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The day before the next day

I'm tired. Of not sleeping, of comfort eating, of being in pain. I'm tired of feeling dreadful, having pale skin, no energy and everything hurting. I'm tired of having to force every interaction because I don't have enough energy. I'm 36 and I shouldn't feel this way. I'm unlucky to suffer with a chronic pain condition, it's called Trigeminal Neuralgia and it's awful. It's wearing and depressing and when I'm not in pain I'm spending time waiting to be in pain. In the days before drugs that affected the nervous system it was known as suicide disease, and it’s wearing me out.

Despite this, I didn't always feel so unwell. But combined with rheumatoid arthritis affecting my feet and ankles and a motor/sensory nerve condition that limits movement and sensation in my left hand I feel pretty crap right now.

I cope by eating. Bad day? Cake. Really bad day? McDonalds. Really really day day? Chinese and an extra anti-depressant. This isn'…

Are you even from here?

Across the city people in the creative sectors are considering the opportunities that the City of Culture 2021 bid brings to them - it represents a step change in the relationship that the council has had with the creative sector. A more open dialogue, a more willing contribution to funding, and a more open admission of the contribution of the value of the sector as a whole.

For those who aren’t in the creative sector, the bid gives everyone the chance to shout about the passion that they have for their city. And as we know, we’ve much to be passionate about, our design heritage in ceramics, our manufacturing history, the contributions that the city has made to music and the community feel and openness that the city has long been known for.

It’s right that we have this pride about our city, and it’s right that we are excited about what the future might bring. Does it matter I wonder, when we got here? Re:Stoke recently released the film version of their stunning “You are here”. It cel…

Making learning work

I’m not really a child-friendly person. Not that I dislike children, I don’t go round putting them in the bin or anything, it’s just that I don’t like things that I can’t predict. So along with Jazz, moths and butterflies, children go into my personal room 101. After all, dog memes and anti-depressants already exist - how much more joy could there be in the world?

It was with an amount of trepidation then that I recently went to a School science day run by my friends at Wavemaker. The purpose of the day was to expose kids to some learning, some ‘daft’ science and tech and to give them an idea of the tools that are available that schools might not have the resource, or the time to dive into. I was there to do the tweeting and to help the team out with anything ah-hoc. As such, once the setup had been done, and all the leads had been securely taped away to avoid trips (and to stop Benedict’s OCD getting triggered) I promptly hid behind my Wavemaker stickered laptop in the corner.

The ki…

Part 2 - Moving on

So at the end of my last "Long Read" article, I didn't really answer the question that I started with. Well, I hinted at it. I said that a maker was a creative, curious, intuitive, determined person - but those are just some of the hats that makers wear. 
I've been working more closely with the Wavemaker gang over the last few months, and it's given me a lot more insight into what makes a maker. From the perspective of the core team - Alex and Ben making is more than the physical assembly of new objects. They speak about making in the way that many would talk about a religious conviction - with the fervour and excitement of those who have just glimpsed a cosmic clue. 
What I'm beginning to understand is that the "maker mindset" isn't really about making at all, it's about thinking. It's about having the knowledge and confidence in your ability to find a solution, when you're able to make something you can look at a situation and visual…

The long read: Wavemaker - Moving on.

So at the end of my last "Long Read" article, I didn't really answer the question that I started with. Well, I hinted at it. I said that a maker was a creative, curious, intuitive, determined person - but those are just some of the hats that makers wear.

I've been working more closely with the Wavemaker gang over the last few months, and it's given me a lot more insight into what makes a maker. From the perspective of the core team - Alex and Ben making is more than the physical assembly of new objects. They speak about making in the way that many would talk about a religious conviction - with the fervour and excitement of those who have just glimpsed a cosmic clue.

What I'm beginning to understand is that the "maker mindset" isn't really about making at all, it's about thinking. It's about having the knowledge and confidence in your ability to find a solution, when you're able to make something you can look at a situation and visuali…

I know someone

I know someone who can visualise a brand identity just by looking at a colour
I know someone who can see a room full of teenagers making things for the first time
I know someone who can make a music festival happen
I know someone who can make a room grin with his humour, and cry at his humility
I know someone who can make a unicorn happen from a bag of flour
I know someone who made his own beer shop
I know someone who can see some graffiti and give you a history lesson on street culture
I know someone who can take you on a tour of every abandoned railway line in the city
I know someone who can write, and draw and sing and paint
I know someone who came to Stoke for a short trip, and made it home
I know someone who makes the best coffee
I know someone who takes clay, and makes it beautiful
I know someone whose words light a fire under a room
I know someone who believes in Stoke-on-Trent
I know someone who battles pain every day with a smile on her face
I know someone who would never mis…

To those that do

Do: (v). To perform, to execute, to accomplish, to be the cause of, to travel, to pay homage, to serve, to make, to create.

Pilgrim’s Pit, Gallery 116, 51-53, RAWR, Hounds, Klay, Bottlecraft, Wavemaker, Zest, The Upstairs Gallery, Rebel-Culture, Valentine’s Curious Closet. What are they all? Independents yes, but they are more than that – they are where the ‘people who do’ go to work. Now, please give me a moment before you vomit all over your screen – this isn’t some B.S. Linked In article telling you how you just need to divorce your wife and raffle off the dog to have more hours in your day (there’s a chance that could work though). It’s more a celebration of what happens when people ‘do’.

For as long as I’ve lived in Stoke we’ve been in some form of tumult, economically, politically, an identity crisis. Remember that time that Equifax said we were all really poor? (Many of us were), or when National Health statistics said we were all too fat? (*puts down biscuit*), or when the wor…