Sexed-up, Slicked-Back: The Creative Rebirth of Stoke-on-Trent

- Creative Stoke-on-Trent

A creative revolution is upon us at long last; evident by the rousing and inspiring sentiments that emanated from the Factory: Assembly on Thursday 21st November, Stoke-on-Trent, a city with a reputation for being creatively challenged and culturally bereft, took to the stage to stand up and fight back.

Organised by CidaCo and supported by Stoke-on-Trent City Council and a number of other public sector organisations, Factory: Assembly served as a one-day-only event that invited creatives, innovators and digital entrepreneurs in the area to discuss all the latest trends, opportunities and challenges in new markets and beyond.

Awe-inspiring. About time.

Hearing the genuine passion for their crafts direct from Rosie Wolfenden and Harriet Vine (of Tatty Devine fame) and Laura Wellington (designer and co-founder of Leeds’ Duke Studios) is unfailingly inspiring. Their performances resonated through the audience with a sense of pride and power that emboldens the affirmation that Stoke too can be a hive of creativity, imagination and digital originality.

Fix Up, Look Sharp

Centrally positioned geographically, with a strong industrial background, Stoke-on-Trent is already witnessing an almost Renaissance-type new wave of productivity and craft artistry in the shape of the ceramics industry. 2013 has been the year of the British Ceramics Biennial and the Ceramics 2013 major industry event, with companies such as Steelite, Portmeirion, Wade and Churchill flying the flag, not just at home, but internationally too. Smaller pottery firms, like Emma Bridgewater, are also becoming shining beacons of the creativity that Stoke-on-Trent has revived and innervated with the industrial vigour synonymous with the Potteries.

Now it’s time for the other industries less associated with the area to take the spotlight. From the critically acclaimed work of Keele-based Inspired Film and Video, who are doing some fantastic documentaries and pan-European projects, to smaller start up companies, like Scruffy Little Herbert, who design clothes with famous Potteries dialect blazoned across, the entrepreneur spirit is well and truly live and kicking.

What we now need to is ride the wave of digital innovation, focus on our key strengths and play on our unique personality. Keep the passion alive, keep our chins up. Fix up, look sharp and market ourselves as a professional, working city with heart, soul and character. Let’s shake off our reputation and become more polished, sleek and sexy.

If the creative industry is getting high profile support, not only from CidaCo, but the North Staffordshire Creative Industries Business Development Project, then we too need to be shouting from the rooftops about this city. With the Exchange in Hanley hosting great club nights, our music is literally starting to make some noise, our football team is something to be mighty proud of as a mighty Potter and we are having major regeneration in the infrastructure of our transport and retail sectors. There are so many facets of this city that deserve credit to making it what it is; it’s up to us to realise these dreams and support our SMEs, our future talent and – most importantly –  each other.

The time is now – and there’s currently no place like home.

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