New Factory Events! In-person and Online!

Factory is delivering a number of events coming up. Do feel free to share this info on with others you think might be interested.

FACTORY is an ERDF funded project, delivered in collaboration with the Chamber, BCB, and Staffordshire University. It supports innovation-led-practices for the SME Creative Industries in Stoke-on-Trent. Our partner organisation BCB has also a webpage dedicated to FACTORY available here

Factory Seminar – A Beginners Guide to Funding and Grant Applications  (In-person)  

  • Delivered by: Clare Wood 
  • Date: 26th October, 2022 
  • Time: 6-7.30pm 
  • Location: Room L410, Flaxman Building, Staffordshire University, College Road, ST4 2DE 
  • More info and to Book Now 


Factory Lunch Hour – Keeping it Simple: Admin and Organisation 

  • Delivered by: Natalie Armitage and Rhiannon Ewing-James 
  • Date: 1st November, 2022 
  • Time: 1-2pm 
  • Location: Online 
  • More info and to Book Now 


Artist Development Surgeries 

  • The BCB Artist Development Surgeries are an opportunity to talk about a project or idea that has a connection to Stoke-on-Trent, its people, place or industries. This opportunity is for people feel they would benefit from speaking about it with a member of the BCB Artistic Programme/Exhibitions team.  
  • Date: 7th November, 2022 
  • Time: 10am, 11am, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm. 
  • Location: Online 
  • More info and to Book Now 


Factory Seminar – To Pitch or Not to Pitch: Responding to Procurement Tenders and how this could be an opportunity (Online) 


Factory Seminar – The guide to knowing your audience 


Factory Lunch Hour – Knowing your worth: Pricing your work and time 


Factory Lunch Hour – Streamline Your Client Management 

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. 


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.”

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. 

FACTORY ONLINE MEET (3 July 2020, 10:30am)

FACTORY Online Meet

To keep our creative communities in Staffordshire connected, FACTORY is organising online meets, where we have the opportunity to come together and chat informally about topics around current challenges for our Creative Communities. In the era of Covid19, we and our creative sectors have specific challenges when wanting to connect with audiences, creatives, customers, networks and each other.

Topic: Socially engaged art – extending your practice to work with the public
Experts: Alice Thatcher and Sarah Fraser
Friday  3 July 10:30am – 12 noon
Sign up for free at

Join BCB Associate artists Alice Thatcher and Sarah Fraser as they unpick motivations and methods for sharing your creative practice with a wider audience. This practical session is aimed at early-career artists and arts professionals who would like to extend their practice to work with people. We will be exploring what socially engaged practice is and why it is important. We will outline practical strategies for working inclusively with people, planning and delivering creative activities (online and in person) and how to develop a socially engaged practice as a career. 

Alice Thatcher Following her graduation from University of Sunderland in 2012, Alice Thatcher returned to Stoke-on-Trent. She is committed to her own role within the cultural and creative growth of Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. Thatcher’s practice examines the similarity between “vulnerable” communities and the properties of clay. She is interested in how people can use clay to communicate their identities, learn new cultural, social and creative ideas from one another, and experience the versatility, beauty and heritage of clay and ceramics. 

Sarah Fraser Sarah Fraser studied visual arts at the University of South Africa. After working in further education with adults with learning difficulties and disabilities for over ten years, she has shifted to combining her practice as an artist with studio based community work over the past 3 years. Since 2019, Fraser has worked in Stoke-on-Trent, leading on a community co-production project of Staffordshire flatback figurines; conceptualising and delivering and arts and health projects (on and offline); and collaborating with the Portland Inn Project fellowship project in 2020. 

Photo: Production line space as part of BCB Festival 2019. Credit: Jenny Harper

Staffordshire University / Factory Programme for the Creative Sector in Stoke-on-Trent

As part of our ongoing commitment to supporting the Creative Sector, Staffordshire University in partnership with Factory has developed a series of diverse talks, sessions and practical workshops that support the exploration of small and big challenges facing the creative sector. This unique series of events will be of interest to micro-cultural producers and artists, small and medium creative businesses, social enterprises and individuals interested in the potential of creative placemaking in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. Research informed events by national and international experts will have a local focus, a local relevance and hopefully a local impact

Event Flyer

Events are focused on the Creative Sector but are open to any businesses or interested parties operating in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.

Booking is advised for all events.  All events take place from 6:00 – 7:30pm.

Parking is free for the evening. (Press intercom and let them know you are coming to the Factory event)

Date Expert Event Title and Location
25/04/2018 Sandy Kirkham Putting the muse into business: the importance of the creative perspective in organisational change


Venue: Staffordshire University, College Road, The Digital Kiln Breakout Space, 5th floor Mellor Building.

02/05/2018 Carola Boehm  The creative industries are dead. Long live the creative industries.


Venue: Staffordshire University, College Road, The Digital Kiln Breakout Space, 5th floor Mellor Building.

16/05/2018 Keith Smy Mentoring and Coaching for SMEs  


Venue: Staffordshire University, College Road, The Digital Kiln Breakout Space, 5th floor Mellor Building.

30/05/2018 Paul Williams Making our mark in the world? You can bet your arts we are


Venue: Staffordshire University, College Road, The Digital Kiln Breakout Space, 5th floor Mellor Building.

06/06/2018 Si Waite, Marc Estibeiro Hands-on workshop on what it takes to create a podcast for your business. A podcast will be created while we learn.


Different Venue! Cadman Recording Studios, Meet at Cadman Studio Gate, College Road

13/06/2018 Peter Twilley Growing your Social Enterprise


Different Venue! Staffordshire University, College Road, Ground Floor Mellor Building, room SO11

27/06/2018 Rob Marsden Acting skills for Business Professionals: Voice and Presence Workshop


Different Venue! Staffordshire University, College Road, Ground Floor Mellor Building, room SO11

This opportunity is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund’s England Operational Programme 2014 – 20

Summary Descriptions

25/04/2018   Sandy Kirkham

Putting the muse into business: the importance of the creative perspective in organisational change

Leading successful organisational change continues to challenge business and industry leaders, but many recommended approaches focus on functional and operational aspects, or on technological change, with little attention paid to accommodating human creativity. A socio-technical approach may be more appropriate for the creative industries. This talk will demonstrate how one such approach, the soft systems methodology, could be used to align organisational change more closely to business environments which are driven by artistic creativity and innovation.

02/05/2018   Carola Boehm

The creative industries are dead. Long live the creative industries

A talk with on how the consumption of culture and arts is affording the creative industries to adapt as users desire personalised, immersive experiences rather than mass produced products or services. This shift in how we consume and participate in cultural and creative activities has wide reaching consequences for the industry, and specifically opportunities for the micro- and SME cultural producers able to take advantage of the underpinning paradigm turn.

16/05/2018   Keith Smy

Mentoring and Coaching for SMEs

Coaching can provide an array of benefits for organizations of all sizes, especially small businesses, when conducted in an efficient and productive manner. Business coaches generally focus on developing the business owner or entrepreneur as a person, and the primary goal of the coaching is usually to achieve a positive and significant revenue increase for the business. In this workshop local business coach Keith Smy will explain what coaching is and what it can do for individuals, teams and businesses. He will give some pointers on how to get the best return from coaches and coaching and what help there is out there if you are thinking of engaging coaching services.

30/05/2018   Paul Williams

Making our mark in the world? You can bet your arts we are.

This presentation will explore how renewed interest in culture is helping to re-write the city’s story and drive up our creative reputation.

06/06/2018   Si Waite, Marc Estibeiro

Hands-on workshop on what it takes to create a podcast for your business. A podcast will be created while we learn.

The podcasting workshop will be held in the University’s state-of-the-art recording studios. Working with Music & Sound academics and technicians, participants will be shown how to record and edit audio using industry-standard hardware and software as well as source royalty-free music to enhance the finished piece. Content will be generated by recording conversations between participants on themes agreed at the start of the session.

13/06/2018   Peter Twilley

Growing your Social Enterprise

This workshop will look at inspiring examples of where people, or organisations have set up businesses that are about making money to do good. A social enterprise is about making money but is also about responding to a social or environmental issue that people are facing in their neighbourhoods or communities or at a wider global level. The workshop will consider what a social enterprise is and what is isn’t and will also provide an opportunity to share examples and dream dreams about what could be possible. It will also point you in the direction of potential support that is available to support social enterprise in Staffordshire.

27/06/2018   Rob Marsden

Presence and Communication Skills Workshop

How can we effectively communicate to (and with) an audience? By learning techniques that you can apply to interview, presentation and pitches scenarios, this workshop will equip you with the confidence and skills vocally and physically to communicate. This practical workshop will be led in an informal and non-pressurised environment. Robert Marsden is a freelance theatre director and an Associate Professor at Staffordshire University.