The cultural organisations of the West Midlands need you! This weekend, a major survey will take place to discover how people experience arts and culture in their everyday lives in the West Midlands. The 24 Hour Culture Survey asks you to tell them what you get up to over a single day – be it visiting a gallery, taking a dance class, listening to music whilst doing the washing up, knitting or reading on the bus. Anyone can take part, no matter how young – all experiences count.

You can take part by filling in the survey here from noon on Friday 24 to noon Saturday 25 October 2014.

The survey has been commissioned by 22 of the West Midlands’ arts organisations including the Royal Shakespeare Company, Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Compton Verney, mac birmingham, the Belgrade Theatre Coventry, DanceXchange, Ironbridge Gorge Museums and Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. It is hoped that the findings will be used to inform arts policy in forthcoming years, both by the organisations themselves but also by local authorities and government.

Findings from the survey will be released before the end of the year.


If you’re all about local music acts and live events, then feel free to busy yourself by going to Oxjam Brum, this Saturday:

Oxjam began in 2006, with the aim of creating a network of music-loving people across the UK, all united by a shared goal – to raise money to fight poverty and suffering around the world. 9 years on we’re still going strong, with hundreds of incredible gigs taking place each October.

Oxjam introduces and supports a range of local acts, as well as working in partnership with other Birmingham based organisations. Oxjam Brum is set to feature across various music and independent event hot spots; The Sunflower Lounge, 6/8 Kafe, Island Bar, Left for Dead Records, Frederick Canal Barge, Talk, The Oobleck and The Flapper – some of which you may already be familiar with if you’ve attended events such as Flatpack Film Festival and Fierce. You can access a detailed timetable and line up here.

Tickets for Oxjam Brum Take Over are available here – and just  £10 in advance, giving you all day access from 12pm on the 18th of October until 2am on 19th October. The first 150 people to pick up their wristbands on the day will gain access to the canal barge, curated by Croft Sessions.

They’re presenting a rather stunning (if I do say so myself) selection of raffle prizes, raising money for Oxfam. You can purchase your raffle tickets on Saturday from any of the participating locations, priced at £1 each. Who doesn’t love a good raffle? Here’s what you can win:

  • 2x Cadbury World Tickets
  • 2x sofa tickets to Electric Cinema
  • 2x tickets to Little Dragon at Institute
  • 2x tickets to Band of Skulls at Institute
  • 2x Two Towers Brewery Tour
  • 2x Afternoon tea at Centenary Lounge
  • 2x Tickets to All Years Leaving festival
  • 4x Independent Birmingham card

For further information about Oxjam Brum as well as links to their featured performers, you can visit their website, or take a look on their Facebook page and having a good nosey through their photos and updates.

For general enquires then please email:

Glug Birmingham

Inkygoodness & Created in Birmingham present the latest edition of Glug Birmingham.

Coming up on Thursday 20th November is the second of three ‘Midland Masters’ events, featuring talks by local designers, illustrators and creative studios celebrating the creative talent of the Midlands and beyond, in association with Glug.

For this edition, our focus turns to illustration and character design. We’ll be presenting an evening of talks by leading artists and collectives at Digbeth warehouse venue Boxxed. Expect creative workshops, live drawing, a pop-up art market & Digbeth Dining Club food vendors.

Get your Glug Birmingham tickets here »

Our Speakers

Florence Blanchard / EMA + Bradbury & Blanchard Gallery

Sheffield-based artist Florence Blanchard adopted the moniker ‘EMA’ in the early 90’s when she began spray-painting the walls of her hometown Montpellier (Fr), inspired by the worldwide graffiti phenomenon and its instantaneous appeal.

Utilising acrylic, watercolour, silkscreen and spray-paint on canvas – EMA creates a world of abstract scenes populated by illustrative figures in a dream-like state. Now based in Sheffield where she co-owns Bradbury & Blanchard printing studio and gallery, she continues to explore themes of symbolism, and science fiction.


Ben Javens & Simon Peplow / The Outcrowd Collective

‘The Outcrowd’ is is a shambolic visual collection of hoodlums and battered psyches, born out of a basic obsession to create.

Not to be trusted with pen, paper or any other medium that can leave a mark. Initially formed amongst a group of friends, skateboarders, illustrators, designers, image-makers and lurkers. Birmingham-based Ben Javens and Simon Peplow take the stage to share their stories.


Joel Millerchip, Kris Jones & Mr the Beef / Brothers of the Stripe

Brothers of the Stripe (BOTS) are a collection of illustrators, graphic designers and image makers from all corners of the UK.

With many major cities represented, we are able to support each other in presenting our collective works to the various regions. The BOTS are an all-male team of movers and shakers, united by their devotion to their style and craft, support for each others and their willingness to play outside their comfort zones.


Pop-Up Market

Alongside our speaker talks, our Pop -Up market returns stocking colourful prints, original artworks and handmade products by local illustrators and image-makers.

Full listings to be confirmed at the end of October.



In the run up to Midland Masters #2, to celebrate Glug Birmingham and showcase the creative talent of the city, we’re inviting submissions from local students, recent graduates and young professionals who live and work in the Midlands & beyond to create a poster in response to the theme of ‘Creativity and Play’. 25x entries chosen by team Glug Birmingham, will feature in an exhibition on the night. Submission deadline 6th Nov. More info & guidelines on the inkygoodness website >>


Workshops & Activities

Glug Birmingham will also give you the opportunity to get involved with hands-on creative workshops and activities with local designers and illustrators.


Local Street Food Traders

We’re inviting a handful of Birmingham’s most popular Street Food vendors to join us at Glug Birmingham to serve up a variety of fresh, tasty food in the Boxxed back yard throughout the evening.


Venue – Boxxed

We’re excited to be moving Glug Birmingham down the road to Digbeth venue Boxxed – by day it’s a hotbed of creatives utilising their co-working space, and by night it plays host to a variety of local art events including Secret Walls and Eye Candy Festival.

Boxxed is the ideal venue to host Glug Birmingham – with everything under one roof. Talks, workshops and our market will be in the main warehouse room, with live painting and food vendors in the outdoor courtyard and DJ’s playing from 10.30pm till late. You’ll be free to nip across to the Boxxed bar whenever you like, too.

Located at 104-108 Floodgate St, Birmingham, West Midlands B5 5SR


Tickets now on sale:

Standard tickets £7.50 (entry on November 20th)
Glug pass* – £13 (Save £2) – Limited availability.

Doors open at 6.30pm / Talks start at 7pm / Pop-up market runs till 10pm / Live music & workshops till 1am.

Buy your Glug Birmingham tickets here »

*Glug Pass gives the ticket holder inclusive access to our upcoming Glug ‘Midland Masters’ events in November & March.

Upcoming speakers for March include: Gavin Strange LIFE Agency & Jonny Costello

Volunteer opportunities

We’re actively seeking volunteers to join our Glug Birmingham team, providing support across each aspect of the event. You’ll be given the opportunity to get involved in a wide range of activities including social media, blogging, copy writing, art curation, marketing, sales, helping set up on the day, meeting and greeting, socialising with gluggers and supporting participants, speakers and artists.

Dates: October 20th – November 21st  | various hours (flexible) | unpaid

Confident, friendly and approachable volunteers are welcome to apply – whether you’re a young professional, recent graduate or student.

Interested? We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch for more details:

Glug Birmingham is proudly supported by


Glug – More Notworking™ than Networking

Glug is a series of events for the design and creative community. Our showcase event is held in London but there are now 8 other events around the world. Based around a series of talks and informal networking, Glug has become one of the most exciting, credible and well attended creative events around.

Established in 2007, it’s an eclectic mix of people from all creative walks of life; from advertising and graphic design through to fashion and architecture. Glug started as a handful of mates talking shop in an East London pub. Two years later and it’s an international and national event with over 8000 signed-up members on MeetUp.

Over this time we’ve had great talks, film preview, live art, installations and exhibitions from the likes of Airside, Anthony Burrill, I Love Dust, Jason Bruges Studio, usTwo™, Mainframe, Marc Kremers, Noma Bar, Wolff Olins and Why Not Associates.

Currently Glug events are popping up in: London, New York City, Birmingham, Beijing, Brighton, Edinburgh, Auckland & Nottingham.

So there it is, get yourselves down! New Gluggers are always welcome to come along and see what it’s all about, so bring a friend and get Notworking™ #GlugBrum


Coming up in a few weeks:

Longbridge Light Festival aims to be an annual celebration of the amazing history of Longbridge and its bright future through light and art. We have a jam-packed evening planned for the whole family, from films and workshops to lighting installations and artworks, designed to appeal to all ages. We are excited to be working with some incredibly talented artists based in the West Midlands, UK and across Europe who are creating a series of artworks specifically for Longbridge.

The Light Festival is part of a larger project by WERK on behalf of Bournville College, designed to support the regeneration of the area. We are grateful to all the residents, individuals, community groups, schools, local businesses and Councillors from Longbridge and the Northfield Ward for helping us shape this festival event programme.Come along and join in the fun at what’s promising to be an exciting event!”

Here’s the programme on ISSUU:

More information on their website.


Flatpack returns to its roots for a sociable evening of short films in the Oobleck, the Custard Factory’s latest addition. We hope Dots and Loops will become a regular gathering of animation people and animated people, an opportunity to meet folks, have a drink and watch some really good work. This inaugural edition will include:

Flatpack 2014 Award Winners;
– A selection of some of the best animation out there (old and new);
– Special guest animator, the amazing Peter Millard will be joining us to show some of his work (old and new) and he’ll also be choosing a handful of shorts that have inspired him in some way.

Flatpack also be joined by local and regional animation studios, Dice Productions, Yamination,Nice Monster, Second Home, and The Brothers McLeod who’ll be co-curating the programme.”

Flyer image: Greg McLeod.


The next Birmingham Urban Sketcher’s sketchcrawl will be on Saturday the 18th October to coincide with the 45th Worldwide Sketchcrawl.

Start at the Ranger’s Lodge Edgbaston reservoir – plenty of parking on site and the bus number 80 from Birmingham City Centre or the 8C from Five Ways Railway Station stop a short walk away.

Half way meet at the Reservoir cafe at 12:30 (they close at 1).

Finish at the Belle Vue cafe bar grill on Icknield Port Road (across the road from the Midland Sailing Club) at 4pm.

Everyone welcome, just bring a sketchbook and something to draw with.

See more from Birmingham Urban Sketchers on their blogfacebook / flickr group.

Fierce Festival 2014


Fierce Festival returns next week with its programme of live art, performance and projects across Birmingham and Warwick Arts Centre. Running from 2-12 October, there is so much to choose from. I trust Fierce to take me by the hand and introduce me to all sorts of new, (often weird) and wonderful things. This year is absolutely no exception.

The full programme can be seen here, but I have focused on some of the events that piqued my interest:


Car Deconstructions – Dina Roncevic

Casting traditional gender roles aside, seven Birmingham-based girls aged between 10 and 12 years olds will (after a basic introduction to car mechanics) disassemble a car to its nuts and bolts over three days. Artist Dina Roncevic will also talk about the project prior to the festival at Eastside Projects on Tuesday 30 September.



Influences – Phoebe Davies

Based at the festival’s hub at the Edge, come to Phoebe Davies’ nail bar. Get nail wraps with the faces of inspirational women from the area and exchange opinions and ideas about what feminism means to young women today.



Eat the Street – Mammalian Diving Reflex

A group of local 12-year-olds will become restaurant critics, inviting you to dine with them whilst they offer up brutally honest opinions on food, service and décor. The project, led by Canadian artist group Mammalian Diving Reflex, aims to dismantle the barriers between age-groups, allowing children a chance to take charge and be heard. Participating restaurants include Piccolinos, Bodega, Simpsons, Manzils and The Karczma.



Fierce Slow Dance – Sherwin Sullivan Tjia

Regularly run in Montreal and Toronto, these (Queer) Slow Dance nights are a high school dance with slow songs all night long with a ‘lending library of designated dancers for all you wallflowers, and a dancecard-booklet to set up dances in advance’. As with any Fierce party, fabulous attire is desired but not required. All they ask of you is to come with an open mind, open heart, and of course, open arms.



Cyborg Day – The Cyborg Foundation

An evening with the world’s ‘first officially recognised cyborg’! Neil Harbisson was born with achromatopsia  – he can only and only see in black and white. He has co-designed an electronic eye that allows him to experience basic colors as bone conducted vibrations. He will be joined by Moon Ribas who has an implant that enables her to register global earthquake tremors.

The programme will feature an AV set from Neil Harbisson and the dance work ‘Waiting For Earthquakes’ by Moon Ribas. These performances will be complimented by a series of short films and talks.

Festival passes and tickets can be bought via the festival website.

Solfatara ATRESBANDES photo credit Alex Brenner

ATRESBANDES theatre company from Barcelona, begin a UK tour of their award winning show Solfatara at mac Birmingham on 9th October. They have strong links with Birmingham: creating a new piece in residence here after winning the Jury prize and the Audience prize at BE festival back in 2012.

Solfatara is a geological term for vents in volcanic terrain that emit hot, sulphurous gases. The piece explores the idea that we are also full of these phenomena, orifices that allow our insides to come to the surface. A row over puff pastry causes a young couple’s frustrations to erupt with catastrophic honesty, as a masked figure dares them to voicing their true feelings. Performed in Spanish with English surtitles, the translation takes on a subversive life of its own.

What’s not to like about that?

Tickets via the mac’s website. More about ATRESBANDES on their website.