I am very pleased to share ‘Re-Stoked’ (2017) an excellent short documentary film produced by Keele University students Sammy Chadwick, Karen YL Chen, Carla Dobson-Perez and James Redgrove. The film interweaves the personal narrative of Stoke-based artist Frederick Phillips with the story of Stoke’s recent art led urban regeneration. The film was produced as part of a second year module on Documentary Theory & Practice on the BA Media, Communications & Culture programme.
Here is a short post from Carla Dobson-Perez (one of the student filmmakers) on the making of the film and its excellent reception by Stoke’s artistic and cultural community:
As part of a Second Year module (MDS-20032 Documentary: Theory and Practice) assessment we were asked to create a short documentary on any topic. A group of us decided to focus on the regeneration of Stoke-on-Trent, particularly through its arts and culture. We’d heard about the repurposing of the Spode factory in Stoke, where an organisation called ACAVA, in collaboration with the Council, had built 41 studios for renting by local artists of all sorts.
We travelled to the site and met the two artists featured in the documentary: Frederick Phillips (artist) and Andy Cooke (graphic designer) who became the leading stars in our piece. Spode factory as a location was fantastic to shoot, we were never short of scenic establishing shots and what seemed like an abundance of hidden gems just waiting to be filmed around the vast, and mostly abandoned, site.
Whilst interviewing our artists, we became aware of Stoke’s City of Culture bid for 2021. As our documentary featured the regeneration of Stoke’s cultural scene, we saw a fantastic opportunity to use our documentary as a form of promotion for the bid itself.
We shared the final piece with the artists residing at Spode Studios, Stoke-on-Trent council, those backing the bid at both Staffordshire University and Keele University, as well as ACAVA themselves. It received an extremely positive response, beyond what we’d imagined, and was shared by numerous people including Ben Eastop (Estates and Regeneration Manager at ACAVA), who featured it on the ACAVA Spode website (http://www.acavaspodeworks.org/events/new-film-re-stoked-stokes-artistic-revival/).