The News

A not-very-regular parsing of the Birmingham Post for relevant news items.

  • Debt-ridden art firm closed down. You gotta love those headlines. It seems ArtSites, a community arts team based at the MAC and operating across the city, have had to close down after they found a £47,000 deficit in their accounts and funding from the Arts Council and Birmingham City Council was withdrawn.
  • Independent shops may be offered discount rents. Relevant, I feel, because indy shops are more likely to stock cool stuff made by local people. Quote from Clive Dutton: “Mary [Portas] has opened our eyes to a whole new range of issues. The creatives and the retailers and the independents are vital to the masterplan, so we are open to suggestions and ideas about how we can to an ever greater extent make Birmingham distinct. All the great international cities are distinctive in some way and that can come from independent retailers.” [Later: There’s more on this at Style Birmingham.]
  • Birmingham needs to love London talks about the notion that we should stop trying to compete with the capital and look to it as a trading partner, something I’ve been thinking for a while now. London isn’t a city – it’s a whole ‘nother country. What can we offer that compliments London?
  • 100 years of Birmingham watercolours. Terry Grimley does that thing he does so well and gives us the full history of the Birmingham Watercolour Society.

I think that’s enough news for now.


  1. I too met Mary Portas last Friday. She had some interesting things to say but I think most of us already know that a much needed boost is required to help independent retailers change Birmingham from a ‘clone’ of other cities. And if it takes someone like Mary to say it for the council to see then hopefully it makes a difference.

  2. This Independent Shops…is something I and many others have been continuously saying for years at different steering groups, committees, set up by the many different agencies. It goes hand in hand with the cultural and creative industries and cant and shouldnt be separated, there is almost no point, culturally or economically in the city producing fantastic talent (which we do, no matter what anyone thinks) in the various art-cultural sectors if there is no outlet for this talent to showcase and sell their work. Where can young fashion designers, jewelery makers, artists etc sell their work? Birmingham has a once in a lifetime opportunity right now in placing this at the centre of the continued regeneration of the city centre, you only have to walk outside of the Bullring to see the amount of brilliant retail space available. High St-New St-Dale (Stale?) End should be stuffed with indy bars, restaurants, retail shops and the like. It would bring this area to life and keep it lifelike after 6pm and would offer a great alternative to the endless High St stores. There is a way to make this happen have BCC got the foresight to make it a reality? (Sorry for the long rant!)

Comments are closed.