Stoke-on-Trent’s 2nd Annual Artist Census Day


On the 22nd November 2016 as part of a residency at ACAVA Spode Works I organised Stoke-on-Trent’s first Artist Census Day. To gain an insight into working lives of the pioneers of arts and culture in the city, all Stoke-on-Trent based artists were invited to participate in a 1 day census; a snapshot of the creative labour force in the city at this important time.
Last November hundreds of Artists responded across multiple social media platforms. The hashtag #sotaaw trended locally and nationally, with thousands of individual hours of creative labour in the city documented and shared.
1 year later later, I invite all Artists living and working in Stoke-on-Trent to take part in the census to celebrate our collective effort, discover new creative workers and surpass the success of the first census.
Here’s how to do it…

To participate:

1. Share this call to action with your network of Stoke-on-Trent based artists. To make the census a fair and robust record of artists’ working life in the city we need as many artists as possible to know about this and take part.

2. On the 22nd November, using one of your preferred social media platforms, document your work activities hourly for every hour that you are working using the hashtag #sotaaw (stands for Stoke-on-Trent Artist At Work)


How should I document my hours?

You can use words, images, video or any other method you like to document your time. You don’t have to stick to one social media platform either, you can use any you like for as many of your posts as you like. Whatever suits you and your method of documentation. Just don’t forget to use the hashtag #sotaaw. If you decide to use Facebook– please remember to make your post ‘public’ so others outside of your circle can see it.

What if the work I’m doing on the 22nd November is not creative?

Your work on this day may not be creative or even related to the arts, this does not matter, post your work anyway. This way we will build a real picture of the working life of artists in Stoke-on-Trent in 2017, whether they are able to engage in creative work or not.

What if I’m not working in Stoke-on-Trent on the day?

This does not matter- as long as you are based in Stoke-on-Trent normally then it’d be great to know where in the world you are on the day.

What if I’m not from Stoke-on-Trent, but am working there on the day? 

Great- it’d be good to have all creative activity in the city documented on the day- and to find out where it is coming in from.

What if I don’t use social media?

If you prefer not to use social media you can send the information to Nicola at

Where will this information be used?

The census is part of an ongoing public social experiment with no fixed outcome intended. It will be available to the public unless instructed otherwise. The information may also be used to evidence creative activity in the city’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021. You can contact Nicola with any questions you may have.

Am I classed as an artist?

Whether you are an artist, musician, cultural producer, creative workshop leader, designer, writer, craftsperson, maker or are involved in any practice that is focused on arts and culture- please do join in the census. This census is designed to gauge the size and activity of our city’s creative labour force- if you feel you are part of this drive towards a more cultural and creative city then JOIN IN!

What if I miss an hour?

This isn’t a problem- you can post about each hour whenever is convenient. You could, if you wanted to, post up each of your hours, one at a time, at the end of your working day. Just remember to post everything up on the 22nd November and think about how you might represent each hour as you go through your day.

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