Training Workshops

10th March 2014

This is an archive post; it is not current; it’s here for the record.

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ArtsIn Productions offers training workshops

Leicester social enterprise ArtsIn Productions offers workshops aimed at writers and journalists.

Lead by magazine editor Trevor Locke, the workshops cover the skills required for writing for the media, editing and styles.  Participants are given handouts and also have access to online resources that help them with their writing work.

These workshops come in two levels:  introductory for those who are new to journalism and intermediate, aimed at those with some experience who wish to increase their technical knowledge of editing and writing for the media.

These workshops are available to organisations or groups that would like to participate in them.  There are no set dates.  We can provide according to your requirements.

If you would like us to put on one of these workshops for your staff group, please contact us.  Prospectus are available by email.

Contact us to make an enquiry

Social enterprise moves into Leicester Library

A LOCAL social enterprise that aims to help people get back into work has taken on the running of a community cafe at New Parks Centre Library in Leicester.

Tomorrowtogether has taken on management of the cafe, which will employ a cafe manager and offer work experience to around nine volunteers.

The cafe originally opened in 2010 as part of the launch of the new library and was funded for two years through the Big Lottery Fund.

As well as offerings a range of refreshments for people using the centre’s facilities, the cafe has provided work experience opportunities for around 20 local people to date.

With funding coming to an end, the future of the cafe was under threat. In a bid to keep the project running, Leicester City Council invited bids from organisations interested in taking on the operational lease for the cafe. The contract was awarded to Tomorrowtogether on a 12-month basis.

Cllr Sarah Russell, Assistant City Mayor for neighbourhood services, said: “I’m really pleased that we have been able to work with Tomorrowtogether to ensure the future of this popular cafe. I’m sure that the cafe will continue to attract more of the local community to explore the library and the many services it offers.”

Zinthiya Ganeshpanchan, director of Tomorrowtogether, said: “I was very impressed by the vibrancy of the cafe and the positive impact it has had on the skills and confidence of the volunteers working there. We want to continue and expand on that work.”

The cafe is open on Mondays from 8.30am to 2pm, and from Tuesday to Friday, 8.30am until 4pm.

Tomorrowtogether is a Leicester-based social enterprise that provides training, work experience and support to help the long term unemployed get back into work.

Recession boosts on-line sales

Recent newsletters are suggesting that now is a good time to get into or to expand on-line selling.

During the continuing recession, consumers are looking at how to manage their spending, to get more for their squeezed purses and wallets.

This  has brought about a trend towards on-line shopping, away from high street retail outlets.

The evidence points to a growth in demand for those Internet shopping outlets that offer better prices than even the supermarkets and high street chain stores.

Manufacturers with on-line outlets are therefore seeing the advantage of selling over the ‘Net to secure more sales and high levels of profit. The recession is precisely the time when retailers need to invest in their on-line stores.

With the increased price of fuel for domestic vehicles, shoppers are seeing the advantage of staying at home to purchase those things which they do not need to get into their cars to go out and buy.



New social enterprise launches in Leicester

A new social enterprise company is due to launch in Leicester on Saturday 1st October 2011.

Artsin Productions Ltd has been formed to provide a company that will take over the publication of online magazine, Arts in Leicester/shire. The company will also take over B2B Web Consultants, a long established web design and hosting business.

Working as a social enterprise, Artsin Productions will initially plough profits back into the business to help it to grow.

The company will publish the arts magazine and provide a range of services aimed at artists and entertainers in the local area.

Information about what the new company will do can be found on the Artsin Productions page.

Business Advice for artists and entertainers

Trevor Locke can now offer qualified business advice for artists and entertainers.

Having gained an award in Social Enterprise, Trevor Locke can offer business advice to people needing to earn their living as artists or entertainers.

Artists can be from any genre or art form. Entertainers can be from any form of work: musicians, singers, comedians, magicians, dancers, actors, writers, poets … if you think that you need advice about how to earn a living from your work, I will be pleased to hear from you.

You can contact me by email, via my web site, link up with me on Facebook or call me by phone if you want to know more.

My main web site is

and on Facebook

I have achieved the SFEDI accreditation in Social Enterprise, Core Units of Compentence, 1 to 8, Social Enterprise competencies A to D.

Whether you want to operate as a social enterprise company or only as a sole trader, I can still help you.

If you are worried about your Tax Affairs, see my blog about the services offered by Irwen Mitchell

Publishing for the digital age

I learnt my trade as an editor and publisher during the late 1970s and early 80s. I edited a bi-monthly magazine for the youth service that was printed on paper and sent out in envelopes through the post. The production methods were primitive by today’s standards but the skills were basically the same.

Today I publish an Arts Magazine which is read by more people. I publish it digitally. The phrase “webzine” was coined to give a name to magazines that are published on the World Wide Web.

It did not start life as a magazine. In fact, it was created as a spin-off from a web site that was about travel. Back in February 2005, when the domain name was registered, it was intended only to be a small web site that provided a bit of information about music and the arts. Now, with over 200 pages, I consciously and deliberately always refer to it as being a “magazine” and never as a “website”. To me, the product is just as much a journal as something that sits on the shelves at newsagents or which goes out in the post, as some still do. I am a journalist first and a web designer second.

My mission is to contribute to the methodology of digital publishing and to achieve the same status and recognition for a digital product that might be conferred on a paper-based product. I call it a “journal” rather than a periodical.

Artsin, as we nickname it, is not published periodically; it does not come out once a month. It’s content is renewed on a daily basis. It lacks back issues but some of the pages can be on line for a very long time and we maintain some pages intact as they were in 2010, 2009 and more rarely in 2008.

We do not, of course, revise every one of the 200 pages each day. New material is published as and when we write it or when it comes in. That is the first distinguishing characteristic of digital publishing: disengagement from a time-scale to achieve continuous on-line refreshment of content. If an important news story comes in, it can be available to the public long before the local newspaper can put it out and often well before the broadcast media.

The second characteristic is that it does not mimic a paper-based product. I have seen some versions of on-line magazines that are laid-out and typeset like paper and even those that employ huge amounts of overhead script to give the impression, on the screen, of pages turning. In fact there are companies offering to sell the software to make ‘e-Mags’ that will visually turn pages. I laugh at these ludicrous ideas as much as I do web sites that are composed entirely in Flash. I am unabashedly ‘old skool’ and Artsin was entirely handcrafted in traditional HTML.

It’s also accessible to people with visual impairments and meets most of the accessibility standards which many of the page-turning efforts do not.

I have seen products where the publisher has gone to immense trouble to publish the product in PDF format which is then e-mailed to subscribers. Well, it’s a solution and it sticks to the idea of publishing periodically. There are numerous examples of companies that send out newsletters using full HTML formatting and that are delivered by e-mail. Fair dos, it serves its purpose.

I never even thought of doing things in this way. At no time did I sit down and say to myself “I want to publish an arts magazine”. The online magazine that we see today evolved. It came from the spin-off web site of 2005 and only as I worked with it, over about five years, did I realise that I was edging gradually towards a magazine format.

So, what is the difference between a magazine and a web site? This is largely a matter of approach to the content. I wear two hats: I have my web designer’s baseball cap.

When I am working on Artsin I am a journalist and editor and my work is based on those years of laboriously preparing paper based periodicals.

I like to think that Artsin works as much as a magazine as it does as a web site. The methods and principles that are used to put those 200 pages on the web share a lot in common with what paper-based editors do, as much as they share some things in common with what web designers do.

Artsin borrows some conventions from paper publishing but I have never wanted to mimic print layout or make pages appear to turn; when I have been on sites that have done things in this way, I have had a really good laugh.

It is true that there are some things we have done on Artsin that the paper editor might have done: The mast head, the use of by-lines, the occasional use of a two-column layout, the disciplined use of headlines, subheads and intros … but there are aspects of paper layout that I have deemed to be inappropriate to digital production.

The layout and styling of Artsin is driven by web principles; it has to work as a web site because that is how people are going to use it. People do sometimes ask me where they can buy a copy of the magazine. During the day time I simply respond by saying its an online product and you don’t have to pay to read it. At night, in the pub, after a few jars, I tell them they can print it out from their computer. I then go on to warn them that they will need more than two reams of paper and a large collection of cartridges because on paper it would be bigger than the average telephone directory. I know the equivalent number of A4 pages because we systematically archive pages using a PDF printer which reports the number of pages of A4 size that have been printed to the hard disk.

Why have I never published a paper version? I have never had enough money to do this. Artsin has cost little to set up and run; its overhead cost is the renewal of its domain names, an annual hosting fee for the web server and, of course, the economic value of my time as editor. If I had wanted to produce a paper version of it, I would have to have had access to tens of thousands of pounds in set up, typography and distribution costs.

At the heart of digital publishing there is a big commercial issue. Sales of newspapers have been plunging down; more and more newspapers now have their digital equivalents on the web. A few pioneers have opted for a digital only approach – The Huffington Post – and a few national newspapers are now charging a subscription to access their online content – The Economist, The Times.

I doubt that Artsin will ever charge people to read its pages although we have seriously considered this for another of our publishing outlets. What prevents us from giving serious consideration to this option is that the publishing industry is an a transitional state.

Since the emergence of the web as a mass market, publishing is going through a revolution, every bit as dramatic as that which occurred when Caxton invented his printing press. In the West, at least, people have been used to accessing online textual content free of charge. They might have got used to paying for music and films, but they sure have not got used to the idea of paying for news and feature articles.

It will come. The commercial realities of digital publishing will inexorably move both publishers and readers back into a priced relationship. Consumers will get used to paying for content, just as they were used to paying for their newspapers and magazines at the newsagents. I know that if I slapped a subscription charge on Artsin, tomorrow, only a fraction of the current readership would pay it, however small the charge might be.

Web surfers have not got used to the idea to paying the full economic value of what they see on their screens. They think it all appears there by magic and costs nothing to make it come up, so why should they have to pay anything to read it.

My rough estimate of the cost of producing Artsin is that we are talking of between £25,000 to £35,000 a year, in full economic cost terms. Roughly speaking, the page you read free of charge is worth between £125 and £135. That’s what I pay to put it there but you get to read it for nothing.

If you want to read your local newspaper or national arts magazine, you are reading a page that would have cost its publisher much more than that, to put on your screen and considerably more to put a copy on your coffee table. Ok, I have simplified the economics of digital publishing to make a point. Consumers are happy to pay £2.20 for a 65 page copy of Kerrang; they can take it home and read it and then throw it away or, like me, carefully file it away for future reference.

Newspapers are purchased and then invariably discarded or used for wrapping chips or as makeshift cat litter. When we look at books however, something rather different emerges. Paper books are still prized and valued by the literati. I recently read somewhere that, on the Amazon web site, the turnover from sales of e-books has outstripped that of paper products. This is due to the popularity of digital book readers, such as Kindle. The manufacturers and designers of electronic gadgets have achieved a remarkable success in revolutionising the world of book publishing. They have also revolutionised the publication of news.

Millions of people now access news through their mobile phones. In the age of Twitter, news has ceased to be the prerogative of newspapers. What the statistics tell us, is that reading paper news is now a tiny fraction of all such reading and that the majority of people now get their news from media that is broadcast rather than printed.

Should I see if Artsin can be produced in this way? Possibly. I have to bear in mind that Artsin has a deliberately limited audience. It is concerned almost exclusively with the Arts and Entertainment of Leicester and Leicestershire. That alone takes it out of the ball park for other e-media.

Today, there are local newsagents on every street corner. In most large supermarkets there are shelves laden with paper periodicals. I wonder how long this will last. In an economy that is systematically weighted against small businesses, more so in retailing than in most other sectors, how long can the corner shops survive? It would be a shame if the purchase of paper magazines becomes limited only to those who can gain access to the large chains of supermarkets that are invariably positioned in locations that require car ownership to access them.

If I want to purchase a copy of Kerrang I can walk to my local shop in the city centre and pick one up. If I wanted to I could pay a subscription by direct debit and have it dropped into my post box. If I happened to live in some remote Scottish Island, it still would not be an option for me to pay for it online and have it downloaded to my hard disk but, I guess that option might well be round the corner. Probably, more so than the local newspapers.

I want to say one more thing about Artsin as a digital product. If you go to our front page (notice I didn’t say home page), you will see a list of social networking sites where Artsin has a presence. Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, ReverbNation and quite a few more networking portals play a prominent part in the online presence of Artsin.

Unlike a paper product, we can show videos on our pages, we can link to music downloads, we can offer ticket sales directly and, in the near future, we want to get into pod-casting, allowing visitors to listen to interviews rather than just reading them.

Our accounts on these third party portals allow us to do two things: spread news at national level and drive traffic to our main site. It works like this: if we go to see a band and like what we hear, we are not just going to write about them in the pages of Artsin. We are going to shout about them through our social networking outlets; we are going to Tweet about them to our national followers and we are going to write reviews about them on sites like ReverbNation.

I have closed down a number of my nationally-oriented web sites mainly because their role and purpose is now redundant in the age of social networking. The bands themselves could abandon the idea of getting signed to a record label or hooked up with a publishing house and do it all themselves. Many bands have made it this way. In music publishing, there is also a sea change underway, as there is in the world of text publishing. Sales of digital tracks now out-strips those of plastic products. We no longer go to the record shop to buy a plastic disk and we no longer go to the book shop to buy a novel. At any rate, not the numbers that used to be the case.

A small local band can make itself into a record label. A small local web designer can create an Arts magazine. They can do this with relatively little cash investment. For a fraction of the cost that would have been the case ten years ago, anyone can now become a publisher – of news, music or reviews. You don’t need a sack-load of money to get started in the publishing business.

To be successful in publishing you still need the same age-old skills, knowledge and commitment that our forebears had but if you have got it, you can do it.


Well for Living website launched

Archive artical

16th June 2010

LASS Social Enterprise Ltd has launched its new web site

Well for Living

Well for Living is the trading name of the new social enterprise company, which was registered in March 2010.

The web site is new and its content is under development but it does have a list of the short courses that the company is providing over the summer.

Social Enterprise Support and advice

Trevor Locke is currently doing the FAIR course provided by Social Enterprise in the East Midlands (SEEM). This new learning programme is provided for those who are giving support to the Third Sector. It focuses on advice about social enterprise, helping community groups to make the best use of their assets or to help them work with the public sector. Course participants are drawn from Third Sector infrastructure support organisations. It covers how to set up a social enterprise and get it funded. Requests for such support come from community grouops, voluntary organisations or charities wanting to set up a trading arm.

Participants are learning the underpinning knowledge and understanding needed to carry into the SFEDI assessment process. SFEDI is the Government recognised UK Standards Setting Body for Business Support and Business Enterprise. Run by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, SFEDI researches leading practice, sets standards, principles and guidelines.

Trevor hopes that he will gain accreditation that will enhance his ability to deliver business advice in the social enterprise sector.