Interdisciplinary International Conference and Festival

On 24th April 2021 the C3 Centre and the Department of Media and Performance hosted the international and interdisciplinary conference around the themes of Connections “Communities and Communication”.

Co-hosted by Agata Lulkowska, Sharon Coleclough and Stephanie Steventon, this conference considered the ways in which creative digital communities start, develop and grow, what is created within those groups and how real connections are built through technology sharing and eventually within the virtual environment of online discussion and dissemination.

“The idea for the event emerged in early 2020 as we were entering into the unknown of what later developed into a full-blown pandemic. Coming from a perspective of practice-based researchers, we discussed the links between academia and the creative world, and we thought of the importance of connections – between disciplines, between cultures and between people. The idea of our hybrid-event was born. We did not expect such a spectacular response to our call for submissions. Between films and papers, we have received nearly 2500 applications from 105 countries. It was clear that there is a need for a positive reminder about what brings us all together. We were fortunate to secure some fantastic keynote speakers, both local and international, as well as invite our colleagues from the Department of Media and Performance to talk about some amazing projects they are working on.”

The conference website is at


In touch – Delivering creative workshops online (Upcoming Factory Online Event)

Session details

  • Topic: In touch – Delivering creative workshops online 
  • When: 10:30 – 12:25, April 16th, 2021 
  • Where: Zoom (link to follow registration, registration see at end of post) 
  • Cost: Free 

What is the session about? 

When we can’t physically host people in our studios or creative spaces how can we practically and meaningfully move workshops and engagement online?  

This Factory session is led by BCB Associate artist Sarah Fraser, Artist and International Programme Manager for the International Ceramics Studio Kecskemét, Hungary Steve Mattison and Artist and creative business owner, writer, educator and marketing guru Mel Bose also known as The Terrain Tutor 

This session will cover: 

  • The difference between delivering in-person and online workshops – how to change delivery styles to suit online workshops. 
  • Budget friendly and easy to use equipment and platforms for delivering online workshops. 
  • Tips and tricks for delivering a tactile workshop online  
  • How to engage with workshop participants or community groups online. 


Staffordshire University’s film students document research into the plastic pandemic

A new documentary series, made by Staffordshire University students, takes a deep dive into the global plastic pollution crisis

The six-part online series Plastic Pandemic was created by Isaac Robinson and Jonathan Eley while completing a Master’s degree in Film Documentary. It demonstrates how documentary film making can really help to bring science research alive and communicate the importance of the increasing threats to the planet, people and animals.

Fiona Graham, Associate Professor of Film Technology and Masters supervisor to Jon and Isaac, said the students spent many months developing their film project researching into Plastics Pollution and had pitched the idea to be a long form film. With the Covid pandemic and lockdown a year ago, this changed.

She said:

Jon and Isaac wanted to create a film about plastics pollution and to talk to people about the growing problem for the planet. Documentary form has the power to investigate, probe and tell stories that need to be heard and they were passionate to still do this despite the pandemic affecting film production. Staffordshire University’s Professor Claire Gwinnet was one of many contributors internationally to support their film.

The film students wanted to explore new methods and processes in documentary film online, as they were emerging from industry and we developed ideas working through the problems and solving the technical and creative issues that arose.”

They created an international research project for their Masters that had international contributors who may never have come forward before the pandemic.”

Full press release at

The website and the videos at


NoiseFloor 2021 Call for Works

We are delighted to announce that NoiseFloor will be returning to the Music and Sound department at Staffordshire University on 11th – 12th May 2021. Our theme for 2021 will be Collaboration.


For details, see our dedicated NoiseFloor website at

NoiseFloor 2019

Conference: Philosophy & Serres

The annual conference of The Society for European Philosophy and the Forum for European Philosophy (SEP-FEP 2020 Conference) will be happening on 30­–31 October and 6­–7 November 2020 – The programme is divided over successive Friday afternoons and full Saturdays. The wbsite is at

The SEP-FEP conference is the largest annual event in Europe, aiming to bring together researchers, teachers and students from different disciplines, interested in all areas of contemporary European philosophy. This year, to mark the passing of Michel Serres last June, the conference will feature a strand of presentations devoted to his work.

As part of this strand, Staffordshire Univeristy Professor David Webb interviews Christopher Watkin on Michel Serres.


November Factory Event: Prepare to Sell – Retail and Auctioneers

When: November 13th, 10:30-11:30am    –    BOOK HERE

Where: Zoom, once you register a Zoom link will be shared with you by email

Cost: Free

About this Event

What is this session about?

In this session, we will hear from experienced Designer Reiko Kaneko and Studio Ceramics specialist Jason Wood of Adam Partridge Auctioneers, Macclesfield, about planning, pricing, and how to sell to retail and through auction.

Reiko Kaneko will speak from her years of experience as a designer and selling to retail, she will give you insight into the elements she has found to be important. She will share more about planning and how to sell to retail, pricing structures and all of the relevant paperwork and details you can think about and plan for before making the leap.

Expert Jason Wood demystifies selling at auctions for creatives including what is it, how it works, what to consider when pricing for auction and the opportunities it presents for creatives when selling their work.

Who is this for?

People who want to know more about how they can sell to retail and/or auction houses and how it all works.
People who are already selling through retail and/or auction houses and are seeking some advice.
Students or people who are early in their career and want to start thinking about how they can set their creative business up for success and get a head start on the things they need to consider for pricing and selling.

Who’s delivering?

Reiko Kaneko – Ceramicist, Designer and Educator

Reiko Kaneko is a ceramicist, designer and educator based in London. She works at various scales in a range of typologies, designing both products for manufacture and bespoke pieces for commissioned projects. The focus of her working practice is on mastery of material and form. After graduating from Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design, she founded a creative studio in London in 2007. Initially building up a client base for her small-batch production ceramic designs, she began to take on bespoke commissions from 2009 onwards, creating tableware, glassware and teaware for prestigious restaurants and galleries.

In 2012, with the expansion of both knowledge and business scale in mind, she took the step to move to Stoke-on-Trent, the traditional home of industrial-scale pottery manufacturing in Britain. The possibility of controlling all aspects of her studio’s output, from how everything was made to finessing all parts of the supply chain had great appeal. Reiko immersed herself in the fabric of what industry remained in the city; able to experiment and work in an environment rich with knowledge and understanding.

In 2017 she returned to London to build a garden studio and to work within the creative energy of the city again. She has continued to run the Stoke-on-Trent studio at a smaller scale and in 2018 began teaching part-time on the MA Ceramics course at Staffordshire University. Reiko is a passionate advocate of both creativity in education and industry. Her focus has been on developing the skills needed to be a thoughtful and productive creative practitioner. Her approach is open, her knowledge is just beginning and like many of her generations, she feels it is time to affect change.

Jason Wood – Archaeologist, ceramics collector and Specialist Consultant in Studio Ceramics for Adam Partridge Auctioneers.

Jason has enjoyed a successful career in archaeology and heritage, becoming Chairman of the National Trust of Archaeology Panel and a member of various other heritage institutes including the Society of Antiquaries. He joined Adam Partridge Auctioneers & Valuers in 2014 to follow his long-time passion for 20th-century handmade ceramics, at which point he made the transition from digging them up from the earth to discovering them in the houses of private clients and has since curated over ten specialist Studio Ceramics & Modern Design sales, including the hugely successful Alan & Pat Firth Collection in 2015 and the Leonard & Alison Shurz Collection in 2020. When he is not striving to put together his sales, Jason still works in the heritage sector and has catalogued the National Trust collection of Studio Ceramics.

This event is supported by Factory – Staffordshire’s business support programme for the creative sector – but is free for any UK artists, arts organisation and recovery services.


December Factory Event: Creative Recovery

How can artists, arts organisations and addiction recovery services work together?

  • Topic: Creative Studios and Shared Spaces
  • When: October 9th, 10-11:00 am
  • Where: Zoom, once you register a Zoom link will be shared with you by email
  • Cost: Free
  • Sign up to our newsletter at

This interactive workshop is for artists, arts organisations and recovery services who are interested in the benefits and practicalities of collaboration. It is also relevant for commissioners and funders who are keen to promote cross-sector partnerships.

After an introduction to ReCast – a project combining creativity, addiction recovery and clay – participants will take part in parallel break out sessions.

  • Vicky Lomas, Service Manager at Stoke Recovery Service, will facilitate a discussion about her role integrating the project in the Service; planning and co-facilitating sessions; and supporting clients to make connections between creative skills and their own recovery. 
  • Joanne Ayre, Resident Artist with the British Ceramics Biennial, will discuss approaches to sharing creative practice with others and useful skills for working in health settings.

Coming back together, a group discussion will focus on playing to our strengths – what do artists, arts organisations and recovery services bring to a creative recovery project? How can we develop successful partnerships?

            “Working alongside health professionals has allowed me to see the benefits of working with clay reflected back from another perspective. It has added another layer of confidence in the assertion, I frequently make, that working with clay can be good for you.” Joanne Ayre

            “the opportunity to develop a project to enable the client to be creative and also develop a deeper understanding and skill for their own recovery has made an outstanding impact on their overall wellbeing.” Vicky Lomas

            “I’ve got lost in my work today. Really enjoyed taking my cast out of my mould          and learning to be very delicate carving the lines off.”

Conference: Communities and Communication

Staffordshire University’s new Department of Media and Performance (formerly Film, Media & Journalism, Humanities and Performing Arts)  is organising an international and interdisciplinary conference around the themes of Connections. It will take place online on 24th April 2021.

More information about the conference is at its own website.

This conference seeks to consider the ways in which creative digital communities start, develop and grow, what is created within those groups and how real connections are built through technology sharing and eventually within the virtual environment of online discussion and dissemination. We welcome contributions from across the sector from traditional print media forms to film and television, and gaming and interactive technology, offering the opportunity to explore both applied and theoretical explorations of this area of communities within the digital world. We aim to publish a selection of these contributions in an edited collection developed as a result of the conference. 

Topics of interest:

  • Real-world versus digital communities 
  • Audio-visual communication practices
  • Interdisciplinary community-connections
  • What is the future of communities?
  • Visibility and identity in communities
  • Local vs global communities
  • Sports, digital media and communities
  • Healthcare and community
  • Community inclusion and exclusion
  • Performance

Deadline for submissions is 18th December 2020. For more details on how to submit please see the Call for Papers.

For any enquiries, please contact:

Running Naked: University and private equity partnership launch a feature film

Running naked is a feature film made in collaboration between private equity and Staffordshire University’s film production courses. The film has already screened at Beijing and Portland International Film festivals and is due for release in February 2021.

Running Naked is the story of two lifelong friends, pushed together through cancer. The story explores a period their life as one discovers the cancer has returned and their adventures as his illness unfolds.

The film was made in a unique way. The funding for the film came from private equity. This was combined with in-kind use of equipment, space, locations and crew from the University.

We, Andy Paton and Mike Knowles successfully combined a crew of industry professionals who mentored Staffordshire University students. The Crew included, Oscar nominated and Emmy winning director Victor Buhler. He directed Running Naked and Mike and Andy produced the film. The film’s score was composed by Craig Potter from Elbow

The film was all shot in and around the University in Stoke, utilising some of the buildings as locations and a production office, as well as many local businesses.

The cast start Andrew Gower(Carnival Row and Black Mirror) Tamzin Merchant(Carnival Row, Salem and Pride and Prejudice) Matthew Mcnulty (The Terror, Jamaica Inn and Deadwater Fell)

The project is an amazing example of how the University and private equity can be brought together to create a film that already has a distribution deal and international sales with an international release date in February 2021.

Watch this space for announcement of first screenings!

New Season of Factory Events launches with a talk about Creative Studios and Shared Spaces

  • Topic: Creative Studios and Shared Spaces
  • When: October 9th, 10-11:00 am
  • Where: Zoom, once you register a Zoom link will be shared with you by email
  • Cost: Free
  • Sign up here – Sign-up Link

What is the next session about?
The Factory social relaunches October 9th focusing on creative studios and shared spaces. This session hopes to share the knowledge and perspective you need to figure out what kind of space might work for you, what you need as a creative and where you might be able to find it in Stoke-on-Trent. This conversation will be lead by Artist and Studio Manager Jo Ayre, British Ceramics Biennial (BCB) & Artist and Relationship Manager Dan Southward, ACAVA.

Who is this for?
This session is for: 

  • People who are considering taking the leap from home studio to a studio space but don’t know what form of studio might work for them or what other opportunities might come from it.
  • Students who want to think about how they can continue practice after school, college or university or want to connect with a community during their studies.
  • Creatives who are interested in connecting with other creatives and want to learn more about the different ways that can happen

Who’s delivering?
Artist and ACAVA Relationship Manager Dan Southward. Dan will share a wealth of knowledge and experience as an artist working from formal and informal studio spaces, in various buildings and locations. Dan will also share more with us about ACAVA Studios, who they are, what they do and what opportunities they offer creatives. 

Artist, BCB Studio Manager and Resident artist Jo Ayre initiated the BCB shared studio since joining the team in 2015. Since then the studio has grown to accommodating community groups, offering workshops and open studio days where a wonderful community of makers and artists (The Clay Comrades) make and laugh together. Jo will speak about shared studio spaces, the opportunities offered by the BCB Studio and how you can get involved if you’d like.