Thursday, 11 November 2010

Performing Arts Cohort go to Glasgow

Here are some of the Leadership Cohort for Performing Arts Leicester who went up to the European Theatre conference in Glasgow last week, funded by the Cultural Leadership Programme. Excuse my ropey photography and Usual Suspects line up!

They are: Maya Biswas (Big Difference Co); Vijay Mistry (2 Funky); Ellen Bianchini (Spark Festival); Louise Katerega (Foot in Hand); Trina Haldar (Curve & freelance); Samir Bhamra (Phizzical); Debbie Longley (Melton Theatre) and Sue Pike (PAL Leadership Project Manager).

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Rachel Smith Designs Hugo the Highcross Cat

Rachael Smith is a uniquely talented illustrator based in Leicester, her drawings are full of warm humour and bursting with character. She specialises in children's book illustration and character design, but her creations lend themselves to all kinds of creative work such as advertising, merchandise design, and editorial illustrations.

Working with the local community is important to Highcross, so when Rachael approached us with her idea for a Highcross illustration we worked with her to deliver Hugo the Highcross cat (illustration)

Rachael designed Hugo the Highcross Cat especially for this project. "I wanted to create someone a bit cheeky and curious who could get involved with everything Highcross has to offer. Hugo, being a cat, especially likes the sushi!"

Rachael's most popular character to date is Flimsy the Kitten, who has her own blog and range of merchandise. She also designs her own t shirts and sells original work in her online shop. To find out more about Rachael and her many weird and wonderful creations visit

Rachel is a former graduate bursary winner as well

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Catharine Ashdown Former Bursary Winner Showcased at Curve

As part of Momentum, the new writing festival Catharine Ashdown is having her first stage play 'Bygones' showcased at Curve on 29th October (7pm). It is being performed as a script-in-hand show, along with three other half hour pieces by different writers.

A Belfast pub, 1995. As the crowd gathers outside to greet President Clinton's historic visit, Carmel, a Catholic and Dan, a Protestant, each try to make sense of their troubled past

For more information on the festival go to

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Creative Leicestershire Bursary Winner Shauna Richardson Wins Saatchi Award

Thirty shortlisted artists from the Art of Giving Competition exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery 7th -9th October with a host of famous artists to raise money for charity through the sale of art. Comedian Vic Reeves, Photographer Terry O’Neill and Artist Christian Furr judged the competition, which was split into three categories: Painting and Drawing, Sculpture and Photography.

Winner of the sculpture category and overall winner is self-proclaimed Crochetdermist Shauna Richardson from Stoughton, Leicestershire. Shauna sculpts life-like animals using crochet hook and wool. Using one simple stitch and one colour Shauna employs her own unique crochet freestyle technique to highlight the anatomy of the animal. Each piece takes months to complete, five months in the case of one 6.5ft brown bear.

Tilla Crowne was awarded first prize in the Painting and Drawing category. Tilla, 23, studied Fine Art at Cambridge School of Art and primarily works with living material. Her work entered in the competition consisted of live snails, with their shells painted in the image of rooms in her childhood home. She says “I relish the dynamism and constant change that living elements lend to my work. My installations change over the time they are exhibited, so each viewing is unique.”

Edward Bowman was awarded first prize in the Photography category. Edward, who graduated from the University of Derby with an MA in Photography, and from the University of Westminster with an MA in Design and Media Arts get’s his inspiration from the past, “My work is entirely about the past. A search for what has been lost - around the theme absence.” He has taken photographs in India, China and Egypt. He currently lives in London.

Shauna, Tilla and Edward all received a cash prize and art supplies.

For more information on the Art of Giving go to

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Bursary Winner Sarah Cressall Launches Her Franchise ' The Creation Station' at the National Franchise Exhbition

The perfect franchise for mums is booked to run the first ever Children's Activity Centre at the National Franchise Exhibition at the NEC

To encourage women along to this year’s National Franchise Exhibition at the NEC, leading exhibition organiser Venture Marketing is making the event a family friendly experience. They have booked The Creation Station to run a Children’s Activity Centre on the second day of the exhibition – Saturday, 2nd October.

Parents wanting to find out more about the flexible business opportunities offered by franchising are invited to bring their children along and enjoy a family day out. The Children’s Activity Centre is completely free and can be accessed from The Creation Station stand B170. Parents can enjoy quality and stress free time with their children and experience the joy of creating a mysterious mask, a willow wand or a squishy squashy picture. Places are limited and are on a first come first served basis.

The Creation Station founder and Managing Director Sarah Cressall said: “This is a fantastic way to attract more mums to the National Franchise Exhibition so they can find out more about a wide range of business opportunities. As an Associate Member of the British Franchise Association The Creation Station is committed to supporting women in franchising. We are delighted that Venture Marketing have asked us to run the first ever entertainment event at the exhibition.

“We engage families brilliantly and have extensive experience as entertainment providers at a wide variety of events across the UK. In the last few months we have provided activities at the Devon County Show which attracted more than 100,000 visitors over three days, the Deloittes Family Day and the Toyota Environmental Day.

“We are looking forwarding to welcoming visitors to our stand during both days of the exhibition and to the Children’s Activity Centre on Saturday. We will help make sure that families have an enjoyable and relaxed experience.”

The Creation Station is the UK’s leading arts and crafts-based play experience for children and their parents. Children love The Creation Station because it inspires their imaginations and allows them to have fun with a wide range of art and craft materials. Parents and carers love it because they can enjoy sharing creative experiences with their little ones but without the mess and stress in their own homes. Women, especially mothers, looking for a flexible and rewarding career find. The Creation Station delivers the work life balance they have been searching for.
For further information visit and

Monday, 13 September 2010

All sunny for Arts Fresco

Market Harborough's annual street arts bash went off well this weekend with thousands attending on a sunny (but windy) Sunday. We were there giving out Made in Leicestershire directories and jute bags and supporting Ema Kelly and Claire Fairall

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Atkins Building ready for business in Hinckley

Went to see the Atkins Building today which is a new creative workspace in Hinckley due to open this autumn. We will have some 'Made in Leicestershire' display cases there. All the studio spaces are now booked and the building - a refurbished textile factory - looks great. All power to the Borough Council who have taken on the project. There's also a gallery and cafe space where we will have some 'Made in Leicestershire' display cabinets. Plus all the creative courses for North Warks and Hinckley College will be run from a new building next door.

More on the social enterprise running the studio spaces and gallery at

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Creative Leicestershire Development Bursary Winners Announced

For what could the last and final time, Creative Leicestershire are pleased to announce the 28 creative businesses from Leicester(shire) & Rutland that have been awarded over £47,000 in total to help develop their businesses.
And the winners are:

Art Tracks - Mobile Creative Arts & Heritage Initiative from Braunstone

2B Productions - Community Performing Arts Organisation from Wanlip
Serenah Cole - Performance Poet from Glenfield
Liz Clark - Dance Artist from Loughborough
5or6 - Graphic Design Consultancy in Loughborough
Alice Little - Music Tutor from Thurmaston
Workshops with Liam - Creative Workshop Leader from Billesdon
Creative Hinckley - Arts and Creative Industries Collective from Hinckley
Coldfire Design - Graphic Design Agency from Leicester
Duck in a Bucket Designs - Jewellery Designer working with glass from Leicester
Kate Unwin - Set & Costume Designer in Leicester
Amy Brammall - Commercial Photographer in Leicester
Centre for Indian Classical Dance - Asian Dance Organisation based in Leicester
Dan Morley - Graphic Artist from Leicester
Created and Felted Handmade Bags - Bag Designer working in felt from Leicester
Leicester Community Music Project - Community Music Project in Leicester
Steve & Jo Photography - Photography Business in Leicester
Mellow Baku - Vocalist from Leicester
Mio Destino: Di Murini - Mastectomy Lingerie Designer in Leicester
David Towers - Furniture Designer from Leicester
Aakash Odedra Dance - Asian Dance Artist from Leicester
Speakeasy Theatre Company - Theatre Education Company in Leicester
Diane Fawcett-Walker - Freelance Illustrator from Melton
Open Design & Communication - Graphic Design Company from Melton
Bee Happy Designs - Wedding Stationary Designer from Hugglescote
Kelly McRobie - Vintage inspired Textile Designer from Leicester
Jan Burridge - Studio Ceramicist from Oakham
Jenny Creasey - Porcelain Artist in Oakham

We have also awarded bursaries to two businesses from De Montfort Univeristy as part of the university's Business Venture Competition:

19grams - Graphic Design Company
Exposure Live - Live Performance Recording & Broadcasting

Image by Point Blank Photography -

Monday, 28 June 2010

Big Demand for Development Bursaries

We have received a total of 72 applications for the bursary scheme this year (almost a record), so it will be another difficult year to make decisions. Demand doesn't seem to diminish. The panel meet week beginning 5 July to make decisions. This is the last year of a 3 year agreement with emda to fund these bursaries so it's likely to be last of this exact scheme. We'll be on the look out for other ways of funding business development.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Former Bursary Winner, Gerard McChrystal Receives Major ACE Award

Gerard McChrystal has been successful in obtaining a Grants for The Arts grant for his tour and CPD project, Stand Up.

Ten years in development Stand-Up is Gerard’s newest project. It is a combination of solo saxophone works and pieces for saxophone and electronics. Every work is accessible and inclusive. The sublime beauty of atmospheric works such as Karen Tanaka’s Night Bird
and Andy Scott’s My Mountain Top contrast with the freshness of Tony Davis’ dance inspired Iguacu, Come Down and Dance. Gerard will also perform duos by Telemann and Ian Wilson using effects that have to be heard to be believed.

Virtuosic works by Paganini and Barry Cockroft include amazing techniques like circular
breathing and slap-tongue. Multi-layered works, performed live, using a loop station complete this unique cutting edge project.

Saxophonist Gerard McChrystal has performed in over 30 countries including USA, Korea, India, Japan, South Africa, Azerbaijan, New Zealand, Indonesia as well as much of Europe/UK. He has worked with Philip Glass, The Soweto String Quartet, vocal group Anuna, Rambert Dance Co. and many orchestras including The Philharmonia and the Orchestra of San Francisco Ballet.

For more information visit:
Mobile: 07950 929313

Friday, 18 June 2010

Performing Arts Leaders

13 people began the Performing Arts Leicester leadership programme on Wednesday. Here are most of them after their initial workshop, along with Alistair Reid - Strategic Director at Leicester City Council. They will be doing a whole range of workshops, coaching and visits to equip them for leading performing arts organisations and beyond until March 2011. They are: Louise Katerega (Foot in Hand Dance company) Nilima Devi (Centre for Indian Dance), Ruth Bates (Dance Development Officer for Leicestershire and Rutland), Samir Bhamra (Phizzical Theatre Company), Ellen Bianchini ( Spark Children’s Arts Festival). The 8 emerging leaders are Anna Peavitt (Big Difference Company), Chris Flux (Curve), Debbie Longley (Melton Theatre), Maya Biswas (Big Difference Company), Robbie Kerr (De Montfort Hall), Samantha Crispin (Curve), Trina Halder (Curve) and Vijay Mistry (2Funky Arts).

Monday, 14 June 2010

Graduate start-up award winners are....

The graphic design Co. 19 Grams and the studio production/broadcasting company Exposure Live have both been selected for our De Montfort University Graduate Start Up awards this year. Exposure Live began running a programme on Demon FM and have branched out into studio production and events coverage (see ) . Tom and Chris set up teh graphic design agency 19 Grams whilst still studying and are both graduating any moment. For their new show reel see

Both companies get £1000 cash - courtesy of emda, the regional development agency - and support from Fred Brookes, our business adviser.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Made in Leicestershire exhibition

A selection of 21 artists and makers from is now on show at the Ferrers Gallery, Staunton Harold until 30 June. Here's a pic of me, Rachael Chambers (owner of the Gallery) the Chairman of the County Council (Roger Wilson) and his wife next to one of Tom Hare's willow sculptures/dens in the Gallery.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

The new Made in Leicestershire Directory is nearly here!

We eagerly await the delivery of the new printed Made in Leicestershire directories, which should be arriving on our doorstep (well offices) next week.

The new directory consists of a selection of artists and designer makers featured on

To celebrate, the Ferrers Gallery will be hosting the Made in Leicestershire exhibition. A selection of works from artists in the directory from 1 May until 20 June 2010

All the work on Made in Leicestershire is handcrafted and from artists and makers based in Leicestershire and Rutland. The directory is perfect if you are looking for an original gift for that special someone, yourself or even your home.

To view the work on the directory go to

Keep your eyes peeled over the next coming weeks for the printed directory in various venues throughout the county

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Congratulations to Andrew Tanner!!!

2008 Bursary Winner, Andrew Tanner has been named as the British Council’s UK Young Design Entrepreneur of the Year 2009. He will work in collaboration with Turkish designers to promote craft-based manufacturing.
Congratulations Andrew!

To find out more about Andrew's work visit his website at

To find out more about the Creative Leicestershire Bursary and information on how to apply, go to or come to one of our Creative Funding events. Stay tuned for more info or sign up to our ebulletin at

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Midlands gets first Skillset accredited Games Art course

De Montfort University in Leicester has become the first games art course in England to be awarded accreditation by Skillset.

Accreditation evaluators of the BA (Hons) Game Art Design course included staff from Ninja Theory and Monumental. Skillset’s computer games accreditation panel, who ratified the decision, included members from Babel Media, SCEE and Blitz.

Ian Livingstone, Life President at Eidos and Chair of Skillset’s Computer Games Skills Council, said: “This is the first games art course in England to be accredited and I hope it is the first of many. Accreditation is a rigorous process, but De Montfort’s course shows what standards can be achieved with a curriculum designed with games industry input from day one.”

Skillset’s Computer Games Manager Saint John Walker said: “This is a gem of a course. There is great teamwork from staff with a keen ear to the industry, and clever use of Web 2.0 tools combine to make a learning environment where students can excel.”

Course Leader Michael Powell said: "Skillset accreditation means a lot to us – it's a sign that we've been successful in embedding real world practice into our curriculum. It was also important for us, and for our students, to receive industry recognition for the high quality work produced on the course."

The De Montfort University accreditation marks a ramp-up in Skillset’s accreditation scheme. This is the fourth course to be accredited in the last six months, and ninth in total. Skillset’s accreditation programme is a service to the Games industry to help it source new talent in both Games Art and Programming pathways.

Skillset welcomes applications from all UK Universities through its website. Please visit

Monday, 1 March 2010

Creative Leicestershire Bursary Award Scheme 2010

This year we are offering about 20 or so bursaries up to £2,500 to small creative enterprises in our area which have been trading for at least 12 months. The deadline for applications is 25 June 2010. The guidance notes and application form for Creative Leicestershire's 2010 bursary awards has been posted to our main website this morning. It takes a little while to update so from tomorrow the details and application form will be available to download from the 'funding' page at
If you have any queries about the scheme, contact our Business Adviser, Fred Brookes, on

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Creative Leicestershire's contribution to Leicester Comedy Festival was a panel discussion about how to get on in comedy and build a career. Arthur Smith, Zoe Lyons and festival director Geoff Rowe, chaired by Julian Hall, comedy critic of the Independent, talked about how to get started, the perils of the open night circuit, the importance of Edinburgh and how much money you can lose doing it, the pros and cons of getting an agent, among other topics. A keen audience of aspiring performers and writers asked some searching questions, and there were really good biscuits.

Bursary Winner Lunchbox Films @ Leeds Young People's Film Festival

We're happy to announce that Lunchbox Films film, 'Dr Markus & The Tomb of Gloom' has been accepted into the Leeds young people's film festival! The film was made by year 5 pupils at t.Hubert's Primary School, Birmingham and was made under the Creative Partnerships shceme. It will be judged by a panel of industry experts and young people. For more info visit:

Well Done!

To view the film go to

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Past Bursary Winner Comedy Festival Review

Rob Gee: Fruitcake - Ten Commandments From the Psych Ward.

Comic, poet and reformed psychiatric nurse, Rob Gee presents an idiot’s guide to insanity, fresh from a sell-out tour of Canada. Fruitcake is a rollercoaster ride of comedy and poignant observation charting a night shift on an acute psychiatric ward. Read Rob Gee's Review in Chortle here

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Maria Allen published by Tindal Street Press

Maria Allen's first novel is published by the estimable Midlands publisher Tindal Street Press this month. Before the Earthquake is a historical literary mystery from Loughborough-based Maria who is half English and half Italian.

You can order it straight from

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Try our Freelancers Quiz

Ever wonderered what it takes to be a creative freelancer? Well now we know, as the national occupational standards have been released. There 62 different areas of knowledge/skill in all. Just to celebrate we have created a quiz which we have been trying out on unsuspecting graduates and mentees, so you can see what you can/can't do.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Jo Cope in BBC New Brands series

Jo Cope, designer maker and Creative Leics bursary winner, is getting lots of coverage for her original approach linking fashion and product design. She will be featured on the first of the BBC 1 New Brands series for new product designers. Her work is also in the San Serif design book 'Articulado'. For more on her work see

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Do you run art classes or workshops?

Our Artslink website has now been completely rebuilt by the ever-enthusiastic Reach Marketing. It's an online directory for people to find participatory arts classes or workshop leaders in Leicestershire, Rutland or Northamptonshire. (Working in Northants is a new departure for us!)

We are working on building up the numbers of companies/artists registered on the site until March when we'll be publicising the site more widely. As ever it's free to register.