2014 is the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies.

From the UoB website:

Using innovative teaching and research methods and often adopting a politicised engagement with subjects, the Centre was one of the first academic bodies to take ‘mass’ culture – pop music, television programmes, fashions – seriously. By creating an archive of Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) material, as well as staging an exhibition at the Midlands Art Centre (running from 10 May to 29 June 2014) andconference at the University of Birmingham (on 24 and 25 June 2014) to mark the 50th anniversary, this project seeks to learn more about the Centre’s research and practices and the way it helped to shape the development of an international discipline.  

Here’s a brief overview of a few things going on as part of the anniversary celebrations:

Looking out from the CCCS - Vivid Projects

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It’s week three of Vivid Projects’ ‘Looking out from the CCCS‘ season. This Saturday, you are invited to join Vivid Projects for an afternoon of informal illustrated discussions exploring the key themes of the exhibition and the CCCS legacy. All events are free, but booking is recommended.

  • 1pm – The Femail Project - In 2013 artist/curator Emma Leppington curated hundred of images submitted by feminist artists worldwide in a quest to present a single collective image of ‘feminism’. What does feminism mean to you?
  • 2.30pm – Birmingham Broadside - A round table discussion looking at the aesthetics, politics  and methods of grassroots media from 1970s to the present day. Convened by Brian Homer, Sarah Silverwood and Keith Dodds.
  • 4pm - What we’re trying to do is make popular politics: The Birmingham film and video workshop - The BFVW was a pioneering collective co-ordinated by CCCS post-graduate Roger Shannon and included members Jonnie Turpie, Alan Lovell and Heather Powell. This illustrated discussion situates the work of the BFVW in the socio-political context of the 1970s and 80s, the UK workshop movement and its relationship with the establishment of Channel Four Television.

There are more events as part of Vivid Project’s CCCS season, see their website for listings.

Back in the CCCS – University of Birmingham



As the 50th anniversary of the founding of CCCS approached, Mahasiddhi, formerly known as Roy Peters, embarked on a journey to photograph some of his contemporaries from his time at the Centre between 1975 and 1979. The result is this series of intimate, reflective yet lighthearted portraits of just some of the movers and shakers who passed through the doors of CCCS.

Catch the exhibition at the Bramall Building & Rotunda, Aston Webb, University of Birmingham, 2nd June – 30th July 2014

50 Years on Exhibition - mac


On ’til the 27th June, mac Birmingham are host to an exhibition examining the legacies of the institutional origin of cultural studies. Featuring the work of artists including Trevor Appleson, David Batchelor, Mahtab Hussain, Sarah Maple, Sarah Silverwood and Nick Waplington. The exhibition explores – in spite of its closure in 2002 – how the Centre’s work continues to be relevant today.

For other events taking place as part of CCCS50, visit their website.




Take a walking tour of Rowland Emett’s Birmingham on Saturday June 21st:

Frederick Rowland Emett (1906-1990) was a Punch cartoonist who, uniquely, turned his drawings into reality. He built a series of amazing machines in the post-war decades, the most famous of which appeared in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Birmingham was Emett’s hometown so this walk – led by Tim Griffiths from the Rowland Emett Society – visits some of the buildings associated with him in the city centre, finishing at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery where you can see many of his ingenious contraptions in action.

The event is a collaborative project between Flatpack and the Rowland Emett Society, and runs in conjunction with Marvellous Machines: The Wonderful World of Rowland Emett, currently exhibiting at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, until 21st September 2014.

This event also forms part of Love Architecture Festival, a programme of events taking place across June by RIBA West Midlands.

Tickets for the walk are available on the Flatpack website.



Associated Architects is offering the public a unique opportunity to visit the Grade I listed Curzon Street Station this month, as it opens its doors to play host to an exhibition of Birmingham’s Hidden Spaces. The free exhibition, organised by the Birmingham based practice in association with the Birmingham Post, will run from Saturday 21st to Sunday 29th June 2014 as part of the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) national ‘Love Architecture Week’.

The exhibition aims not only to show some of Birmingham’s unique, inspiring and often unusual architecture, but to tell the story of the people who have built, lived and worked in these places. The stunning selection of photography and media will reveal some of the many hidden architectural treasures of the city, which are often behind closed doors, inaccessible to the public.”

Follow @HiddenBrum on Twitter for regular updates.”

Photo by Chris Allen

Degree Shows 2014


After years of hard work, late nights and pushing their creativity to the limits it is time for this years graduates to present the 2014 BA Degree Shows. Over the next few days some of the West Midlands finest universities will be exhibiting a wide range of work from fashion and textiles, fine art, photography and graphic design (and much more!).


The University of Wolverhampton opened its doors last weekend to friends, family and the general public to celebrate the work of their students. This has been a tradition in their building since 1969 with over 8,000 students taking part to date. The degree show is on until Saturday 14th June.


The Birmingham Institute of Art and Design Graduate shows are also on until Saturday 14th June with dates and activities varying across location and subject areas, please check the website to find out more. With the main subject areas spanning art, visual communication, fashion & textiles, 3D design, architecture and jewellery – there is a lot to go and see.


Staffordshire University’s annual Art and Design show opens Friday 13th June and will be open to everyone until Saturday 21st June. The show is a celebration of a range of work across their Art & Design courses. To find out more about ‘Show & Tell’ please visit their website.

We hope that the graduate shows for University of Worcester and Coventry University went well and wish all the Art & Design students the best of luck! We look forward to seeing your work.

Digbeth First Friday


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Tonight’s the second Digbeth First Friday, and there are loads of things happening:

More info about each event on the links above, or by looking on the Digbeth First Friday website.


On Thursday 5th June, Custard Factory’s latest addition, brand new venue Alfie Bird’s, are hosting an art exhibition of final year graduates from Birmingham City University.

Photographer Jack Snape has curated the event and he’s also exhibiting. The exhibition will showcase a range of artists/photographers’ work including:

Melissa Hobbs,  Gosia Zmudzinska, Adam Oliver, Sophie Kozlowski, Jack SnapeRomay Brow, Terence Wade, Jack DeaconAgata Luczyna  and Adam Corns

There’ll be music, food and drinks too.

Here’s the facebook event for it.


The changes that the Balsall Heath neighbourhood have gone through are being explored by the local community and researchers from the University of Birmingham and Birmingham City University. Their Cultural Intermediation project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of its 2012 – 2016 Connected Communities programme.

On Wednesday 4th June, the group is inviting Balsall Heath residents to take part in the heritage project designed to promote local ownership of arts and culture.

The meeting will also host a long-lost gem from the BBC archives called ‘A Touch of Eastern Promise’. This is a 30-minute drama first broadcast in 1973 and produced at Pebble Mill studios. The light-hearted drama is about a young man (Dev Sagoo) who dreams about a Bollywood film star (Jamila Massey) who he tries to meet when she pays a visit to Birmingham.

It was entirely shot in Balsall Heath amongst the local Asian community. Most of the actors were hired from the local area as well. You can read more about the film here.

This will be a really interesting event getting people involved in their local history. The first meeting takes place at Hillac Restaurant, 568-570 Moseley Road, Balsall Heath – on Wednesday at 6-8pm.

Other Balsall Heath things of note:

Birmingham has seen a massive turn around in fortunes since its post-industrial nadir of the 1980 / 90s. Design is becoming a massive feature of the way in which the city is trying to shake off its grimy image and become a 21st century metropolis.

Mohammed Ali (not the boxer!) has been a major proponent of street art as a tool of transformation. He is a born-and-bred Brummy who has his own brand of ‘Aerosol Arabic‘ to add a dash of colour to the greys of Birmingham’s landscape. His politicised murals have caused controversy over recent years, but have undoubtedly left their impression on the communities that accommodate them.

He has also gained international acclaim following his TEDx Talk in the Vatican City State and installations in New York Melbourne, Casablanca and Dubai.

His talk is at Brainbox in the Library of Birmingham on Thursday at 5.30pm. He will present his work and ideas about how he believes bringing an alternative visual landscape to the cities we live in, is the way to deal with social ills and celebrating multi-cultural Britain.

He will also be talking about his work with the Library, access to resources and to Library’s expertise in the development of cultural engagement programmes, projects and activities.

Tickets for this event are £5 and are available via The Box.