Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Cultural Connections fright night at Calke Abbey

Friday, August 24th, 2012


What a brilliant summer’s evening and a suitably eerie venue to host another great event for our guests: The Woman in Black summer night’s screening at Calke Abbey.

Having worked with QUAD since 2008, we’ve been hosting Cultural Connections, our joint monthly events for clients, suppliers and partners for over a year now. In addition to last year’s outdoor screening of The King’s Speech at Kedleston Hall, we’ve since hosted some fantastic cultural events for our guests including National Theatre Live screenings, exhibition launches, an Olympic Torch Relay celebration party and various film screenings at QUAD.

Arriving at Calke Abbey at 6pm to entertain guests with Pimms and lemonade and strawberries and cream in the evening sunshine, we watched hundreds of others arrive in the grounds to set up picnics and prepare themselves to be scared – pillows and blankets at the ready! We had also prepared some treat bags with a creepy quote from the film to set the tone for the evening. Some of our guests commented on how original it was to spend an evening of informal networking in such beautiful surroundings.

As a location for outdoor cinema screenings, Calke Abbey is not just expansive and visually impressive, but possibly much under explored as a place of historical interest in the region. Currently in the care of the National Trust, the Grade I listed country house estate has an interesting history dating back to the sixteenth century. Before the National Trust took over the care of the property in the 1980’s, it had remained almost untouched for over 100 years. As such, the crumbling paintwork and overgrown courtyards provided the perfect creepy backdrop for The Woman in Black, sharing much in common with Eel Marsh House from the film (and perhaps it even has a ghost or two?)

As the sun began to go down, Calke Abbey came into its own, creating a chilling atmosphere before the film had even begun. Shadows were cast on the walls of the house by people’s torches and candles, really putting the audience in the mood for the jumpy bits that would follow.

Watching everyone settle on the sloping bank on chairs and blankets with candles and bottles of wine waiting for it to get dark, created a feeling unlike that of being in a cinema. It is hard not to feel part of the action on screen when you are out under the stars, not to mention making a film like The Woman in Black hit even harder with its scary punches – cue lots of screams and shouts from the audience along with people ducking under blankets they had brought along (myself included).

With the outdoor cinema events, QUAD have done such a great job in making the most of the limited summer we have; with outdoor screenings taking place at numerous venues around the county between May and September. However, most importantly I think, the Summer Night’s Film Festival has encouraged people from in and around Derbyshire to venture out into the county and explore some of this country’s most spectacular historic properties; and what better way to showcase Derbyshire’s fantastic heritage than providing the setting for some brilliant cinema?

Fancy a Brew? My Work Experience Week by Jess Christie

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Jess on work experience with brand flakes

I knew that my work experience was going to be very different from the normal school week, but I feel particularly lucky to have done my placement at Katapult. As well as being a lovely working environment, it has been a great place for me to learn more about the world of marketing and design. This week at Katapult has been such an interesting experience and has helped me practice my communication skills – as well as making brews!

I came at a great time as during the week, the team have been working on a TV advert which meant I got to see the behind-the-scenes process. This wasn’t easy and it showed me just how much goes into projects to make sure that the finished product is of a high quality.

This week I have tagged along to many visits with the team; for example on Monday I went to a recording studio to watch the voice-over being recorded for the advert – I now know the script off by heart! Another trip was to an editing studio where I watched the final production stages of the advert. I learnt that to be a video editor you have to be very patient as everything has to be down to the second and perfect…probably not the right job for me!

During my week at Katapult I observed that all members of the team have great communication skills, which is unsurprising when they are always meeting and working with new clients. The Katapult team have really helped boost my confidence when talking to new people.

I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone at Katapult for being so welcoming. It’s been a great experience and so interesting! I would definitely recommend contacting Katapult if you were ever in need of a marketing agency.

Introducing Tal, Digital Producer

Monday, April 30th, 2012


We’re pleased to welcome a new face into the Katapult fold…say hello to Tal Khangura, the latest member of our digital team. Tal joins us in the role of Digital Producer with more then 10 years digital experience. With his combined technical and creative abilities and having led international digital projects for brands such as Jaguar Land Rover and BT Openzone, he makes a welcome addition to the team.

Along with his passionate support of West Brom (leading to immediate rivalry with Katapult Director Neil Perrott – a reluctant Aston Villa supporter), Tal shares MD Dawn Foote’s penchant for audacious hobbies, having done a skydive in Australia a few years ago.

To help you get to know Tal even better, we asked him a few questions:

Q: What sort of projects are you most looking forward to getting your teeth into?

A: Anything that gives me the opportunity to innovate and reach out to new digital markets. I’m looking forward to working with clients that are receptive to ways we can challenge digital ideas together. I believe in a ‘lead rather than be led’ approach to the industry. I’ve already got a few ideas up my sleeve so you’ll just have to wait and see how they develop.

Q: Who is your inspiration?

A: Dennis Crowley and Alex Rainert who created Foursquare and Dodgeball (now Google Latitude) and Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook. Before them, the industry was mostly still very ‘shirts and ties’ with a top down approach but then these normal, everyday guys came along with some visionary ideas and changed not only the way we communicate, but our perceptions of the industry as a whole.

Q: If you weren’t managing seamless digital projects, what else would you want to do?

A: I’d love to be a pilot; I’ve always imagined flying a little two seater plane over a city skyline with a beautiful lady by my side. That’s very romantic isn’t it?

Q: What is the last film you laughed out loud at?

A: Life of Brian, I’ve seen it many times but I always end up laughing at something new that I didn’t see last time. Another film that’s always bound to make me laugh is Airplane. The camp guy Johnny in it leaves me in stitches (Tal does a brilliant impression).

Q: What was the first single you ever bought?

A: Embarassingly, I collected 25 Cadbury’s wrappers to get a free single and I actually chose Phil Collins, Groovy Kind of Love (Tal proceeds to sing “When I look at youuuu….”)

Q: What’s your idea of a great night out?

A: A good meal – maybe some Saag – and then dancing the night away at The Jam House in Birmingham.

Q: What in your opinion is the greatest invention of all time?

A: Music as it’s such a great alternative way to communicate (Tal is also a keen player of an Indian classical musical instrument the ‘Tabla’)

Tal has already hit the ground running on our current digital projects but if you haven’t been introduced yet and would like to give him a friendly welcome, you can do so at

Well done to our Virgin London Marathon runner!

Monday, April 30th, 2012


We want to say a huge well done to Dawn, Katapult’s MD who completed her first Virgin London Marathon on Sunday in 5hrs 29 mins; as you can see from the photo above taken in the last two miles, she was holding up pretty well though very emotional by this time.

Though she says she enjoyed the whole experience (apart from  the training), we know that Dawn was ultimately spurred on by the possibility of what the funds she has raised will do for the endangered species charity REACT that she is supporting. By way of congratulating Dawn, you can still donate to the charity on her fundraising page and help her achieve her target. Find out more about The Red Endangered Animal Connection Trust.

We are very proud of Dawn and think that first large glass of wine on Sunday night was well deserved after 6 months of following a strict teetotal training plan and 6 am runs.

Has Dawn caught the marathon bug?! She has vowed that she will only do it again if another member of the Katapult team runs with her; watch this space….!

PechaKucha – local kids take to the global stage

Monday, April 30th, 2012

PechaKucha Night Derby #5

The fifth PechaKucha Night Derby event took a slightly new angle with the event held last week at QUAD.

The 20/20 PechaKucha event format which originates from Japan is traditionally an adults-only night featuring speakers who present entertaining talks about their interests and passions using 20 slides with 20 seconds to talk about each one.

Last week’s PechaKucha night was a first for the Derby event, with youngsters from Portway Junior School in Allestree taking centre stage.

Katapult MD Dawn has been co-organising the PK nights in Derby with Simon Foote, Simon Foote Architects and Aleena Naylor from BBC Radio Derby for just under a year and was approached by Martin Adler, a teacher from Portway with the idea of getting his class of seven and eight year olds involved. Dawn visited Portway earlier in the year to talk to the kids about PechaKucha who were all full of enthusiasm to take part.

The children were encouraged to source all their own images and write their presentations themselves; young Archie (below) even chose to do his fantastic presentation on Kenya vs Derby without any notes or prompts.

PechaKucha Night Derby #5

All the children were amazing and very inspirational in terms of their presentation content and the courage it takes to speak in front of so many people – an audience in excess of 60.

Martin Adler said “It has improved the children’s speaking and listening skills and their awareness of presenting for an audience. We are looking at ways of using the same technique to present projects in school. This will give other children a chance to develop their skills and have a go.”

I think we all learned something from their presentations and they have definitely set the standard for future events. Read more on this at This is Derbyshire.

If you would like to take part in the next event on 25th July, please contact the organisers via the form on the Derby PechaKucha web page

Dawn is running the Virgin London Marathon

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012


Over the past 4 months, you may have seen Katapult MD Dawn Foote hitting the streets of Derby as part of her training for the London Marathon on April 22nd.

Inspired after watching last year, Dawn signed up and was unexpectedly awarded a place in the ballot. Having never ran more than 10k previously, the prospect of running 26.2 miles is a huge challenge – there have been aches and pains aplenty over the last few weeks as her weekly mileage increases with “the long Sunday run” now up to 14 miles.

Dawn is raising money for REACT, a charity close to her heart, having completed a volunteer conservation placement with the organisation in 2009 in Borneo. The endangered animal charity connects volunteers to various conservation projects over the world, informing people of ways they can contribute to vital fundraising or conservation projects to protect and conserve the world’s most endangered animals.

Dawn will be hosting a charity auction after she has completed the Marathon (no pressure!) but in the meantime please support Dawn by visiting  Virgin Money Giving. All donations and support are hugely appreciated.

Proposed cuts to arts and culture could threaten future business investment in Derby

Friday, October 28th, 2011


I speak for us all at Katapult when I say that we were shocked and hugely disappointed to read that Derby City Council are proposing to make drastic cuts to arts and culture in our city. The plans show the intention to completely withdraw funding to two of the city’s key venues, QUAD and Deda over the next four years. Alongside other cuts to cultural and community organisations, this sends out a very concerning message about our city, its ambitions and its future.

The ‘Revenue Budget Proposal’ acknowledges that these venues will now need to source alternative funding and/or become self financing. These organisations were never supposed to be solely commercial venues and would never have received Arts Council Funding if that were the case.

The 2009-2011 Cultural Strategy for Derby ‘Action Plan’ outlined its vision in ‘ensuring that the importance of culture in the economy of the city is better understood’, which is now just one of many points which seems contradictory.

Culturally incredible progress has been achieved in Derby in recent years. Format has been internationally recognised as a leading photography festival and Derby Feste, founded by Keith Jeffrey (QUAD) and Stephen Munn (Deda) attracted over 25,000 people to the streets of Derby last month. This demonstrates the potential for cultural activities and their associated opportunities.


As well as the social impact, businesses in the supply chain to these venues will be directly affected. QUAD spent £377k with local suppliers in 2010/11, ironically this is more than Derby City Council invested in the venue. Between them, QUAD and Deda have generated millions of pounds worth of international profile for the city, helping to attract new investment. Drastic cuts not only devalue these organisations and their impact, but demonstrate a lack of understanding over the social and economic benefits that culture plays in the development of the city.

It’s certainly important to Katapult, which is why we have invested in and supported cultural activities in the city. A strong cultural offer is key to attracting and retaining creative professionals which is important to our business.


A city to invest in?

The cuts raise a wider discussion on the future of Derby’s city centre. We know that Derby is home to some strong and established businesses that provide the economic backbone of the city and we hear great things about the city’s industrial strength. However, every top-drawer city has more to offer than industrial heritage.

By further developing the cultural offering – more independent bars, shops and restaurants for example – we could increase footfall, encourage localised spending and help attract new business to the city. It is only through long term commitment and investment that success will be achieved.

The Council states that it expects to make a loss in rental income from Derby’s indoor markets of £210,000 in 2012/2013 and a review of markets will take place to understand the pressures faced. This provides a perfect opportunity for the Council to work proactively with independent and creative retailers on finding a potential solution to these pressures.  The aim should be to produce a more attractive retail offer in line with the type of markets found in nearby cities such as Leeds and Birmingham.

Reports such as the Centre for Cities ‘Shifting the Gears’ claim that Derby must reach out beyond its borders and its traditional industrial base to grow. Shouldn’t now be the time that the city looks to further invest in the creative and cultural industries: the third fastest growing sector in the UK?

The short-sightedness of the council makes businesses like ours concerned about the future of our city.  Culture is a vital aspect of an aspirational city, not just a nice-to-have.

Here’s how you can make your voice heard and support the ‘Save Derby Arts and Culture’ campaign:

1)      Get informed about Derby City Council’s specific plans by looking at the budget proposal
2)      Fill in the feedback form. The section relating to arts and culture cuts is under the ‘Neighbourhoods’ section. You have until Friday 18 November to do this.
3)      Send your stories in a polite email to Derby City Council leader Philip Hickson and deputy leader Hilary Jones.
4)      Share your stories on the Facebook page Save Derby Arts and follow the campaign on Twitter @SaveDerbyArts
5)      Write to the Derby Telegraph with your stories and ask the editor Steve Hall and entertainment editor Nigel Powlson to run a campaign.
6)      Support the organisations affected by the proposed cuts by going to their events and exhibitions, eating and drinking in their cafes and bars and taking part in their participatory projects.

Author: Dawn Foote, Managing Director

Celebrating 10 years of Method and Magic at Alton Towers

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Team Katapult and kids at Alton Towers

What better way to reward and celebrate 10 years of Method and Magic than a trip to Alton Towers!

The team, along with partners and kids, celebrated Katapult’s 10th birthday this weekend. Favourite rides of the day included Rita, Air (with front row seats), Thi3teen (which frightened a few of us more than we expected) and Enterprise (three very brave Katapult kids and three very nauseous adults on a wheel that spins very fast. The youngest to brave Enterpise was Amelie aged 3 and the oldest to bottle it was Neil, aged 40+). With fast track tickets to get on all the rides, we managed to have a full day of fun and fear. Job well done.

It was a great way to mark the occasion – as you can see above from our slightly bedraggled group shot of those we managed to rally together at the end of the day and the rest of the team on the rapids, below, we had a good time. Shame we couldn’t take Brad though.


Making Magic (and Method) in the Digital Studio

Saturday, June 11th, 2011


We are pleased to announce Katapult are now the official sponsors of the Digital Studio at QUAD, to mark the occasion the Katapult team decided to test out some of the equipment last night when we took part in one of QUAD’s team-building animation workshops.

We started off with an introduction by Darius Powell, QUAD’s Digital Resources and Training Officer, by which point we were all itching to start creating and the ideas began floating around the room.

Within 4 hours we were aiming to come up with a stop-motion animation piece for our Method and Magic values to replace the Flash animation we currently have on our website. After a brainstorming session, storyboard and a bit of a debate along with lots of paper cutting, plasticine moulding, doodles and illustration the Method and Magic finally came together to produce a fun and quirky animation.

Apologies to QUAD for any plasticine clouds or worms we may have left behind!

The animation is currently undergoing a few tweaks from Phil, applying his post production k-motion magic and we expect to have a version on the Katapult site soon.

For more information on the digital and creative courses available in the Katapult Digital Studio please visit QUAD

Courses range from learning Digital SLR Photography, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Animation, Screenwriting, Film Production, Music Production and Graphic Design. The studio also works on a wide range of education and community projects which can be seen on their blog.


Derby 10k success for Dora’s fairies

Monday, April 4th, 2011


Yesterday Katapult and friends completed the Cooper Parry 10k Business Team Challenge dressed as Dora’s fairies in yellow and purple tutu’s and glittery angel wings.

It was an honour for us to run with Cathy in memory of her beautiful daughter Dora Brittain and the Dora’s Library charity and we couldn’t be prouder of our team.


Spurred on by the cause, our outfits and the massive amounts of cheers and support we received from spectators in Derby yesterday, we all beat our personal best times. Well done to the Katapult men who all finished in under an hour and to the Katapult lady fairies who along with Cathy and friends finished with a sprint around Pride Park Stadium and came in at 1:06:00.

Numerous pictures were taken of us in our striking outfits, more of which can be seen on the Katapult Flickr stream as well as Senior Designer Martin’s Flickr stream and The Derby Evening Telegraph’s online article.




We have already surpassed our target and raised over £1000 for Dora’s Library, so thank you to all our friends, families, clients and suppliers who have supported the team and the charity.

Anyone who hasn’t donated yet but would still like to, can make an online BACS payment to:

Ashbrook Infant School, Account Number 65114482, Sort code 72 00 04

OR write a cheque made payable to Ashbrook Infant School and send to Katapult, 28 Ashbourne Road, Derby, DE22 3AD