Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Setting up a dance company

Many thanks to Liz Clark and Chris Moore - both based in Leicestershire - for sharing their experiences of setting up a new dance company at our seminar at Curve on 8 December.

Liz has co-created 'Turned on its Head' which has a new interactive approach to work for and with under 5s and their parents.

Chris has set up a mid-scale touring ballet company of 14 dancers which has 70 odd touring dates in the UK this year.

Their approaches to research and development of their 'products', raising & managing finances, pitching to venues were really interesting.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Drinks with a difference

The Alternative Bar Crawl is on tonight (Friday 16th Dec) starting at 5.30pm at the LCB Depot, Rutland St, Leicester LE1 1RE. It promises drinks and creative entertainment & shopping for all with a retro 1950s feel this time. Well done all those artists who organise it. Our Christmas sweaters are already out.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Desk Space available @ £70 a month

Desk Space available at the Likeminded Building ( 1 Wellington Street, Leicester, LE1 6HH ). I am a Graphic / animation designer currently renting a room from the owner suitable for two people. I am looking for another creative designer to share the space. There is also potential to collaborate on certain projects for the right type of designer, especially anyone 3D based, although willing to share with other likeminded creatives.

The Likeminded building is a friendly place with good facilities ( Internet, meeting room, kitchen etc ) and houses a range creative people.

Feel free to email for more details

t: 07896 633934

Monday, 12 December 2011

Creative Leicestershire December ebulletin

Click here to view the December edition of our ebulletin.

This edition has lots of training, networking and funding opportunities including information on:
  • Curve's Young Arts Entrepreneur Programme
  • A Competition to win workspace for a business or activity in Fearon Hall, Loughborough
  • Artist Commissions for a housing development and Belgrave Health Centre
To make sure you receive this information straight to your mailbox every month, subscribe here

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Ruth Singer's Big Idea

Leicester-based textile artist Ruth Singer (a former Creative Leicestershire bursary winner and Made in Leicestershire member) has been shortlisted for THE BIG IDEA, a competition supported by The Leicester Mercury and the Haymarket Shopping Centre to win a free shop unit for a month, a cash prize of £1000 and support from the businesses involved.

Ruth impressed the judges with her pitch to create a Create & Make Workshop in the city to get Leicester sewing and making.  She says:

“I want to run a craft centre where anyone can learn new practical and creative skills and be part of a crafty community.  I want to share my experience as a professional textile designer-maker and author of two sewing books to inspire the people of Leicester to rediscover the pleasure of making things themselves. I aim to run workshops that suit our modern lifestyles with short classes after work, weekend courses for busy people who don’t want to do a 10-week course and daytime activities for kids in the holidays. Sessions range from Learn To Sew to specialist textile crafts which I specialise in, and visiting artists will provide workshops in crafts as varied as jewellery & upholstery. Keen stitchers can also hire a sewing machine by the hour and have space to spread out.

To make the space even more inviting, there will be a small shop of hand-picked books (including my own two), vintage fabrics and patterns and essential haberdashery. My personal workspace will also be located in the workshop to inspire visitors and small gallery area will showcase local textile work. Sewing and making workshops are popping up all over the country – it is time the creative city of Leicester had one.”

Of the 10 entrepreneurs invited to pitch to the dragon’s den panel, only four have got through to this stage. You can vote for Ruth’s Big Idea at from 1st -14th December.

Ruth has over 10 years experience running craft workshops for adults, families, schools and community groups and has worked behind the scenes too as an education officer at the Victoria & Albert Museum. She is also a freelance project manager and author of two sewing books. Ruth’s work can be seen on her website: 

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Andrew Tanner - Selling Winning Designs

Andrew Tanner held a great seminar for us last week talking about his career as a designer of contemporary ceramics and the relationships he's built with manufacturers and retailers.

He offered us some useful hints and tips:

  • When at trade fairs:
    • If you're at a fair aimed at wholesalers make sure you know what your minimum order is and be prepared to negotiate
    • Make sure that your wholesale price includes the cost it takes to make the item plus your profit margin
    • Work out the recommended retail price. Buyers will typically use RRP = Wholesale Price x 3. Think about if this is how much your product should sell for?
    • Have a story about your product to sell to the buyer: Why is it different? Why would their customer want it? This is what the buyer will use to sell your product to their customer
  • DO NOT court retailers!!! They will find you not the other way round.
  • DO court the press!!! PR is the key, learn to write good press release and get good photographs. If you're going to spend money on marketing, photographs should be key
  • His book 'Batch; Craft, Design and Product' has an section written by Barbara Chandler, Design writer for the Evening Standard on how to write an effective press release
  • If you only have one option on photography use white crop out images for your work
  • Twitter is great for free publicity and information
  • Places like the UKTI can help you get selling abroad and sometimes have pockets of funding.
  • The BEDG can provide match funding for stands at foreign trade fairs. 

Creative Leicestershire has lots of information sheets on low-cost marketing ideas, writing press releases and getting the public to your stand. Visit our resources section for lots more information 

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Running Successful Workshops

Rachel Phelps ran us a really great seminar last week on Running Successful Workshops.

The seminar focused on creating Authentic Learning experiences for your participants. Authentic Learning uses activities were participants learn by 'doing' rather than by listening and uses real-world situations to help solve problems.

She gave us some useful tips and got us to take part in activities that could then be used in our own workshop settings.

Some of the tips she gave us were:

  • Have lots of different activities to help understand how people learn. Some prefer to move around whilst others may prefer to sit at a table.
  • Be prepared to deviate from your plans to fit in with how your participants learn
  • Keep a logbook for what went well and what didn't 
  • Make sure to keep it real for you and your participants
  • Always get feedback and build on it
  • Set out your plan into a learning framework by; 
    • Framing your aim into a question
    • Put it into a timeline
    • Break it down into units/objectives
    • Evaluate and assess the session