How we were born....and grew.......
Creative Torbay is a dynamic partnership and subgroup of Torbay's Culture and Environment Partnership. It has driven the establishment of projects such as our Design Review Panel, Space Invaders and our SeaChange projects to name but three. Its key strategic role's are to firstly support and enable the creative and cultural sector and secondly to place our culture and heritage at the heart of our regeneration and our communities.
The germ that constituted the idea of a new website grew as we realised that the projects we were working on needed a virtual home. Let's face it anyone who's anyone has a website these days, they are ten a penny and most of them are unused and unloved. The challenge was to develop a site that would be embraced by the sector, which utilised up to the minute web knowledge and had a sustainable future.
The Arts Council Officer
To fund the website we worked closely with the Arts Council to work up an application for funding from grants for the Arts. >>Back to the Top
Key to the bid for funding had been our desire to use the process as well as the finished website as a means to achieve our goals. This meant working with partners and practitioners from the sector; a working group was established that included officers from Culture, Regeneration, Councillors, Partners from the business sector, Lecturers (from our colleges), Students and Torbay Artsbase. Together this group developed a brief for the site.
A brief was issued in the summer of 2007, it was sent out far and wide. In the first instance we were looking for brief submissions from interested parties, we would then short list and invite the shortlist to present to us a vision for the site.
Four companies were short listed and three ended up presenting their vision to us. As part of the process students from South Devon College filmed the pitches and the panel's discussions, the resulting film is to be used in the college as an educational tool.
The short listed companies were, Smoothe, Biz-R and SpotOn. Each company presented a professional and imaginative pitch. After a lenghty panel discussion, where each company had fans a decision was made to approach Smoothe.
Whilst the panel wanted to award the contract to a local firm, they felt that they had to see if we could strike deal with Smoothe who's back catalogue, pitch and vision was both close to ours and inspirational. After discussions with the team at Smoothe we agreed to work together to produce a site that would be both a working tool for local creative's and cultural Practitioners but also be available to use to anyone form anywhere. After six months of design and concept meetings the build began in early June 2008.
As part of this unique partnership three of our amazingly talented students from South Devon College have had chance to go to Smoothe and work as interns for the summer, part of their job has been to work on the site - thanks Jo, Jemma and Rebecca.
The partnership with Smoothe has been truly revolutionary. The build that we have achieved would have not been possible if it had not been for the Smoothe teams belief and backing. This backing has meant that we have achieved a site that was out of our budget, we have designed it so we have the potential to sell it on to other creative organisations and areas, creating a powerful brand that will enable the sector's practitioners to network and promote themselves. Thanks to Smoothe especially Tracy, Becky, Andy and Ross.
By now you will have had a look around the site and seen what it offers, from the amazing directory to the space agency, the jobs, events and other feature. If you are reading this and you are not from the Bay but you feel your area could use a site like this, then contact us and we will explain how it can work for you and your creative and cultural community.
Late in 2009 we gave the site a loving upgrade and installed a forum for chat and conversation and also the sharethis function which enables the sites users and visitors to share teh content with multiple sites such a www.facebook.com and myspace and twitter.
The site continues to grow and grow...this month we reached our 1 million'th page view.
When we built the site we did so with one eye on developing a wider creative community. The site could be cloned and other areas could work with us and the developers and have their own version of the site.
It’s taken a couple of years but we have our first partner: Creative West Sussex who will launch their sister site in a few weeks. As a user of Creative Torbay you’ll notice some great upgrades to the site and you will be able to click between the two sites to see what is going on in each area. Hopefully in the coming months we will welcome more partners to our beautiful network.
Mischa and The Creative Torbay Team