Archive for August, 2008|Monthly archive page

Creative Republic: Stoke is building momentum!

Last week I visited Andy Lovatt from The White Room who is the consultant who has developed the North Staffs Creative Industry Strategy for the City Council and has been given the title of Stoke-on-Trent’s ‘Creative Industries Champion’ to see this comes to fruition.

In all my research Andy’s name has kept popping up and it is clear that the creatives in Stoke I have spoken to are positive towards the idea of Creative Republic but this was a chance to find out the plans from the ‘horses mouth’ and then to look at where Creative Republic can fit within the emerging structures.

Along with the strategy I wanted to find out more about the North Staffs Creative Economy Forum (NSCEF) which has acted as a steering group for the strategy.

I was shown plans for a Creative Industries Partnerships which will be a C.I.C and it is planned that this will be the gateway and management body for all monies coming into the city as funding for the Creative Industries along with other things to which I’ll have a look and report back.

What struck me from my visit was a sideline to the work which was the politic involved when working for an organisation such as the council in comparison to that of an independent. My experiences of Fierce and Creative Republic are that independents are open, willing to share ideas and offer advice…all round more inclusive.

My thoughts on leaving were:
• There are concerns that our activity will duplicate that of the CIP I need to review the documents and go back to them
• North Staffs are looking to develop our market, we offer a solution to regional market development
• To go along to the next NSCEF meeting as an observer
• Go along on the Learning Journey to St.Helens and Preston

Since then, I put all my hard work in compiling the database of contacts that were in the public domain into my address book and on Friday and Monday I sent out around 300 emails to creatives in the city. See yesterdays post for more.

On Saturday it was ‘the Big Picture’ at Millennium Point in Birmingham where they broke the world record.

A Stoke-on-Trent photographer sent in the most images and he had been chatting away to one of our board members Ruth. On his return home he had made contact via the Creative Republic site offering help to get things started in Stoke.

I met with Dave Chesters yesterday to update him to where I am so far, update him to activity we are looking for (Partnering of Events and possibly a launch) and just spreading the word and gain signatories.

All this is so positive for my work in promoting Creative Republic within Stoke-on-Trent especially gaining a little team of supporters around me…do you want to help spread the word?


Calling all Stoke-on-Trent’s Creatives…Join the Creative Republic!

At the end of last week/beginning of this week I sent out my first email to my database of contacts which I had painstakingly put together since the end of June…

Dear Creatives,

If you are reading this email you are probably a friend, colleague or contact working in the Creative Industries in Stoke-on-Trent & surrounding areas. I’m in the process of asking you and others like you the following questions:

Do you want to have your say about the sector and actually have your voice heard?

Do you want Stoke-on-Trent to become an important part of the creative landscape of the region?

I am emailing on behalf of Creative Republic and asking you to Join Us and sign our Charter to ensure that we are truly representative of what the region’s creatives want from a membership organisation that will:

·        Provide representation and lobby at all levels

·        Networking

·        Commission and disseminate research for the sector

The more people we can say that we represent, the stronger, louder and more effective our voice will be. We want you to sign up so we can look our partners and funders in the eye and say “This is what we, as an industry, as a region, think”.

We’re keen to bring people across the sector and region together so we’ll be putting together a series of exclusive events featuring exciting speakers, new venues, networking opportunities and much more besides.

We use the DCMS definition of the Creative Industries so that includes advertising, architecture, arts and antiques, crafts, design, digital media, designer fashion, film and video, music, performing arts, publishing, theatre, radio, TV and software, and applied arts for those involved in other ways that aren’t listed here.

To put your name to our Charter simply click or to find out more please click here or email in reply.

Kind Regards,



So far all the feedback I have received is really positive, so it looks confirmed that this is something Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffs creatives want! Mark Brereton a photographer in the city came back to me almost instantly providing suggestions and showing his support by linking to us on his site and featuring us in his blog, if you want to know how to become involved please let me know! I’ll let you know if the email was successful when I have some stats…

Creative Republic hosts the Big City Plan

Thursday 21st August and the day had arrived, Creative Republic were hosting the Big City Plan event ‘Generating Ideas for a Creative Birmingham’.

Here is the copy from the Creative Republic Site:

‘This time our focus is the Big City Plan, the new masterplan for Birmingham city centre. The Plan was launched in February 2008 and the City Council is keen to engage with a large cross section of people to help shape the future of Birmingham. This event is being held with the support of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and features leading speakers:

– Mark Ball, Head of Events and Exhibitions at the Royal Shakespeare Company
– Cllr Mike Whitby, Leader of Birmingham City Council
– Jerry Blackett, Chief Executive of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce

While the Big City Plan clearly embraces the vitality and energy that a thriving creative and cultural sector can bring to the city, this is your chance to find out how the plan will affect YOU and your business. What do you need or want in the next 20 years to make Birmingham the city in which you can thrive, not just survive? The Big City Plan has great ambition: but it will only succeed with the drive and determination of all its citizens. Creative Republic gives you the opportunity to make your voice heard where it matters – with the instigator of this exciting process.

More details can be found at’

For me this meant a busy day, I arrived at the office at 1pm as I had a meeting in Stoke at 10 am. Then at 2.30 Lorraine (The Ambassador) came to pick me up to take me to Alpha tower so we could but up signs to indicate the change of venue for those who did not receive the email.

I then went back to the office to carry on with what I had started earlier. At 4pm Peter, Lorraine and Helga had a meeting and at 4.30 – 5ish Lorraine and I set off to The Council House.

Birmingham council house is a grand old building with an impressive entrance hall to greet the guests.

We set up the tables; I put up the pop-up on stage and one outside the entrance to the door. On our arrival Karl was already setting up for the filming and photography for the event. This event was booked to capacity by Charter signatories and on a head count I counted around 111 creatives, an extremely impressive turn out!

It was my job to sign people in and ensure if they were not signatories that they became one! Jemima, Ruth and I had around 50+ signatories on the event! Getting closer and closer to the 600 we are aiming for! Very exciting!

We stayed by the desk for any late comers and had the opportunity to listen to some of the key note speeches. I find events such as this are impossible to please everyone, for some you could give too much or too little information however to get any is usually good news in such a small space in time to deliver.

After the speeches it was over to Q&A, and a variety of questions were asked from architects, independent festival producer, actors, and others that have left my memory.

After this had ended it was time for drinks, nibbles and networking. I somehow found myself (by accident) with the Leader Mike Whitby, his Aide Andrew Dunbar, and a lady called Barbara from the Cultural Development Team.

I spoke with them for a while and Mike Whitby raised his glass to mine a number of times and joked that all the empty glasses on the table beside me were mine! So…Mike Whitby thinks I’m a wine-o!

After talking for to Barbara and Andrew for a while a lady called Amy Taylor joined us, she runs an online gallery Chancellors Art.

What I think was apparent from the night is the inclusive nature of the Birmingham creative sector and the accessibility they now can have to the Leader and the City Council.

I thought it was a great event and was sorry to shoot off at 8.45 for my train!

One Day last Week!

In a similar vein of last week I was working on Thursday on the Fierce Earth blog and the Metapod website content ready for when it was to go back to the designers at Heavy Object.

I was only in for Thursday as Friday I was off to V Festival at Weston Park! Although that sounded exciting I was missing Pete Ashton coming in to work his magic on the blog which was disappointing. Helga said she will try and impart his knowledge back to me and I noticed on his site he runs a free surgery at the Custard Factory on a Monday – so I may go to my placement on a Monday and go along for that!

It seems that since the Fierce started blogging and the news of no 2009 festival has created a little stir in Birmingham and after being featured on Created in Birmingham the Birmingham Post had been in touch with Helga about running a story – which is great news and raises the profile of the fundraising for all the large scale contemporary art practice they are looking to produce. (It ran on 8th Aug online)

I also managed to look at the Fierce Earth website and I looked around to see what had content, what didn’t and that what needed content, so we have a stick in the ground to work from.

I finished by compiling updates for both the Fierce website and the phone call I had with Airspace about projects Creative Republic could be involved with – Lots of exciting stuff! I’ll let you all know as soon as I know I’m allowed to…

Stoke is ‘Souled Out’ and in need of Extras!

The call for extras for shooting on the feature film ‘Souled Out’ arrived in my inbox! Thought it might be of interest…

Shooting on Stoke-based Northern Soul feature film ‘Souled Out’ starts this week and we are looking for volunteer extras to take part this SATURDAY (23rd – all day) when we will shoot a massive dance scene which will recreate the vibe of the 70s at Wigan Casino!

If you are interested, available, can get to centre of Stoke Town Centre (we are shooting in the Kings Hall) on Sat and want the fantastic experience of being on the set of a film that should become Stoke’s ‘Full Monty’, then input your details on this page: and we’ll call you back ASAP. If you’re aged 16+, you don’t need any experience or skills, just enthusiasm!

This is really going to put Stoke on the map and I hope you can be a part of it.

Definitely have a look at the Wigan Casino clip on You Tube! It looks to be really exciting! Stoke already holds many Northern Soul nights so I’m sure there is plenty of interest!

The Kings Hall is just off over the bring from Stoke-on-Trent Railway Station (5mins walk), very easy to get to if coming from Stoke’s surrounding cities!