April 2015

Keep it Legal!

Many talented and energetic creative practitioners are hesitant about starting a business because they are fearful of entering what they think of as an alien world of compliance and regulation.

If you’re in the early stages of running your business, or thinking about starting, and are concerned about exactly what will be required of you by the statutory authorities, this is your chance to raise a flag and put your mind at ease..  

If fact, regulation at the small business level has become far easier to manage in recent times. The days of regular calls from tax officials are mercifully long gone and much of what you’ll be required to do can now be done easily online.

Here’s a flavour of what we’ll cover, though we’ll roam freely;

  • Registering with HMRC and Companies House
  • VAT
  • Website compliance
  • Insurance essentials
  • Upcoming workplace pension reforms 

Keep it legal, sleep easy!

When: 30 April 2015 / 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Where:Durham Town Hall

Becoming Social Media Ready

How do you navigate the choice of social media available to select the platforms best suited to promoting you and your business, whilst enabling you to gather customer information, keep and eye on your competitors, find time to develop new products and services?

This workshop is designed to make you more social media savvy so you know what works best for your target market and keeping your finger on the pulse. We’ll explore how to make the most of limited time but still pack a punch and drive traffic and potential customers to your website, online shop or events so that your tweets, pins, blogs and posts have a commercial impact.

When: 29 April 2015 / 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Where:Durham Town Hall

Opportunties at Keepers

Keepers is a beautiful newly opened café and gift shop right on the main street in Dipton. It aims to be the place to go for fantastic homemade food and delicious cakes. 

The gift and gallery offers the opportunity to find the perfect keepsake with beautiful gifts and handmade pieces by local artisans and crafters available.

There is even potential in the future to to run workshops in this delightful venue.

So we have teamed up with Keepers to offer you the chance to:

  • Visit Keepers

  • Meet the mother and daughter team who run it and hear about their vision and aspirations,

  • Taste some of the fantastic food

  • Take part in a come meet the buyer event to show your products, skills and share your workshop ideas.

When: 27 April 2015 / 10:00 AM - 2:00 AM

Where:Keepers Café Gift Shop Dipton

Show Me The Money

Finding funding, support and the right services for your business can seem both confusing and daunting for a number of reasons.

Often you may have questions you  feel you should know the answer to but are unsure who or how to ask - at the risk of seeming foolish

So we have teamed up with Service Network and Business Durham to pull together an interactive event to help you get the get the facts straight and we promise we won’t baffle you with science, jargon or too much information.

To book your free place please follow this link


When: 23 April 2015 / 8:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Where:Durham Town Hall 30 to 31 Market Place Durham

Beer Mat Business Planning

A bar is a place where you’re free to express brilliant/crazy ideas without having to worry about whether people think you’re brilliant or crazy. That makes it a perfect pace for kicking around business ideas. Throw in some like-minded people with supporters who know the business start-up ropes and can help you sketch out a back-of-beer mat plan, and before you can say “my round” you’re on your way!

Jane and Dave (who’ve both started businesses from the pub) will be back by popular demand to host the evening and bring a little structure to proceedings but the emphasis is on informality and letting the conversation take on a life of it's own.

Empty Shop, where we’ll gather, is an intimate and relaxing place like no other!

When: 22 April 2015 / 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Where:Empty Shop HQ 35c Framwellgate Bridge Durham City DH1 4SJ

County Durham Cultural Partnership Conference

Make the Most of the Creative and Cultural Heritage of Durham

An event for anyone interested in the development of the cultural and creative sector in the county and the opportunities that might bring.

If you represent an arts, cultural or heritage organisation, a social enterprise or community initiative using arts for social benefit, a creative sector business, or are an individual practitioner, then this event will be of interest to you.

County Durham Cultural partnership has recently commissioned research into how the county’s creative and cultural asset base can best be harnessed to the purpose of building a vision for the county.

The partnership is an independent body with representatives from county’s cultural and heritage venues and from Arts Council funded organisations. It is keen to share the findings and recommendations of the research so that opportunities are identified and the widest possible benefit can be gained.

The Programme for the Day

The morning session will be hosted by the Cultural Partnership. Durham Creatives will follow in the afternoon with a menu of workshops for those of you wishing to explore emerging opportunities. The day will provide a fantastic opportunity for all strands of the sector within the county to come together to build networks that will help make the whole greater than the sum of the parts.   

Please follow this link to book a place http://bit.ly/1AhPy5E

When: 21 April 2015 / 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM

Where:Durham Town Hall

Rural Women into Business

Work locally, sell globally

There are lots of reasons to start a business: fulfil a dream, top-up your income, exploit your skills or simply recharge yourself with a new challenge. 

If women started businesses at the same rate as men there’d be a million more businesses in the UK. For women living in rural areas though, starting a business means overcoming one particular challenge: being based in country villages and hamlets means that you’re unlikely to have customers falling out of every hedgerow. You need to look further afield and in the 21st century that’s no longer the logistical nightmare of yore but a perfectly routine thing to do, so much so that four out of five British sellers using online stores such as eBay expected to sell to four or more countries over Christmas.

‘Made in Britain’ carries weight: Barclays Bank research has shown that consumers in developing economies were willing to spend an extra 7 per cent for products carrying the label.

Heritage, humour, quality, creativity, trustworthiness:  these are the stereotypes that give you an automatic head start in the global market place so why not start taking advantage?

This event is now fully booked

When: 17 April 2015 / 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Where:The Witham, 3 Horse Market, Barnard Castle, County Durham, DL12 8LY

Commercialise Your Creativity

Through an entrepreneur’s oversized goggles, the world is a kaleidoscope of opportunities, some lying around waiting to be grasped, some actively being offered by potential buyers.

Either way, the entrepreneur starts by looking at what people want. Your challenge is to find ways to meet those wants by creating the things you love to create.

We’ll show you how to start looking for opportunities through entrepreneur’s goggles. Exploiting opportunities means generating ideas – lots of them – and then panning out the golden ones with real commercial potential using a few simple techniques. We’ll also show some real live examples of how creative entrepreneurs have succeeded by taking a structured approach to finding opportunities.

Having got this far, you’ll want to stand above the crowd so we’ll consider the importance of innovation in establishing a firm presence in a constantly shifting market place. Finally, we’ll explore how you might test your ideas and undertake proof of concept research.

When: 14 April 2015 / 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Where:Durham Town Hall

Art in the Park

Wharton Park, which overlooks Durham railway station, is about to undergo a huge restoration funded by the Heritage Lottery. 

The finances have been secured but at this early stage of development the restoration team is looking for ideas for arts activities to incorporate in its plans.

This is a great opportunity to meet the team and find out more about what they are looking for. Join us in a fun and structured ideas generation session to explore how art can be developed in the park and you can make the most of this rare opportunity. 

When: 10 April 2015 / 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Where:Durham Town Hall

Fresh Approaches to Winning Commissions

A workshop delivered on behalf of Interface Arts. Non-members welcome.

It’s the issue that almost every creative practitioner struggles with at one time or another: gaining access to commissions and finding opportunities to exhibit work.

Jane Shaw of Durham Creatives will describe how she has developed new opportunities for artists to exhibit and sell their works by adopting a fresh approach to commissioning.

Immersed as you are in the creative process, it easy to be reactive when it comes to the commercial side of what you do - watching and waiting for information flagging up opportunities is the default position. 

Sometimes though, you can drive the agenda. Take the recent example of the partnership between Durham Creatives and the DLI Museum and Gallery in Durham to create an opportunity for 15 practitioners to make, exhibit and sell new work commemorating the outbreak of the First World War. This proactive approach gathered its own momentum resulting in the award of £11,000 of additional Arts Council Funding. 

Jane will share her insights about how artists get a foot in the door and make sure people take notice of them, drawing on examples of unheralded practitioners who’ve developed strategies to break through and make a success of their careers.

Jane will follow this with an ideas generation workshop to help you think about how you too can maximise your own chances of success in building relationships with commissioners and getting your work shown or performed.

Free event (however, normal admission charges apply)

When: 04 April 2015 / 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Where:DLI Museum and Art Gallery, Durham

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Funded By

Durham County Council Altogether Wealthier