I am so very lucky to be able to get involved with such a wide variety of projects. In each one I love to find out about new collections, artworks, exhibits, activities and the people behind them or indeed at the receiving end.
Right now I'm writing a resource pack for Curious Minds which looks at how local heritage can be used to work with schools towards an area based curriculum. The resource will include several case studies, one of which features Blackpool Illuminations.
It's little known that the Illuminations have a historic archive, or that they are all designed and made in Blackpool itself, at a design and manufacture depot called Lightworks.
You might like to read this excellent page about where the magic happens. Many images from the archive of illuminations artwork and some accompanying catalogue detail is available at the Illuminations blog right here. On occassion, Lightworks opens up for tours for special events and groups such as Heritage Open Days. A potted history of the illuminations is provided here.
Further information is available here.
Meanwhile, the Curious Minds resource, and another teaching resource produced by cultural team members of Blackpool council offering many ways to use the illuminations to support maths based learning - developed in close consultation with teachers, will all be available online to download as a pdf in due course.
Image: Up for Promotion, copyright Blackpool Illuminations Collection
Incredible film about what it means to be a craftsperson, a maker, and the 'consumer' of handmade objects. The way in which the quality and love is communicated so strongly and authentically is captivating. As well as the magic that underlies the ballet shoe. I was lucky enough to see what this meant to dancers first hand, way back when I worked with Northern Ballet. The memories of dancers sitting in corridors scratching and darning the shoes for better fit and grip is still vivid.
I have an ongoing obsession with pattern.
In the summer I was lucky enough to turn that obsession into a small project by co-ordinating some workshops for people in Macclesfield.
(You can read more about that by looking at Macclesfield Silk Museum Heritage Trust here)
In the morning, members of the public were taken on a tour of the town, looking at pattern in architecture.
Armed with cameras and a professional photographer guide, we encouraged them to seek out the details that usually pass them by.
In the afternoon, I brought in artists / designers / printers from one69a to help them turn their photos into screen prints and transfer them onto bags and t-shirts.
one69a have just launched their new website and included the workshops as one of their case studies so take a fuller look over there...
And by the way - if you like architectural pattern, do take a look at the project with Rosie James at Ordsall Hall in Salford
Creative & Cultural Skills, the national development body for the areas I and many others work in, recently announced their new Standards for Creative & Cultural Industries. Including one for Standards in Freelancing.
Not a bad idea I thought, it would be good to have something official to aspire to. Then I opened it. It's 92 pages long. That's a heck of a lot of standards. I'm sure they're all admirable. I just question whether in this current climate of time -poor stretched working for many, is 92 pages a realistic sized document to expect people to read?
There are 62 overarching standards, each with a range of bullet pointed sub-standards. I can only say for the time being that I aim to read them and that when I do I'm sure I'll wholeheartedly agree with some and raise a questioning eybrow over others.
But meanwhile I'll be focussing on meeting deadlines for the clients who pay me to read and work on other documents. So who knows how long it will take to get through those 62 standards and report back on my responses...
Image: sadly not my office, but the wonderful work of atelierpompadour
Umbro Industries is a new initiative from Umbro geared towards giving potential Manchester based creators the financial backing they need.
"You know how it is: you've a great idea for an exhibition, a gig, a club night or project, you've got the contacts and you need to make it happen, you just need a little helping hand. That's where Umbro Industries comes in. If your idea is fresh, and your drive and devotion to create is infectious, then we'll get behind you".
I recently met one of the Umbro team involved in this programme and they're really fired up and passionate about support the cultural and creative development of young people across the city. I believe they mean business, and it's great to see a private company putting their money where their mouth is in this way.
I'm most interested in how the public, your public, whoever that may be, engages with culture and creativity.
And if it nurtures creativity and develops personal, social or professional skills I'm absolutely all ears.