Summer '17 Brief

Summer '17 Brief

The Summer issue of Looky Bag is right around the corner, and we’re proud to announce that our sponsor is Baker & Co. at Fenton Town Hall.



Fenton Town Hall was built in 1888 by local landowner and pottery magnate, William Meath Baker. Converted to Magistrates Courts in the 1960’s, it passed into the hands of the Ministry of Justice in 2007. In 2012 The courts were closed and the building was put up for sale on the open market.
Local community campaigners were outraged and rallied to oppose it. They did so on the grounds that the Town Hall was built for the people of Fenton, and should be returned to them. Furthermore, the building houses four war memorials including a unique Minton tile memorial, displaying the names of 498 Fenton men killed in the First World War.
The Fenton Community Association teamed up with planning and regeneration specialists, Urban Vision, and presented a business plan to the MoJ which involved buying the building for £1 and utilising it for community and starter business use. After months of fruitless discussion the bid was was rejected. When all seemed lost, the final straw for the concerned community was to invoke Article 61 of the Magna Carta and occupy the building.
The campaigners staged a sit-in that began on Remembrance Sunday 2014 and went on until after Christmas. The campaigners included Justin Meath Baker, the great-grandson of the original builder, William Meath Baker. A successful architect and staunch supporter of the campaign, with the MoJ negotiations in deadlock, the campaign flagging and unsupported by the then council leadership, Justin went on to buy the building, to assure that the building remained open to the public.
The building is now home to 21 local businesses, including a cafe, a fitness group and artists studios, just as the community association had hoped for the building. The building is still a work in progress, with the next phase focusing on restoring the ballroom and bringing it back into community and business use.


The Brief:

Inspired by the multiple incarnations, community passion, and continuing life of this historic building, the Looky Bag summer ’17 brief asks artists to respond to Stoke-on-Trent’s built environment…
We’re looking for submissions that explore Stoke’s physical past, present and imagined future, (perhaps 10 years, 100 years, 1000 years from now). Submissions that uncover lost buildings, plans that never happened, iterations of a city that never were, or present visions for the future. Submissions that celebrate/critique existing architecture in the city, explore devision and unification, transience and permanence. Use psychogeography to reinterpret the city and express and celebrate its challenges and eccentricities, as the UK’s only poly-centric city. Create new ways of experiencing the city for the Looky Bag readers. The roads, the canals, the railways, tramways, greenways, alleyways, how do they affect the city’s people?
Visual artists, writers, poets, video artists, musicians, makers and performers are all invited to contribute to this intriguing issue, which seeks to present Stoke-on-Trent’s architecture and infrastructure through the eyes and minds of its creative inhabitants – another narrative to set against the sound bites and snapshots of by-election journalists.


Please e-mail your submission to by 5pm on Monday 22nd May. Since Looky Bag is a curated Bag-zine, all submissions will be subject to a selection process. Chosen submissions will be printed and included in 3000 Looky Bags distributed to 60 stockists across North Staffordshire and South Cheshire. 

You are free to use any medium that can be printed on paper (A5 maximum), or directed to via literature within the bag (i.e. physical performance or online content). You could also contribute one off originals or objects for all (3000) bags or a limited number (from 1 bag upwards) as long as it will safely fit into a paper bag.

Submissions should be a .jpg or .pdf at 300dpi. Please ensure important content is at least 5mm away from the edges of the image to allow for cropping. 

Please remember to sign your work and include any contact details if you wish to. 

If your submission is chosen, we will need you to help us pack the bags some time between 26th-29th June, so please make sure at least one of these days is free if possible. The packing parties are excellent networking events in their own right, well worth coming to meet the other contributors to the bag and the sponsors.



Match Maker Event, 6-9 Thursday 23rd, The Wedgwood Institute, Burslem.

poster A4On Thursday 23rd Feb at the Wedgwood Institute in Burslem, Looky Bag and their spring ’17 sponsor Wavemaker Stoke have teamed up to hold a landmark networking event that will put Stoke-on-Trent makers on the map- literally!

Makers of the city from all specialisms and disciplines are invited to drop in between 6-9pm to share where they are, what they make, how they make it, what they need and who they need to make what they make even better.

The event will be the first opportunity for people to join the ‘Maker Map’ of the city which is being pioneered by Wavemaker and Looky Bag creators Nicola Winstanley & Sarah Nadin.

This is the start of what we hope can become a strong living network of makers in the city, which nurtures, promotes and supports itself, and shows the rest of the world what we’re made of here in Stoke-on-Trent.

If you are unable to join us in person, you can tune in on facebook live, where we will be streaming the event from or tweet us @LookyBag

You can add yourself directly to the Maker Map here at

About Wavemaker

Wavemaker is Stoke on Trent’s premier digital maker space. A place where young people come together with professionals to play, make, learn and grow. They offer access to a laser cutter, 3D printer, laptops, ipads, design software, sewing machines, vinyl cutter and heat press. As well as a plethora of STEAM related devices such as Micro:bits and Raspberry Pis.

About Looky Bag

Looky Bag is a seasonal Bag-zine for Stoke-on-Trent that aims to promote and celebrate the creative people in the city. Inside the bag you will find all manner of cool, inspiring and informative things that will connect you more with culture in the city. Looky Bags are stocked in nearly 50 venues across North Staffordshire and can be picked up for free. Looky Bag was created by artists Nicola Winstanley and Sarah Nadin in response to a lack of consolidated cultural information accessible to the general public. Winstanley & Nadin want everyone to have access to culture in Stoke-on-Trent.


About Looky Bag

Looky Bag

Looky Bag is a new seasonal ‘bagzine’ designed by Winstanley & Nadin that celebrates the cultural scene in Stoke-on-Trent. As well as flyers, posters and postcards for events and local cultural news, the Looky Bag contains all manner of limited edition cultural offerings, activities and exclusive discounts. Looky Bag can be picked up for free in a number of shops and cafes across Staffordshire, and is always on the look out for high quality user generated content, sponsorship and collaboration with artists and cultural businesses. Get in touch with us if you want to get involved.

Spring '17 Artists/Makers Brief


Artist and Makers brief: We’re looking for submissions from artists and makers that give Looky Bag readers instructions for a make. As we’re sponsored by the excellent Wavemaker Stoke- a non-profit community makerspace in the heart of North Staffordshire, we want to get Stoke making! We would like you to submit an A5 image, full colour if you like, of your instructions for a make. This could be anything at all you know how to do and would like to share. From a bobble hat to a music festival. Your instructions will be included in 4000 Looky Bags shared across the city. It won’t cost you anything to take part, but we do ask that you attend one of our packing parties where you can meet other artists and makers and help get the bags packed! You can use the instructions to advertise your services, share your work or event or interact with Looky Bag’s customers. Deadline is Friday 17th Feb, contact us at with your questions and submissions.

Looky Bag
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