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Hubs As Hosts British Council Creative Hubs Tour

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Last week I was fortunate to take part in a Creative Hub tour with the British Council that brought together different UK and Southern African Creative Hubs. To share skills, knowledge and learn from each other and a series of inspiring different UK Creative Hubs we visited throughout the week.

Whitworth Locke

We stayed in the gorgeous Whitworth Locke as our base for the week in Manchester and visited the following amazing locations:

 

Paradise Works

Paradise Works  an independent artist-led initiative providing studio and project space to a proactive community of 36 contemporary artists. Their gallery space hosts a critically engaged programme of exhibitions and film screenings, showcasing works from new and established artists working nationally & internationally. Paradise Works aims to develop a sustainable model for artist-led activity in the Manchester city region. They believe that artists hold a vital role in the development of a vibrant and diverse city, and that artists are better enabled to establish sustainable careers as part of this.

Manchester Craft & Design Centre

Manchester Craft & Design Centre  is a gorgeous Victorian market converted into artists’ studios and retail spaces with contemporary jewellery, ceramics and art for sale, as well as regular events and activities.

Leeds Playhouse

Leeds Playhouse is one of the largest producing theatres in the north. They support local artists and engage with communities across West Yorkshire. They are a creative hub for the city and beyond, a place where people and communities come to tell and share stories; to experience world class theatre that is pioneering, invigorating and relevant. They are dedicated collaborators seeking out the best companies and individual artists locally, nationally and internationally to create inspirational theatre here in Leeds at the heart of Yorkshire.

Slung Low

Founded in 2000 Slung Low is an award-winning theatre company specialising in making epic productions in non-theatre spaces, often with large community performance companies at their heart.

The company recently relocated to The Holbeck in Leeds: the oldest working men’s club in Britain. They run the bar as a traditional members’ bar and the rest of the building as an open development space for artists and a place where Slung Low invite other companies to present their work that otherwise might not get to be seen in Leeds. All work presented at The Holbeck is Pay What You Decide. The equipment and vehicles of the company are lent to those who have need. It is a useful place that shares its resources with those artists who need them.

In Autumn 2018 Slung Low launched a Cultural Community College based in Holbeck; a place where adults come to learn new cultural skills – from stargazing to South Indian cooking, from carpentry to singing in a choir – and all workshops, supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, are provided on a Pay What You Decide basis.

Side Photographic Gallery

Side is dedicated to showing the best in documentary photography: rich, powerful and challenging work engaged with people’s lives and landscapes, telling stories that often get marginalised, whether they are from the North East of England or anywhere else in the world.

Star and Shadow Cinema

Star and Shadow Cinema Star and Shadow Cinema is a volunteer-run DIY space for Newcastle, Tyne and Wear, and the north east UK.  It is set up as an open-to-join co-operative housed in a building it owns, dedicated to culture coming from and/or programmed by the grass roots – particularly cinema and music.

The Old Courts Art Centre

The Old Courts is a not for profit multi-arts centre which aims to bring innovative art, music, comedy, dance and spoken word events to Wigan. In a beautiful refurbished court house they have two music venues, a theatre, an art gallery, Victorian Court Room, arts space, rehearsal rooms, performance space and flexible space.

 

Lessons Learned

Overall it was an amazing week and opportunity to reflect on our work in Belfast, meet lots of lovely and very passionate and inspirational creatives from across the UK and Southern Africa. To learn from others working within the Creative Hubs sector and hopefully help us to become more ambitious, effective and better at what we do.

#blickstudios on
Almost the weekend and thankfully a bit of sun ☀ Almost the weekend and thankfully a bit of sun ☀ for a change. Let's hope it lasts
#Meettheresident We got the pleasure to catch up #Meettheresident We got the pleasure to catch up and interview Wilson from @motivepeak & Benji from @concreteclouds__ who are Blick Residents in our Malone Studios.  We wanted to ask them about their project they have been working on together and see how they have been getting on. Stay tuned for the full release of the interview!
‘The Power of Design’ series is a project that ‘The Power of Design’ series is a project that was created by @creatingaspace & @belfastdesignwk with the aim to explore and interview different designers within Belfast. The aim of this series was to ask designers what their process is, how they got started in the industry, who inspires them, and what advice they would give to people just starting out. In this interview we get to talk to @lydia.mokros who is a German designer based in Belfast. We asked her ‘what does POWER mean to you’? ‘POWER’ was the theme of Belfast Design Week 2019, and we wanted to explore how people receive that word and the connotations attached to it. “For me POWER has mainly a negative association when I hear it. I guess design is a good opportunity to empower people. Sometimes within institutions, or in societal structures, we feel everything is as it is, but then we have to question if we can swell change it. I think with feeling powerful, that is the kind of possibility for us to change something or be part of the change. And maybe we need to rethink about the term power."
Have you entered yet? @belfastdesignwk has teamed Have you entered yet? @belfastdesignwk has teamed up with @jamesonwhiskey_ni on a t-shirt design competition for emerging creatives and those studying design (18+) to capture the 2020 Northern Ireland spirit on a Jameson t-shirt. . With prizes of £500, £300 and Jameson Whiskey and Merch Pack for all shortlisted entrants, industry feedback and Intellectual property retained by the entrant, so this is a great opportunity for emerging designers and creatives to work on an industry brief. The winning designs will be chosen by a panel of judges from Jameson Whiskey NI, Belfast Design Week and the local hospitality industry. Prizes are as follows: 1st Prize £500 cash prize + Jameson Whiskey & Merch Pack + t-shirts printed and given to bartenders across NI 2nd Prize: £300 cash prize + Jameson Whiskey & Merch Pack + t-shirts printed and distributed through our promotions and events in NI Shortlisted finalists: All 10 shortlisted entries will receive a Jameson Whiskey & Merch Pack and be showcased in our winner announcement countdown activity Competition deadline is Sunday 9th August! For full details visit: https://www.jameson-creatives.com/ https://www.blickstudios.org/belfast-design-weekblog-posts/jameson-design-competition-for-emerging-designers/
VIRTUAL SERVICES We offer virtual services for a VIRTUAL SERVICES We offer virtual services for all business types with reduced rates for creative industry businesses. Whether you are just starting out and can’t yet afford workspace or are happy to work from home but seeking a professional public image for your business. A city centre address creates a confident and professional first impression and separates your business and home life and as a virtual office customer you are entitled to 20% off meeting room hire fees and free AV equipment use with any hire. We have two premises to choose from: our South Belfast address at 51 Malone Road, BT9 6RY or our Cathedral Quarter address 46 Hill Street, BT1 2LB. What we offer : - A Monthly Business Address Service Please check the website for pricing options https://www.blickstudios.org/virtual-services/ - A Weekly Business Address Services Please check the website for pricing options https://www.blickstudios.org/virtual-services/ For more information, please visit our website where you can see the price options, and different packages appropriate to your business needs. https://www.blickstudios.org/virtual-services/
Behind The Scenes - The Blick Team⁠ ⁠ We wante Behind The Scenes - The Blick Team⁠ ⁠ We wanted to share a team photograph we took back in February - showcasing the Blick Team. ⁠ ⁠ Introducing Christine James who is the CEO of Blick Studios. She has a background in fashion design and Founded Blick Studios in 2007 after returning to NI from Italy. ⁠ ⁠ Christine is passionate about the creative industries, building creative communities, encouraging diversity within entrepreneurship and supporting and championing creative entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland.⁠ ⁠ Introducing Rosy James who is in charge of Finance & Operations at Blick Studios. Rosy studied Economics at University before moving into the financial side of business. ⁠ ⁠ Rosy has been working with Blick Studios since it began in 2007 and with Christine has worked to grow Blick from scratch into the organisation it is today. Rosy has responsibility for the finance and operations at Blick Studios. Rosy has a strong interest in entrepreneurship and the growth of small businesses.⁠ ⁠ Introducing Esther Mogada who is in charge of social media, marketing & events management at Blick Studios. ⁠ ⁠ Esther studied Fashion & Textiles at University and then ⁠went on to a Masters in Retail Management in Fashion and Textiles. She is currently building a small video production company called @creatingaspace whilst working with us to do social media, content creation & event planning. ⁠ ⁠ She is passionate about the creative industry in Belfast and has been working alongside Blick the last year. We just wanted to show the faces behind the brand!
We’re excited to announce that as part of our po We’re excited to announce that as part of our podcast project @stbdpodcast we are creating a special 4-part audio documentary series exploring the experiences and personal stories of creatives during the Covid-19 crisis.  We’ll be looking at how the last few months have impacted on the work, communities, networks and health of entrepreneurs, freelancers and workers within the creative industry sector in Northern Ireland. We want you - the listeners - to get involved too and we’ll be sharing some call-outs so you can add your voice and tell us your stories! This project is funded by Future Screens NI and @northernirelandscreen as part of their ‘Rewriting the Narrative’ project and co-produced by Blick Shared Studios with Small Town Big Dreams #smalltownbigdreams #creativeindustries #belfastcreatives #podcasts #nicreatives #creativeentrepreneurship #creativity #creativecity #collaboration #creativestartups #creativestories
We wanted to do a throwback to last year's Belfast We wanted to do a throwback to last year's Belfast Design Week and highlight some of our favourite videos we created. ‘The Power of Design’ series is a project that was created by Creating A Space & Belfast Design Week with the aim to explore and interview different designers within Belfast. The aim of this series was to ask designers what their process is, how they got started in the industry, who inspires them, and what advice they would give to people just starting out. Our first interview was with Paul Boal who is the Creative Director at @thatcleverghost a brand & design studio, Blick Resident of Hill St Blick Studios. He kindly shared with us some advice for people just starting out in the industry and his journey on how he took the leap to become fully self-employed. “Get involved with design. Get involved in every level. Collaborate with people in house, take that harder job and just learn the craft. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out of your comfort zone.” You can reach Paul Boal through his website & social media handles. Website: www.thatcleverghost.com/ Instagram: www.instagram.com/thatcleverghost/
Slowly getting back to normal and so nice to see a Slowly getting back to normal and so nice to see a bit of sunshine after all the rain!
Looking for a new podcast series to listen to? --- Looking for a new podcast series to listen to? ---- We have something that can sort you out! ---- We are excited to introduce a new project that we have been working on the last while. As part of our work with @belfastdesignwk , we have been helping with their new podcast in collaboration with the team at The Graduate School at Queen’s University. ---- This series will be focused on sharing diverse stories of design and entrepreneurship in Northern Ireland. ---- We want to highlight that opportunity is all around, if you know where to look for it and to delve deeper into understanding how a product or service comes about from those “in the know” - the designers and entrepreneurs themselves! ---- For links and more information, please check the Belfast Design Website. www.belfastdesignweek.com ----- https://www.blickstudios.org/belfast-design-weekblog-posts/great-creators-podcast/
Hopefully not too long now until we can get back i Hopefully not too long now until we can get back in here and our other studios properly. In the meantime we have been busy behind the scenes working on some exciting new projects to be announced over the next few weeks
Happy Friday and another lovely sunny weekend ahea Happy Friday and another lovely sunny weekend ahead! looking forward to getting back into this space once things get back to normal!
Check this out before it finishes on 21st May - be Check this out before it finishes on 21st May - beautiful online exhibition by Blick resident Gallery 545 ‘Contemporary Art of Northern Ireland #2’, is an annual major group exhibition curated by Gallery 545 and presenting over twenty emerging and more established artists based in Northern Ireland. Due to COVID-19 this year it is running online at www.gallery545.com between 3 – 31 May. This exhibition celebrates the wealth of talent is this region showcasing a diverse selection of exciting artworks encompassing paintings, works on paper, objects and textile pieces. https://gallery545.com/blogs/exhibitions/gallery-545-contemporary-art-of-northern-ireland-2
Gorgeous day in the Cathedral Quarter - queueing f Gorgeous day in the Cathedral Quarter - queueing for post isn't so bad in this weather
Grateful to have an excuse to leave home for studi Grateful to have an excuse to leave home for studio building checks and mail collection and a few hours of uninterrupted work in this lovely space this morning
Missing this cosy workspace and our lovely residen Missing this cosy workspace and our lovely residents. Fingers crossed we get back to normal sooner rather than later and can enjoy our Fridays properly again!
Looking forward to getting back to this lovely pea Looking forward to getting back to this lovely peaceful space and getting some separation between work and home again.
Some motivation for the week @stbdpodcast podcast Some motivation for the week @stbdpodcast podcast guide - some of our favourites from business to inspiration to wellbeing there's something for everyone for all lockdown moods & activities https://www.smalltownbigdreams.co.uk/smalltownbigguide
We know there are lots of surveys floating about a We know there are lots of surveys floating about at the minute, so sorry to add another one to the mix, but we are working with our residents to find out what impact Covid-19 is having on their business/creative work and what support they require to be able to adapt and survive the current crisis and we thought it might be an idea to put it out to our broader network to capture the opinions of a broader range of creatives whose voices might have been missed in the different arts and business surveys so far. If your creative business/work has been impacted and you would like to share your experiences please fill in the following short survey link below and in bio: https://blickstudios.typeform.com/to/I05hld
We have been busy behind the scenes planning for a We have been busy behind the scenes planning for a somewhat uncertain future and enjoying a bit of downtime so have taken a bit of a break from social media. We are still checking on our buildings and plants and missing the calm and serenity of our working spaces and our community of residents. We're looking forward to getting back to work properly in our lovely studios for focus, company and better balance in our lives. Working from home is tough!
Monday Motivation on a very difficult week for mos Monday Motivation on a very difficult week for most small businesses. Like most small businesses in Belfast we have already been impacted by the pandemic and will continue to be over coming months. We have postponed all our events and workshops, cancelled external bookings and are closed to new residents for the time being. No-one knows what will happen in the coming days and weeks so all we can do is keep calm and try and use the downtime efficiently to rest and think, develop new skills and work on new projects
#fridayfocus Happy Friday everyone! Hope you all #fridayfocus Happy Friday everyone! Hope you all are keeping cosy and warm in this spring weather. . We are back again with some new events & funding opportunities that are happening in Belfast City. . Each week we try and gather information and resources from various industries just so you know where to look. . Keep the momentum going, the weekend is near! . Full blog on our website - link below https://www.blickstudios.org/fridayfocus/fridayfocus-events-funding-opportunities/ #workspace #creativeworkspace #coworkingspace #socialenterprise #creativecity #nicreatives #fridayfocus #blickstudios