Creative Spark visit to Baltic Creative 15th-18th October 2019

We planned our visit to the Baltic Creative in Liverpool with the intentions of gaining knowledge and expertise needed to run a creative hub on a large scale. We are relatively small hub in comparison to the Baltic Creative.  We were focused on a transfer of knowledge about how to attract creative business, how to grow, challenges and obstacles along the way. We also set out to gain contacts from the area and build relationships with other hubs in the area. A trip to the John Moore’s University was also planned as well as a Creative printmaking workshop for our event.

Day 1

On arrival we were given a tour or the hub from director Mark Lawler. Afterwards we sat down for a chat about our stories and shared experiences, obstacles and so forth. Gaining invaluable information about how they grew and the core ideas behind their story.

Day 2

This day we planned to spend the day at the John Moore’s University. It was an open day at the university and we spent the day with Lol Baker who manages a FABlab at the college. This was a great connection to meet as we are planning on expanding our hub and creating a Fabrication Lab in the next year. Spending time with him gave us insight into the day to day running’s of the lab and the vast possibilities it can create. Learning about the different equipment and training available and talking about future collaborations. Seeing how they collaborate with the community, university, hubs and artists was inspiring and exciting.

Day 3

On day 3 we had planned a tour of the Baltic Creative Northern Lights and to run our event. Alex who manages the Northern Lights building gave us a tour of the grounds. Mainly housing artists and collectives it a very exciting building. It houses artists, craft collectives, tattoo artists and more. In the centre is a community style café/bar/restaurant Tusk. This is where we decided to run the workshop. We decided on a pop up printing workshop consisting of miniature linocuts, drypoint etchings and cyanotypes. We printed all the pieces on a 3d printed miniature printing press. The event was successful with hub members joining in as well as some staff from the Baltic Creative. Originally we were going to do a graffiti piece on a large wall outside the hub. But the wall the week of the event was deemed unsafe so unfortunately we had to change our plan.

Day 4

On the final day we met the social media and admin team from the Baltic getting their perspective of the hub. sharing stories, backgrounds and possibilities. we also had a catch up with Mark who gave us a presentation on the Baltic story past/present and future. We also visited another hub the far side of the city called “make Liverpool” which was great to see. It was more traditional creatives and woodwork based artists. It was great to see what they have developed and again had a great sense of community. We had discussions about the setup, classes and community projects that we both see as core aspects of our hubs.

Overall it was a fantastic and inspiring experience. We gained a lot of knowledge and ideas that we can transfer to our hub here in Ireland and vice versa. We got some great contacts and are hoping for future collaborations.