In an exciting new chapter for the Glossop Creative Trust, we have recruited our first Community Producer, Steven Dexter.
With a wide remit to build Glossop’s creative capacity and increase participation, access and engagement within the creative community, we catch up with Steven to find out more about him, his thoughts on Glossop and his plans for the future…
Hi Steven! Introduce yourself!
“My name is Steven and I am the new Community Producer at Glossop Creative Trust. I have quite a varied background in the arts, from managing music venues in Manchester to working in community arts centres, arts logistics companies and set painting for films in Sydney. I currently also work on the curatorial team at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
“I am very happy to have swapped the sunny beaches of Australia for the Dark Peaks, and I’d like to tell you why!”
What inspired you to be part of the project?
“First of all, Glossop is home, and being able to bring more creativity and positive change to the place where my young family will grow is one of the greatest gifts I can think of to give.
“I have lived here for two years and it is abundantly clear that creativity already flows through the town. The local bars and restaurants are focused on craft and artisan food and drink and there are makers and craft shops aplenty. All of which GCT has, and will continue to champion.
“Everything here seems to be made with love and the potential to do exciting things in Glossop is huge. For me, the town should have more of a reputation for its artistic virtues than it currently does, and I think I can help in that respect.”
What makes Glossop a great place for business?
“A lot of the area’s beautifully charming aesthetic comes from the visual harmony between the old industrial sandstone buildings being offset against the rugged Peaks. Both are stark and formidable, both made of the same stone, both adorned with intricate and surprising details.
“The architecture of the town gives it a deep and emotional connection to its topography and past. Many of the old mills and factories have been repurposed recently, but there are still lots of spaces that are underused or vacant. I see these old buildings as inspiring evidence that the town has thrived historically and can become a new industrial centre for creativity at the gateway to the Peaks.
“These spaces are beacons of how the town came to be and I think that we can reclaim this proud heritage by giving people access and purpose to use them, bringing the community together in conversation or collaboration.
“Glossop is already a busy little town as anybody who tries to drive down the High Street of a weekend will know. It is the pitstop for people to hike, climb, cycle or drive between, around and through. That in itself is a wonderful unique selling point for the town, but it is important to expand awareness about the fact that we have great food, drink and lots of creative businesses here, giving people from outside another reason to visit, invest and stay longer in the town itself. That is hopefully where GCT can help, by promoting what is already here and creating new reasons to get involved, whether that be online or hopefully one day soon in person again.
“Looking in the opposite direction, Manchester is just 12 miles away, 30 minutes by train. I have lived in Manchester suburbs such as Chorlton and Didsbury, and it takes the same amount of time to get to the city via public transport. In that sense, whilst being Derbyshire in name, we are also a very attractive and well kept secret as an unofficial Manchester suburb. Historically, mill owners from Manchester had set up here and the area’s economy flourished as a result. If we can get the message to people outside Glossop who aren’t privy to how well connected it is, then more business interest will inevitably follow.”
Favourite spots in Glossop?
“Being a fan of fine ales, some of my favourite places in Glossop are its craft pubs and bars – The Star, Howard Town Brewery, Harvey Leonards and The Globe being essential stops when I show friends around. I don’t get a train without picking up a coffee from Twig and love taking the baby to Dukes for some food before a stroll around Manor Park.
“In terms of local restaurants, Hyssop is an exceptional addition to the High Street and Ayubowan serves lovely Sri Lankan food with an eclectic menu that will have something new for anybody. I’ve visited and ordered from Ruchi so many times it is almost embarrassing, but curry nights during lockdown have been one of the few real treats whilst our lives have been on hold.”
How can businesses collaborate and support each other in order to build and bolster the town’s economy?
“Although Covid has decimated many local economies, new businesses are trying to open in and around Glossop and this GCT project continues to push forward. It has never been more essential to pool resources and collaborate, using each others’ platforms, spaces and voices to amplify those that may be struggling.
“Covid has highlighted an appetite for people to remain in their communities and support local, rather than venturing into congested cities. In the most adverse of times the town’s independent traders, artisans and creative types have the determination to keep going and have shown how flexible, resilient and intelligent they are.
“Covid has also highlighted that there is a need for a Plan B with any business, with those that have been able to sell online, deliver their goods or adapt what they are offering, being on the whole, perhaps slightly less harshly affected by the pandemic. Outdoor events and stalls can offer a safer leisure space although licences can be difficult to come by and not every business can use this option but GCT offers a forum for all the areas brilliant businesses to work collaboratively under one focused vision.
“In the late 18th century, the second industrial revolution saw Glossop become famous for its calico printing and weaving, a town thriving through the hard work of skilled creatives. Today there is a collective will within the local community and businesses for a renaissance of the kind of graft and creativity that made this town expand rapidly in the past. I think that it is important to remember that although what GCT is offering seems like a new beginning, it is deeply rooted in the proud heritage of the town.”
If you’d like to contact Steven about Glossop Creates, please email email@example.com