Monday 19 January 2015


                                                  1914-1918 WORLD WAR 1
Throughout this years to commemorate the fallen of the 1914-18 war the Urban Arts Centre, DJ School, Verbal Arts and Quhwah Publications will be collaborating on a ground breaking project. The local organisations have come together with funds from the Heritage Lottery and local businesses to bring their unique and specific expertise to this very import project.

Remembrance Poets is the brain child of Gary Oliver internationally renowned local poet who found fame with his Books Woodun Indians, Dear Love Powa and Contemporary Common Criminal.
The group based at the Urban Arts Centre, Stoke-on-Trent have been creating and reading poetry inspired by WWI poets, with the theme of conflict and resolution, at various memorials throughout the region. 

The poets hope to highlight the forgotten memorials, forgotten sacrifices and the voiceless. The idea is that instead of silence there should be verse, instead of voice-less-ness there should be voices, instead of the forgotten
there should be remembrance For more information you can contact the Remembrance Poets on Facebook/remembrance poets  Tel no: 01782 205675

recent press

Friday 12 December 2014

Projects Including round up report for Chance for change 2007-10

Archive review

 Projects Including round up report for Chance for change 2007-10

The DJ School Association grew out of the DJ School project delivered and initiated in 2002, by community urban arts group Verbal Arts and core funded by Youth Music. The overwhelming success of this project led to the DJ School project’s expansion in 2004 seeing two more sessions join the original DJ School I hour session. Since the creation of the DJ School Association in 2005 the organisation has earned a reputation for delivering high quality music making opportunities, helping young people build self-esteem and confidence by teaching them the skills required to make a career from DJ-ing/Music Tech, MC-ing/Rap and theatre/performance  in a safe, fun and constructive environment. The project takes participants who are complete beginners and through ongoing support and guidance over a period of 3 twelve week terms each year encourages them to aspire to intermediate and advanced levels. Those who commit and gain advanced skills are provided opportunities, as part of the project, to perform in public at showcases and professional events in the community as well potential employment opportunities.                                                                            

The DJ School runs its main programe during term times. The first term begins in September and ends December, the second goes from January to April and the third term from May to July.                                                                                                                                              
All the participants start as beginners with an initial intake induction participants  can join at any time however everyone starts at beginners whenever they commence a the School.  This year’s intakes have been taught to set up, basic repair and look after to the equipment, to use the equipment safely and basic techniques of DJ-ing, performance, music tech etc. After twelve weeks whatever their start date they were accessed and then moved onto intermediates where they learned more advanced performance techniques and basic mixing, butts- changes etc. and composition in other words set construction. Again whatever date they began intermediates- say if this is half way through a term-they complete twelve weeks and then are assessed at which time they move on to advance and then various advance levels where they can specialize in specific areas such as scratching, beat matching etc.  Each twelve week block is made up of three workshops, two tutorials and three supervised rehearsals, one pre assessment, one assessment rehearsal and one assessment and one confidence building workshop. Also the organisation has set up various modules on the same lines with the same structure to cater for different aspects of the schools services such as Bo Produca for music technology, Urban Youth Theatre actor training, and Allstars pop star coaching. These modules are advertised and programmed separately. 


Urban Youth Theatre 
Urban Youth Theatre is a project formed by member of the DJ School who enjoys acting and performance.  The group was launched with help from professional actor Paul McLeay early this year and was able to set up with a Youth Opportunities Fund Grant and since then they have had a series of workshops and practical lessons to hone their skills with which they are hoping to be staging their first production in the new term. The Urban Youth Theatre group have six committed members and are actively seek others to join their group which meets every Tuesday night at the Urban Arts Centre.

Bo Produca 
Bo Produca is a music production project working with rappers, MC’s and singers to create professional quality music productions. The project is currently working with three young rappers and two female vocalists however in its short life, this year alone, the programme has worked with over 30 young musicians and vocalists and produced over five quality musical offerings.  Currently this programme is commercially funded and enabled through volunteers and private donations. 

AllStarz is another new programme offered by the organisation and is designed to ready young up and coming stars for the rigors of showbiz by improving confidence, stage presence and microphone skills. This year the project has worked with a number of young people auditioning for high profile television talent shows. Currently this programme is commercially funded and enabled through volunteers and private donations 

Kids Karnival
This poplar annual event was the brain child of the DJSAYSG (The DJ School Association Young Peoples’ Steering Group) the idea was to stage a number event throughout the summer months for younger children. Last year was the first attempt by the DJSAYSG at the events which was funded by Awards for All Grant and a part from disappointing weather the events went well. This year the Steering Group plan a bigger and better event which doubles as an opportunity to showcase their DJ-ing, MC-ing and Singing talents.

Adult Music Group (Skills to Earn) 
This group was established by popular demand as many adults made numerous enquire about music lessons for themselves. Due to this overwhelming need the DJ School bid for and won an NDLC Grant. The group has over 24 members attending regularly on a Monday nights, Wednesday afternoon and Thursday evening. They are currently working on a music sound track and towards a number of performances. 

Chance for Change Overview of project

The course has been facilitated to provide beginners to the art of performance the skill needed to pursue the art form at further Ed level as a hobby or otherwise.


Confidence building classes including role play
Learner embraces some with difficulty the promise of public speaking in order to convey a message.
Learners took part in issue based role play based on issues that affect themselves. Learners embrace the freedom of expressing view in a comfortable safe environment.
Learners took part in movement and space workshops
Learner participated in improvisation techniques and transfer to like skill workshop

Employment and wellbeing in society.
Learners were encouraged to develop a work plan and develop their individual talents through personal development workshops. Each participant developed a plan for the next 6 months.

Planning a budget.

Learners were taught the rudimentary skills to create and develop a budget in line with a proposed performance.

 Produce a short piece drama for local audiences.

Learner have developed a series of scripted performances and created a short film for local public release which is in the final phase of editing.

The course guides artists through the stages require allowing themselves to pursue an effective career in their chosen art form.


Role in the community and creating a persona

Learners learnt about the differences between one’s personal image and methods of managing a professional persona for personal and business needs
Learners explore methods of discussing their art work in the third person and the importance of supporting other artist who they collaborate with effectively.
Learners explored how to deal with wanted and unwanted attention thrown up by ones Art work

Setting up in business as a community artist

Artists were guided through the facets of setting up in business and preparing stationary i.e. business cards, invoices and preparing accounts learners were given a list of helpful number regarding preparing tax returns  etc.

Preparing the product& Personal development skills and managing own workload

Learners explored the role of quality and planning in creating a product.
Learners explored different types of product that can be created to expose talents of the learners.
Learners understand the role collaboration to order to conclude and finish a product to marketing stage
Learners created a set of work that supports their aim as learners in the capacity becoming artists

Marketing the product for public appeal

Learners took part in workshops which enabled learners to plan and implement an effective marketing campaign

Public presentation
Learners developed personal presentation to show to a small audience the work they have created -, last ones planned for the end of July

The project had been well received and input from clients was encouraging. Through consultation with our clients we found there wanted more access to computers and the music studio, opportunities for public performers for more established artists. We did this by creating a multimedia suite, opening up session times to make allowance for individual learners to expand their work for preparation for their work timetabled sessions. Most regrettable comments were was regarding the building and the delivery rooms, it was felt there were too cold in the winter. This has been improved by installing heaters in the class rooms.
A number of learners felt that the quality of learning was inspirational and creative and the extra support which was offered was effective. A few of the learners felt they would benefit form a digitalised music catalogue.


We have improved the access times – Longer opening times
Need for more contact- Opened up contact time and provided extra support for individuals
Developed links with other support charities in order to offer a more substantial approach
Designed and developed a cost effective way of heating classrooms in preparation for sessions to be delivered.
Managed to get more learners involved with planning for the future beyond July.

We are still struggling in the follow ups after 6 months and 12 months people do not seen to be replying and also the cost is quite considerable for those learners who wavier and tend to go off radar due to personal illness etc.  this area has much room for improvement. Staffing levels after July end date are not sustainable therefore it is more difficult to follow learners on the extent we as an organisation want to.

How well did Learner achieve and enjoy their learning?

This graph represented number of individuals who enrolled, attended achieved and passes a both programmes.

             Those learners who achieved are individual who took part created artwork and demonstrated an improvement in personal develop and showed and presented to a small group and completed all tasks the learner register reflect the frequency of attendance. However learner are provided with six week plans and only move forward when they have completed the work plan set down at review date. This element has proved to be effective and provides tutors and learner the ability to adapt according to circumstances be it course related or personal.
             Learners who Passed who past are learners that completed all the tasks set down on their six weekly rolling plans, but due to unforeseen circumstances were unable to complete the final presentations.


Attendance throughout the programme fluctuated but learners managed to sustain a flow and caught up and some developed coping strategies to deal with a short period of absence due to illness and addiction problems.

Feedback from learners overall encouraging and feedback on teaching was good


Jaidev birk; stated “he has enjoyed, and stated Gary is excellent and I really enjoyed his teaching” 

Latir Thakur stated “yes” he enjoyed the sessions and wanted to learn how to make “more original music” and felt we needed “to invest in new equipment”

Notes on our learners

Drama- The learners who have experienced the drama course created and performed small monologues to camera those who did not took part to writing the script , filming and editing.  Workshops were run covering all aspects Evidence can be found in the

Community Arts

All learners have developed their work to a stage where they can action in real life. They have been provided with the transferable skills to help
In their transition from emerging artist –artist.
Please find examples of work enclosed in the pack highlighting the inspiration and excellent quality produced by learners who attend the course.

N.b All learners engage in basic skill test which involves and personal interaction element to assess the compatibility of individual learners and their ability to work in a group.

Learners give efficient input us regarding these, matters and are overall respondent to this type of assessment.

Thursday 27 November 2014

Updated price list

DJ School Association Price list

Under 19’s Membership fees

Membership fees—per  12 week term                                                                           £90.00
Admin Fee                                                                                                                     £30.00

Membership fee includes access  to arts  courses and training, advice, mentoring and  arts guidance . Price also includes use of rehearsal rooms (times need to be booked) and full use of it suite.

Over 19’s membership fees
Membership  fees-per 10 week period                                                                        £200.00
Admin fee                                                                                                                    £30.00

Non course based member ship annual subscription of ----------------------------- £25.00

You will receive all newsletters, New  products created by the center, invited to functions. Annual member ship holders will receive a membership pack. 

Membership fee includes courses expert training , advice, mentoring and arts guidance . 
 Price also includes use of rehearsal rooms (times need to be booked) and full use of it suite.

Please note discounted and extra  rates apply to individuals on benefit or in long term unemployment due to health and social care needs.

A bespoke services for School's  and Group bookings available    

Rooms hired on individual basis
Studio hire                                                                                             £35.00 per hr
Room Hire for Meetings/training / rehearsal  per 3 hrs-                        £65.00
It suite hire                                                                                             £96.70
All subject to a hire agreement being drawn up.

Monday 24 November 2014

Case studies 2013-2014

Below are four case studies from current projects running at The Urban Arts Centre:Applied arts department.

UNIT7, ISA Project Case study

Sex:  Male (I1)
Nationality:  English
Age:  56

Educational background:  (I1) has not attended education since Art College where he achieved B-tech arts and design he is also self taught in music and music theory.
Since having a breakdown brought on by stress (I1) has not been in education or work and this has lead him into long term unemployment for at least 30 years. (I1) has suffered from depression and an inability to socialise with others which he claims has lead to alcohol problems, relationship problems which have added to his self image of person- as he puts it... ‘...with little ore no future’
(I1) motivation for coming on the course was to ‘record music and make a CD to give to people he met...’ and was pleasantly surprised by  the amount of practical performance work in the course, which he relished as he finally had a platform for his musical talents... ‘a place to express my musical feelings.’ Which he tells me has improved his performance to the extent where he feels able to develop an initial CD of 6 tracks ‘from training in how to record in a sound studio, a book of his lyrics and through his training on computers- Microsoft word and publisher and marketing and presentation skills he has been able to have published his book through a local publisher to whom he was sign posted through the Change for Change course.
The process of product development has been reinforced with another aspect of the course which has suited (I1)immensely. He has honed his performance skills and taken all performance opportunity which as he said is an opportunity for him to sell his CD.
(I1) has learnt some valuable lessons through enrolling on the Chance for change course and states that being on the course ‘...has made his dream come true. He is now running his own music and arts group with others who have had a break down.  He is planning to tour further a field with his music and produce another album which he hopes will be released by a national record company

UNIT7, ISA project: Case Study

Sex:  Male
Nationality:  English
Age:  18
Background: Individual 2 (I2) has found life difficult to come to terms with since his mother died and his father went to prison. Cared for by a Step mother from his early childhood he took his family angst out on the world, his local community and neighbourhood, following in his older brothers foot steps, a prolific criminal, (I2) became a street gang member hanging out on street corners committing petty criminal acts for fun or gang respect.   
Educational background: (I2) has not attended education since leaving school where he achieved no formal educational qualifications.  Since then Dean’s achievements have been limited, he went on a project management work scheme but failed to complete however he did learnt some skills as a brick layer.
(I2) has always wanted to be a rapper and make it in the music business and by his own admission his motivation for coming on the course was to record his lyrics and make a CD. Upon finding that there was a little more to it than met the eye,(I2) at first struggled. He then discovered his skill for writing lyrics which he went on to relished as he says he finally had a platform for his talents... ‘It is a way of dealing with my mum’s death and understanding my emotions and how to express my feelings in a good way.’  Which he tells me has improved his rapping to the extent where he felt able to develop an initial CD of 15 tracks.
The process of product development has been reinforced by other aspects of the course which has suited (I2) because as he states, ‘I can see now how it is done’. (I2) has made three videos to accompany his songs and these have been posted on U-tube and he is looking to prepare the music videos for a appearance on terrestrial television on Channel U, he has performed in public several times and in front of the Chief Constable and made a number of radio appearances on local radio. He has honed his technical skills in the studio to a semi professional level working with other young acts as a producer.
Through this process (I2) has learned how to record in a sound recording studio, write his lyrics with proper punctuation and rules of literature, use video editing and camera and through his training on computers- Microsoft word and publisher and marketing and presentation skills he has been able to have published his CD through a local record company to whom he was signposted by the DJ School
(I2) has learned some valuable lessons through enrolling on the Summer Start course in his own words he is more disciplined and a lot more focused on achieving in life and states that being on the course ‘...has made his dreams come true.’ He is now working on his second album and with others youngsters to help them out of gang culture.  


UNIT7, ISA Project 
Cast Study3 (I3)

Sex:  Male
Nationality:  Welsh
Age:  47

Educational background: (I3)has not attended education since high school where he took examinations in English and maths and achieved four GCSEs and also achieved a grade three music theory with the trumpet.
However since those achievements (I3) has not been in education and following a string of one off manual labour employments he has been unemployed for at least ten years. Previously (13) has suffered from an alcohol problem and social relationship problems which have added to his self perception as an unemployable person- as he puts it... ‘...on the scrap heap.’
(I3) originally came on the course to ‘improve his writing skills’ and was initially overwhelmed by the amount of practical performance work in the contents of the course, which he admitted challenged him in terms of to taking on board others views, criticism and appraisals of his work. This he says helped to improve his work to an extent where he felt able to develop a book of poems and through his training on computers- Microsoft word and publisher and marketing and presentation skills he was able to have published a book of poetry through a local publisher to whom he was sign posted through the  course. Also from training in how to record in a sound studio he has made an accompanying CD to sell with his book.
This product forming was reinforced with another aspect of the course which helped with performance skills and gave a performance opportunity which (I3)took advantage of and this was a perfect opportunity, as he put it, for him to sell his books. (I3) took this on board and has since gone onto enrol on to a computer course at Stoke –on-Trent College, gained a Part time job producing a newsletter for a local charity and performs his poetry at local venues, events and recitals where he sells his books and a CDs.
(I3) has taken the change for chance offer by Unit7, the DJ School and NDLC and turned his life around. He hopes to tour further a field with his poetry and achieve formal educational certifications in computers and English language; also he hopes to have another book published and write epic Celtic poetry and perform his poetry. 


UNIT7,ESF/CFC Project 
Cast Study4 (I4)

Sex:  Male
Nationality:  ENGLISH
Age:  27
(I4) has been in institutions all his life, he has tourettes which he was only officially diagnosed with in his twenties although there were indications of it previously.  (I4)had a very low self image and when he enrolled on the program always looked at the floor refusing to look anyone in the eye. (I4) has no formal education and attended a special school from which he was expelled during his final year. K’s motivation for attending the program was to improve and publish his animation skills (I4) had been drawing and writing Manga-style comics since the age of 14 becoming inspired by watching cartoons and animations, and later by reading Manga comics, which partly influenced his unique style. (I4) also sings and wanted to learn guitar. He wanted to perform music and his dream was to start a Metal band and perform on an amateur scale locally. He also expressed and interest in learning voice acting.
(I4) used meditation techniques he learnt to reduce stress ‘I hope it will help me to combat most of the stresses and strains of modern life.’ (I4)  used the skill he learnt in IT, social Media and digital art to thrive building a website, twitter following of thousands and face book page. (I4) has grown in confidence and self image stating ‘I if feel better than I ever have in my life.’ (I4) has found a way of coping by using somewhat dark and tongue-in-cheek humour to make light of difficult situations. He is currently working towards being a fully published cartoonist through the program and has an interest in one day becoming an animator with an independent UK company.