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Creative networks in Nottinghamshire

Welcome to an election-free week here on Creative Nottingham.  If contemplating the polls is making you want to take out your eyes with toothpicks, we’ve plenty to keep you in the creative loop this week with new blogger Fiona Hanley holding the editorial ropes, and new guest bloggers joining the team to be announced very soon.

In the meantime…
More and more creative networks for both business and pure creativity seems to be springing up all over the city and county.  Many are free to join or attend and are run by energised professionals doing it for the love not money – which in my view makes Nottingham an inspiring place to do business compared to a lot of other cities where state-funded network groups deliver events without gusto.

I’ve undoubtedly missed a lot of neworks from this list; please give any heads up to those I’m missing in the comments and I can create a more comprehensive archive post.

General creative sector

Creative Greenhouse
What: A creative business network covering several districts in North East Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire (although they’re creeping south – Gedling has recently joined up), predominantly focusing on rural creative businesses.  They have an online business directory, a rather good regular newsletter and organise creative business events.
Who: Funded and managed by several local authorities in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire
When: Ad hoc events, usually weekday evenings
Membership: Free until March 2011 but registration required

Nottingham Creative Network
What: Previously a funded business support projects, now used as a means to promote Nottingham Trent University’s creative-related talks and courses.  They’re usually focused on the business side of creative practice, often linking with academic thinking.  Usually good quality talks if not a bit formal.
Who: Projects and events organised by Nottingham Trent University
When: Ad hoc events and workshops organised on different working days
Membership: Free but you need to register, events are usually free.

Creative Industries Network
(Derby) – not in Nottingham, but a heads up to a very good creative network in Derby which Nottingham creative businesses are welcome to join. They organise seminars, coffee networking events and have an online directory.

Digital, technology and web

Nott Tuesday
What: A monthly network event for Nottingham technology, web and IT businesses which usually has very good speakers coming from all over the UK from entrepreneur backgrounds
Who: A self-organised network originally established in 2009 by mobile technology entrepreneur Adam Bird
When: Meets 6.30-9pm the second Tuesday of the month, previously in Bluu but a venue change is being mooted.  Sometimes has nice food too if the event has a sponsor.
Membership: Free events – just  turn up.

Second Wednesday
What: Informal meetup of web developers and other web people, usually with a talk and plenty of beer, and lots of friendly people.
Who: Established some years back by Alan Carter-Davies, for a brief time the network had funding, then was revived as a self-organised network in 2009 – currently run by Nick from FCS Websites.
When: As name suggests, meet in a Lace Market bar on Second Wednesday of each month at 6.30pm, currently at Shaw’s but thinking of moving to a bigger venue due to their immense popularity!
Membership: Free – just turn up to events if you fancy it.

Nottingham NGU/Linux Users Group

What: An informal get together for those interested in or working using the open source Linux software.
When: Join the email list for details of monthly meetups which from what I know seem to be on Wednesday evenings at The Old Navigation pub, and take a drop-in and chat/debate format.
Membership: Free – need to join the email list to stay in the loop, though.

Web 2.0 Surgery
What: A free drop-in event for community and small businesses to get advice from experts on all things web and social media.  Bring your questions and problems and get them solved on the night.  Magic!
When: Future events/venues are currently being planned
Membership: Free – turn up!

Not a network per se, but GameCity Nights is a 6 x monthly event series on the run up to the next GameCity festival which bring together developers, students and players in a celebration and exploration of videogame culture – with prizes.

Visual arts, crafts and hobbies

What: An informal group for those with a passion to ‘hack’ – that is create and modify objects using mechanical and electronic means, fuelled by an international interest in creating technology with your hands. Recent events include learn how to solder, Hack-a-toy, and camera kite flying experiments.  Watch out for the results of their Rude Goldberg Machine experiments this summer.
When: Monthly meetups, currently on Wednesday evenings in a pub venue, with some weekend events planned
Membership: Join Meetup group then turn up.  Events cost a few pounds to cover subs and material costs

What:a creative and open space to learn, make, hack and do almost anything. We host regular events, workshops, talks and open space sessions.” (yes, we’re not quite sure what the difference is with NottingHack either, but I guess you can never have enough creative hacking groups?)
When: Check website for latest events, the first workshop took place at Broadway Cinema on a Saturday
Membership: Costs for materials for events

Knit in Notts
What:We’re a knitting group based in the centre of Nottingham. We love to knit, crochet, spin and generally cause trouble.” – sounds intriguing!  Mutilations by knitting needles perhaps?
When: Every Tuesday 5-8pm at Lee Rosy’s Tea Shop, Broad Street, NG1 and a monthly pub meetup
Membership: Free – just turn up!

Gambling Lambs
What: A get together for fans of games: board games and computer games more than role playing.  A friendly younger crowd – the games are relatively simple to play and they usually round off the evening with Werewolves, a very entertaining murder mystery group game.
When: First Thursday of the month at Lee Rosy’s Tea Shop, Broad Street, NG1 and a monthly pub meetup
Membership: Free – just turn up!

Nottingham Flickr Group
What: An online group of photographers using photo-sharing service Flick who organise monthly weekend meetups to go and photograph interesting things then share their photos.
Membership: Join via Flickr (which is free to join)

Nottingham Craft Mafia are more of a collective than a  network as such but they do put on a lot of events about town you can join in like the Craft Off (a craft challenge competition).

Theatre and performance

Miss Imp Improv
What: A drop in comedy improvisation jam to flex your funny muscles and a monthly public performance (to test it out on the paying public, then see just how funny you really are)
When: Every Thursday at 7.30pm, The Art Organisation, Station Street, NG1
Membership: £2 to attend a jam

Literature and Talks

Cafe Scientifique
What: A film, book and discussion group whose Meetup page saying ‘Welcome Nottingham Intelligensia!”  How often do you see that in Hockley?  Aimed at spreading good ideas for a range of ages and interests.
When: Weekly cinema meetups, book discussion and monthly talk events
Membership: Free – Join Meetup group then turn up

Nottingham Writers Studios
What: A resource centre and workspace in Lace Market organising resources and events to support local novelists, poets, songwriters, screenwriters, playwrights, critics and copywriters.
Who: An independent group with a staff co-ordinator, Aly Stoneman.
When: Talks often on a Thursday, workshops often on a Saturday
Membership: Need to be a member to access building (basic membership seems to be free)

Fashion and textiles

Designers Forum (East Midlands)
What: Supporting fashion and design through a ‘trend library’ and CAD training.
Who: Part of EMTEX (East Midlands Textile Association), which has 800 regional members.
Membership: From £50 a year for a freelancer


A rather dashing Italian introduced me to a few years ago; he had recently moved to England and found it a great way to meet people socially.  There’s currently 41 Meetup groups in Nottinghamshire, covering everything from arts and culture, role play and gaming groups, a new group for computer programmers and developersa social group for gig-goers and there’s even a nude men’s dinner club if you’re so inclined.

It costs a small amount to host an online Meetup group but it gives you a superb web platform to promote and host events, message members and reach new audiences who are browsing the site.  If there’s isn’t a Meetup group or business network yet to suit your interest – why not start your own?