Donny Maker Group : Show & Tell event #DoncasterIsGreat #ILoveDN

The first Doncaster Maker Group meeting at Church View in Doncaster was an inspirational event which left everyone feeling really energised and hungry for more!.. So here it is!..

Doncaster Maker Group show and tell meeting flyer

Why not come along…

You can help spread the word by downloading a PDF of the poster here and a PDF of the flyer here.

And don’t forget to follow the Donny Makers on Facebook!…

Wiki Who, Wiki How?.. #DonnyMakers Wiki Design Workshop #DoncasterIsGreat #ILoveDN

Wiki workshop flyer

The Doncaster Maker Group are holding a Wiki Workshop event at Church View tomorrow night prior to their official launch in March. A liberal dose of free tea and scones will ensure that this isn’t just geek event, so why not come along…

And don’t forget to follow the Donny Makers on Facebook!…

‘Love Your Laptop’: a FREE computer workshop at Church View #DoncasterIsGreat #ILoveDN


This Thursday (3rd October), 5:30pm until 7:30pm I’ll be hosting a FREE Love Your Laptop workshop at Church View.

The event is designed to help people get more from their computers, but it’s very much a skill-share workshop where we all help each other (or Google for an answer if none of us can help 😉 ). So even if you’re already a computer whizz you might want to come down and share your knowledge…

The View
Doncaster Central Development Trust
Church View Centre
Church View

(the former art college behind St George’s Minster, opposite Tesco car park)

In praise of the TCQ… the Trans-Cultural Quarter! #ILoveDN #DoncasterIsGreat

The Other
The Other

As Doncaster celebrates the launch of CAST, the £22m jewel in the crown of Doncaster’s £300m Civic & Cultural Quarter (CCQ), I’d like to dedicate a few lines to the alternative cultural quarter which has been forming steadily (and cheaply!) in a leafier part of town (especially as they cut down all the trees near the CCQ ).

Church View, owned and run by Doncaster Central Trust, has become something of a creative incubator hosting a series of wonders that barely cost hundreds of pounds to pull-off, let alone millions. 😉

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of very talented and dedicated people involved with the CCQ (who are quite often also involved with projects at Church View as well) and I welcome the commitment shown by various bodies to promote the arts in Doncaster. But there will always be a need for – and my anarchist heart will always favour… – spaces which are not afraid to experiment and, perhaps more importantly, are not afraid to take risks.

I can hardly imagine the DMBC saying ‘yes‘ to letting Phlegm create a giant mural on their spanking new building…

…and then saying ‘yes‘ to setting a fire in front of it…

…and then saying ‘yes‘ to letting us sing, and play, and feast, and tell stories while marine-flare wielding foxes dance the night away!..


telling flare

And rightly so. My friends and I would have the concrete ripped up and replaced with a forest garden in no time… and all those glass windows would make perfect greenhouses! 😉

Whereas the CCQ offers a showcase for culture as presented by mature, professional talent, the ‘culture’ of Church View can sometimes have more in common with a petri dish. By this I mean it is a place which celebrates raw potentiality…. let’s mix up some ingredients, add some funk, poke it around a bit and see what happens. The CCQ is a place to celebrate what *is*. Church View is a place to discover what can *be*… to push boundaries and give anyone with a voice the chance to speak… to break down and to build anew. This is why I call it the Trans-Cultural Quarter.

Doncaster needs both a CCQ and a TCQ. More importantly it needs them to work together to tease out the innate creativity of fine Donny folk… so here’s to your CQs, both C and T, in the hope that they find each other ASAP.

Flight… from the ‘The Conspiracy of Good Taste’ – #DoncasterIsGreat for art and artists!

small portrait

Flight, the exhibition I’m involved with at Church View, launches tomorrow (20/6/13) at 5:00pm. I’ve had a sneak preview at David Jacques‘ pieces and I can highly recommend a visit. I’ve only been told about Heidi Dent‘s works, but from what I’ve heard I’m really looking forward to seeing them too. With live music from Dan Welsh it should prove to be a great preview event.

As for my own more humble contributions, I’m hoping to focus more on the creative process itself rather than the end product…

A highly developed cerebral cortex combined with opposable thumbs makes us the creatures who evolved to become creators. We are problem solving, pattern recognising, music making, mega-building apes with a passion for expression, and yet we live in a society which, for the most part, seems to treasure consumption more highly than creativity. ‘Professional creatives’ in all fields are treated as a gifted elite, and I have every respect for them, but I have yet to meet a child which wasn’t innately creative in some way or other. As the famous Picasso quote goes: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

We seem to inhabit a world which fears true creative freedom. Much lip-service is offered to freedom of the press and freedom of speech, but the vast majority of us are actively discouraged from freely expressing our emotions through the arts. We are all familiar with the Billy Elliot syndrome which is still an obstacle for many working class people, but the flip-side to this is the process which Stefan Szczelkun describes perfectly in his 1993 book, ‘The Conspiracy of Good Taste‘.

Time and again Doncaster is described as a ‘cultural desert’ and we are told that Doncaster people do not engage with the arts. This is, of course, nonsense; no community of people anywhere or anywhen has ever existed without some form of culture!

The real problem is one of access and communication rather than a lack of indigenous culture. Despite John Prescott’s ludicrous claims that we are “all middle class now”, we still live in one of the most unequal and class divided societies on the planet, so it would be foolish to think that our everyday (and by association artistic…) experiences are universal. Those who fail to see creativity in Doncaster do so because they fail to understand (or in many cases blatantly ignore) the  – verbal, visual and emotional… – vernacular of the region. In other words the only ‘art’ the experts recognise is their art, not ours.

This is, of course, a two way process. We Doncastrians can be wilfully insular when our guard is up (we are all too used to people parachuting in to tell how to live before parachuting straight back out again once they’ve cashed the cheques). Either way the end result is the same, a continuous breakdown of communication and the continual reinforcement of blind (dare I say snobbish…) hierarchy.

But, as it says in my programme biog below, I have every faith in the democratising nature of digital and communications technologies…

Warren Draper is a self-taught writer, photographer & designer whose current work examines the democratising effect digital technology has on photography and the arts in general. Using a combination of donated ‘end-of-use’ computers, a (borrowed) compact camera and readily available Free Open Source Software (FOSS) applications, Warren explores techniques which have the potential to allow financially and/or socially excluded members of our society to express themselves creatively using photography and other digital media; even if they do not have access to the latest equipment and/or software.

Warren believes that a creative outlet (in whatever form) is essential to the human condition, and that any obstacle to free expression – which can range from outright cultural censorship, to endemic trends towards elitism, to socioeconomic exclusion – should be viewed as an affront. And that true progress can be achieved by encouraging the creation of new artists and new art-forms as we as new art-works.

As such I will be including a brief introduction to arts related FOSS applications as part of the exhibition. We’ll have a PC set up where you can play around with GIMP and Inkscape; the programmes used to create the art-works I’m putting on show… gulp!

Hope to see you there 🙂

FLIGHT: an exhibition at Church View featuring Heidi Dent, David Jacques and yours truly – #DoncasterIsgreat

Flight Exhibition (small)

I’m going to be exhibiting a series of photos as part of an exhibition called ‘FLIGHT‘, which will run from June 20th to July 18th at Church View. I’m very honoured (and more than a little scared) to be exhibiting alongside the incredibly talented Heidi Dent and David Jacques.

There’s an exhibition preview on Thursday 20th June from 5pm to 7pmeverybody welcome!

I’ll be posting more about the exhibition in the next few days. If you’d like to help spread the word you can click here for a PDF of the poster.  😉