What would you say if someone were to tell you Stoke-on-Trent could be the epicentre for a creative hub… A hub which is set to not only provide numerous employment opportunities, but the chance for collaboration between multi-media businesses who are dominating their fields…

A hub where artists, advertisers, public relations experts and many more come together to create worldwide content from a centre steeped in Potteries history…

That HUB is real…that HUB is here in Stoke Town Centre!

BabaBaboon’s Founder & Editor of BabaBaboon.co.uk – Sonya Farrall was at the official launch of the new studios, at the Potbank building, located in Spode Works on Tuesday 12 July.

It was a launch event which oozed excitement amongst the owners of The Dog & Bone Group and Potbank Group…It was a launch event where those invited watched and listened intentively as news was shared about developments and the announcement of three new tenants to the centre.

Starting in the Potbank’s newly refurbished ‘Factory Floor’ venue, guests learned how the room in which they were sitting, was once home to the former Spode Factory – a room transformed into an entertainment venue and shared with the adjacent cafe bar and restaurant – The Quarter.

Jeff Nash, of Potbank, explained the journey from a derelict run down building to what it has on offer in 2022. Studios located in a three-storey building are now homes to multi-media creative agency i-creation, Digital Artist Megan Rose and International Advertising Agency VCCP – all new tenants joining Popcorn Learning Media and other creative geniuses.

Just a stones throw away are Stoke-on-Trent’s Carse & Waterman – an animation studio who have already been collaborating with their neighbours.

“Since the end of the pandemic we have been trying to curate all our new tenancies around a cluster of businesses in the same media-tech space…” said Jeff.

“All these businesses have common roots and connections to the media faculties at the University. A number of them were already collaborating and meeting regularly in the Potbank café back in 2019. The more we started talking to this sector, the more similar businesses kept popping up, widening the initial grouping to include animators, digital artists, gaming tech developers, artists using tech as a route to market via blogging, websites and apps and even NFTs.

“The formation of this group was founded on a number of local USPs including: Stokes’ creative traditions, the emerging Silicon Stoke infrastructure, the world leading media and other creative faculties at Staffordshire University producing a pipeline of talent, and, some momentum generated by a group of collaborating artists and businesses already in existence within the “Spode Creative Village” and around Stoke Town.”

Words spoken on the day resonated with many in the room – including local bespoke Web Design & Software Development Company CyberKiln – whose own business ethos aligns with many on the site.

It was mentioned that work alongside the CBI has resulted in a new name for the hub – as Jeff said: “The Createch Cluster…potentially one of the biggest growth sectors in City and set to become a major employer in Stoke Town. We have already seen new demand for space coming together (drawn by the existing cluster) that suggests it can, if given the right support, double in employee numbers within the next 12-18 months.”

outside-studio-potbank-july-2022When Andy Jackson of i-creation stood up and spoke – the room listened more and more, as his passion and enthusiasm for such a Creative Centre in Stoke burst out.

“The Spode site is fast becoming a hub for exciting creative businesses and the creative sector will lead Stoke-on-Trent to strengthen the city’s position as a digital dynamo. i-creation’s activity and client base is an important part of cementing that reputation. We’re excited about how the studio could fit into our office portfolio and provide opportunities for collaboration with other businesses on the site and in Stoke Town, as well as building on our strong existing relationship with Staffordshire University,” said Andy.

A tour followed as guests were taken around the quality made studios before refreshments back at the Factory Floor.

To add to the buzz, it was announced that Dog & Bone have also signed an agreement to develop a 8,500plus sqft factory extension for Fletcher Moorland at the former Carlton Works Potbank. Fetcher Moorland are one of Stoke Town’s oldest and largest private employers specialising in electro- mechanical and industrial automation refurbishment and repair.

Megan-rose-studio-long-potbank-2022All of this shared at a buzzing, innovative Creative Hub..on the birthday of Josiah Wedgwood!

Silicon Stoke? Createch Cluster?…This is undoubtedly an emerging development where masterpieces are created, dreams are made and collaborations are are all part of one huge epic journey… Thank You for the visit and tour – Sonya & Baba!

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