Knife & Folk – A Q&A with Sheffield’s Creative Events Collective

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Make Music. Make Images. Make Fun.

What is Knife & Folk?

Knife & Folk is a collective of like-minded people aimed at creating a platform and network for up and coming artists, musicians and independent companies. We aim to do this by curating events that can showcase the talented folk that are in our city & beyond.

What sort of events do you put on and what creative activity do you support?

We put on art exhibitions, gigs, crafts fairs and community workshops. We support most kinds of creative activity! It’s always good to get other people involved though. I think that’s when we realised just how many people there were in Sheffield that were trying to get noticed or just didn’t know what to do or where to go in order to network and showcase their work, we’re working towards changing that.

You’re based in Sheffield, a very culturally vibrant city. Has this had an influence on your company identity?

Yes it has, the name ‘knife and folk’ comes from Sheffield being well known for making cutlery. So from knife and fork we got to knife and FOLK – supporting local folk/people. We are also aware of many people trying to do independent and creative stuff; we love it and want it to flourish!

Where did you start with Knife & Folk? Was there an existing master-plan or did it come into being more through starting with one event & then evolving from there?

It started as a university project that didn’t quite fit into the marking scheme. There was a plan of sorts through the university brief but it expanded out of that box at a rapid pace and so developed from there. It was essentially a chance for one of the group to curate an exhibition which is something they have always wanted to do. We got a few people together and the first event was in April 2012 at APG works and since then it has evolved. We wanted to showcase work from the ‘little people’ instead of the people you hear about all the time. At the same time as unveiling underdog talent we wanted to support bigger and more important issues really, which is why all of our events try to raise awareness and money for charities. We have raised money for Amnesty International which is a human rights charity and our upcoming event in Feb will be supporting Sheffield Committee to Defend Asylum Seekers.

How did you fund the project in the first place (& any tips on how to keep going in a financial respect)?

Student loans mainly! We spent £100 on promotional items and since then, any money that we have spent to pay for events we have made back, any profit we have put back into the company. There are a number of funding schemes available to social enterprise start-ups. Both of the universities in Sheffield have enterprise schemes. There is also Sheffield Enterprise and the new Accelerate which is available to non-students. On a national scale, many banks can offer you business loans and there is Key Fund. But of course building a sustainable business model is always the most important thing!

What are the benefits of being a non-profit organisation?

It means you can be part of the 3rd sector which enables you to apply for grants (which we need to very soon!) and maximises the possibility of influencing communities and attracting volunteers. It also means that any staff have a set salary so an additional profit is put into the development of the company rather the endless chase of making more and more money for yourselves. This is how we hope to expand to include and help more folk!

Do you have any websites you can recommend to freelance creatives or start-up businesses?

Funding and Support – get money and advice!
Accelerate
Enterprise Sheffield
Key Fund

(Students look on your uni websites)

Online Retail – sell your stuff!

Folksy
Etsy
Big Cartel

Get involved! – other awesome creative collectives!

Reet Sweet
Bird’s Yard

Artificial Contructs
The Old Sweet Shop
Sheffield Antiques Corner & Corner Gallery

What do you have lined up for 2013?

Our next event is a 4-Day Valentines Special! It will be running from the 13th– 16th February at The Washington Pub in Sheffield (Fitzwilliam Street). The pub will be decorated with an exhibition by 18 local artists with its launch night on the 13th. Loads of live bands and DJs will be providing the entertainment. There will be 8 stalls of creative independents gracing the pub on Saturday daytime from 1-6pm. It’s all FREE entry! Oh, and you HAVE to check out our raffle prizes they are too good! For more details and line-up check out the Facebook event.

We are also getting excited about opening a bit of a permanent base and exhibition space in March (Hopefully!) So keep an eye on our facebook page for more details about that soon!
Facebook: Knife and Folk

Twitter: @knifeand_folk

Many thanks to the very friendly Knife and Folk.

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