The very first Fringe Festival took place between the 16th and 23rd June 2012.
The weather was very kind to over 260 attendees, who enjoyed a great variety of activities. The festival was set against the annual Art and Design Show, which showcased the work of over 300 students graduating from the wide range of art and design degree courses at Staffordshire University.
Fringe activities included:
‘Firing Up’ Celebration Event
‘Firing Up’ celebrated the achievements of 5 Staffordshire schools that had been working in ceramics and clay.
A partnership between the Crafts Council and the university, the event was supported by Potterycraft, Potclays, Ibstock Brick and The Wedgewood Museum.
Showcasing the work of staff and students within the Faculty of Arts, Media and Design, the Miniprints exhibition featured 82 digital, relief, mono, photographic, silk screen etc. prints for a show which ran from June 15-23 in the Experimental Prints Studio, over 50 of which were purchased.
Fringe lecture series
Fringe were proud to present 6 public lectures on a range of subjects from football to fascism and photography to wine tasting.
History lecturer, Dr Tony Craig’s lecture explored the inter-war activities of MI5 and their expansion into the investigation of extreme left-wing and right-wing political groups prior to the World War Two.
To lighten the mood, Professor Doug Burnham asked “WHY do we enjoy a glass of wine?” His talk looked at philosophical approaches that might determine whether we can really say that drinking a glass of wine is an aesthetic experience, and can be classified as art.
In his talk “The Artist as Entrepreneur”, Nick Clements proposed that qualities such as imagination, creativity, flexiblity and risk taking are as natural to creatives as they are to entrepreneurs. He asked “Isn’t it time ‘creatives’ took their rightful place as vital players in the creation of community, not luxuries?”
In “A Cabinet of Curiosities”, Photography lecturer, David Noble explored how photographs, can intrigue, excite but also make us anxious. This talk asked why that might be by considering the strange Surrealist case of the Mexican Jumping Bean.
Media (Film) Production lecturer and loyal Port Vale supporter, John Holden took a walk down the trials and tribulations of life and supporting your football team.
In “Tales of a travelling Rogue and Vagabond”, Professor Ray Johnson recounted his experiences of the pitfalls of working in Fringe Theatre.
Unilateral Exhibition Launch Event
Curated by Fine Art graduate, Behjat Omer the “Unilateral” exhibited selected painting, sculpture, photography, video and installation art from Staffordshire University Fine Art students.
Gothic Storytelling Night at Spode
The English and Creative Writing department at Staffordshire University hosted an evening of Gothic story telling featuring storyteller Sophie Snell, and novellist Storm Constantine. The event took place in the atmospheric surroundings of the abandoned Spode Factory in Stoke.
Drama, Performance and Theatre Arts students performed three plays for the public.
“Frank and Marilyn” (Pictured) explored the downfall of a successful Frank Sinatra impersonator. “Neville’s Advocate”, told the story of a recently deceased underachiever who has to prove he is worth giving a second chance at life. “Far Away” explored our relative comfort and our ignorance of what seems to be a dangerous and threatening world.
Creative Industries Night
Burslem School of Art, Staffordshire University and CRE8Net collaborated to deliver the Creative Industries Night. People were given the chance to network with local practicing artists, creative practitioners and local companies such as Bitjam. There was also a chance to hear entrepreneurial guest speakers and stand-up comedy from Tony Vino, kept things relaxed.
Pass the Baton – Live performance
Funded by Staffordshire County Council for ‘The Get Dancing’ Project as part of the Cultural Olympiad 2012, Pass the Baton was a dynamic 10-minute live dance performance. It featured Physical Theatre, Free-running and gestural choreography.
Summer Factory Floor: The Great Arts Debate
Local creative industries and community artists and guest speaker, Tristram Hunt MP debated the Arts Council’s quest to explore what makes great art. It asked how we can enable more people from Stoke on Trent to enjoy art and commission it for themselves.
It’s A Wrap! – Media Event
Unique Media Production and Bitjam presented a celebration event showcasing the best creative ideas from Staffordshire University’s Media Production courses in a new and unique way. Combining vision and sound design, live music, performance and an ‘on set’ experience; visitors had a chance to see, speak, listen, watch and learn about the films from within a beautifully organized space.
Big! Family Day
Fringe 2012 ended in style by throwing open the campus doors and inviting families with children of all ages to take part in a host of free, fun activities including children’s storytelling, singing, drama and film-making workshops.
Children from the local community also got the chance to find out what it is like to be a news presenter by having a go at reading the news. Eleanor, aged ten said: “I loved reading the news. I might be a broadcast journalist someday! And I like the caramel designs”.