the workshop. The drawing will reproduce the photo but also use imaginative ways to restructure the work. Participants will learn to work with Graphite Powder, on high quality paper, hand made brushes, props, and with a range of drawing materials/techniques to make inspired drawings and gain insight into this specific technique. All levels of ability are welcome. Materials are provided but you can bring any additional materials that you wish to use."

Above: Behjat Omer Abdulla's drawing, for the SHOP artists' shop, Stoke town in Aug 2010. Spode factory site in background/reflection.

26.03.11    The Contemporary Art Society is to hold a "Developing the Market for Contemporary Art" day on 16th May 2011 (10am-4pm) in Birmingham city centre...

"Invited guest speakers will represent a range of key contemporary art world stake holders including: private collectors, artists and those involved in selling artworks at fairs, as well as through museum print programmes and galleries, to speak about the topic and consider how the market is developed at various levels. There will be a combination of presentations to all attendees which will be followed in the afternoon by collectors "in conversation" in addition to several workshops."

26.03.11    The Stoke-on-Trent vampire series Blood and Bone China require extras for the grand finale, which is still to be filmed. "Do you want to be a vampire or a human? Must be able to supply your own Victorian costume." More information from:  info@bloodandbonechina.com

26.03.11    Your editor has a complete round-up of all the Budget measures relevant to the arts and creative industries, plus similar details and further announcements made in the supporting 128-page Plan for Growth document.

21.03.11    Great news! The Exchange artists' shop in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, will now be open until July 2011. Formerly, this project was due to have ended in April 2011.

21.03.11    Part three of the Stoke-on-Trent series Blood & Bone China is now available for free viewing online...

21.03.11    Added to the Directory:  Claire Atherton, writer and poet, actress and crew.

21.03.11    Added to the Directory:  Pingoart offers a 'photos onto canvas' service.

21.03.11    Added to the Directory:  Soniq Studios, now also based in a prominent shop in the centre of Hanley (was formerly Studio Q at the hard-to-find Queensberry Youth Centre, Normacot).

21.03.11    Added to the Directory:  The drawings and poems of John Creber of Cheddleton (just south of Leek).


"Cheddleton in Winter" by John Creber.

21.03.11    Staffordshire Libraries now have a short-list online for Staffordshire Library Service's Young Teen Fiction Award, and are inviting readers aged between 11-14 to vote for the winner.

19.03.11    Added to the Directory:  Yellowstone Art is a new boutique-style art gallery based at Trentham Gardens in Stoke-on-Trent. Run by Fine Arts graduate Hannah Stoney, of Stone, this new selling gallery will include a monthly showcase for emerging artists. An online version of the shop is due soon, but the gallery at Trentham is open now.

19.03.11    The Photographers' Collective North Staffordshire is now curating the top-floor gallery space at the Burslem School of Art, Stoke-on-Trent, and they are calling for volunteers who would be interested in helping to build up the space as a regional photography venue. Contact them via the Facebook page.


Top gallery at the Burslem School of Art at the launch evening for 'Green', March 2011. Click on picture for a larger version.

20.03.11    Added to the Directory:  Hurrikane Management, a music management and promotion service based in Stoke-on-Trent, started in August 2010.

20.03.11    Added to the Directory:  Audio Mill, a Staffordshire audio-production service.

20.03.11    Added to the Directory:  Inspire Music provides professional music lessons in Stone, Staffordshire.

20.03.11    Added to the Directory:  Greenway Music, based in Alsager. Musical instrument tuition, live music for events, and recording facilities.

20.03.11    Added to the Directory:  Room in the Roof Writers' Group meets in the Burslem School of Art. There is apparently also a Stoke-on-Trent Stanza Group, of North Staffs poets who meet monthly in the Leopard pub at Burslem (no further details or web presence for this group).

18.03.11    Stoke Twestival is happening at Hanley Central Library in Stoke-on-Trent, and at the Fat Cats bar in Hanley, on 24th March 2011 (2pm - 10.30pm). There will be a digital cafe at Hanley Library, with a pop-up 'genius bar' in which you can...

"ask a friendly geek to help you get something done. All reasonable requests considered in return for buying a day or supporter ticket."

... and an 'Unseminar' (an unplanned mini-conference to show, tell and learn). All in aid of the Stoke Youth Musical Theatre. Tickets are £5. Full details at the website.

18.03.11    Added to the Directory: Specialist Digital, commercial ceramic transfer-printers based in Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent. As well as traditional decorations, they are also able to put large hi-res photographic transfers onto ceramics.

18.03.11    Barbara Meek will be running a workshop to teach you the basics of how to make felt and you will take away a felt purse (made without any sewing). This event can be booked on either 9th April, 30th April, or 21st May 2011. The venue is in Stafford. Cost: £19 inclusive of all materials. Booking essential. Full details by calling:  07966 944817.

18.03.11    The Staffordshire Moorlands town of Leek is having a Leek Arts Trail on Saturday 21st May 2011. This will include various open venues, and the members of The Staffordshire Society of Artists will be giving a painting demonstrations in The Gallery, Leek. Details of the town's 2010 trail venues are online here.

18.03.11    Staffordshire Patchworkers and Quilters now have their 2011 programme of talks available online. There is a new venue for 2011, the Walton Community Centre on Whitemill Lane, Stone. The group has also announced three training workshops for 2011.

18.03.11    Job:  The Hurst Arvon Writing Centre, based in nearby Shropshire, is now seeking assistants for the centre. Application deadline: 23rd March 2011. You will smooth the hosting of the Arvon Foundation's residential courses at the writers' centre in Clun. The ideal candidate will have a wide range of domestic, practical and interpersonal skills, and be able to work flexibly as needed. Details and application pack at the website.

17.03.11    The Craft Council's Hothouse 2011 scheme is now calling for applications. Hothouse will select thirty emerging craft makers, and provide them with a six-month programme of focused business skills and creative development. You have to have two years in practice, and be based in England. Application deadline: 15th April 2011. Full details and application forms at the website.

17.03.11    The national Arts Award offers funding for organisations and community groups engaging in arts activities with young people, and they have an 'Arts Award On The Road' portfolio surgery in Staffordshire/Stoke on 22nd March 2011. This will provide... "tips for creative evidencing to get those portfolios ready for moderation". Translated into plain English, this appears to mean that they'll tell you how to make the projects portfolio more impressive to the funders. The surgery is intended for those planning ways to collect evidence as part of an arts project, and those considering introducing Arts Award "for large-group delivery" in schools. Full details at:  westmidlands@artsaward.org.uk

17.03.11    The forming of a new West Midlands Participatory Arts Forum is being proposed. If you work in participatory or community arts, the initial consultation meeting is on 23rd March 2011 (7pm), at the Escape Workshop in Shakespeare Street, Stratford-upon-Avon. More details from Cathryn Ravenhall at:  cathrynravenhall@warwickshire.gov.uk

17.03.11    Birmingham Institute of Art and Design (BIAD) is inviting applications to be an Artist in Residence at the Jewellery School in the city-centre. BIAD is the UK's largest university art & design teaching/research centre outside London. You'll get space and facilities in exchange for a small teaching-assistant input. Application deadline: 1st May 2011. Full details from the Artist-in-Residence Coordinator, Jo Pond at:  jo.pond@bcu.ac.uk

16.03.11    Emma Bridgewater is seeking three Graduate Ceramic Artists (Ref: HR02). Please apply in writing, with a C.V. stating the reference number of the position you are applying for, to:  Kate Ellis, H.R. Manager at Emma Bridgewater Ltd., Lichfield Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. ST1 3EJ. Closing date: 8th April 2011.

16.03.11    Added to the Directory:  The Bearded Wordsmith, the blog of Bret Allen, a local writer and freelance journalist based in Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent.

16.03.11    Added to the Directory: Visual Eye Photography, based at the Sutherland Institute in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent.

15.03.11    The Staffordshire University Festival of Performing Arts' Festival of Film is now calling on Staffordshire creatives to submit dramas, documentaries and animations. Ideally, films completed within the last two years. The programme of films will be shown at the Stoke Film Theatre on 11th May 2011. Short or feature-length films are welcome, and length is no bar to entry. If you are interested in submitting either a short or feature-length film please include your contact details and if possible a link to view your film online and email the details to:  staffordshirefestival@gmail.com

15.03.11    There are now two lengthy blog posts and three videos online from the Age of Austerity event at The Exchange artists' shop in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent — blog post one and blog post two, and video one and video two.

Your editor also has a report from the recent transmedia media production event held at The Exchange.

14.03.11    Disabled children are invited to the final SAT Arts Hub event, funded by Staffordshire County Council, on 26th March 2011. The Hub event is open to those aged 5-18 and living in Staffordshire. The venue is Blackfriars FE College, Bucknall.

14.03.11    Garden designers interested in garden history/restoration may be interested in a conference at the University of Birmingham on 18th June 2011, Gardens and Gardening in Early Modern England. This one-day conference will include several talks on West Midlands gardens, including Dr. Diane Barre on the use of ornamental water in early modern Staffordshire gardens, and another (as yet unconfirmed) speaker on the recent recreation of the Elizabethan gardens at Kenilworth Castle.

14.03.11    The Buxton Festival and the Visit Peak District & Derbyshire tourist board are now inviting submissions for the The Peak Photography Competition 2011. This year's theme is 'Fire and Light'. All ages are welcome, and it doesn't matter if your pictures are in colour or black & white, but they must be digital and in RGB at 300dpi. Selected images will be printed by Peak Imaging, for display at a public exhibition at the Devonshire Dome during the Buxton Festival in July 2011. There are also cash prizes. There is an entry fee of of £3 per image, up to a maximum of three photographs per entrant. Anyone under 19 years of age by the closing date, can enter free of charge. The deadline for entries is 1st June 2011. Entry details are available here.

14.03.11    Job:  South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust requires an artist to lead a weekly art group over nine months at Brocton and Chebsey House at St George's Hospital, Stafford. The wards offer inpatient care for adults with acute mental-health diagnoses. The group will run for 1 to 2 hours in the afternoon. The suggested timescale is April 2011 until December 2011, but there room for is some flexibility within that for the right person. Budget: £2,000 to include artist fees and materials (with some materials available through centralized arts stores). Application deadline: 25th March 2011. For more information and a full artist's brief please contact Eleanor Babb, Arts for Health Project Worker at:  eleanor.babb@sssft.nhs.uk

14.03.11    Artist/poet Alec Finlay has launched the Dark Peak / White Peak project website. Alec has worked collaboratively with eighteen poets to create a hybrid 'word-map' of the nearby Peak District national park. In an innovative combination of walking, letterboxing, poems, and audio field-recordings, sixty-eight poems can be accessed using twenty 'letterboxes' — small wooden boxes at locations across the Peak District — and also via the project's website, or through a printed catalogue.

14.03.11    The government is expected to announce plans to exempt creative micro-businesses from a raft of expensive regulations, at the Budget on 23th March. The "Small Enterprise Exemption Initiative" would see firms with just a handful of employees — said to be five or less — exempted from a wide range of red tape and regulatory burdens on staffing. More news on this soon.

12.03.11    Bella Bunting is to host a Two Fair Hands crafts-making party at Staffordshire University. The venue is the Union Boardroom, Staffordshire University in Stoke-on-Trent. This will be...

"a hands-on experience, accompanied by some spoken word from a fabulous friend of mine, a guest-speaker on craft, some decent music and a big old mingle. Hope you can make it!"

12.03.11    Advance news of the Birmingham-administered £2.5 billion equity investment Business Growth Fund. This new Fund will be open for business in April 2011. The capital has now been secured, and the fund will be seeking growing British firms with an annual turnover of between £10m and £100m. This seems likely to make the Fund especially useful to the ceramics industry in North Staffordshire. The Fund will take a minority stake of between £2m and £10m over five years, as well as a seat on the firm's board. More details and a website link soon.

12.03.11    Urban Vision North Staffordshire is set to hold a Launch Evening for their Spring 2011 Green Photography Competition. This is set for 18th March 2011 (5.30pm-7.30pm) at the Burslem School of Art, Stoke-on-Trent.

12.03.11    Added to the Directory: Keele Writing is a Facebook group... "for past and present students of Creative Writing at Keele, and to promote the wider culture of writing in the University."

12.03.11    Keele University will be hosting the Prize Event for the 2010 Roy Fisher Prize for Poetry, on 28th March 2011 (6.30pm - 9pm) in the Foyer of the Claus Moser Building, Keele University. There will be poetry readings from the three winners: Liz Lefroy; Alex Frisby; and Gwen Smith. Liz Lefroy's poetry pamphlet Pretending the Weather will be available for purchase. Details of the 2011 Prize are available at the website.

12.03.11    Woodfest is a new fringe festival of countryside crafts, as part of the 2011 Staffordshire County Show (1st - 2nd June 2011). This will include: Charcoal Making and Chain Saw Carving; Oak Swill Basket Making with one of only two professional oak swill basket makers in the Country; and Clog Making with Jeremy Atkinson, Britain's last remaining clog maker, and more.

11.03.11    The BBC is reported to have a plan to effectively scrap BBC Radio Stoke, along with all the other UK local radio stations. Save Local Radio Facebook page | BBC Complaints Form | Write to Your MP | Contact BBC Radio's Feedback programme.

09.03.11    Staffordshire University film students now have a Vimeo channel showcasing the 'Arrive 11' set of films that they'll be showing on the big screen at the Film Theatre in Stoke on Wednesday the 9th of March 2011 (today! 6pm to 9pm). 'Arrive 11' is a selection of second-year student films from the Media (Film) production course at Staffordshire University. These films are a selection of the work created during Semester 1 of the student year 2010-11. The students had just 12 weeks to write, shoot and edit a five-minute drama.

09.03.11    Over in the East Midlands, Alt.Fiction's Spring Writing Weekend is set to take place in Chesterfield (about 25 miles from Stoke-on-Trent, on the other side of the Peaks) in May 2011. This is a residential weekend for writers of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Guest writers will be Simon Clark (acclaimed horror novelist and author of The Night of the Triffids), and Tony Ballantyne (science fiction writer of the Recursion Trilogy and the Penrose series). The Alt.Fiction Spring Writing Weekend costs £180 (£90 deposit, non-refundable), including two nights of shared accommodation, all meals and hot drinks, plus a full programme of writing activities throughout Saturday and Sunday featuring two guest authors. To book your place, or for any enquiries, call Alex on 07896 228367 or email alt.fiction@writingeastmidlands.co.uk

09.03.11    Stafford College has a four-week Silversmithing and Jewellery Making course (code L33) starting in May 2011, and costing just £30.

09.03.11    Biddulph Grange is set to run a Basket Making Workshop at Biddulph Grange Country Park. Local basket-maker Rachel Evans will teach you how to make your own basket, using hedgerow material. This is a one-day workshop on 27th March 2011, and the cost is £25 (includes materials). Booking is essential. Please call 01538 395522 to book your place.

09.03.11    Interested in playing folk music? Stafford Folk Players now have a variety of workshop dates set for 2011 and into 2012, including a big 2011 Music Day from 9.30am to 6.15pm on Sunday 8th May 2011 at Barnfields Primary School, Stafford. Details of ticket costs at the website. The website says...

"All of our tutors are very well qualified to both teach and perform at a very high standard. They are well-known and highly respected on the National Folk Circuit, and abroad. Many are teachers of music, or lecturers at colleges of music. The caller is also of national repute and is also a musician."

If you're interested in the dancing side of folk music, the Lichfield Folk Dance Club has an advanced workshop 13th March, a special half-day of dance on 16th April 2011 at Shenstone Village Hall, and fully-fledged Costume Ball on 17th September 2011. See the website for full details.

09.03.11    The 4th Staffordshire Bead Fair has announced the 2011 dates and venue. This one-day event will take place at the Best Western Stoke-on-Trent Moat House Hotel on Sunday 11th September 2011 (10am to 4pm). See the website for full details.

07.03.11    The first two episodes of the home-grown vampire series Blood & Bone China are now available online. Let the adventure begin!

Chapter Three is scheduled to be available on 20th March 2011.

07.03.11    Cheadle's Arts Festival has this year added a new artists' and ticketing shop. The Festival starts on the 12th of March 2011, and the shop will be in the former Elite Bathrooms showroom on the High Street, open from 2pm-5pm. If you'd like to get involved with the shop, please contact:  stellaheritage@yahoo.co.uk

07.03.11    Added to the Directory:  Tracey Henham, artist and author / illustrator. Also with an online gallery at Fine Art America, and with work currently for sale at The Exchange artists' shop in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.


Tracy Henham, "Greed".

07.03.11    Added to the Directory:  Rebecca Norton, textile artist and maker.

07.03.11    Staffordshire's Just So Festival has announced dates, 19th-21st August 2011. This is a unique 'festival of the imagination' for younger children.

06.03.11    re:stoke are seeking a female dancer or ex-dancer, age 50+, for their forthcoming reclaim performance project at the disused Spode factory in Stoke town in May 2011. Full details on the flyer...


Click the picture for a larger version.

06.03.11    Jobs:  Stoke-on-Trent City Council require a Community Dance Artist (Ballroom & Modern Sequence) (CE2011/005). The city has secured funding to deliver dance workshops in Stoke-on-Trent. A written quotation is sought for a dance artist(s) to deliver:

1. A number of individual two-hour community Ballroom & Modern Sequence workshops. Times to be agreed with dance artist(s).

2. A series of eight 'beginners learn to' Ballroom & Modern Sequence classes, each 1 hour 30 minutes in duration. Lessons could be during the day or early evening.

Application deadline: 18th March 2011. Start date to be agreed by negotiation and contract but not later than 4 April 2011.

Also needed is a Community Dance Artist (Belly Dance / Arabic Dance) (CE2011/004), with basically the same delivery details as above, but an application date of 17th March 2011. The dance artist will be able to use 30 shimmy/hip-belts purchased centrally by the project.

For full details contact Vanessa Darlington at:  vanessa.darlington@stoke.gov.uk or see this MS Excel document.

06.03.11    Interested in finding crowd-funding projects to donate to? Your editor has launched a basic little search-tool that lets you search across 14 different crowd-funding websites.

06.03.11    Chris Stone, the maker of the new vampire series set in Stoke-on-Trent Blood and Bone China, has been interviewed by the vampire website/magazine GetFanged.

06.03.11    Job:  Mainstream Theatre Arts is seeking a part-time experienced drama teacher for primary age children (Key Stage 1 & 2), in and around Stoke-on-Trent. Deadline: 18th March 2011. You'll be able to plan and teach... "ongoing drama lessons from the company's broad syllabus, and deal with challenging behaviour in the classroom". To apply, please send your C.V. to:  info@mainstreamstudios.co.uk

06.03.11    Interactive media professionals may be interested in a subsidised two-day Technique 2011 in Manchester. This is billed as... "two days of design and code for digital designers and developers", and a North West Development Agency... "subsidised discount means you may only pay £500 instead of £1,200". Apparently this discount is across-the-board — and thus applies to people from North Staffs as well as those from Manchester.

04.03.11    The Exchange artists' shop in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, has put out a "hot topic" call for volunteers. The shop currently requires people who are passionate about becoming involved in their local artistic community! The role will include a mixture of watching the shop and making sales, being on hand for the studio artists / hot-deskers, and helping facilitate the events that take place at The Exchange. If you can commit to a morning or an afternoon shift of around four hours each week, this role can help you gain invaluable work experience in customer service, retail, events management and marketing to boost your C.V. For full details please mail Gemma at:  mail@thisisexchange.co.uk

04.03.11    Added to the Directory: S3photography, aka Alex Richards, professional photographer based in Stoke-upon-Trent.

04.03.11    Hanley's AirSpace Gallery has a free artist talk and book-launch on 12th March 2011 (12 noon – 1pm). Meet the artist behind the current exhibition The Journeymen, David Blandy. For Journeymen, Blandy has created an arcade game based on the relationship with his own character creations and the existing culture and mythology of Street Fighter. There will also be the launch of a publication to compliment Journeymen.

04.03.11    New Generation Space are offering Artist Development Bursaries. Application deadline: 31st March 2011. The bursary is of a maximum £100, and is intended to be a 'helping hand' for emerging artists. Application form is here (.doc link).

04.03.11    Staffordshire Business Innovation is co-hosting four intellectual property / product development events in 2011...

1) 17th March 2011. What Intellectual Property Do Your Own? At Stafford.

2). 13th April 2011. Commercialisation of R&D. At Stafford.

3). 16th March 2011. New Product Development. At Newcastle-under-Lyme.

4). 2nd November 2011. New Product Development. At Stafford.

Booking now. Full details are online here.

04.03.11    Wolverhampton's annual DeafFest is inviting deaf film-makers to submit their film to be shown at the festival. Visit the website for an application form. Deadline: 19th March 2011.

04.03.11    Job:  NHS Dudley is seeking experienced artists to work with Key Stage 2 school pupils. You'll develop a set of interactive creative resources that promote and reinforce "the smoke-free home" message to primary school children. The project will run from April 2011 to July 2011, with resources distributed to schools across Dudley from September 2011. A fee of £10,000 is available for the project. Application deadline: 7 March 2011. Full information is online here.

04.03.11    Down at the other end of the Midlands, the annual Hereford Photography Festival is now accepting submissions for 'Open Here', the Festival's open exhibition (28th Oct to 26th Nov 2011). Entry Fee: £15. Deadline: 31st May 2011. All entries to be submitted via email only (.jpg or .pdf). Full details at the website.

04.03.11    Rea Garden Artist Residency programme — in Digbeth, Birmingham — is offering a canalside 10-week artist's residency. This involves working on site at least one day a week, usually Friday, while the site is open to the public. The artist fee is £1,000, and there is a materials bursary of up to £500 available. Full details at the website.

03.03.11    Building a brand in Staffordshire? The government's Intellectual Property Office is holding a "Creating brand value for your business" event at the Stafford County Showground on 13th April 2011 (9am - 1pm). Booking is now open. Full details at the Web page.

03.03.11    Darren Washington has a new trailer online for his Memories of Spode documentary film...

03.03.11    Added to the front page:  Campaign to Save the Wedgwood Museum website. This new award-winning ceramics museum in Stoke-upon-Trent is at risk of forced sale and dispersal, due to legal technicalities over a pensions fund dispute.

03.03.11    Quentin Smith is running a six-week evening course An Introduction to Modern Marquetry (the art of inlaying wood) at the Burslem School of Art, Stoke-on-Trent, from 14th March 2011. More details and an application form available at the Web page.

01.03.11    Congratulations to two Staffordshire creatives for winning an Oscar for their Visual Effects work on the major movie Inception. Peter Bebb, from Loggerheads, and Andrew Lockley, from Stafford, both work for the UK company Double Negative.

01.03.11    Ceramicist Denise O’Sullivan will be running a Ceramic Workshop at The Exchange artists' shop in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. The date is Saturday 19th March 2011 (1pm – 3pm). Places are limited to 10 people, booking is essential. Cost: £5. The techniques you'll be using in the workshop will be: exploration of the use of slip and pigments to create imagery on the clay surface; and pre-rolled-out clay slabs will be used to create 2D and 3D forms. To book email:  mail@thisisexchange.co.uk

01.03.11    "Modes of Practice in an Age of Austerity" is the title of a forthcoming free discussion event with artists Emily Speed, Rich White and Anna Francis. It will take place on 12th March 2011 (1.30pm – 4.30pm) at The Exchange artists' shop in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. This event is for artists and other creative practitioners to explore and discuss strategies for survival in a time of funding cuts. To book please email:  newgenerationspace@googlemail.com

01.03.11    Job:  North Staffordshire theatre/film production company Rotten Park Road is seeking two project volunteers. You'll work on a creative-writing / drama / short film project, delivering workshops in community centres, which will then lead to the creation and production of a new short film. Project volunteers will assist professional creative practitioners to run the sessions and will also assisting the director and actors. The project will take place in Leek, Staffordshire and will take place part time, from March-August 2011, and Rotten Park Road can provide... "up to £15 daily expenses". Full details from Lynne Payne at:  lynnep@rottenparkroad.com

01.03.11    Job:  Stockport Arts is seeking exhibition volunteers to help organise The Open, Stockport's contemporary art exhibition which runs from 25th June to 14th August 2011. If you would like to gain experience in organising such an exhibition, or if you have such experience to share, they would like to hear from you. For full details please contact:  info@skarts.org.uk

26.02.11    Stoke-on-Trent's City Central Library is to hold a one-day event for creative writers, based on The Staffordshire Hoard. This free workshop will be led by author Nick Corder, on Saturday 19th March 2011 (10am-3pm, bring your own lunch). The Hoard will be used as a springboard for imaginative writing. Many Midlands writers have been deeply inspired by the Anglian period of Midlands history, and have created major works — such as Auden's The Wanderer, Tolkien's Lord of The Rings, and Geoffrey Hill's Mercian Hymns. We are also lucky that a wealth of Old English storytelling and poetry has survived, from the epic Beowulf to the famous fragment of a poem about a sparrow flying through a mead-hall (Cædmon's Hymn). At the end of the one-day workshop, it's intended that you will have written the draft of at least one new piece of work. It doesn't matter what it is — poem, playlet, story, monologue, song, mini-film, saga... the workshop attendees will get to hear all the pieces at the end of the day. It's intended that Keele University will present your new work on their web site (if sent by email by 28th March 2011), and you will of course retain copyright. Places are limited so booking is essential. To book please contact:  central.library@stoke.gov.uk

26.02.11    Carole Baker is running a painting workshop in March. The three-day workshop on 'Vibrant Colourful Painting in Acrylics' will run from 16th-18th March 2011, at The Edmund Gennings Room in Lichfield. Cost is £155 for three days. A further workshop is planned for April, for... "watercolourists who wish to take their work a step further". The full programme and contact details are available at Carole's website.


Quiet Light : Cannock Chase (2010), by Carole Baker.

26.02.11    Redstone Willows has announced its 2011 programme of willow-weaving workshops. The workshops are held at Alsager, and are booking now.


Willow sculpture made at Redstone Willows.

26.02.11    Artist Adam James will be leading a workshop at Newcastle-under-Lyme Museum & Art Gallery on Saturday 26th March 2011 (12am-4pm), on Live Posters. This is a practical free workshop in which attendees will have the opportunity to turn a famous film poster of your choice into a staged tableaux vivant. Booking is essential. Full details from:  newgenerationspace@gmail.com

"Using camera trickery, forced perspective, make-up, props, prosthetics and lighting we will create a staged tableaux, which you will then film or photograph to take away. This workshop will give you the chance to dress up, make up, build props, be a director and have a go with a camera."

26.02.11    Stoke-on-Trent artist Kate Lynch is running a free workshop in Experimental Printmaking, on 19th March 2011 (11am–3pm) at Newcastle-under-Lyme Museum & Art Gallery. Booking is essential. Full details from:  newgenerationspace@gmail.com

"The workshop will outline print methods that require little specialist equipment with an emphasis on using inexpensive and readily available materials to produce effective results quickly. Explore what a print can be, using alternative printing mediums such as emulsion paint, inkjet transfers, and experiment with a range of papers, surfaces and backgrounds. You will be shown some basic techniques which can then be layered for more interesting results."

26.02.11    Artist Victoria Lucas will be running a free workshop titled Mapping the City: Audiovisual Workshop at the AirSpace Gallery in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, on 5th March 2011 (11am -4pm). Booking is essential. Drinks provided, but please supply your own lunch. Full details from:  newgenerationspace@gmail.com

"This workshop will provide an opportunity to learn how to create a digital installation using video and sound. Through recording, editing, burning, and installing, the session will allow participants to work together to create a temporary artwork. Participants will be guided through the stages needed in order to create a work of multimedia art; from the beginning of the ideas process through to the final outcome. Victoria will present a selection of audiovisual works at the beginning of the session to inform and inspire. Each participant will then be given an activity, in which they will use digital technology in conjunction with their own ideas to create a new piece of work. The individual works will then be installed together, to make a larger artwork."

26.02.11    Today sees a free Social Media Cafe (10am-1pm) at Stoke-on-Trent's City Central Library, Hanley...

"Are you interested in learning how to use the web in new ways for work and play? If so come along to the friendly Social Media Cafe. Includes tea and cake! Part of DATfest, which is going on all weekend!"

26.02.11    Jobs:  Local video company ST16 is hiring.

25.02.11    The EU-funded BUNS Great Minds Creative Network is finally set to host what it's calling 'Event No.1'. The Network had its big launch at Britannia Stadium in October 2009, after reportedly being funded with £1.3 million, but almost nothing has been heard of it since launch. The date for "Event 1" is 11th March 2011 (10am-2pm) at the North Staffordshire Conference Centre in Hartshill. Call 01782 844222 for bookings. No details of any speakers, yet. The organiser says...

"This is a chance for interested parties to register their interest for a large showcase event to be held in July" [...] "Places are limited".

24.02.11    The Technology Strategy Board has a new £200k contest, IC tomorrow. Digital entrepreneurs are invited to join this new Government-backed £200,000 effort to bring innovative UK applications and services to market. The Technology Strategy Board will invest £10,000 each in up to 20 consumer trials across creative market sectors including music, TV/film, publishing, and "wild card". The competition is looking for genuinely innovative digital business models that open new markets, and that encourage new forms of digital content use. Application deadline: 11th March 2011. Approximately 40 applications will be chosen to go through to the selection panel. Full details at the website.

24.02.11    Sarah Nadin of re:stoke / re:claim is running Art & Set Design Workshops in Stoke town, ahead of the re:claim performance at the former Spode site in May 2011. These free and open workshops start this Saturday, 26th February 2011.


Click on the picture for the larger version.

24.02.11    Black and Asian poets who write with a regional angle are invited to submit poems that focus in some way on region / locale / sense-of-place in the British Isles, for a new Bloodaxe anthology. Out of Bounds aims to create a new 'map of poetry' in Britain, and they are particularly interested in poems that directly or indirectly evoke a particular place, landscape, symbolic site, building, region, or city in the Midlands. The editors of the anthology are Jackie Kay, James Procter and Gemma Robinson. A maximum of five poems per submission are requested (these can be previously published or unpublished), and you should include a short biography (max. 100 words). Submission deadline: 15th March 2011. All work should be labelled with your name and title of work on each page, and should be sent as an email attachment to:  gemma.robinson@stir.ac.uk

24.02.11    A new youth theatre company, The Young Rep, has been set up in Stoke-on-Trent. This is a spin-off of the adult group based at The Rep Theatre. Want to be part of it? They are set to audition for a performance of Kes, and open auditions will be held at the theatre between 7pm and 9pm on 9th March 2011. No experience is necessary. For more information, call: 01782 209897.

24.02.11    Job:  Cheshire East Councils and Brereton Parish Community Interest Group are seeking to commission a public artist with a specialism in wood, to create a high quality permanent piece of art as a gateway to the Brereton Community Space development. For a full brief please contact:  jocelyn.mcmillan@cheshireeast.gov.uk

24.02.11    Creative England is starting to emerge. Creative England is the major new national body that will support new production in... "film, videogames, interactive new media, design, and fashion". They are currently running a consultation on Strategic Priorities for Film for 2011/12, which is available on their website. Responses from the film industry and film-makers can be made online until 31st March 2011.

24.02.11    Added to the Directory:  Congleton artist Bruce Lyons has a new website at www.brucelyons.com.

Bruce Lyons
Autumn Frivolity, by Bruce Lyons.

24.02.11    Susan Laughton, an artist based in Congleton. Susan is inspired by landscapes of dramatic moorlands and brooding/liminal weather.


Drifting 1, by Susan Laughton.

20.02.11    Well-known Potteries radio presenter Sam Plank has sadly lost his battle with cancer, aged 67. For those who wish to pay their last respects, but who can't get to Burslem, Sam's funeral is being broadcast live by BBC Radio Stoke on 21st February 2010.

20.02.11    Laura, the editor of the forthcoming Prototype Magazine for creative students (age 16-24) in North Staffordshire, is interested in material from local students in creative writing, photography, fashion design, amateur dramatics, graphics design, or even activities "completely new and interesting". Please e-mail Laura at:  prototypemag@gmail.com   Please include your name, age, location and what work you wish to submit. The theme of the forthcoming issue is "Neon", and as part of this Laura has a Fashion Designer Competition with a difference...

"Remember the cut-out pages we had in magazines when we were little, where you cut out the clothes and stick them on to the cutout doll? Well, I'm hoping to create a similar thing in Prototype. If you fancy your chances at getting your designs published, please email me your designs at prototypemag@gmail.com. Please draw them as working drawings, indicate colour/pattern. Winning design will be published! Remember you are designing for either a male or female student — aged 16-24, this issue's theme is Neon."

20.02.11    Stoke's new vampire series Blood & Bone China now has a date for the premiere of the first episodes — 2nd March 2011 at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery. And Episode One is pencilled in to appear online on 3rd March 2011 at 9pm.

20.02.11    Julia Griffin is starting a new dance class at Stoke-on-Trent College's Burslem Dance Studio, running from 28th February - 4th April 2011 (5.30pm – 7pm). Cost is £25 or £15 for members of the Staffordshire Dance Collective. The main goal of the class will be to emphasize the joy of dancing and to allow participants to find pleasure in movement. The course is suitable for dance artists, teachers, recent graduates or third-year dance students. Places are limited. To book please email Clare at:  admin@staffsdancecollective.co.uk

20.02.11    Interested in digitising and using Midlands film & TV archives? "Home, Identity and Citizenship: Preserving, using and making a regional screen heritage" is a free one-day conference on 5th March 2011 (11am – 4.30pm), at the Margaret Street Campus of BIAD in Birmingham city centre. There will be screenings, presentations and workshops, and a special focus on film and TV materials concerning the popular music of Birmingham, and documentary material featuring workplaces such as Cadbury and BBC Pebble Mill.

20.02.11    The Government has announced an increase in the Heritage Lottery's share of Lottery good-causes income from 16.7% to 20% by 2012-2013. Now the Heritage Lottery Fund are asking the public what the extra annual £50m in cash should spent on. The online consultation is open now and runs until 26th April 2011.

20.02.11    Lichfield Festival Chorus needs 100 singers to join the CBSO in a performance of William Walton's Belshazzar's Feast, on Thursday 7th July 2011 at Lichfield Cathedral. This will be the opening night concert of the 30th Lichfield Festival. Chorus members will need to commit to regular rehearsals on Friday evenings, beginning on 6th May 2011. Singers should be fairly confident and will need to be able to read from sheet music, but all are welcome. There will be a limit on numbers in each section, as for this work a balanced choir is needed. Men are particularly needed. To register your interest in being part of the Festival Chorus this year please email Pam Easto at: education@lichfieldfestival.org

20.02.11    Added to the Directory: Chris Godber, an abstract artist based in Congleton. Chris has a solo show opening on 26th February 2011 (7pm) at the Victoria Mill Arts Centre, Congleton. The show then runs until 4th March 2011.


"Combust 01" (2010) by Chris Godber.

20.02.11    Added to the Directory: Jacki Clarke, of Congleton.


By Jacki Clarke.

20.02.11    Added to the Directory: Bruce Lyons, of Congleton.


"Wreck" by Bruce Lyons

18.02.11    Jobs:   Brownhills school in Stoke-on-Trent requires a full-time Teacher of Art to cover a one-year maternity leave. The post will start on 6th June 2011. Full details from:  spemberton@sgfl.org.uk

18.02.11    Jobs:  The nearby Peak District's Borderland Voices is seeking community artists who can work with adults and young people (in schools & youth groups) during 2011. Application deadline: 21st February 2011. If you'd like to get involved please contact Andy Collins at:  andy@borderlandvoices.org.uk

18.02.11    Bands are invited to apply now for a slot on the 2011 Buxton Fringe. The Underground has performance spaces, opportunities and a programme to suit all types of acts. Applications are open now, and remain officially open until 4th April 2011 — although late entries up until the 20th of April may be accepted. The Buxton Fringe's Underground strand will run from 6th – 24th July 2011.

18.02.11    Congleton's Daneside Theatre and the SOL Theatre Summer School are set to present the Madness musical Our House in August 2011. If you're a young performer who would like to be part of this show, information about SOL Summer School and application forms for a place on it can be had from Louise Carter via the website. The show will be rehearsed and produced on weekdays between the 1st and 12th August 2011.

18.02.11    Bollington Arts Centre, in nearby Macclesfield, is hosting a talk by costume historian Gillian Stapleton of the costume performance troupe The History Wardrobe. "Fashioning the Past" is set for 25th February 2011 (2.30pm - 4pm), and tickets cost £6. For more information or to book tickets please contact Bollington Arts Centre on 01625 575 287

18.02.11    Uttoxeter's Mayfest folk dance and music festival is looking for sponsorships, and also volunteers to help out in May 2011. Dance teams are also need for Sat 30th April and Sun 1st May. Interested? Please contact Dave Denny on:  07943 018457.

18.02.11    Job:  Nearby Telford & Wrekin Council are now inviting artists to put in proposals for an... "exciting, appropriately themed, outdoor creative arts activity for event visitors of all ages". The space available is 16ft x 14ft approx on hard standing. Application deadline: 21st February 2011. Interested? Application deadline is: 5pm on 21st February 2011. Please send your proposal, C.V., and any images by email to:  janice.williams@telford.gov.uk

18.02.11    The museums and archives of the Black Country are inviting coders to their WAG Hack Day on Saturday 16 April 2011 (10am-6pm) at The Public in West Bromwich. The aim is to mash or filter the metadata that's powering the new Black Country History website, a service which offers complete online access to records of the area's arts and heritage collections. These can be created through an open API, although it's limited to 100 requests per hour.

18.02.11    Renaissance West Midlands and Open Culture 2011 are offering 10 event bursaries to staff at West Midlands museums and public-funded art galleries. OpenCulture is a two-day event in Birmingham, for those involved in museums collections management. Just write a statement of 250 words on how attending this conference will benefit both your own professional development, and your museum's organisational development. Deadline: 18th February 2011.

18.02.11    Added to the Directory:  Leek Writers Group now has a web page with contact details. The Group meets at The Swan pub in Leek on the first Monday of the month, and will be contributing to the Leek Arts Festival in 2011.

18.02.11    Need a free website that doesn't serve advertising? British Telecom is now offering UK charities and not-for-profit community groups its BT Community Web Kit, giving you a simple static web presence.

17.02.11    West Midlands artists who have Asperger's Syndrome are invited to submit artwork for a small-scale exhibition at Solihull's G2 Gallery, to be staged in April 2011. The work submitted can be on any theme and in any medium. The organisers welcome artwork that reflects the experience of living with AS, but this is not a requirement. There is no submission fee. The closing date for exhibition entries is:  25th February 2011. For further information and a submission form please contact Claire Hickey at:  chickey@solihull.gov.uk

17.02.11    Peak Directions have a full and wide-ranging roster of business training events scheduled for 2011. Those in the Staffordshire Moorlands and the Peak District can choose from a range of training events. Including 'Short Film Production' and 'Adobe InDesign Basics'.

17.02.11    The Birmingham and Midland Institute is holding the art history conference "Drawing and the Victorian Artist" on 18th - 19th March 2011. The conference will examine the wider contexts of drawing in the nineteenth century, including the training of artists, the making and collecting of works on paper, and changing approaches to drawing at the beginning of the twentieth century. Tickets cost £30 for one day, £40 for both days (students £20 one day, £35 both days), inc. lunch and a private viewing of the "The Poetry of Drawing: Pre-Raphaelite Designs, Studies and Watercolours" exhibition (happening next door at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery's Gas Hall). To book call please email:  admin@bmi.org.uk

17.02.11    There's an event over in the East Midlands that seems unusual enough to mention here. Nottingham is having a "Monster Make Up: the nuts and bolts of make-up in horror films" event on 24th February 2011. Speakers/demonstrators will include: director Simon Hunter (Lighthouse, Mutant Chronicles); prosthetic and special effects (SFX) make-up designer Paul Hyett (The Descent 1 & 2, Red Riding trilogy); and BAFTA-nominated make-up designer Jacqueline Fowler (Hunger, Harry Brown, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll). Tickets cost £26. More details at the Talent Network.

17.02.11    The Adopt a Composer scheme should be open for 2011 applications in May 2011. The Adopt a Composer scheme pairs local amateur choirs, orchestras, and ensembles with a composer for one year. It is funded by the PRS for Music Foundation, and is run by Making Music and Sound and Music. It'd be great to see one of the many music groups in the Potteries getting one of these major opportunities to create new music.

17.02.11    Added to the Directory: Paul Horton, a Staffordshire artist.


"A Brief Moment in Time".

17.02.11    Veteran Stoke band The Queensbury Rules have decided to call it a day, after 17 years and over 500 live shows. Their last gig will be at The Forum Theatre, Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, on Saturday 19th February 2011. This Saturday show will be a two and half hour retrospective. The band are also working on a final record, the The Six Towns E.P., featuring seven brand-new songs recorded to celebrate the centenary of the federation of Stoke-on-Trent. This should be out in October — more details later in the year.

15.02.11    Staffordshire Festival of Performing Arts will be a brand new festival dedicated to the performing arts. The dates are 8th-11th May 2011, and the festival will be covering the four main disciplines including music, film, drama and dance. The 11th of May will be a day dedicated to film, held at the Stoke Film Theatre art-house cinema at Stoke-on-Trent. If you are interested in submitting either a short or feature-length film please email Emma Fox a link to an online copy, plus your contact details, at:  staffordshirefestival@gmail.com

15.02.11    Application forms for Staffordshire's Heritage & Arts Funding Arts Grants Scheme 2011/12 will be available from 21st February 2011.

15.02.11    Shugborough has announced its 2011 lunchtime lectures series. Including Chris Copp on Staffordshire Arts & Museum Service, taking on 6th July 2011 about "Play, Clothes, Health and Shoes: the new community galleries at the County Museum".

15.02.11    Job:  Paintings in Hospitals is seeking a Regional Co-ordinator to support the development of its loan schemes in the West Midlands. This is a freelance job, at an estimated four hours per week. The role may include some evenings and weekends. For a full job description please email:  mail@paintingsinhospitals.org.uk

15.02.11    The Shelton Hospital (South Staffordshire & Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust) in Shrewsbury is seeking an unpaid artist-in-residence to create more of a creative buzz in their occupational therapy centre. They are offering a well-lit ground-floor space that would be ideal as an artist's studio. The successful artist would be obliged to provide an agreed number of art sessions for patients, carers and staff (to supplement, not to replace existing provision). Expressions of interest should be made in the first instance to Jessica Kent, Arts for Health Co-ordinator, Shelton Hospital:  jessica.kent@sssft.nhs.uk

15.02.11    SkillSet's craft and technical wing has announced a change to the craft and technical bursaries. These are open to people working in TV broadcasting. The bursaries will now allow applicants to select their own courses, so long as they fall within the funding criteria.

15.02.11    The government has announced a proposed "Community Right to Reclaim", under which members of the public would be able to force local Councils and other organisations to sell disused buildings to community trusts or social enterprises....

"By the summer, a new one-stop [online] shop will provide citizens with information about empty land and buildings they can develop to improve their local area."

The website will probably be along the lines of Landshare and SparePlace. This new community power would seem to have obvious implications for those seeking to find new creative industries uses for disused heritage buildings that are situated in strong communities. There will also be an accompanying "Community Right to Challenge", allowing people to take over specific poorly-performing services provided by local councils or their subcontractors, a power that may even have implications for creative industries support-services.

15.02.11    Are you able to offer one-off arts workshops for individuals and small groups? The School of Everything is a rapidly developing open UK directory of such teachers.

13.02.11    Congratulations to Staffordshire University's Flux ceramic design firm on their recent success in Paris and £30,000 of orders. You can read all about the trip here. Flux doesn't appear to have a website yet, but their product range brochure is available here (PDF link).


Flux: Geometrix range.


Flux: Willow Blues range.

13.02.11    The Exchange artists' shop in Hanley is now running its life-drawing class on a weekly basis, every Wednesday evening. Booking is required.

13.02.11    Nicholas Ferenczy has an exhibition of his life paintings, drawings and prints at the Burslem School of Art until the 23rd of February 2011. He'd like to invite Creative Stoke readers to a free opening event on Tuesday 15th February, 6:30pm - 8:30pm.

13.02.11    Wolverhampton's Deaffest, the UK's only Deaf-led Film and Television Festival, runs from 20th - 22nd May 2011 at Light House Media Centre. Filmmakers are now invited to submit their film to be shown at the festival. There are two options: you can apply to show your film generally within the festival, in which case you will in the form for NON COMPETITION submissions. The deadline for this is 31st March 2011. Or you can enter your film into the Gala Awards competition, in which case you will in the form for COMPETITION submissions. The deadline for this is 25th Feb 2011. There should be a significant involvement of deaf people in the production. You will be asked to describe this in detail on your submission form. Entry forms are available online.

13.02.11    The Guiding Lights film mentoring scheme is now open for applications and is looking for twelve upcoming writers, directors or producers. You should be a talented, ambitious film-maker with a proven track record, and have reached a critical stage in your career where nine months of high-quality film industry mentoring would help you to reach the next level. Previous mentors have included Danny Boyle, Sam Mendes, Barbara Broccoli, Paul Greengrass, Alex Garland, Kenneth Branagh, Alison Owen, Stephen Frears and Nick Hornby. Application deadline: 11th March 2011. Full details are available online.

11.02.11    Have an innovative idea for a new online teaching/learning resource in the arts or media? Think you can create something that's more impressive than clunky old Moodle? JISC are now offering £50,000 grants under the Learning and Teaching Innovation Grants Programme. The aim is to start sustainable projects that will... "support teaching and learning at the more innovative/high risk end of the spectrum", while also meeting existing needs. FE and HE institutions are eligible, but your institution must offer at least 30% of the cost. Application deadline: 21st March 2011. Full details at the website.

11.02.11    Need design inspiration? Over 4,000 items in Staffordshire University's unique Betty Smithers Design Collection can now be searched online at Jorum. No registration is required, and images are featured in the search results. How to search — in the full-text search box, paste: "Betty Smithers Design Collection" and then add your keyword. For example:

"Betty Smithers Design Collection" gloves

Students of Staffordshire University also have access to the actual objects in the collection.

New! 11.02.11    The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery's "Mountains and Landscape Photography Competition" has had its deadline extended to 22nd April 2011. The competition is for people aged 13 – 19 years old, and can be entered through the Mountains and Landscape Photo Competition group on Facebook.

New! 11.02.11    Added to the Directory:  Sarah Barker (aka Speight Of The Art). Sarah is a visual artist in both digital and traditional, a photographer, and a writer. Sarah also does a nice line in gothic festival posters and logos.

11.02.11    The UK's Society for Storytelling now has a West Midlands page for its new Directory of Storytellers.

11.02.11    Having spent two years making and refining my JURN search-engine, it's about done. Your editor is now seeking to explore the possibilities of taking JURN to the next level by making it a fully independent search-engine with its own Web crawler. I'd love to keep things local, so in the first instance I'm seeking a local Midlands university able to offer me a free Web server with fast open Net connectivity, on which I can remotely self-install and run SearchBlox. The initial Web harvesting load from the crawler should be about a million documents, and thereafter the harvesting would be incremental. Your logo and student-recruitment link could appear on the main search page. JURN reaches a wide range of overseas students. Interested?

09.02.11    PR Guru blog has published a handy guide to the cost of buying advertising space in the main print publications that reach North Staffordshire. Buying just one quarter-page in all of them (but not the Express & Star) will cost you a whopping £3,434.

09.02.11    As the snowdrops begin to come up, thoughts turn to using Stoke's local parks during the spring and summer. Urban Vision is running a timely Local Oasis event for teachers, in which artists will aim to demonstrate some of the creative ways in which parks can be used. The venue is Burslem Park, Stoke-on-Trent, on 23rd March 2011. More details from:  fiona.waddle@uvns.org


Click on the picture for the large version.

09.02.11    The North Staffordshire Heritage Group is running a special 12th Annual Archive Day School on cultural history, "The Other Side of the Olympics: Culture in Staffordshire's Past"...

"The Cultural Olympiad has long been a part of the modern Olympic movement. Between 1912 and 1948 medals were awarded for a range of cultural activities. Today we celebrate Staffordshire's achievements in music, art, drama, literature and architecture."

Speakers will include:— Dr. Nigel Tringham on "Psalm singers in the 18th and 19th centuries"; Randle Knight on "Thomas Peploe Wood, a Staffordshire artist"; Andrew Dobraszczyc on "Newcastle Theatre"; Kate Iles on "Anna Seward and Sabrina Sidney, an 18th Century friendship"; and Dr. Chris Wakeling on "Staffordshire architects".

The venue for this event is The Kingston Centre, Fairway, Stafford, on Saturday 26 February 2011 (10am – 4pm). Tickets cost £12, to include lunch and refreshments. Booking in advance only, from Staffordshire Record Office.

08.02.11    The new trailer for Blood & Bone China, a vampire series filmed and set in Stoke-on-Trent...

08.02.11    Film-maker Ashley Morris, currently studying for a Masters degree in Film Production: Practice & Theory at Staffordshire University, is making a film called Jobseekers. This will document the recession in the jobs market in Stoke-on-Trent, blending drama with real-life interviews. Burslem-based Ashley is now seeking people to interview, and also actors who have been affected by the recession. The film centres on three unemployed males and three women Jobcentre workers. Interested? Contact Ashley at:  jobseekersplus@rocketmail.com

08.02.11    Are you planning how to raise money for your organisation, after taxpayer subsidies are withdrawn? The National Council for Voluntary Organisations has just published the final report of its Funding Commission, Funding the Future. This sets out a...

"ten-year framework for how the voluntary and community sector can stay financially resilient [and] suggests that individual giving can be increased from £11.3 billion to £20 billion by 2020 through increased donor engagement, better fundraising approaches and via a 'Better Asking' Campaign [...] The report also explores how to [...] increase trading income and commercial sector support and attract more private sector investment."

07.02.11    Are you running a creative social enterprise or third sector organisation in Staffordshire? Staffordshire Probation Service is looking for fresh opportunities for offender placements. Full details are available here (PDF link).

07.02.11    Job:  Belgrave High School, in Tamworth, Staffordshire, requires a documentary filmmaker, or film making organisation. You will be a professional and established filmmaker or an organization, and will bring the required investigative, creative and questioning skills of documentary film making to the school. Project delivery: February to July 2011. Budget: £10,000. Deadline for expressions of interest: 18th February 2011. Full details from Joy Carlyle at:  jec@belgrave.staffs.sch.uk

07.02.11    Birmingham City University is now inviting West Midlands game-making talent to apply for its Game Camps. Learn how to make videogame on one of BCU's three Camps. These are: Gamer Camp Nano (make a game for the Apple App Store) which runs from 4th to 29th July 2011; Gamer Camp Mini (develop and publish PSP mini title) which runs from 20th June to 22nd August 2011; and Gamer Camp Pro (develop a console title in nine months) which runs from 26th September 2011 to 25th May 2012. Applications are invited now, so don't delay. The Camps are supported by the likes of Blitz, Codemasters, Rare, Sony and Microsoft.

07.02.11    Jobs:  It's National Apprenticeship Week, and the Learning and Skills Council's main apprenticeship website has completely fallen over due to the huge surge in visitors — but you can search for current apprenticeship vacancies at their less well-known Apprenticeship Vacancy Matching Service website. Your editor had a go and quickly found that the family-owned Hawksworth Graphics & Print of Uttoxeter currently has a Signmaking Apprenticeship on offer. Application deadline: 16th Feb 2011.

As part of the National Apprenticeship Week, City & Guilds has launched a substantial new website, Million Extra which aims to place one million extra people into apprenticeships by 2013. A useful new website for recent graduates and businesses alike, it seems. The government has also announced an extra 100,000 apprenticeship places, mostly for the over 19s, and these will be limited to apprenticeships that have a serious chance of a real job at the end of them. More news on any creative industries opportunities arising from this soon.

07.02.11    Do you run a large organisation that needs to improve its handling and management of records and information? Do you need to think things through, before the salesmen and techies sink their teeth into your wallet? The Joint Information Services Committee (JISC) has launched a free downloadable Impact Evaluator that might prove useful. This automatically calculates the potential savings, based on your figures. The savings could be substantial. A 2010 YouGov report The Costs of Traditional Filing (PDF link) found that staff in an average firm...

"spend approx. 3 months a year looking for documents [...] 87% of respondents spend up to 2 hours every day looking for documents"

Add to that the time your untrained staff waste looking for things online (professionals spend around 20% of their time looking for information, and they find what they are looking for less than half of the time), and there may be some serious efficiency savings to be made.

07.02.11    Jobs:  Two experienced museum curators are required down in South Staffordshire at the Black Country Living Museum (near Dudley). Application deadline: 25th February 2011. Full details at the BCLM website.

04.02.11    A Staffordshire Creative Health and Wellbeing network for local 'arts for health' artists? This was an idea raised at a recent event run by Creative Remedies. See the Praxis blog for the details of what was being proposed at the event. Further consultation will now take place online to include artists' views. Any comments from arts and health practitioners living or working in Staffordshire can be emailed to:  info@creativeremedies.org.uk

04.02.11    Jobs:  Andrew Watts, Museum Service Volunteer Coordinator at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, is seeking volunteers to help out with the Stoke Your Fires festival. Needed are community workshop assistants, agents to help out at the box office with bookings, plus greeters and stewards for the four-day Festival Convention. Free Festival passes in exchange! Interested? See the website for full details, or email Andrew at:  andrew.watts@stoke.gov.uk

04.02.11    The Public arts venue in West Bromwich has four internships available (one | two | three | four). Applications for short or long term internships are welcome, depending on The Public's programme and availability. Application deadline: 18th February 2011. If you would like to be considered please send your C.V. and a covering letter detailing your interest and availability by email, with the subject heading INTERNSHIP PROGRAMME to:  graham_peet@sandwell.gov.uk

04.02.11    Staffordshire Moorlands has announced details of its 2011 Art in The Park event, and dates. 7th and 8th May 2011 will see... "a great selection of artist and makers from around the Moorlands" gather at Brough Park, Leek, along with storytellers and photographers. Sounds like a good networking and showcasing opportunity! More details at the Web page.

04.02.11    Audiences Central is offering a free "data audit module" to arts and cultural organisations in the West Midlands. These sessions are designed to...

"identify current methods of data collection and explore the best ways of using and collecting data. The audit will include recommendations on any improvements or additional methodologies that can be utilised. These are two hour sessions aimed at individual organisations (although several members of staff may wish to be present)."

The date is 8th February 2011, at the Audiences Central Offices, The Big Peg, Birmingham. There will be three slots per day and they will last two hours (maximum). There is one slot available per organisation. Please note that there is a cancellation fee of £25 if you cancel your slot within 48 hours of the allotted time. If you would like to book a free data session, please email:  jan.mcquillan@audiencescentral.co.uk

03.02.11    The Exchange artists' shop in Hanley is to host a Stoke Your Fires festival event on 3rd March 2011 (2pm-6pm) for transmedia entrepreneurs and artists. This free Switchboard event is ticket-only, and registration is now open.

Transmedia is linked storytelling that runs across different forms of media. For instance, the blockbuster film Tron Legacy (2010) has its story linked to that of the original Tron film (1982) by a new graphic novel and a new videogame. It was difficult to understand the plot of Tron Legacy unless you'd seen/read/played all three previous stories. The 3rd March event will also suggest ways of crowd-funding such transmedia projects, through the likes of: Kickstarter; Ulule; We Fund; and 8-bit.

03.02.11    The Peak District Artisans' Young Artist of the Year competition is now open, to those aged 16-19 who are resident... "in and around the Peak District". Young artists are invited to submit work on any subject matter and in any creative discipline, both 2D and 3D. The PDA are especially seeking work that... "demonstrates a unique insight and creative vision as well as skill with materials". There is a £200 cash prize, and the opportunity to take part in the annual PDA exhibition. Full details can be found here.

03.02.11    Weston Park is running the Halls Fine Art Open Competition in 2011. Entry deadline: 30th June 2011. Artists' awards and prizes include a £2,000 first prize; a £500 Shropshire or Staffordshire based winner; and a Junior Award for artists under 16s. For full details and an entry form contact: Mary Peace at Weston Park, Weston-under-Lizard, Shifnal, Shropshire TF11 8LE. There will be an accompanying gallery exhibition, 1st - 31st August 2011. The competition and exhibition are sponsored by Halls — the Estate Agents, Chartered Surveyors, Auctioneers and Valuers.

03.02.11    Birmingham's Rhubarb Rhubarb photographers agency is running a one-day seminar at the Quad in Derby, easily accessible on the train from Stoke-on-Trent. Photography: Still Moving will... "will explore just how still photographers from all disciplines can make the leap to digital storytelling", and is set for 19th March 2011 (10.30am - 4.30pm). Cost is £45.00 for the day. See the Web page for more details.

A little later, Rhubarb Rhubarb will also be running "The Crossing" seminar day in Birmingham on 26th March 2011 (11am - 6pm). This will... "consider the issues facing regional artists" with a focus on "the skills and awareness necessary to fulfil the creative aspirations and goals of artists working with photography and digital imaging". £10 per ticket for West Midlands participants, which includes return coach transport for those travelling from Wolverhampton or Stoke-on-Trent. To book, please visit this Web page.

03.02.11    The West Midlands Animation Forum is set to hold a meeting titled "Setting up an Animation Studio Outside the Capital", on 21st February 2011. Full details are available here.

03.02.11    The Lichfield Festival's commercial sponsor BMW requires an experienced community artist to work with its BMW Plant Hams Hall. You'll work with the local community to create a piece of work for the Lichfield Festival (7th-17th July 2011). The new work should be inspired by the visual, aural and social character of the Hams Hall factory. Fee offered: £2,500. Deadline: 21st February 2011. Full details are available here.

03.02.11    Down in South Staffordshire, there's a £15,000 arts commission up for grabs at Stourbridge College. The College requires an artist to create a piece of work for the new Art & Design campus at Brierley Hill. Application deadline: 1st March 2011. The budget is £15,000. Full details are available here.

31.01.11    The Clore Leadership Programme's 'Strengthening Leadership in the Cultural Sector' scheme is now open. The 2011/12 Fellowships offer two intensive residential training courses, mentoring and coaching, and a secondment to manage a challenging project. Application deadline: 11th March 2011. Full details at www.cloreleadership.org

31.01.11    Added to the Directory:   Newcastle-under-Lyme College's Art & Design blog.


On the blog: Christopher Bagnall with his work, at the N-u-L 2010 graduation show.

31.01.11    The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery have announced three public lectures in October and November 2011...

  1.   Professor Barbara Kelly of Keele will give a public lecture on "Local and exotic locations: Music in the Midlands" at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, on Sunday 9th Oct 2011, from 2pm. Including live music by Debussy and Vaughan Williams.

  2.   AirSpace Director David Bethell explains the challenges of running an independent contemporary art gallery in Stoke-on-Trent. The date set is Friday 4th Nov 2011, at 2pm.

  3.   2011's Reginald Haggar Memorial Lecture at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery will be given by broadcaster and scholar M.P. Tristram Hunt, on "Priestly's three Englands, Haggar's six towns". Tickets are free, no booking required. Tickets are free, no booking required. The date set is Sunday 6th Nov 2011, at 2.30pm.

31.01.11    Stone's Rooftop Studios are set to run a performance workshop with West End star Ashleigh Grey. Workshops are for 8-18 year olds, and will last 90 minutes. They will be held on 19th February 2011, and the cost is £5. To book please phone:  01785 761233.

31.01.11    'World of Dance' and dance artist Carol Howard are running a free Belly Dance Workshop at the White Star pub, in Stoke town, on 16th February 2011. More details from Vanessa Darlington at:  vanessa.darlington@stoke.gov.uk

31.01.11    A new Sculpture Trail at the Shugborough Estate, Staffordshire, is set to have its launch event on 22nd May 2011. More details on: 0845 459 8900.

30.01.11    Congleton town is inviting artists, schools, and local firms to purchase and decorate a giant bear, for the town's forthcoming Bearfest arts festival. A 5ft bear costs £600, and the Bearfest plans to have up to 75 bears around the town. Just over 50 have already been snapped up. About the same cost as a full-page magazine advert, and potentially offering a larger local audience!

30.01.11    The Light House in nearby Wolverhampton is running several one-day courses in the coming months:

* Digital Cinematography Workshop on 15th February 2011 (10am - 4pm) Cost: £55 + VAT. To book please contact the Box Office at:  01902 716055

* Introduction to Lighting Techniques for Video and Photography on 15th March 2011 (10am - 4pm). Cost: £45 + VAT.

30.01.11    The government has announced a new £1 million scheme to encourage cultural organisations to use digital technologies to increase their audiences. This will apparently be administered by NESTA, so watch their website for news of how to apply. Recent substantial reports on the topic are Audience 2.0 : How Technology Influences Arts Participation (USA); Digital audiences : engagement with arts and culture online (UK); and Beyond live : Digital innovation in the performing arts (UK).

30.01.11    NESTA is looking for UK videogame developers who might be willing to join together to form a single publisher. Deadline for expressions of interest: 14th February 2011. NESTA is also getting set for the London launch of their Livingstone-Hope Skills Review of Video Games and Visual Effects, which aims to suggest a strategy by which... "the UK can be transformed into the world's leading talent hub for videogames", on 1st February 2011.

30.01.11    Job:  IciniTV are looking for an experienced motion designer to join the creative digital video team at their mid Staffordshire studio at Burton-on-Trent. You'll have at least three years of experience in delivering creative work for TV / promos; expertise with Cinema 4D (or equivalent), After Effects, Photoshop and Illustrator. Please send them your C.V., and a link to your demo reel.

30.01.11    Job:  Wolverhampton's Creative Health CIC wishes to appoint an artist or creative practitioner to join its team in order to document and record a unique programme of arts and health work. A fee of £3,000 is available. The deadline for applications is: 4th February 2011. The full details are available here (PDF link).

30.01.11    Job:  East Staffordshire Borough Council with Staffordshire County Council requires an External Evaluator to undertake an impact evaluation on the Falls Prevention Dance Group, and to produce an outcome focused report that will act as an "exemplar" evaluation for an arts, health & wellbeing project. The Falls Prevention Dance Group meets on a weekly basis at the Brewhouse in Burton-upon-Trent, and members are between 68 – 91 years old. Application deadline: 4th February 2011. Payment: £2,500 including travel and sundry expenses. Full details from: Owen Hurcombe, County Arts Development Officer, Heritage and Arts, Staffordshire County Council, at:  owen.hurcombe@staffordshire.gov.uk

30.01.11    Staffordshire Open Studios are now offering memberships for 2011/12. This costs £100, and gives you listings in several print publications. The deadline for purchasing a membership that includes an entry in the annual brochure appears to be 31st March 2011.

29.01.11    Added to the Directory:  The Staffordshire and Black Country Business Support Fund was set up in November with a fund of £1 million providing £10,000 to £50,000 loans to small businesses, repayable over a four year period. Companies must be based... "Within the Black Country, Staffordshire and environs", employ less than 50 employees, and have been turned down for loans by the conventional banks. Due to the success of the scheme, Staffordshire County Council is now contributing a further £0.5 million (matched by European funding) which will increase the funds' resources by £1 million. This phase of the loan fund can support business start-ups as well as established companies. Full details at www.bcrs.org.uk

29.01.11    Added to the Directory:  Stoke-on-Trent's External Funding Team is dedicated to helping community groups and social enterprises to seek funds for new project ideas. As part of this, the team have an online funding facility called Grantnet. Local businesses and community groups can register with Grantnet, and once you get your password (which is sent by return email) you can begin to use and search the site. The Team also run a similar and more advanced system, Grantfinder, for a more in-depth search and further advice and information. To access a search using Grantfinder, or for any other funding queries, please contact: 01782 233119.

The External Funding Team also run free Grantnet training sessions for local community delegates, and follow-on Project Planning/Monitoring training sessions — for more information about these, please phone  01782 233119. The Team also produce the External Funding Newsletter which provides an up-to-date overview of the latest funding information. For further information or to register to receive this newsletter, please contact Mandi Marks at:  mandi.marks@stoke.gov.uk

Other nearby local councils also have External Funding Team newsletters, and these are available to consult online, such as Sandwell Council in the Black Country; and Stockport near Manchester (inc. two different Lottery Funding newsletters).

29.01.11    Birmingham Chamber of Commerce now has its excellent free A Guide To Sources Of Small Business Finance In The West Midlands available online in its new January 2011 version.

29.01.11    The Heritage Lottery Fund's Young Roots programme provides grants of between £3,000 and £25,000 for heritage projects involving 13-25 year olds. Projects come directly from young peoples' interests and ideas, using their creativity and energy to help them to creatively engage with their local community and its history.

29.01.11    The Fidelio Charitable Trust is inviting applications for funding from art colleges, arts festivals and other arts organisations seeking financial support for individuals or groups of exceptional ability to enable them to: receive special tuition or coaching | participate in external competitions | be supported for a specially arranged performance | receive support for a special publication, musical composition or work of art. The Trust offers grants of up to £5,000 in support of the arts... "in particular the dramatic and operatic arts, music, speech and dance". Application deadline: 1st February 2011. See the website for full details.

29.01.11    The Daily Telegraph has published a feature article on the ceramics entrepreneurs of Stoke-on-Trent.

29.01.11    Job:  Cheshire East Council's Arts, Heritage & Museums service requires a Youth Participation Mentor. You'll work with a group of young people known as 'The A-Festival' group, mentoring them to deliver a Youth Arts Festival in Crewe in July 2011. The post holder will also create two toolkits: one for young people, with a guide to putting on an arts event; and the second for organisations, on how to work alongside young people in youth-led projects. Contract based on 30 days @£175 per day plus expenses: total contract £5,750. Deadline: 9th February 2011. To apply, send a proposal to include the following: a supporting statement explaining why you are interested in the Youth Participation Mentor post and previous experience (one side of A4); examples of previous and relevant experience; your Curriculum Vitae; contact details of two referees. Please send your proposal to: Sian Rourke, Arts, Heritage & Museums Service, at:  sian.rourke@cheshireeast.gov.uk

29.01.11    Our local Arvon residential writing retreat, in nearby Shropshire, now has its 2011 Courses online. Specialist courses with top drawer writers include: Writing for television (June 2011); Writing for radio (August 2011); Graphic novels (October 2011); Young adult fiction (October 2011); and Screenwriting (November 2011). See the website for full details.

29.01.11    Louise Page (The Archers, Bad Girls, Golden Girls, Doctors) is holding creative writing workshops at Youlgreave Reading Room, Bakewell, Derbyshire. The dates are:

Creating Characters, Saturday 19th March 2011. "Memorable characters drive plot and storyline. You don’t need to know everything about your characters before you begin writing, but it will save a lot of time if you have mapped out most of their lives and how they respond in different circumstances."

The Now Novel, Sunday 20th March 2011. "Stop dreaming and start writing. Stuck on page 20? Feel you’re never going to get to the end? The Now Novel is designed to get you writing and keep you going."

Writing from Experience, Saturday 16th April 2011. "All writers use their own life experience in their work. This day looks at different ways we can shape our memories and family history for others and the commercial market."

Writing for Performance, Sunday 17th April 2011. "Covers all aspects of writing for actors, radio, theatre, television and screen. We will explore how dialogue and conflict drive writing for performance."

Soap Opera Writing, Saturday 14th May 2011. "This is a group writing day and participants must be prepared to write with others."

Performance for Writers, Sunday 15th May 2011. "Standing up and performing your own work in front of others can be a daunting prospect; this workshop is designed to make you a confident deliverer of your own material."

Cost: £35 per day, including refreshments and a light lunch. For further details please call 07970 203675 or email:  turrethse@aol.com

29.01.11    The Gallery at 12 is calling for local artists & makers who wish to sell work. The gallery is located at Eccelshall (between Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent)

29.01.11    Applications from contemporary artists working around "concepts of identity, memory, loss and trace", are invited for a residency at the Memory B(l)anks arts festival — to be held in June 2011 at MMU's Axis Arts Centre, at nearby Crewe. "Socially engaged work or work deriving from relational aesthetics will be of particular interest". The residency will run for two weeks from 2nd June 2011. Application deadline: 31st March 2011. To apply please contact:  emmathackham@me.com

29.01.11    Designer Maker West Midlands are running Portfolio Sessions at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, on Wednesday 2nd March 2011. The focus is "marketing and selling", and the audience is "regional designer makers who have been practising for at least 12 months". More information at the website.

29.01.11    The Exchange artists' shop in Hanley now have print copies of local author Stephen Harvey's new book. Set in Burslem in the 1970s and 80s, the book's theme is childhood and domestic violence. Stephen's book is also available as a PDF ebook.

29.01.11    Latest figures from Arts & Business show that private business funding of the arts has dipped nationally by only 3%, despite the desperate economic conditions...

"in 2009/10, private investment in culture stood at £658 million, a 3% decrease in real terms from the previous year."

However, these are national figures. The Midlands is actually up by 3%...

27.01.11    Job:  The Sentinel newspaper requires a News Journalist. You'll be an experienced Council correspondent... "who can dig up the stories the Council would rather bury". Full details from Michael Sassi, Editor-in-Chief, at:  mike.sassi@thesentinel.co.uk

27.01.11    Job:  Newcastle-under-Lyme's B Arts requires a Digital Audio Producer to work on the "100 Stories" project that will form part of February's DATfest in Stoke-on-Trent. Application deadline: 1st February 2011. Full details can be found here.

27.01.11    The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery is set to stage its first new media exhibition, titled Erasure, and they're holding an informal launch event between 2pm and 4pm on Saturday 29th January 2011. Sounds like a good networking event.

27.01.11    The Exchange artist's shop in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, is set to run an "Ebook Publishing" session for writers of book-length works and niche publishers, with a focus on the Amazon Kindle. It will also touch briefly on mixing ebooks with POD print publishing. Places are limited to 10, so booking is essential. To book please email:  mail@thisisexchange.co.uk  with subject: 'SELF PUBLISHING'. The date is Saturday 5th February 2011 (starts 1pm).

24.01.11    Stoke College is set to run Saturday Courses, and one of these will be a "Certificate in Business Start-Up" (P1452). This is set to run on Saturdays from 9am-1pm at the Cauldon Campus, from 5th March 2011. Cost: £370. Interested? Please ring 01782 603675 or 01782 603642 for more details.

24.01.11    Staffordshire University Library is now offering a corporate membership scheme. Also notable is that members of the Workers' Education Association can now join the library for free.

24.01.11    The Stoke-on-Trent Film Theatre is set to premiere a new documentary film by Inspired Film & Video, Staffordshire Writers. The film looks at major writers from Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, ranging from Doctor Johnson and Arnold Bennett through to Arthur Berry. The date is 2nd February 2011, at 7.45pm.

24.01.11    The Stoke Your Fires film and animation festival programme is now available in PDF format (800kb). Animators Tristan Pritchard and Eleanor Leadbetter will be in residence at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery from 19th February 2011, with workshops at the venue for under 16s (26th Feb) and Over 16s (12th March).

The Stoke Your Fires Convention (£35, or £15 per day) will also happen at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery from 1st - 4th March 2011 — with the 3rd and 4th March being the "Focus on Animation" days. If you are a member of Birmingham's Producers' Forum, you can claim a free pass — to get your free conference pass please email Rebecca on info@producersforum.org.uk

24.01.11    The Exchange artist's shop in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, is set to run "What's Your Creative Business" sessions for recent graduates...

"Have you recently finished University and [are you] unsure about how to make a living in the arts or creative industries? Do you want to use your skills to start your own business? Do you have project you'd like to get started? The Exchange is running an exclusive evening event with creative industries champion, Helga Henry of Fierce, who can help you find the answers to those questions. Helga will run a short, tailored session that will motivate you to take your idea and turn it into a reality."

The date will be the evening of 8th February 2011 (5.30pm to 8.30pm), and will include tea, coffee and biscuits. Places for the session are limited. Cost is £10, cash only. To book, please email:  mail@thisisexchange.co.uk

Also at The Exchange — more life-drawing classes! Due to the success of the first Life Drawing session, Marcus is now planning to host the evening classes on a weekly basis. Classes are limited to ten people. The cost per class will be £5 for two hours of life drawing, and booking is essential. Participants must be 18 years of age or over, and are required to bring their own drawing equipment and tools including easels, small tables, drawing boards. For more information, dates, and to book your place please contact Marcus at:   marcusjwemyss@hotmail.co.uk

24.01.11    Oliver Nicholls is currently on secondment with Big Lottery Fund’s West Midlands team, helping with the 'Big Local' work. He wants to know of any hyperlocal blogs or blogging / social media surgeries serving Chell Heath & Fegg Hays in Stoke-on-Trent. Know any? Contact Oliver here.

24.01.11    Birmingham's Punch Records is offering between £500 and £3,000 for artists to present new work at its annual BASS Festival (British Arts and Street Sounds), to be held in Birmingham during June 2011. For 2011 the theme is 'Revolution', and BASS will commission creatives to make new music, dance, spoken word and theatre. There's no "Birmingham only" in the details, so presumably it's open to people throughout the West Midlands. Application deadline: 14th February 2011. Application forms and full details at the website.

24.01.11    Added to the Directory: Distinctive Designs, ornamental metal gate manufacturers of Stoke-on-Trent...

"We can cater for all tastes and preferences, so if you have a particular concept in mind that you would like realising, come to us for expert assistance."

21.01.11    Job:  Stoke-on-Trent's Ceramics Biennial requires a part-time General Manager. The organisers are seeking to appoint...

"a freelance general manager for BCB Ltd. BCB Ltd is an organisation being set up by Jeremy Theophilus and Barney Hare Duke to manage and deliver the British Ceramics Biennial Initiative in Stoke on Trent 2011-14. The position of general manager is a new one. Working closely with the BCB directors and as part of the BCB senior management team, the general manager will be instrumental in setting up the management, financial and administrative systems and procedures for the new organisation. They will also take on responsibility for developing the business, commercial and social enterprise side of the British Ceramics Biennial initiative. The general manager will be expected to work on a part-time basis, allocating time to the specified tasks of the role, and meeting the fluctuations in workload during the course of the year. A regular presence in Stoke-on-Trent will be essential. There is scope to further develop the role of the general manger to initiate and manage specific projects strengthening the BCB core areas of work and building the profile and impact of the initiative, leading to the third Biennial Festival in Stoke-on-Trent in October 2013. The position of general manger will be offered initially as a 12 month (renewable) freelance contract, with a fee of £14,000. An office space in Stoke-on-Trent will be provided for BCB Ltd. The BCB senior management team will work from this office base starting in February 2011. We are looking for someone who has the interest, time commitment, entrepreneurial imagination and experience and to take on this role, and contribute to the development of both the organisation and the project."

If you are interested please contact us to discuss, or forward your expression of interest and C.V. by 25th January 2011 to either: Jeremy Theophilus at 07939 577858 or  jeremy@britishceramicsbiennial.com  | Barney Hare Duke at 07870 666464 or  barney@britishceramicsbiennial.com

21.01.11    Job:  West Midlands dance professionals are invited to take part in a choreography commission. The Digital Dance Archives (DDA) project are inviting dance artists to apply for an opportunity to make a short dance work in direct response to the archive collections to be hosted on the DDA platform, for sharing at a workshop event in Coventry in March. On offers is: a fixed fee of £600 plus £20 per diem (max. 7 days); studio space available in Coventry for up to six days, if required; an opportunity for the commissioned work to be performed to an invited audience as part of a wider workshop event at Coventry University on 23rd March 2011. To apply, choreographers must submit a DVD (max. 15 mins) of no more than two works made in the last three years, together with written outline (max. 500 words) of the approach to be taken and their area(s) of interest. Application deadline: 11th February 2011.

21.01.11    The DCMS's Local Media Action Plan is now open for national public consultation. The Plan is aimed at helping truly local television services to emerge in the UK. Deadline for comments: 13th April 2011.

20.01.11    The Exchange artist's shop in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, is...

"still looking for artists and makers to sell in the shop — we'd especially like some sculpture... know anyone?"

20.01.11    A one-day workshop in "rag rug" -making is to be held at the Etruria Industrial Museum, Stoke-on-Trent, on 29th January 2011 (11am - 3pm). Cost is £2.50. Bring your own old materials and textiles to create a new rug. Beginners are welcome. Booking is essential. To book, please contact Etruria Industrial Museum on 01782 233144 or email:  etruria@stoke.gov.uk

20.01.11    Job:  Newport Infant School in nearby Shropshire is seeking a Creative Practitioner to help answer the question: "What can we do to help our children and their parents become resilient and cope with change?" The work must be completed by the beginning of June 2011. Budget: £3,500 inclusive. Application deadline: 31st January 2011. Please send the following information to the Creative Agent, Alison Haynes at:  alisonhaynes@talktalk.net   — your C.V./details of previous experience | images or web links | some initial ideas for your approach.

20.01.11    Job:  Telford & Wrekin Council require an experienced and highly creative artist or arts organisation who can engage young people (16-19) from Telford & Wrekin and Shropshire, to develop content for a visual arts site-specific exhibition. Artist fee: £3,000. Application deadline: 3rd February 2011. For full brief and how to apply, please email:  sarah.belcher@telford.gov.uk

18.01.11    Job:  MMU Cheshire is looking for a Community Arts Practitioner with experience and knowledge in music technologies, community arts practice, and working with young people — for a 12 month contract at the Crewe Campus of MMU.

18.01.11    Job:  Alive Publishing of Stoke-on-Trent requires an experienced in-house Graphic Designer, initially to cover maternity leave. More details from Rebecca Kerr at:  design@alivepublishing.co.uk

18.01.11     Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council are offering access to grants of up to £1,500 to help stage creative events or arts projects in the community. These grants are available to arts and community groups (not to individual artists) planning creative activities within the Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme and for the benefit of the community. Deadline for the next funding round: 28th January 2011. Full details and application forms at the website.

18.01.11     Added to the Directory: Alsager Community Theatre. The troupe is holding auditions for parts in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night on 27th January 2011.

17.01.11    Local ceramics maker Denise O'Sullivan will be running a 'New Generation Space' workshop and giving a talk at the Borough Museum and Art Gallery, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, on Saturday 22nd January 2011 (10.30-4.00pm). Booking is essential for this Contemporary Ceramics Workshop...

"The day will consist of a chance to explore different ceramic techniques that can be used to produce a variety of forms, these will include slab built pieces, slip casting, the use of slip to create surface, different glazes, and the use of transfer imagery to create your own plate design. [...] no previous knowledge of working with clay and ceramics is required"

To book, please email:  newgenerationspace@googlemail.com

17.01.11    Residents of Longton are being offered free ballroom dancing classes at Longton Town Hall, Stoke-on-Trent. The 'Learn to Ballroom Dance' sessions will happen on Monday afternoons (12pm-1pm) between 7th February and 28th March 2011. To book a place call Vanessa Darlington on 01782 236156 or email:  vanessa.darlington@stoke.gov.uk

17.01.11    Derby, a relatively short hop on a direct train from Stoke-on-Trent station, now has its Format Photography 2011 conference and workshops programme online. Format will run from 4th March — 3rd April 2011 and it takes the timely theme of public photography, Right Here, Right Now': Exposures from the public realm. Includes...

"The Magnum Workshop Derby, a five-day intensive, practice-oriented workshop focusing specifically on the popular theme of street photography."

17.01.11    Birmingham's VIVID are calling for Midlands artists and film-makers who would like temporary project-based studio space at Vivid (in Digbeth, Birmingham), and a £500 bursary to cover travel/meals etc...

"we aim to provoke the evolution of new thinking, curatorial development and exchange, social interaction and critical engagement, new collaborations and emerging networks. The scheme encourages risk taking and aims to showcase a wide array of aesthetics from both the city's vibrant visual, sound and film culture and far beyond. Projects can be activated in February-March, August-September and December 2011."

Application deadline: 28th January 2011. Full details are here (PDF link).

17.01.11    The 5th Art of Nurture competition is a national visual art competition developed by Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance in partnership with Arts & Business. It's for students currently attending UK art colleges, and recent graduates. There are cash prizes, and winners will have the opportunity to present their work to the business world as part of the commercial marketing campaigns of Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance. Deadline for entries: 31st January 2011. Full details at the website.

17.01.11    Culture.info are set to run CulturEuro funding seminars in 2011, outlining the details of...

"30 different EU [trans-national] funding programmes or schemes that have provided support for arts and culture projects and activities" [with a] "special focus on the EU's Culture programme (2007-2013) which has a budget of 400 million Euros"

The nearest venues to North Staffordshire are: Manchester (3rd February at Cornerhouse); Birmingham (5th May, CBSO); Manchester (30th June, Cornerhouse). The seminars cost £85 per person (£65 if booked before 31st January 2011). See the website for full details.

14.01.11    Job:  The Chatterley Valley business park (aka Blue Planet) in Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent is seeking... "an artist of the highest calibre" for a public arts commission...

"The art work will dramatically animate the development of Chatterley Valley as a strategic gateway location".

Deadline for submissions: 24th January 2011. Full details from Paul Bailey at:  paul.bailey@stoke.gov.uk

14.01.11    Job:  The Koestler Trust works in prisons, and has been running an UK Arts Mentoring project for the past three years with the support of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. This project supports prisoners who are set to make the transition from prison to community. The Trust now requires professional potters and ceramic sculptors to work as unpaid volunteer mentors. You'd supply ten mentoring sessions over one year. Initial mentoring sessions may take place in a prison setting, although the majority will occur in the community. You'll recieve full training and support. Interested? Visit the website for full information.

14.01.11    Job:  North Staffordshire's 'Place, Space & Identity 3' is now open for applications to run the programme. The successful artist/organisation will manage a programme of temporary arts interventions and installations in Stoke-on-Trent. As part of this you'll provide opportunities for artists to engage with local communities... "to facilitate a creative response to social, economic and environmental changes taking place in Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire". Fee: no more than £106,000, excluding VAT. Application deadline: 31st January 2011. Full details from Heather at:  heather.kuduk@stoke.gov.uk

14.01.11    The Midlands Federation of Museums and Art Galleries now has conference bursaries available for its personal members...

"Is there a major conference that you have always wanted to attend, but never been able to afford? Personal members of the Federation can apply for a bursary for their first attendance at any residential conference organised by a museum-related group with a UK national remit. ... The bursary can be for any amount up to the total advertised cost of the conference, including conference and residential fees (travel to the venue is not included)."

14.01.11    Do people laugh at your craft objects? The authors of a new book titled Humour in Craft are seeking submissions. They're also open to essays on the topic. The book is scheduled to be on the market in 2012. Deadline for applications: 15th February 2011. Full details at crafthaus.ning.com/

14.01.11    Jennifer Collier is offering a one-day workshop in 'Experimental Textile Techniques' on 29th January 2011, at Unit Twelve, Tixall Heath Farm, Staffordshire...

"you will be shown many different techniques, including bonding, trapping, waxing and latexing recycled materials, including plastics, fabrics and papers."

The cost is £35 for the day, inc. all materials and equipment. Bookings can be made via:  07811 460494.

14.01.11    Job:  The Mitchell Arts Centre will be re-opening in Spring 2011. Formerly known as the Mitchell Memorial Theatre, and based in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, the building has been undergoing a major refurbishment — funded by the Big Lottery Fund, the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, and a national government Community Assets Grant from the Cabinet Office. The Board of Trustees is now seeking an Executive Officer on a salary of £28,000-£31,000. Application deadline: 21st January 2011. Full details from John Holmes at:  john.holmes@stoke.gov.uk

14.01.11    Job:  The nearby University of Wolverhampton has an opportunity for a Post Doctoral Research Fellow in Glass. They're looking for practitioner researchers with an excellent knowledge of the field, specifically where technical innovation and creative application indicate future practices for glass crafts. You must also be able to teach. Salary: £31,671-£37,839. Application deadline: 14th January 2011 (today!). Full details from:  dew.harrison@wlv.ac.uk

14.01.11    The National Federation of Artists' Studio Providers have posted a lengthy summary report from their 6th December event and AGM in Birmingham.

13.01.11    Added to the Directory: the QR Codes Stoke project blog, an arts project in which ten mobile-phone -readable 'code pictures' will be used to create a walking tour of Stoke town.

13.01.11    The 2nd Young Journalist Awards competition is underway in North Staffordshire. Run by The Sentinel newspaper with Staffordshire University, young reporters are asked to submit... "a story [400+ words] or picture of a subject matter which affects their life — at home, in education or as part of a community." The best entries will be published in The Sentinel on 4th February 2011. Prizes include cameras and netbook PCs. The address for entries is:  Young Journalist Awards, Newsdesk, The Sentinel, Sentinel House, Forge Lane Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 5SS.

13.01.11    Stoke-on-Trent Libraries now have their Spring Term 2011 Adult Learning Course Guide online. A wide variety of basic introductory and short creative courses are on offer — including a five-week Face Painting course, and a ten-week Fancy Dress & Costume Making course. The new list includes short courses held at the Wedgwood Memorial College, Barlaston.

13.01.11    The 2011 British Ceramics Biennial will include an exhibition of portraits of ex-Spode workers, made by Sentinel photographer Alex Severn. Alex is currently seeking any workers not already photographed. Those wanting to be included can email Alex at:  alex.severn@thesentinel.co.uk

13.01.11    Does your arts project regularly use volunteers? How do you best support them? The Staffordshire Volunteer Centre Network is offering a training workshop in 'Supporting Volunteers' at Staffordshire University (Stafford campus), on 27th January 2011 (1.15 pm to 4.30pm). For more information please contact Sue Willis or Jan Wright on 01785 279934 or e-mail:  volunteer.centre@sdvs.org.uk

13.01.11    Microsoft's BizSpark scheme supplies free software and production/hosting licenses to new start-up software businesses in the UK. The Microsoft Dreamspark scheme can also supply free software to students, including the XNA Game Studio for developing videogames. Yesterday Microsoft pledged to create 4,000 new apprenticeships in the UK, as part of its Britain Works scheme. Watch for more news of these apprenticeships soon.

12.01.11    Annoyed that The Times and The Sunday Times have vanished behind a paywall? Worried that The Telegraph plans to go the same way? Want to access the archives of The Financial Times back to 1996? The Economist back to 1991? You can access these newspapers for free, at home, if you join your local public library in Stoke-on-Trent.

You then simply use your library card number as a password to access the subscriber-only News UK service. This includes The Times, The Economist, and The Financial Times (with what appears to be a two-day embargo).

The News UK interface is rather clunky compared to the slick websites of these newspapers, but you do get all the full-text articles — plus the ability to quickly keyword-search the archives (The Times archives from 1985-2011; The Financial Times from 1996-2011; The Economist from 1991-2011). Also available for free are a range of business and trade publications including Marketing Week.

Local businesses may also find it useful to be able to browse and search back issues of the local press, including the full archives of the business coverage in The Birmingham Post from 1998-2011.

Articles from all these publications can be easily bundled and saved for reading in comfort on your Kindle, by using the free Instapaper service.

New! 12.01.11    Keele University yesterday hosted the local 'road show' launch of the Regional Growth Fund scheme. The Regional Growth Fund is a new £1.4 billion financial support scheme open to West Midlands employers, operating for three years between 2011 and 2014. It effectively replaces Advantage West Midlands. "Private bodies" may apply, as well as Councils and regeneration schemes, but the government appears to envisage that successful applicants are likely to be... "bidding partnerships coming together that include a combination of large private sector players, SMEs and social enterprises working together with public partners". Bids must be for over £1m, and genuine private-sector jobs growth should be the long-term aim. First-round bids must be for schemes that deliver "short-term/immediate job creation". Full details and guidance on applying can be had at the Department for Business website page. The deadline for proposals is 21st January 2011.

New! 12.01.11    Registrations are now open for the 48 Hour Film Challenge at the forthcoming Stoke Your Fires film festival in Stoke-on-Trent. From 10am on Saturday 19th February 2011 entrants will have just 48 hours to make a one -to- seven minute film, on a theme to be announced at the start of the competition. If you're running a team, then you can't have more than five people in it. The winner in each category will get a £50 voucher and a festival screening. Application forms can be had from Rebecca at:  info@producersforum.org.uk  and there is a fee payable in advance (£12 under 18s, £18 over 18s).

New! 12.01.11    'Growing Older in the Countryside' is the title of a new film-script competition being run by the West Midlands-based Rural Media Company and The Nationwide Foundation. Simply write your idea (on up to two sides of A4) for a 5-10 minute film, intended to spearhead a national public campaign... "to raise awareness of the challenges facing older people in rural areas" with a special emphasis on reaching people considering a rural retirement. All styles are acceptable, and the author of the winning idea will be commissioned... "to write an original screenplay for a minimum fee of £1,000" — with the further possibility of actual film production. Application deadline: 9th February 2011. Apply to Jan Bailey at:  janb@ruralmedia.co.uk

New! 12.01.11    BBC Comedy Commissioning are looking for new writers. Deadline: 21st February 2011. Winners get a ticket to a Comedy Masterclass in Manchester on 5th April 2011, and there's a chance of a performance.

The BBC World Service is also currently running a Radio Scriptwriting Competition.

New! 11.01.11    The Burslem School of Art, Stoke-on-Trent, has four new art classes for adults running in 2011:

* Learn Modern Marquetry with Quentin Smith
* Learn the Art of Bookbinding with Michelle Saxon Holland
* Beginners Course in Ceramics with Ieva Alksne
* Beginners course of Drawing and Painting with Sue Law Webb

Full details at the website, where you can also find application forms.

Tutor Quentin Smith will also be running a Further Marquetry Techniques summer school later in 2011, during which students will learn more advanced marquetry techniques including sand-shading, hot-air shading, fine-line detailing, fragmentation, etc. This will happen 31st Aug - 2nd Sept 2011 at Westhope Craft College, Craven Arms, in nearby Shropshire.

New! 11.01.11    Are you designing or developing a videogame? Do you need to play-test and stress-test it on a variety of kit? Or perhaps you need to precisely measure player reactions? Staffordshire University can offer a state-of-the-art facility at their Games Development and Usability Lab. With funding from AWM and the Higher Education Innovation Fund, the University has fitted out the lab with an Alienware gaming PC, an Xbox 360, Xbox, PS2 & PS3, Nintendo Wii; and an iMac with the latest software. For viewing games there is a 50-inch plasma screen, and a further five TV screens enabling up to 24 players on a LAN. There are also state-of-the-art Gametrak motion-sensors, and various cameras to film player facial reactions and body movements. Senior Lecturer in Computing and the brainchild behind the lab, Dr. Clive Chandler, is able to assist with game testing and analyse player reactions using a PA system, face-reading software and bio-metric sensors. A variety of commercial packages and price points are available. Interested? Find out more from:  c.chandler@staffs.ac.uk

New! 11.01.11    Added to the Directory: David Bethell of Stoke-on-Trent. David creates work that... "explores the relationship between nature and urban environments, ranging from the objects to the characteristics that can be found within these spaces".

New! 11.01.11    Dane Coppice Crafts Group is running a 'Rushwork Workshop Day' at Brereton Heath on 29th January 2011. The location is about six miles north of Stoke-on-Trent. The day will be led by Averil Otiv. Booking essential. There is a charge for tuition and materials, and you will need to bring your own packed lunch. Booking via Aileen Thompson on: 01270 760810. There is normally a charge payable in advance of the event, and places are limited.


Photo from a previous rushwork workshop.

New! 11.01.11    Sound It Out's popular training programme 'New Horizons' is now recruiting for early 2011. The next New Horizons course starts in nearby Wolverhampton from February 2011, funded by Wolverhampton Music Service, Sandwell Youth Music and Staffordshire Performing Arts. New Horizons is a training programme for proficient freelance/sole trader musicians who have a desire to teach instruments/voice within the formal education sector. The closing date for applying for the next course is 21st January 2011. If you are interested in finding out more about the course, or want to request an application pack, please contact Nic at:  nicolabriggs@sounditout.co.uk

New! 11.01.11    The Heritage Lottery Fund is offering archive traineeships of £13,500 p.a. Thirteen places are available nationwide, and the nearest placements to North Staffordshire are either Birmingham or Manchester. More details at the Opening Up Archives website.

New! 11.01.11    Planning to set up in business as a co-operative? The Co-operative Enterprise Hub is having its funding increased by 50% in 2011, and can offer up to four days of free business consultancy for potential co-operative enterprises.

The Co-op also funds the £1.2m Co-op Community Fund.

New! 11.01.11    Derbyshire Open Arts 2011 will be holding their open studios weekend on 28th-30th May 2011. If you're reading this from just over the border in the Derbyshire Peak District, or know someone who is, you may like to know that applications for the Derbyshire Open Arts 2011 are now invited. The application deadline is 14th January 2011.

New! 11.01.11    There's a new Alt.Fiction Writing residential weekend being held on 20th-22nd May 2011. The venue is Chesterfield in Derbyshire, about 20 miles north-east from Stoke-on-Trent on the other side of the Peaks. The main guest speaker will be Simon Clark. Costs is £180 for the weekend including accommodation, all meals and a full programme of writing activity featuring two guest speakers. Bookings via Alex on: 07896 228367...

"an ideal opportunity for writers of science fiction, fantasy and horror to get away from it all, meet and work with like-minded people and enjoy workshops and talks with established authors in the field. Offering workshops, feedback sessions and expert advice."

New! 10.01.11    A new Staffordshire Images Picture Library website has just launched, offering a commercial image-library shopping service for around 100 works of art in the holdings of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Museum and Art Gallery and Stoke-on-Trent Museums Service...

New! 10.01.11    Added to the Directory:  the weblog of writer James Montgomery. James is a features writer for Staffordshire Life magazine, and has kindly made available for free a recent feature article on the Barewall Art Gallery, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent...

New! 10.01.11    The Exchange artist's shop in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, is putting on a life drawing class on 19th January 2011, from 7pm to 9pm. The class is limited to ten people. The cost (per class) is £5, you must be 18 years old or older, and you must bring your own drawing equipment and tools. More information from Marcus at:  marcusjwemyss@hotmail.co.uk

New! 10.01.11    Thread artist Debbie Smyth is running a 'Drawing with Thread' workshop in Stafford on 26th March 2011 (10am-4pm). Cost is £15. Booking essential. Full information from:  shirehallgallery@staffordshire.gov.uk

"Using drawings of Stafford, you'll complete the full creative process from plotting, pinning and threading to make your own unique A3 threaded drawing."

New! 10.01.11    'Cream of the Crop : Staffordshire University Graduates 2000-2010' is a survey exhibition of some of the best art, craft and design work from Staffordshire University over the last decade. The show opens on 15th January 2011 at the Shire Hall Gallery, Stafford, and the launch event seems like it might be a good networking opportunity for local creatives. Contact the Gallery for more details, at:  shirehallgallery@staffordshire.gov.uk

New! 10.01.11    The Trentham Gardens estate in Stoke-on-Trent, together with the Deer Society, is offering a number of Deer Society Photography Workshops at Trentham during spring 2011...

"Join wildlife photographer Craig Jones and the Trentham Deer Society for a day-long photography workshop, featuring Trentham's black fallow deer. Learn tracking and camera techniques to capture their beauty, expressions and behaviour in this stunning natural environment. Cost £99 per person including tea/coffee and lunch. Must pre-book in advance by contacting 01782 646646."

The dates are: 28th January; 25th February; and 25th March 2011.

New! 10.01.11    Shropshire Museums are taking bookings now for a variety of courses and workshops for adults in rural skills in 2011, including: Smocks & Smocking; Introduction to Whitework (embroidery); Introduction to Decorative Straw Work; Introduction to Handstitching Leather; and the three-day course Make a Leather Satchel or Traditional Milkman's Moneybag, among many others. More information from:  acton.scott.museum@shropshire.gov.uk

New! 10.01.11    Architects and landscape designers may be interested in the Trees, People, and the Built Environment: Urban Tree Research conference, to be held on 13th & 14th April 2011 in Birmingham. It may also be possible for suitable artists to display posters summarising and illustrating their project work with urban trees — contact the organisers.

New! 10.01.11    Sixty awards of up to £60,000 are available nationwide to voluntary groups, for projects to be run in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Year of 2012. Proposed projects must improve the lives of their local communities. A shortlist of Midlands applicants will be shown on ITV regional news in summer 2011, with the final winners being decided by a public vote. The Jubilee Millions deadline for submissions is 4th February 2011. See the website for full details.

New! 09.01.11    Added to the Directory:  The Hub, based at Stafford, is a new business support service for rural Staffordshire...

"The Hub has been set up to enable rural businesses to explore alternative business opportunities"

New! 09.01.11    The Business School at Staffordshire University has launched a new Business & Networking Club at its Stafford campus. This is...

"a free club for all businesses in the region to join and contribute to. Each month we have speakers from our business network talking on a particular theme which are useful to all members."

More information from Laura Burgess at:  l.p.burgess@staffs.ac.uk

New! 09.01.11    Staffordshire University and the IET are planning the first Innovation Event for Staffordshire, to launch a club for inventors...

"you are encouraged to come along where you can share / demonstrate or present your ideas to other like-minded individuals with a view to perhaps forming partnerships to aid the realisation of your ideas."

The date is 14th June 2011, at the Ruxton Technology Centre, on the Beaconside Stafford Campus of Staffordshire University. More details from: Sam Wane at:  s.o.wane@staffs.ac.uk

New! 09.01.11    Staffordshire University is putting on a Be Inspired lecture with Miles Templeman, Directory General of the Institute of Directors...

"Miles Templeman began his career as a marketing specialist and gained his pedigree leading such major consumer brands as Daz, Ribena and Lucozade, and was Marketing Director of Levi's. ... Miles is also a Board Member of Young Enterprise."

A great opportunity to hear from someone passionate about entrepreneurship and brand marketing. Date: 2nd February 2011 at the Ashley Building, Staffordshire University's Stoke-on-Trent campus. More details here.

New! 09.01.11    An IET North West Midlands Network event on 14th April 2011 may interest local musicians and composers. The title is 'The Impact of Music Technology on Today’s Musicians and Composers', and it will be given by Marten Joustra. Martin is a working Television Composer and has also worked on major videogames (Toy Story). The venue is Ruxton Technology Centre's Television Studio at the Beaconside Stafford Campus of Staffordshire University. Full details from Dr. Dai Hitchings at:  daih@dstec.co.uk

New! 09.01.11    'Landscape of Life' is the name of a new residential Textile Study Group Summer School in nearby Shropshire in summer 2011. The organisers are the Textile Study Group, who say that the summer school will be... "open to everyone". Dates are 25th – 29th July 2011 at Harper Adams University College. The cost is £468 | £368 (non-residential).

There are also a set of smaller textile courses taking place in Shropshire in 2011, at £165 for each 3-day course. These include:

  1. 'Grids and Meshes' on March 21st - 23rd 2011. "Using the simple unit of grids and meshes as a springboard, students will explore print, colour and stitch to create original and unexpected textile pieces ... who enjoy imaginative exploration of stitched textile techniques."

  2. 'Working with a Broken Line' on April 15th - 17th 2011. "This adventurous course, challenges perceptions of using the 'broken line'. Students will experience and consider the direct and indirect use of line through mark-making, resists, print and stitch techniques onto paper and fabric."

  3. 'Fabric, Mark and Colour' on May 6th - 8th 2011. "Exploring surface imagery and organic marks using mixed media, black, white and colour, combined with print and stitch. These coloured cloths are then transformed into 2D and 3D resolved works."

  4. 'Working Together Summer School' on 13th - 16th July 2011. Followed by an exhibition of the group's new work.

Bookings enquiries in the first instance to Ruth Issett at:  ruth.issett@btinternet.com

New! 09.01.11    Four 'Babble and Dabble Days' for West Midlands textile makers have been announced by The Midlands Textile Forum. The venue will be the Birmingham and Midland Institute (next to the main Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, in the city centre). Dates for 2011 are: 29th January, 30th April, 30th July and 29th October 2011. Places are limited for this very popular event and are allocated on a "first come, first served" basis. Full details from:  julie.ring@hotmail.co.uk

New! 09.01.11    Chatsworth House in the nearby Peak District (at Bakewell, just east of Buxton) is running three one-day workshops in textiles during 2011. Dates are: 16th June; 22nd Sept; and 17th Nov 2011. Cost is £60. More details the website.

New! 09.01.11    Local studio ceramicists and craft makers may be interested in taking sales stalls at some of the following local events, all of which now have dates for 2011:

  Buxton Artist and Designer Fair, 26th-27th March 2011.

  Quilts and Embroidery 2011. Uttoxeter Racecourse, 15th-17th April 2011.

  Acoustic Festival of Britain. Uttoxeter Racecourse, 20th-22nd May 2011.

  The Staffordshire County Show, 1st-2nd June 2011.

  Lichfield Festival Market, 10th-14th July 2011.

New! 09.01.11    Added to the Directory:  The Other Pottery | Gill McMillan, located at Barlaston. Gill will be opening her studio as part of the national Craft & Design Month in May 2011.

New! 09.01.11    Raku demonstrations and drop-in workshops are planned as part of the forthcoming Earthworks group ceramics exhibition. This will run at Arkwright Mill, Cromford, Derbyshire (15 miles east of Stoke-on-Trent), from 20th April - 8th May 2011. The show will feature 'The Earthworks' group of seven potters: Josie Walter, Andy Mason, Alan Birchall, Sue Blatherwick, Mary Johnson, Carl Gray and Jan Lewis-Eccleston. More details from Jan Lewis-Eccleston.

New! 09.01.11    Added to the Directory:  Janet Sutton, a freelance proofreader in Staffordshire.

New! 09.01.11    Registration is now open for the 4Talent Inspiration Day at the Stoke-on-Trent campus of Staffordshire University. The date is 21st February 2011, and on offer is...

"a full day of workshops for you to find out about what really goes on in media, to develop key skills that will help you get ahead. Open to interested people aged over 21."

New! 09.01.11    Do you have a hankering to 'Write and Perform in an Opera'? This is the title of a February 2011 half-term workshop opportunity at The Victoria Hall in Stoke-on-Trent. The sessions are for children aged 10+. Sessions start on 19th February 2011...

"Join us for a wonderful opportunity to extend your skills in singing, acting, moving and — if you are learning an instrument — playing! Ashley Thompson and Debbie McAndrew are the highly experienced artistic team who will be leading the project. Some experience would be valuable as the timescale is quite intensive, but if you are keen and prepared to work very hard and haven't done anything like this before then we'd still like to hear from you."

Cost: £40 | concessions £20. Pre booking essential. Full details from: Jo Blagg, Creative Learning Manager, at:  joblagg@theambassadors.com

New! 09.01.11    Would you like to attend a ballet workshop with the Matthew Bourne company, one of the most celebrated dance companies in the world? That's what on offer at The Victoria Hall in Stoke-on-Trent on 31st January 2011, from 5pm–8pm, prior to the first night performance of Cinderella at The Regent Theatre. Ticket: £5. Full details from: Jo Blagg, Creative Learning Manager, at:  joblagg@theambassadors.com

New! 09.01.11    Places are available with the 'R.T. Dashes' over-11s theatre troupe at the Regent Theatre, who will be working on Mondays in the first half of 2011, toward a performance of Treasure Island in July 2011.

Also at The Victoria Hall and Regent Theatre in 2011 — a variety of short courses for children in performing dance routines for pop videos, scheduled for 23rd-25th February; 11th–16th April; and 13th–18th June 2011.

Full details on the above opportunities from Jo Blagg, Creative Learning Manager, at:  joblagg@theambassadors.com

New! 09.01.11    Stoke-on-Trent's DATFest have the programme online. This is Stoke's first ever digital arts and social media festival, and it will feature performances by Keele University Music Technology Group and Bitjam, a walking-tour of Hanley with B Arts, and... "a full workshop programme that encourages all ages to join in and get creative". See the website for details.

New! 09.01.11    Dates have been announced for the Three Counties Open Photography competition, 11th February - 23rd March 2011. An entry form should be available from the Keele University Gallery website soon. Futher details from:  whatson@kfm.keele.ac.uk

New! 09.01.11    The nearby Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival now has dates in 2011: 15th - 17th April 2011. Last year saw talks and masterclasses by some of the nation's best cartoonists, and comics-creation workshops with experienced teachers such as John McCrea. Watch for booking details at the website.

New! 09.01.11    The Arnold Bennett Society will hold its 8th annual conference at the North Staffordshire Medical Institute (Hartshill, Stoke-on-Trent) on 11th June 2011. The conference will mark the centenary of the publication of The Card, a book later filmed with Alec Guinness in the lead role.

New! 09.01.11    The Regent Youth Theatres in Stoke-on-Trent now have places available for new participants in January 2011. Cost is: £65 | £60 concessions for a ten week term. Booking line: 01782 211214.

New! 09.01.11    The Regent Theatre's Adult Drama Class has places available in 2011. Adult Drama costs: £80 | £74 concessions for a ten week term from January 2011. More details from Jo Blagg, Creative Learning Manager at:  joblagg@theambassadors.com

Also available for adults is a 'Dreaming on the Dot' Impro (stage improvisation) evening workshop with local actor Pete Cliffe, for ages 17+. Places cost just £3 and the workshop takes place on 31st January 2011, from 6.15pm to 7.15pm at The Victoria Hall, Stoke-on-Trent. Pre booking essential. More details from Jo Blagg, Creative Learning Manager at:  joblagg@theambassadors.com

New! 09.01.11    The Prince's Trust is offering the opportunity to 'win work' via its Million Makers scheme. The scheme runs until February 2011 and offers young people the opportunity to... "use your entrepreneurial skills to win three weeks' work-experience at a top firm."

New! 07.01.11    Stoke-on-Trent's Urban Vision has a 'Green' Photographic Competition for 2011...

"for our 6th annual photographic competition & exhibition, we want you to focus on and document whatever is 'Green' in North Staffordshire. ... including green spaces and places, parks, gardens, buildings, canals, public art and sculpture, schools, colleges, events and festivals and anything else that you consider to be 'Green'."

New! 07.01.11    Added to the Directory:  Local aspiring stage magicians may be interested in the South Staffordshire Society of Magicians, described as "a progressive magic club covering Staffordshire and the West Midlands". They hold fortnightly meetings at Cannock.

New! 07.01.11    Hanley's The Exchange artists' shop project is seeking suggestions for skill swaps or exchanges that local creatives would like to see happen...

"for 2011 — what skill would you like to swap or are you looking for a new collaborator? If so, can we help you find those people? The Exchange has some time and space for us to match you with someone you can learn from and/or collaborate with."

The suggestions form is online here, and the completed form should be sent to:  mail@thisisexchange.co.uk

New! 07.01.11    Jobs:  Writing West Midlands is looking for fifteen poets to work on the 'Well Versed' project that will place poets in primary schools. Poets will want to develop their skills in this area and will currently have only limited experience of working in primary schools. Interested? please send the following: an 'Artistic Statement' of up to 250 words about your development so far as a poet; 'A Statement of Interest in Writing in Education' of up to 250 words about your interest in working with young people and creative writing; 'A Writing C.V.' which places emphasis on your writing, in addition to the usual details. Deadline: 17th January 2011. These items, with a brief covering note, should be send to Jonathan Davidson at:  jonathan@writingwestmidlands.org.

New! 07.01.11    Job:  C&T is seeking a Professional Drama Practitioner (or Practitioners) with experience of working with primary-aged children from Reception to Year 6. You'll work in primary schools in Telford through a mixture of afternoon classroom work and term-time after-school drama sessions. C&T is seeking either one practitioner to complete these four afternoons of work, or two practitioners to each take on fewer schools. In addition the practitioner(s) in each school will run a 5-day drama week during the school holidays. Please email:  info@candt.org  with your full contact and availability details to register interest. C&T welcome a C.V., or links to sites about you and your practice. Application deadline: 8th January 2011.

New! 07.01.11    Job:  Cheshire East Council and Congleton Town Council require an Artist / Creative Interpreter to tell the story of Congleton Town Hall. A total fee of £8,000 is available. Deadline: 28th January 2011. Full details can be had from either Helen Paton (Arts, Heritage and Museums Manager) at:  helen.paton@cheshireeast.gov.uk  or Jocelyn McMillan (Senior Arts Officer) at:  jocelyn.mcmillan@cheshireeast.gov.uk

New! 07.01.11    'Consequences: Participation in Action' is a forthcoming arts and health conference at Staffordshire University. The date is 13th January 2011, and the cost in £10 to individuals or £30 for a four-ticket organisation ticket. Juliet Michaelson from the New Economics Foundation think-tank will deliver a keynote presentation on the Foundation's Five Ways to Wellbeing programme. You will then have an opportunity to choose from a number of workshops throughout the afternoon. There are also have "a limited number of free places" for students. More details and a booking form are available at the website.

New! 07.01.11    'Learn How to Write Successful Funding Applications' is an event being held in Birmingham on 18th January 2011. It's billed as... "suitable for West Midlands-based small to medium sized enterprises that work with digital or screen media" and is "designed for those currently working on a funding application." Cost is £25. Contact Helga at Fierce Earth:  helga@fierceearth.com

New! 07.01.11    Local Britannia Building Society branches are inviting community groups and schools to apply for grants. For donations up to £1,000, Britannia's Community Fund offers a quick and simple application process, while the Britannia Foundation awards larger grants and donations between £1,000 and £25,000. Pick up details from any Britannia branch, or phone Elaine Clews at Britannia on:  01538 391806.

New! 07.01.11    Consultants URBED now have a Web page for the plans and visualisations for the empty Spode factory site and Stoke-upon-Trent town centre. Part of the proposals are for small-scale creative production uses for the Spode site. Online feedback is invited. The link to the feedback page is in tiny type and is easily missed, so here's a pointer to help you find it...

Also, the Spode re:claim performance project now has dates. 27th and 28th May 2011, at the disused Spode ceramics factory in Stoke-upon-Trent.

New! 07.01.11    Local museum curators and gallerists may be interested in the 'Mounting Objects workshop' to be held at Shugborough Hall, Staffordshire, on 25th January 2011. From the description: "as well as obscuring detail and detracting from the aesthetics of a display, inappropriate mounting techniques can lead to damage to objects." Details from:  duncan_slarke@birmingham.gov.uk

New! 07.01.11    The New Art Gallery, Walsall, is holding a New Ways of Curating one-day conference on 27th January 2011.

New! 07.01.11    Local poets may be interested to hear of two substantial local/affordable conferences happening in the Midlands in spring 2011:

  April 2011: "It Gives Us the Other": Poetry and Translation conference — Nottingham. £15 student participant; £25 other participant.

  May 2011: 2nd International Symposium on Poetry and Medicine — Coventry. £50.

New! 07.01.11    Academic publishers, digital humanities academics, proofreaders and indexers may like to know that the international Society of Indexers Conference is to be held at Keele University in September 2011.

New! 07.01.11    Garden designers may be interested to know that the The Garden History Society Summer Conference will be held at Keele University in July 2011. There will also be a Graduate Symposium.

New! 07.01.11    Crafts makers, looking for suitable summer selling opportunities, may like to know that there are now dates for the Acoustic Festival of Britain, to be held at the Uttoxeter Racecourse, Staffordshire — 20th - 22nd May 2011.

New! 07.01.11    Congratulations to Raymond Johnson, for being awarded an MBE in the Queen's New Years Honours list for his work on the Staffordshire Film Archive.

New! 07.01.11    The government has just announced that twice as many unemployed people as previously planned will receive government funding to help them set up a self-employed business. The new Enterprise Allowance will now be available for up to 40,000 new business entrepreneurs before 2013.

New! 07.01.11    The FEAT (Freelancer's Estimation Assistance Tool) is a free software tool to aid in the process of calculating expenses and setting a profit margin for your work.

New! 24.12.10    Added to the Directory: Tink Glass (Elizabeth Norton). Currently available at The Exchange artists' shop in Hanley.

New! 24.12.10    Added to the Directory: Stacey Gilbert Designs, jewellery design and objects in encapsulated resin. Currently available at The Exchange artists' shop in Hanley.

New! 24.12.10    Added to the Directory: Cityscape Ceramics (Alison Morgan), vibrant hand-decorated ware inspired by the bottle kilns of Stoke-on-Trent. Currently available at The Exchange artists' shop in Hanley.

New! 24.12.10    Creative Stoke has photos of the upper-floor hot-desk / studio spaces at The Exchange artists' shop in Hanley. The shop and its upstairs spaces will be open until April 2011. Note that the 'large double-window space' studio is already booked for some of this period...

The shop area:

1) Upstairs front studio, double-window:

2) Upstairs front mini-studio, single-window:

3) Upstairs back, more suitable for screen-based workers:

A work desk costs a daily rate of £7.50, with wi-fi, tea and coffee, desk and lamp all included. Discounts can be arranged for monthly users, and for those people willing to volunteer to work in the shop for a number of hours each month. If you are interested in booking desk-time or finding out more please email:  mail@thisisexchange.co.uk

New! 24.12.10    Birmingham Chamber of Commerce has produced a new edition (Oct/Nov 2010) of its excellent free A Guide To Sources Of Small Business Finance In The West Midlands. This detailed and concise guide has everything you need to know about current regional and specialist sources of funding for your small business.

New! 23.12.10    Your editor's seasonal greetings e-card, to readers of Creative Stoke...


Click for full-size version.

New! 23.12.10    News of the Staffordshire Open 2011, a competition for artists born, living, working or studying in Staffordshire. Up to three works may be entered in any media, including painting, sculpture, photography, film, and animation. £5 per entry, concessions £4. Handing in days are April 1st and 2nd April 2011, at the Shire Hall Gallery in Stafford. Exhibition dates are 30th April to 19th June 2011. Application forms can be downloaded from www.staffordshire.gov.uk/shirehallgallery

New! 23.12.10    Advance news of the Derbyshire Open 2011, at the Buxton Museum & Art Gallery. This is an open art exhibition for amateur and professional artists of all ages. There's no mention of a Derbyshire residency requirement, but works entered must be... "on a Derbyshire theme". Up to two works may be submitted, and entry is free. The top prize is worth £750, and winning work is usually acquired for one of the museum's collections. Handing-in day: 10th and 11th June 2011. Exhibition dates: 25th June to 2nd September 2011. Entry forms will be available to download from website closer to event, at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/leisure/buxton_museum

New! 23.12.10    With privately funded space-flight quite literally 'taking off', it's great to hear that Staffordshire University journalism students are offering a space industry -themed news app for the Apple iPad. Their "Spaced" app features rolling news from NASA, the European Space Agency, the UK Space Agency and other spaced-related outlets, along with video and data updates. "Spaced" is available now on the iTunes App Store, at a cost of 99 cents.

New! 23.12.10    Are you a third-year student planning to complete your degree dissertation over the holidays? Need more sources? Your editor's JURN search-engine is now indexing over 3,800 free academic ejournals in the arts and humanities. Over 2,500 are in English, and most won't be found in your university's journal service or via Google Scholar.

New! 23.12.10    Job:  Shropshire Council requires an artist or arts organisation who can transform Shrewsbury's Quarry Park with site decorations, as part of the Shropshire Olympian Festival. There is an inclusive budget of £18,000 to cover all aspects of this commission. Deadline: 20th January 2011. See the website for more details.

New! 23.12.10    Job:  Shropshire Council requires a freelance Music Director and Composer for the Shropshire Olympian Festival. This offers about 12 days of paid work, from February – June 2011, with the festival taking place on 17th-19th June 2011. and celebrates the historic 1864 Shropshire Olympian Festival. The Music Director will also co-compose the music for the Festival Anthem. Fee is up to £2,500, with some travel expenses. Deadline: noon on 20th January 2011. Full details from:  sarah.rollason@shropshire.gov.uk

New! 21.12.10    All the links in Creative Stoke's Directory have been fully checked by hand. The Directory is normally only link-checked by a linkbot. Dead and domain-jacked links have been deleted, and various broken links have been repaired. All links in the Directory should now be working. Also repaired was the NME's gigs-listings newsfeed, which forms part of the Big Feed local listings page.

New! 21.12.10    The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery is running a "Mountains and Landscape Photography Competition" for people aged 13 – 19 years old. The competition will support a temporary exhibition opening at the museum in February 2011, which will enable visitors to understand why mountains exist, what they are made of and how they have inspired interpretations of the landscape. There will be three prizes, with first prize being a digital camera. Enter the competition through the Mountains and Landscape Photo Competition group on Facebook.

New! 21.12.10    Creative Stoke has learned of the new novel Ramsdell Hall (Kindle edition). This genealogical ghost story is based in and around Kidsgrove and Scholar Green. The author is an ancestor of the Lowndes, who built Ramsdell in the 1750s.

New! 21.12.10    Richard Talbot's monumental new book The Royal Manor of Penkhull is now available via Amazon. To purchase, click on the link to other sellers, and then select "Richard Talbot" as the seller.

New! 19.12.10    The Exchange artists' shop is now open, located on Cheapside (just off Piccadilly) in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. Stocked with the work of local artists, the shop offers an excellent opportunity for last-minute Christmas and New Year gifts!

The Exchange is also offering 'hot desks' for creative freelancers. Get a work desk at a daily rate of £7.50, with wi-fi, tea and coffee, desk and lamp all included. Discounts can be arranged for monthly users, and for those people willing to volunteer to work in the shop for a number of hours each month. If you are interested in booking desk time or finding out more please email:  mail@thisisexchange.co.uk

New! 19.12.10    Job:  Fairfield Infant and Nursery School — located in nearby Buxton — requires Inspirational Practitioners to... "explore opportunities for the school's most vulnerable children and families to make a positive contribution to school life, helping them to enjoy their time in school." Fee: a minimum of £9,000 (split between practitioners if more than one). Application deadline: 4th January 2011. Full details are online here (Word .doc)

New! 19.12.10    Job:  Meadows Primary School and Nursery, Riddings Close — located in nearby Telford — require a Creative Practitioner to help answer the question: "How do we fire the imagination to enhance and improve writing across the school?" Fee: £4,000. Application deadline: not stated. Please email Sian Macfarlane for a full brief at  sianmacfarlane@hotmail.com

New! 19.12.10    The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, located down at the other end of the West Midlands, has launched its RCS Open Stages project to embrace, develop and celebrate amateur theatre in the region. The RSC will run a programme of skills-sharing events and showcases, with amateur societies invited to produce their own RSC-branded Shakespeare-themed production. To register an interest, please visit www.rsc.org.uk/openstages.

New! 19.12.10    Dates have been announced for Dance 011, the region's annual youth dance festival. These are 20th January - 29th January 2011, at the Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent. Last year saw 250 new works performed by over 90 dance schools, with 2,000 dancers taking part.

New! 19.12.10    The Heart of England's Grassroots Fund has grants available of up to £2,000. The fund is open until March 2011.

New! 19.12.10    Innovation Networks grants of £10,000 are available to support product development and re-tooling in West Midlands small and medium-sized businesses. You must develop an innovative new product, process or service and provide benefits to the economy of the West Midlands. Interested? Contact Suzi Archer, Project Officer, at:   sarcher@cad.coventry.ac.uk

New! 19.12.10    Over in the East Midlands, the Harold Martin Botanic Garden at the University of Leicester is calling for contemporary garden sculptures for summer 2011. The show hopes to... "present some of the most exceptional current contemporary practice". If you wish to be considered please supply images of your works, a recent C.V. detailing your experience, an artist's statement, and an indication of the sizes of your work. All works must be suitable for outdoors display. Deadline: 21st January 2011. For further information please contact Stella Couloutbanis at:  sc352@le.ac.uk

New! 14.12.10    There's a 2011 opportunity to draw on a walk around Ilam Park (in the nearby Peak District) with help from local artist Margaret Sharples. "Looking with an Artist's Eye" will happen on 21st May 2011. Drawing materials will be provided for the day (10am-4pm), if needed. Cost: £25. Interested? Contact Jenny Gerrans on 01433 637907 or highpeaksestate@nationaltrust.org.uk

New! 14.12.10    A new mentoring scheme is offering to help a West Midlands writer to tackle critical arts writing for publication. The selected writer will receive three x half-day mentoring sessions, and another two x half-day mentoring sessions to focus on writing practice. The writer will be expected to produce three pieces of critical writing, which will be published. You will be required to write: i) a 500-word review of Birmingham's Flatpack or Fierce Festival; ii) a 1000-word interview/feature on a West Midlands practitioner or artist-led organisation; iii) a 1000-word review of all, or a part of Birmingham's The Event 2011. Application deadline: 14th January 2011. Full details from:  jamessmith.lon@googlemail.com

New! 14.12.10    Job:   PiCL are looking for two dynamic practitioners from any form of creative practice, who are interested in the Staffordshire Hoard. They are working with four teachers and groups of students who have been doing work about the Staffordshire Hoard, and we would now like to recruit two practitioners who will help us to dig deeper and find out more, using their creative practice. Why is the hoard important to us? Why should we care about it? What can we learn about ourselves and our world by discovering more about it? How can students respond to brilliant stimuli like the hoard? Application deadline: 16th December 2010. For a full brief, please contact Rachel Billington at:  rachel@picl.uk.com

New! 14.12.10    Those seeking 'crowdfunding' solutions for medium-sized arts projects may like to know about the new UK-oriented We Fund. It joins the established services such as Kickstarter and Ulule, which also reach the huge U.S. audience.

New! 14.12.10    Congratulations to the Leek-based Borderland Voices, whose "A Breath of Fresh Air" project has been funded by mental health charity Mind (using Lottery funds). "A Breath of Fresh Air" will undertake projects in which people, with or without mental health issues, will work together with professional artists and crafts makers in environmental and arts sessions. The resulting work is planned for display at major public events in Leek and the Staffordshire Moorlands. "A Breath of Fresh Air" will be starting in April 2011, and monthly newsletters and the Borderland Voices website will be reporting the the latest news soon.

New! 14.12.10    Added to the Directory:  Sajja Arts Collective, based in nearby Stafford. They have a recording studio for hire, and write... "We run a number of community-based projects across the Midlands in a variety of art forms. We have received backing from the Foundation of Youth Music, Staffordshire Council, Stafford Arts and The Arts Council and have helped over 5,000 young people gain new skills."

New! 14.12.10    The Jobling Gowler Art Competition 2011 is now open, and is themed "East Cheshire: its Plain and Peaks". Jobling Gowler are solicitors based in nearby Macclesfield, and they ran their first competition in conjunction with the Three Shires Textiles Festival in 2009. They have now decided to make it a biennial art competition. The overall prize winner in 2011 will receive £500, and there are category prizes of £200. The closing date for entries is 25th March 2011. Full details are available at the website.

New! 14.12.10    Stained-glass artist Dave Griffin is holding a three-day weekend event at Bakewell in the nearby Peak District, offering an introduction to the design and making of decorative stained glass panels. Cost is £325. Dates for 2011 are: 8th - 10th April 2011, or 23rd - 25th September 2011.

New! 13.12.10    Job:  The Staffordshire/Stoke-on-Trent organisation Make Some Noise requires a part-time (3 days / 22 hours p.w.) skilled Projects Officer. Application deadline: 14th January 2011. For more information on the post please contact Liz Muge, Chief Executive Officer on 01785 278289 or liz.muge@staffordshire.gov.uk

New! 13.12.10    Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced a new £80m arts fund, which it is hoped will lever in another £80m from private philanthropists over the next four years. The initial £80m will be made up of £30 million from the taxpayer (via the DCMS departmental budget), and up to £50 million of Lottery funding over five years from 2011/12. The fund will help arts organisations to develop their fundraising capacities, and to identify and cultivate potential business donors and sponsors.

New! 13.12.10    NESTA's new study of creative industries clusters in the UK is out now, and accompanied by video from a November event in London on the topic. Unsurprisingly the report opens with the finding that London dominates.

New! 13.12.10    The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) is undertaking an online survey to determine the historical cost of commissioning new music — so as to provide a point of reference to help those in the industry calculate cost price structures.

New! 13.12.10    Job:  Education Support Services Tutors: Arts (ref. BLUT0893) are required by Her Majesty's Young Offender's Institute Werrington, located in the countryside to the east of Stoke-on-Trent. There is one full time, permanent Art Tutor and one part-time (temp to 31/07/11) post available. Application deadline: 5th January 2011. Full details here.

There is also a current vacancy for a Sessional Tutor (Music Technology) at Her Majesty's Young Offender's Institute Swinfen Hall, near Lichfield, Staffordshire.

New! 13.12.10    Job:  Paintings in Hospitals is seeking a Regional Co-ordinator to support the development of its loan schemes in the West Midlands. Paintings in Hospitals offers loans of art, and runs artist-in-residence projects. The work is home-based, with travel to healthcare sites required from time to time. A driving-license and access to a car is therefore essential. For more information about this opportunity or to apply (cover letter & C.V.), contact 020 7407 3222 or mail@paintingsinhospitals.org.uk

New! 13.12.10    Those interested in 'the maker revolution', and itching to get their hands on the kit, may be interested in the new nearby community-access facility called Fab Lab Manchester.

New! 13.12.10    The new novelette Blasphemer (Eternal Press, 2010) is the latest tale from Stoke-on-Trent novelist Phil Emery, formerly a Keele lecturer. As with his earlier novel set in a gothic alternative gaslight Burslem, Necromantra (2006), Emery's new novel has a North Staffordshire flavour. Blasphemer is set in a fantasy landscape inspired by the Staffordshire Moorlands. The land is ruled over by the Othergods, evanescent beings who leech sustenance from the souls of humans, leaving them to live out pale aimless shadow-lives. Only one young man dares seek out the older earthy folk-magic that might save the land. Blasphemer is forthcoming in paperback from Eternal Press, and is available now for the Amazon Kindle.

New! 13.12.10    Kal Di Capri writes to say that his Stoke semi-pro band (B52/Rockish) are in urgent need of two members. They need a Bass player (preferably with own bass, although one can be supplied), and a Drummer who will need their own equipment and transport. Interested? Call Kal on 07791 554620.

New! 01.12.10    Birmingham's Producers' Forum has announced they will be running the '48 Hour Film Challenge' as part of the Stoke Your Fires film and animation festival. The 48 Hour Film Challenge will launch at 10:00am on Saturday 19th February 2011 at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent. Films can be shot in any format using whatever equipment you wish (from HD cameras to your own mobile phone) — however it must be submitted on either a DVD, or uploaded to YouTube for viewing online, by the competition deadline. All films must be between one to seven minutes in length and there will be a theme your film must include, which will be announced at the start of the competition. Entry fee: Under 18s – £10; Over 18s - £15. Teams are limited to a maximum of five members only (the oldest member in the group will dictate the age group category). To register your interest and get an application form please contact Rebecca at:  info@producersforum.org.uk

New! 01.12.10    Added to the Directory: Mat Edwards of Newcastle-under-Lyme. Mat has been a freelance artist and illustrator since 1992. Mat also has a portfolio on ImagineFX.


"Fruit".


"Carnival".


"Oriental Border".

New! 01.12.10    Staffordshire University has a new pre-start business support offer — but please note that this is only available to graduates, postgraduates and alumni from any Faculty within Staffordshire University. The university is currently accepting applications for the September 2011 intake...

"Are you a student at Staffordshire University looking to start your own business: alongside your studies at Staffordshire University?; or instead of going into a company for your placement year? Or are you a Staffordshire University graduate who is looking to develop a business idea full or part-time?"

The University also has a wider start-up scheme for locally-based graduates from any university, which was previously featured on Creative Stoke in early November.

New! 01.12.10    The Amazon / Penguin Breakthrough Novel Award, for self-published novelists, will open for entries in the General Fiction and Young Adult Fiction categories on 24th January 2011.

New! 30.11.10    Job:  British Waterways is seeking a Willow Sculptor, to engage with local community groups to create site-specific willow sculptures on the two canals running through the City Waterside and Middleport areas of Stoke-on-Trent. Application deadline: 7th January 2011. Artist Fee: £10,000. Further information and a detailed brief from Louise North at:  louise.north@britishwaterways.co.uk

New! 30.11.10    Job:  Applications are invited for Casual Learning Development Leaders who can deliver formal sessions for groups (inc. children) visiting Stoke-on-Trent's museums. This post is casual and work is not guaranteed. For application pack and full details, see www.jobsonline.stoke.gov.uk

New! 30.11.10    Job:  Professional male dance artists are required as leads for Boys Dancing, West Midlands. This project will involve boys in contemporary dance across the West Midlands — including Staffordshire — from early 2011 through to Summer 2012. The organisers say that...

"There is a substantial amount of activity due to take place in North Shropshire, South Shropshire, Worcestershire and Staffordshire and we are particularly interested to hear from artists that would be able to work in these areas."

Full details at this Web page.

New! 30.11.10    Dates for Staffordshire University Music Technology department's second NoiseFloor Festival. The festival will be happening 12th – 14th January 2011, presenting a range of sonic arts, contemporary experimental composers, and academic papers on the contemporary sonic arts. The submission deadline has passed, but more details can be had from the website.

New! 29.11.10    Unemployed, over 21, and have a passion for media production? Channel 4's 4 Talent : Kick Start programme Stoke-on-Trent section is open for applications on 1st December 2010. If successful you'll attend an 'Inspiration Day' media skills workshop on 21st February 2011, at Staffordshire University (Stoke Campus).

New! 29.11.10    Standpoint Futures is offering residencies in London, to visual artists living and working outside the capital. Application deadline: 30th November 2010. See the Web page for full details.

New! 29.11.10    Stoke-on-Trent's Stoke Your Fires film and animation festival has a new-look website, and an extended deadline for the 2011 festival: 24th December 2010.

New! 29.11.10    Job:  Woden Primary School — located in Wolverhampton — requires a creative partner who can help create a community-based radio station based within the school. A project fee of £4,000 is available, plus a separate budget of £3,000 is for materials and resources. The project will be delivered January – June 2011. Full details from Lisa Handley (Schools Project Coordinator) on:  01902 556495.

New! 25.11.10    The DCMS has announced today that the British Film Institute will be taking over from the old UK Film Council, as a conduit for the distribution of Lottery subsidies to film-makers. The Lottery subsidies (in the form of tax credits) for films are set to increase from around £27 million to around £43 million per year, by 2014. There will also be a government review of the "future priorities" for Lottery funding in film.

The existing regional screen agencies, including Screen West Midlands, will be absorbed into a new organisation called Creative Central. This will cover film-making in the West and East Midlands, and will be part of a larger organisation that will have a far wider remit than simply film. Creative England will reportedly support production in... "film, videogames, interactive new media, design, and fashion". Creative England is likely to emerge in early 2011, with its Creative Central hub emerging sometime after that.

Film London will be given the responsibility for promoting the UK as a film-making destination, as a whole.

New! 25.11.10    Standing Tone Performing Arts Company — located in Stafford — is offering an opportunity to aspiring contemporary dancers in Staffordshire. Hold Out is a performance at the The Gatehouse Theatre, Stafford, and is based on the paths that we walk through life from childhood to the elderly. The performance will consist of four music tracks which will correlate with he stages of life: childhood; teenage; adulthood; elderly. You must also be free to rehearse every Monday starting from the 17th January till the performance date of Tuesday 29th March, excluding the 21st February for half term. There will be a small charge of £4 per week for the workshop session. These will be held at the Copeland suite in the Gatehouse, from 7pm-9pm. If you are interested in this great opportunity then send your details and a couple of lines to say why you would be perfect for this great opportunity to: standingtone@gmail.com with the subject HOLD OUT! Please make sure that you are free for all of the workshop classes:

Audition: January 17th 2011.

Workshops are every Monday:

January 2011 – 24th, 31st.
February 2011 – 7th, 14th, 28th.
March 2011 – 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th.

Performance Date: 29th March 2011.

New! 24.11.10    Staffordshire University's Creative Writing Dept. runs a monthly open microphone event at the White Star pub in Stoke-upon-Trent (Stoke town) on the first Tuesday of each month. The organisers welcome spoken-word artists, musicians, and performers of all kinds. The next event is Tuesday 7th December 2010. For enquiries please contact:  l.s.mansell@staffs.ac.uk

New! 24.11.10    Fancy a taxpayer-funded trip to SXSW 2011 — the annual music, film, and interactive conference and festival held in Austin, Texas? Those who work in the film, music or interactive media sectors in the West Midlands are invited to come along on 1st December 2010 to the Fazeley Studios in Birmingham, to hear more about the West Midlands’ Creative Mission to SXSW 2011. This is an opportunity to speak to the organisers about the mission, find out how to apply, and ask any questions you have.

New! 24.11.10    The National Symposium for the Participatory and Community Arts is a one-day event on Monday 29th November at The Crossing at St Pauls, Walsall. The event is free. Email:  jane@empaf.com or call 07984 199477 to book.

New! 24.11.10    Added to the Directory: am:pm graphics.

New! 24.11.10    Would you like to be an observer at one of the Burslem-based Urban Vision's Design Review Panel sessions? If you are interested in taking part or would like to know more about what our Design Review service can provide, please visit the DRP web page or download the Observers Programme factsheet (PDF link). Forthcoming Panel Dates are: Thursday 16th December 2010 / Thursday 20th January 2011.

New! 24.11.10    Blood and Bone China is a vampire drama series currently being filmed in Stoke-on-Trent. Blood and Bone China is a twelve part web-drama series, created and directed by award-winning Stoke-On-Trent based film-maker Chris Stone and starring TV's Rachel Shenton as Anna Fitzgerald. The series is scheduled to begin in March 2011.


Above: Anthony Miles as Newlyn Howell. John James Woodward as Alexander Pyre.

There's also a Facebook page for the series.

New! 24.11.10    Job:  Leek College are seeking a part-time Photography Lecturer. 9 hours per week, teaching at A level and BTEC Level 3. Further information from Liz Brian on:  01538 398866.

New! 24.11.10    Job:  Parker Software of Stoke-on-Trent require a Web Developer / Webmaster with .NET, VB.NET, ability to install and debug JavaScript, SEO skills, plus the other skills that are usual for such a job. More information from:  careers@parker-software.com

New! 24.11.10    Job:  Chase Terrace Technology College — located in Burntwood, Staffordshire — requires a Broadcast Journalist to work with the existing school radio station and to help in improving presenting skills. The radio is completely student-run, and they are currently interviewing for presenters, journalists, year representatives and IT/graphic technicians. Application deadline: 3rd December 2010, with interviews held on Friday 10th December 2010. Fee: £2,500 is available for practitioner fees and expenses. To apply, send your C.V. along with a letter of interest outlining your skills and how you might work with us to Antonia Coyne at:   ct_radio@hotmail.co.uk

New! 24.11.10    The National Youth Theatre is now recruiting for their 2011/2012 company. The closing date for applications is 7th January 2011, with auditions and interviews taking place at venues across the country in January and February 2011. For more information and to apply online, visit the website.

New! 24.11.10    Job:  The Students' Union at Staffordshire University is looking for two Web Designers at £6.00 per hour plus holiday pay. Full details at this website.

New! 24.11.10    Urban Vision North Staffordshire now have the presentations online, from their recent one-day conference A Future For Our Heritage, about bringing North Staffordshire's under-used and vacant heritage assets back into use. Scroll to the bottom of central panel, to see the links to the presentations.

New! 24.11.10    Stoke-on-Trent artist Chris Parkes will give a free talk about his work for the upcoming "Leave No Trace" exhibition at the The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent. The date for the Potteries Museum talk is 2nd December 2010 (2pm - time to be confirmed).

New! 24.11.10   The artists' SHOP at Stoke-upon-Trent is looking for proposals from a range of artists who are interested in... "intervening in everyday life and subversively engaging with the public." The projects must be a means of signposting and increasing the visibility of the SHOP project, of Stoke town (the journey into the town from the intercity train Station), and must leave a legacy. You are invited to be as creative as possible within the budget, and the proposal should identify a site or sites for the intervention or commission to take place. The commissions offer a fee of £100 each (with a budget of £75 each for materials, printing or any other costs associated with the project). Delivery period: 10th Dec 2010 – 28th January 2011. Please mark your proposed date of your project clearly. To be considered for the commission please send 3 to 5 images of your previous work, a two-page C.V., and a short proposal. Your proposal should print on no more than one side of A4 paper. Please email your proposal and information to:  shop@shop-stoke.co.uk or send by post to:  116 Church Street, Stoke Town, Stoke on Trent, ST4 1BU. Deadline for proposals: Monday 6th December 2010, 10am.

New! 24.11.10    The Stoke Your Fires festival returns in February 2011. For the first time the Festival will expand to include film and digital media, as well as animation. There is still time to enter your film or animation — the deadline for submissions is: Friday 24th December 2010. The Stoke Your Fires film and animation award categories are:

   Best short (less than 30 minutes) animation.    Best professional animation.    Best fine art/experimental.    Best student animation.    Best short film (less than 30 minutes) – drama.    Best short film (less than 30 minutes) – documentary.    Best student film.    Best 'Made In The Midlands' film or animation.

New! 24.11.10    St. Mary's Catholic Primary School Stanier Street, Newcastle-under-Lyme, is seeing a Creative Partner in any discipline to focus on the relationship with a school in Tamazi, Ghana. The creative partner will be working closely with the staff and children in Year 3 – two classes of around 30 children each, devising a programme of work with the staff and children. Deadline for applications: 25th November 2010. Full information at this web page.

New! 24.11.10    The European Union Media programme is calling for submissions for Single Project Development Funding. This is aimed at independent media production companies which have produced at least one previous media project (distributed recently), and which now wish to invest in the development of another project. Application deadline: 29th November 2010.

New! 24.11.10    Jobs:  Staffordshire University requires practising specialists in the areas of: (a) Compositing for Film (job ref: AMD10/02) and (b) 3D Computer Modelling and Texturing for Games (job ref:AMD10/09) to teach two days a week each on the successful B.A. (Hons.) VFX and Animation awards. Application deadline: 5th December 2010. Full details are available here.

New! 22.11.10   Congratulations to Richard Talbot on the launch of his mammoth local history book, the 394-page The Royal Manor of Penkhull. The book is the product of 40 years of research, and is currently available for pre-order on Amazon UK at £25 + free postage.

New! 22.11.10    Added to Directory: Times Square, a Stoke-on-Trent company providing high-quality screen printing on a variety of substrates including ceramics.

New! 22.11.10    Job: Blue Bay Travel require a full-time Web Developer. Two years of experience needed, and the usual baseline software and coding skills. Based at Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent. Full information from:  careers@bluebaytravel.co.uk

New! 22.11.10    Jobs:  Sarah Armitt of the Shelton DJ School writes to tell Creative Stoke about three new jobs:

1. Freelance IT support tutor, to work with challenging groups of people and help to deliver the DJ Schools program along side the leading arts practitioner. Applicants should have appropriate in IT and relevant teaching qualifications. Also applicants must have experience of working in challenging environments with vulnerable people. Further training will be available regarding all duties, policy and procedures. All relevant training and checks will be provided. Fee: to be arranged. Application deadline: 10th January 2011. For application pack contact Sarah on 01782 205675 info@djschool.org.uk

2. Drama Tutor (Intern). An intern is required with relevant qualifications. You will work along leading arts practitioner. This is an opportunity to gain experience of working in a challenging environment. Applicants will be working with vulnerable individuals. All relevant training and checks will be provided regarding all duties, policy and procedures. Fee: to be arranged. Deadline: 10th January 2011. For application pack contact Sarah on 01782 205675 info@djschool.org.uk

3. Commission-based Fundraisers, to raise funds for the charity DJ School Association. To find opportunities to enhance DJ Schools' profile, and to support the activities and objects of the DJ School Association. Deadline: 10th January 2011. All relevant training and checks will be provided regarding all duties, policy and procedures. For application pack contact Sarah on 01782 205675 info@djschool.org.uk

New! 22.11.10    Jobs:  Bishop's Castle Primary School — located in nearby Shropshire — are looking for...

1. a Creative Writer to work across the whole school to inspire and enable pupils and staff to become more confident writers, and who is able to work with pupils and staff across all phases from Reception to Year 6. The school would also accept joint applications from two practitioners, to ensure the provision of a range of skills and approaches appropriate for all ages e.g.: storytelling/creating with younger children. A total project budget of £8,000 is available to include planning, delivery (25 days), evaluation, expenses, materials and resources. Delivery: Spring term 2011. Deadline for applications: 8th December 2010. For a full brief including application procedures and any further information please contact the Creative Agent, Iain Armstrong at:  iaincp@phonoscope.co.uk

2. an Artistic Director to help the school devise and produce a spectacular whole-school performance as part of the Creative Partnerships programme, developing skills in dance, music and drama/physical theatre. Delivery: Spring/Summer 2011. Deadline for applications: 8th December 2010. A total project budget of £10,000 is available. For a full brief including application procedures and any further information please contact the Creative Agent, Iain Armstrong at:  iaincp@phonoscope.co.uk

New! 22.11.10    A call for expressions of interest in workshop space in mid Staffordshire in 2011. Based in a stunning rural location, just outside Stafford. The studio is attached to a crafts gallery, and there will be opportunities to use the workshop space for running your own art workshops, at a discounted rate. Makers must be from a craft discipline and will go thorough a selection process. You will be required to use the space a minimum of one day a week, in exchange for a very reasonable rent, and the opportunity to sell from your studio space. To register your interest, please contact:  jcolliertextiles@yahoo.co.uk

New! 22.11.10    Voluntary Action Stoke-on-Trent has grants of from £5,000 to £30,000 available for social enterprises. Apply before the end of March 2011.

New! 22.11.10    Local crafts makers may be interested in Craft Rally : the Industry of Making, a one-day event in Manchester on 8th December 2010...

"join us for a day exploring the makers' role in the creation of consumer goods and developing relationships with industry to make extraordinary objects."

Tickets via the website.

New! 22.11.10    Job:  University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust seeks expressions of interest from artists wishing to undertake the commission of site specific art work for a main corridor. The Trust also seeks expressions of interest from artists to undertake the commission of a piece of art work for a hub area, a commemorative piece of work along a forget-me-not shrub theme. Application deadline 22nd November 2010. Full details can be downloaded here.

New! 22.11.10     The Red House Glass Cone, located at a unique heritage site in South Staffordshire, has studio space to rent for glass makers. For further information call 01384 815343 or email:  tracey.webb@dudley.gov.uk

New! 22.11.10     10th Annual Rural Social Enterprise Conference 2010 is happening in nearby Shropshire on 25th November 2010. The website is still saying: "A limited number of free tickets are available for West Midlands based organisations".

New! 18.11.10     20 photos from Stoke-on-Trent's Light Night launch events.

New! 18.11.10     Tonight sees the Light Night events in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, which seems a good opportunity for low-light photographers to test their skills. The main parade leaves the Victoria Hall at 6pm. The full programme PDF is online here.

New! 18.11.10     Cheshire Open Studios is running a special mini pre-Christmas open studios event. 27th & 28th November 2010 (11am – 4pm) will see, among others, four studios open in Congeleton and Hough. Entry is free.

New! 18.11.10     Government minister Francis Maude announced yesterday a new £10m fund to help public sector workers fund the development and business planning costs of new mutual businesses. Public sector workers will be given the right to leave their jobs, form mutuals (or other kinds of social enterprise businesses) and then sell their services back to local authorities and other public sector bodies, no longer tied to supplying only one local council.

New! 18.11.10     Ecommerce giant Amazon has a new $2.7 million pot for those who submit the best films and film scripts to it in 2011. The new venture is Amazon Studios. There's no rush — you have all of 2011 to make your submissions, as an original script form or a full-length 'test' movie. A 'test' movie has to be 70 minutes or longer, and you... "must include imaginative stories with great acting and sound [but] they don’t need to have theatrical-quality production value". Warner Bros. Pictures is lined up to be the first to cherry-pick from the best projects for real pre-production projects — if that happens then you get $200,000 up-front for the rights, with a $400,000 bonus to those whose movies take more than $60 million at the US box office. It seems that there's no 'USA only' restriction. And there appears to be nothing that says 'animation isn't allowed'.

New! 18.11.10     Job:  Park Hall primary school — located in Weston Coyney, Stoke-on-Trent — would like to work with a creative practitioner on themes of: multi-cultural life; outdoor learning; pupil-led learning; school and local community involvement. Fee available: £12,000. Deadline for applications: 24th November 2010. Full details are online here.

New! 18.11.10     BBC Radio 3 has a new talent scheme for postgraduate researchers, New Generation Thinkers. Up to sixty researchers in the arts or humanities will be chosen to develop their own programme-making ideas with BBC producers. Application deadline: 10th December 2010. Full details are online here.

New! 15.11.10     The Exchange is a new artists' project in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent (to be located just off Piccadilly). The venue is now looking for locally based artists and makers to sell their work, from mid-November to April 2011. All kinds of artists and makers are welcome to submit work for sale — from cards to ceramics, prints to publishing, clothes to jewellery. A small commission will be taken to help support the project, and the terms will be by sale or return. The project will be linking with all the city centre -based festivals within this period. Interested? Please email:  mail@thisisexchange.co.uk

New! 15.11.10     Added to the Directory: Hullabaloo are a group of like-minded artists in North Staffordshire, who have experience of delivering creative workshops and projects in community settings.

New! 15.11.10     The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery and Airspace Gallery are holding a 'Learning from Glasgow' talk, looking at how Glasgow used its 1990 City of Culture status to kick-start the arts in the city, and then b