Archive | July, 2010

Life in a Day – Wood Street Mission Creative Friends

29 Jul

Interview with Jan O'Connor at the opening of "Life in a Day" Creative Friends of Wood Street

This evening saw a significant slice of Manchester’s creative world come together in support of a longstanding, but of late largely ignored, cornerstone of Manchester’s social-industrial past. The Wood Street Mission was established 141 years ago by Manchester’s business community to help the neediest in Manchester and Salford.  Throughout its life Wood Street has provided essential food and clothing to those with nothing, helping them through hard times, before getting them back on their feet.

The Creative Friends of Wood Street are a group of creative professionals and creative businesses that have come together, giving their time and resources for free, to help promote the work of the mission and raise the profile of their excellent work.  The exhibition “Life in a Day” brings together images from the mission’s archive alongside new work from photographer Andrew Brooks who has spent the last year documenting their ongoing work.  Intended as the first in a series of profile raising explorations into Wood Street’s work the Creative Friends ultimate aim is to encourage more businesses and individuals to engage with the Mission’s work and embrace the tradition of Mancunians at the top helping those who find themselves at the bottom.

I got the chance to speak to Wood Street manager Jan O’Connor to discuss the origins of the Mission, the thinking behind the Creative Friends initiative and the challenges faced by small charities in the current climate.  You can listen here.

The Wood Street Mission in 1900

Although out of the public eye for some time the Mission has been a consistent force for good in Manchester that helped over 11,500 local people, including direct help for over 7,300 local children over the last 12 months. Now, having seen a new business community grow around it on the Spinningfields site, the mission is once again appealing to those doing well out of the city to help them continue their work supporting those a little less fortunate by donating as little as £7.50 a month .

The exhibition is an excellent introduction into the history of a true forgotten gem of Manchester’s third sector and, although only open for 3 days over the weekend, is an opportunity for anyone looking to help make Manchester a better place find out about one charity that has consistently delivered for people in need.  Even if you can’t make it you can donate directly here http://www.justgiving.co.uk/woodstreetmission/Donate or you can call the Mission on 0161 834 3140 to book onto one of their monthly tours to see their work first hand.

“Life in a Day” is open from Friday 30th July – Sunday 1st August 2010
Unit B1/B2 (Next to Cafe Rouge), Irwell Square, Left Bank
Spinningfields, Manchester , M3 3AN

YouTube Play – Deadline Approaching

28 Jul

YouTube Play

In a clear demonstration of a sea change in the art elite’s attitude towards the somewhat haphazard creative output of the internet the Guggenheim has teamed up with YouTube to bring the world the inaugural YouTube Play Biennial.

Seeking to identify and present a long list of 200 videos from the site that are “innovative, original and surprising regardless of genre, technique or budget” the Guggenheim and a celebrity judging panel will select the cream of the crop to be presented at the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum in New York with simultaneous presentations in Bilbao, Berlin and Venice.

Judging submissions will be Takashi Murakami, Ryan McGinley, Douglas Gordon, Marilyn Minter and Shirin Neshat; Stefan Sagmeister, Laurie AndersonAnimal Collective and the filmmakers Darren Aronofsky and Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

To be considered videos must be non-commercial in nature, no longer than 10 minutes in length and have been released to the public within the last two years (full terms are available here).

Submissions close July 31, 2010 so if you’ve got work that you want to enter get to http://www.youtube.com/play now!

MLA and UK Film Council Axed

26 Jul

Two big blows for culture today under the new governmental cuts to the DCMS.  Both the British Film council and the MLA (Museums Libraries and Archives council) are to be wound up by 2012 under Jeremy Hunt’s cost saving initiatives.

In a depressingly polite press release MLA chief executive Roy Clare has vowed to keep working up to the finish line which will see a number of his staff moved over to the Arts Council, having been informed of the decision to close his organisation as part of a “very civilised” phone conversation on Friday.  However,  his equal number at the UK Film Council, John Woodward, has been far more vocal and direct in his objections to the cuts calling the decision “a big mistake, driven by short-term thinking and political expediency”.

Next in the firing line: English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

Perhaps a minute’s silence for public sector supported culture is called for.

Creative Industries Start-Up Toolkit

26 Jul

Whilst looking to put certain processes and procedures in place to ensure the success of our own corner of the creative landscape Curated Place stumbled across some interesting reading from the people at NESTA.

The Creative Enterprise Toolkit brings together the expertise developed by NESTA for their Scotland based Starter For Six programme that supports creative entrepreneurs North of the Border.  Designed to help creative people turn their good ideas into good business ideas the package is available free here and essential reading for anyone looking to make their creativity their living.

Killer (Re)Released

23 Jul

The Ruthless Rap Assassins classic Killer Album to be re-released

Staying on a musical theme there’s great news for all fans of UK hip hop with the revalation that two of the men that shaped the culture from behind the scenes are hooking up to re-release a forgotten classic.

Andy Cowan, the man behind the world’s first rap monthly HHC, and DJ/producer/music manager Greg Wilson, have joined forces to re-release the Killer album, the highly regarded magnum opus of Hulme’s finest – the Ruthless Rap Assassins.  Cowan, formerly editor in chief of the now all digital UK hip hop mag, has stepped away from the magazine publishing world to focus his love for hip hop more directly on keeping the culture alive by starting up specialist music label Original Dope.

An imprint of Cherry Red Records, who have previously helped out Curated Place on the Hacienda exhibition, Original Dope’s raison d’être is a dedication to preserving the legacy of the best hip-hop music on the planet, with a strong emphasis on classic British rap and lost American standards.

20 years on from the original unleashing of the Assassin’s debut album, Killer will be re-issued in all of it’s glory as the first Original Dope release, with the distinct possibility of the crew making a series of rare live appearances to celebrate the occasion.  Definitely a must have album for any fan of UK hip hop, the album also deserves a place in all serious music collector’s racks as the defining work from a crew officially recognised as the UK’s most successful least successful British chart artists ever (charting twice at no.75 for just one week).

The Ruthless Rap Assassins Killer Album 20th anniversary re-issue will be released in September 2o1o on Original Dope records (catalogue number ODOPE1001)

Musical interlude

22 Jul

Great combination of hi-fi acoustics from mancunian musical outfit This Morning Call and touching lo-fi stop motion visuals from up-coming photographer and film-maker Lisa Risbec in their new video.

Haunting tune and loving Lisa’s accompanying visuals that tap into the darkness of European folk-tales and mythology over polished and sweetened US influenced animation that saturates the mainstream.  Nice atmospheric touch to see everything looking like it’s been shot on a hand-cranked camera too.

What is interior design?

21 Jul

"What is Interior Design?" - The Whitworth Adult Programme

Tomorrow night the Whitworth Art Gallery’s Adult Programme hosts MMU course leader and author of the book “What is Interior Design“,  Graeme Brooker, as part of their Adult Programme talks series.  Greame will be discussing how we design our interior spaces and the traps and stereotypes we fall into.

True to their ambitions to open the gallery to everyone the whole event is free with complementary drinks on offer from 6pm, before the talks kick off at 6.30pm.

Email ed.watts@manchester.ac.uk to find out more or just show up tomorrow at the gallery from 6.

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