1. Soweto Kinch (in the interview he did with Frankie) said that a big obstacle to putting on the Flyover Show was finding a person at the Council he could deal with – each department had to be dealt with one by one and no-one could adopt it as ‘their project’.

    How about creating a role/set of procedures at the council to tie things together and make for a more cohesive whole to help with staging large creative projects?

    That interview is here in case you missed it – http://www.createdinbirmingham.com/2008/05/30/interview-with-soweto-kinch/

  2. Patrick Willcocks

    I really feel that we are lacking a space for photography. We have over 3 million photographs in our Museum and Art Gallery. We have some great photographers and yet we have no space for exhibitions or for supporting and discussing photgraphy. My idea is to convert an old industrial space into such a centre so we can host and grow world class photography. My money would be on the Jewellery Quarter or Digbeth.

  3. I’m really keen on the notion of a Creative Director for Birmingham, someone who’s remit would be to ensure Birmingham’s output as a city is up to scratch. An obvious example is design but it would also apply to events and festivals that come under the council’s remit.

    Currently, unless I’m mistaken, the approval system for these goes through councilors and while they may or may not be great at running a city their artistic nouse is somewhat lacking. And understandably so – it’s not what they’re elected for. It would be nice if it was recognised that the current system, while the hearts might be in the right place, is not conducive to doing this properly so appointing someone and giving them the freedom to be a bit daring would be great.

    I don’t like to cite Manchester too much but the council there’s appointment of Peter Saville as creative director was inspired and something we should seriously think about.

    That said, when I asked a question about this the garbled response from Mr Whitby told me quite clearly that he’s not interested in anything that takes any decision-making power away from him and his close team. Which is a crying shame as spreading the load is exactly what this city needs at the moment. Ah well.

  4. regengirl

    Pete wrote:

    “I’m really keen on the notion of a Creative Director for Birmingham, someone who’s remit would be to ensure Birmingham’s output as a city is up to scratch.”

    It’s v much needed but Mike Whitby’s response doesn’t surprise me given my own experience of entrenched council interests around what should be pretty basic stuff.

    For example, noone wants to see clone town B’ham, yet B’ham CC Highways recently agreed revenue-neutral funding policy means that anything capital that isn’t issue-standard local signage/street furniture etc is automatically vetoed unless someone else agrees to pay for maintenance. At constituency/local level there is no someone else (given tiny discretionary constituency level budgets) . So this means seeing EXACTLY the same benches/lights/planters etc. right across the city despite everything in planning/urban design policy citing the importance of coherent but distinctive local visual identities. So much for ‘vibrant urban villages’…

    I definitely support Patrick on the photography space. I’ve heard MANY people from the city’s cultural organisations say the same thing on the need for it.

    My own big idea is an adult learning centre for all creative arts/crafts from absolute beginner level (to learn to draw/sew/play a musical instrument/do carpentry or whatever) in the same way that Brasshouse is *the* adult learning centre for languages across the city. Mac pre-closure covered bits of it as do some FE/Adult Ed courses but none of the bits are coherent or especially easy to access as a beginner. They suffer from ancient equipment, large classes and tutors not paid for prep time.

    If Birmingham is serious about lifelong learning and truly being a creative city then create a few opportunities for individuals who have missed out for whatever reason at school whether as a route to further learning/improving mental health or god forbid just for fun.

  5. Dave

    Hey Pete, if I’m not mistaken your idea of an adult learning centre already exists at the MAC. Which itself is undergoing re-development, most crafts can be explored for fairly reasonable prices. There is also Birmingham Print Makers where traditional printing facilities are available.

    I would also suggest that if the plan is to be successful these things should be put in place for the benefit of the wider community and not just the creative community.

    I kind of get the sense from a lot of the articles i’ve read that the council in Birmingham have no real vision amongst themselves. All other cities i’ve lived in or researched who have successfully re-developed have a council with vision. I worry Birmingham will never achieve anything of real significant without the vision coming from the top!

  6. regengirl

    Dave wrote

    “Hey Pete, if I’m not mistaken your idea of an adult learning centre already exists at the MAC.”

    Hi Dave, it was me, regengirl, who suggested it not Pete. Thanks for your take on my idea but MAC only covered bits of what I have in mind as I mentioned in my original post. It wasn’t really targeted at beginners either – beginners and intermediate students were often lumped in together with minimal tutor support for those struggling. I speak as someone who’s done a couple of jewellery courses there which were fun but didn’t really teach the basic skills needed and the equipment was shoddy most of the time. My post wasn’t about criticising MAC though – it was about fragmented adult learning provision for creative arts/crafts in the city.

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