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News ‘Stoke Lives’ – a snapshot of society in 2019

Students filmmakers have captured stories from across Stoke-on-Trent for a new digital archive celebrating the city.

One of the short films is about the city's Northern soul scene
Image: One of the short films is about the city's Northern soul scene

From the last person to paint gold onto plates in the Potteries to the sounds of Northern Soul, film students from Staffordshire University have recorded a series of short films which reflect the diversity of people, jobs and cultures in the region.

The final films will be showcased at public screening at The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery on Friday May 31 from 2.00 - 5.30pm.

Moreover, the films will be archived for posterity as part of a new research project by Associate Professor Fiona Graham and Senior Lecturer Paul Ottey with museum curator Joseph Perry, testing digital archives of film and audio for heritage.

“The students were given an open brief to go and find whoever they wanted and capture them on camera in a very short 3 to 5 minute film.” explained Fiona Graham, Associate Professor of Film Production.

“Things that are very ‘Stoke’ like Northern Soul and oatcakes came out but also really current affairs like the LGBT community. One interesting thing is that there wasn’t a mention of Brexit and that amazed me! Nobody picked up on the political. It’s the society and the people that really shine in this area and that’s what came out in the students' work.

“When we look back in 30-50 years we can see the Stoke nightclubs, the people and their hopes and dreams of this era in the city – with access to all in an archive project open to the public.”

The students tested various film technologies to digitally record a range of people from across the region including a drag queen, police officers, local DJs, tattoo artists, and an oat cake seller.

Liv Moss helped create the film ‘Been Busy’, following four local musicians as they visit the places that have had an impact on their lives and talk about how growing up in Stoke has shaped them as artists.

She said: “I think a film like this is important because it allows an audience to take different things from it; some may relate, others will learn. It’s a great thing for future audiences to see in order to grasp the true lives of Stoke.”

Coursemate Lassamie Prasimay worked on film ‘Le Doux’ which follows local boxer Jamal Le Doux: “It was an incredible experience to work with boxer Jamal Le Doux and capture a crucial moment of his career on camera, made possible through the amount of creative liberty we were given on the project.

“This screening will be a brilliant opportunity to showcase our crew’s dedicated efforts to make this project come to life. We hope you enjoy watching the film as much as we enjoyed making it.”

The ‘Stoke Lives’ film screening takes place on Friday 31 May, 2.00 - 5.30pm at The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Bethesda Street, Stoke on Trent, ST1 3DW.

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