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The Birmingham Good For Nothing team have announced the first date for their first gig, ‘Changin’ The Kitchen’.

(we wrote about Good For Nothing back in October if you need a reminder about what GFN Birmingham is)

Below is an excerpt from their invite…

We’ll be getting together for 24hours of thinking, making and most importantly doing. And we are honoured to be working with the lovely people at ChangeKitchen.

No matter whether you are an illustrator, developer, designer, animator, copywriter, artist, marketeer, musketeer, astronaut, strategist, thinker, tinkerer, sailor, soldier or spy, you will have a skill that can contribute to achieving amazing things for ChangeKitchen. The event will cost you nothing but your time, and as long as you bring your thinking cap, a bucket of enthusiasm we guarantee you will leave with a spring in your step.

…which you can read in full here.

Even if you can’t make their first gig on 28th February, they are sure to be doing more in the future if you’d like to help out. So keep up to date with GFN Birmingham by following them on twitter @GFNBirmingham.

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Today (14th February) sees the start of New Art West Midlands 2014. It was announced in December that 24 emerging artists from our own regional universities would exhibit their work within four different galleries across Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

A Turning Point West Midlands initiative, New Art West Midlands exhibits the work of 24 artists, all of whom have graduated from one of the region’s undergraduate and postgraduate fine art degree courses in the past three years: Birmingham City University, Coventry University, Staffordshire University, University of Wolverhampton and University of Worcester.  Encompassing four nationally important galleries plus five universities, it is the largest partnership of its kind in England.

Who are the Artists?

All of the artists have recently come from undergraduate and postgraduate courses. There really is a great range of different artists here, with their work ranging from sculpture, film, photography, performance to painting.

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Upon entering OFF KEY Studio, you are not confronted with any skin. This place is about the drawings; the sketches, the design style, the colour rendering, examples of the artists’ work adorning the walls.

There’s an air of calm, with space to breathe and walls covered with inspiring examples of established tattoo artists. Forget intimidating – you could be forgiven for wanting to hang out there.

I learn from talking to Craig, the owner of OFF KEY Studio, all tattoos produced there are custom-made and designed by the tattooists. The evidence of designs; tracings ready to be copied, stencilled and inked, are a reassuring note that these are works awaiting a next canvas.

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Kirsty M is a papercraft artist/illustrator from the Black Country – she’s very recently relocated and is now based in Cornwall.

Last year Kirsty was asked to be part of Handmade Boutique, the pop-up shop shop in the Great Western Arcade. In response to this she created a beautiful, intricate piece of artwork of some recognisable Birmingham landmarks cut out of paper (shown below).

Here’s a little about Kirsty M:

Armed with a pencil, a scalpel, a piece of paper and a lot of patience I create beautiful hand drawn and hand cut art work. All my designs are unique, created by me Kirsty Mason. I don’t use computer software or any fancy cutting machines to create this art. I just use my imagination and my tiny hands to create these beautiful pieces of art, that would look amazing on any wall. I use only the best quality paper and spend hours hand drawing and hand cutting each piece.

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Festival of Imagination begins Wednesday 5th February at Selfridges Birmingham.

There is a programme of events containing further information including the times/dates of the various events that will be hosted at Selfridges over the next few weeks.

If you’d like to attend any of the talks or events then you need to email to book a place.

Here are a few highlights, more info on the FOI website:

Lightning Talks

To kick-start the festival is Lightning Talks, a series of speakers presenting in Pecha Kucha style format; 20 slides in relation to their chosen topic of discussion, with only 20 seconds to present each one. Presenting at the first event are artists Grace Williams, Sophie Hedderwick, Jacqueline Taylor, ‘Antiquarian Horologist’ Rebecca Struthers and Director of the Dome Club, Mario Di Maggio. Titles of their chosen discussions can be seen on the events list.Lightning Talks will take place on the 13th and again on the 20th February.

Fantastic Planet

Fantastic Planet gathers film gems from Russia, Taiwan, Ireland and the USA, specially curated by Flatpack Festival.

Transforming the festivals’ ‘Imaginarium’ into a cinema, we will be screening our Fantastic Planet programme throughout the festival. Suitable for all ages, it will take you on a magic carpet ride across the globe.

Great to have a little taste of film before we get stuck into the 10th annual Flatpack Festival in March.

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There is a brand new outdoor Circus Theatre performance being developed by RoguePlay in Birmingham.

EVER WANTED TO JOIN THE CIRCUS? Well, now you can. RoguePlay has been funded by Birmingham City Council to train 12 local people in a variety of skills so they can rehearse and perform alongside us in our next big outdoor show. It’s all free, and for those aged 19+ so click here to find out more and how to be involved.

RoguePlay is Birmingham’s Circus Theatre Company.  Our work is for all those young or old, with a love of theatre, who struggle to find a good show, a great workshop or affordable rehearsal space.

Our performances capture new stories and characters through stunning Aerial Circus, Acrobatics, Poetry and Dance, our workshops challenge young people and provide platforms for teachers, and our well equipped rehearsal space is safe and affordable.

The Open Audition Day will take place on Saturday 22nd February 2014 from 12.30-4pm.

It will be your opportunity to meet the artists involved who will workshop you in a variety of exercises involving Circus, Dance and Physical Theatre. You will need to wear comfortable clothing and bring water for the day. Clothing should cover the armpits and knees.

To find out more please download an audition form online and email to: by Monday 17TH February 2014.

Number 50 (Volume 2 Number 25)

‘BABEL is an ongoing series of collages, paintings, digital prints, cards, books, boxes and installations, all derived from Stewart Brown’s experiments with ‘visual language’. This new iteration of the series is displayed alongside the influences and inspirations Brown has encountered during his time as an academic at the University of Birmingham and his travels through West Africa and the Caribbean.’

University of Birmingham has been pleased to welcome back Stewart Brown to host his work once again in their Aston Webb Rotunda building. The exhibition started in December and has been extended until 11th February. The work is on show from Monday to Friday between 9:00am till 5:00pm.


Babel 44 (Volume 2 Number 19)

Stewart Brown’s first exhibition of BABEL was in 2007 at University of Birmingham. Having explored literature and visual art during his time working in various schools and Universities in Jamaica, Nigeria Wales and Barbados his practice is heavily based on his own questioning and interpretation of how we recycle and take in information around us. This playful final visual work is a representation of these two practices working together and merging to form ‘BABEL’.

Babel Box

All of Stewart Brown’s work that is available for purchase can be found listed here.

For any further information about the exhibition at the Rotunda Gallery please contact Anne Young at 0121 414 6750 or

IDFB 2014

International Dance Festival Birmingham (IDFB) one of Europe’s biggest dance festivals, co-produced by DanceXchange and Birmingham Hippodrome, returns for its fourth year. The festival “officially launched” yesterday afternoon.

In less than three months’ time, this award-winning biennial celebration of dance, returns to the city from Thursday 24th April 2014 – Sunday 25th May for over four weeks of world premieres, unique collaborations, community events, outdoor spectacles and world-class performances.

With more theatre shows than in previous years, featuring some of the biggest names in dance, and some of the most hotly tipped rising choreographic stars IDFB 2014 will showcase the best international dance in venues and outdoor spaces across the buzzing festival city of Birmingham.

I must admit I have never been to an IDFB event – but from looking through the programme and reading a bit more about what’s going on, I can see that there is a lot happening that will appeal to a lot of tastes and curiosities. I  like the look of this:

All of Birmingham is a Stage

All of Birmingham is a stage


Students from BCU’s School of Architecture have been working with DanceXchange to imagine how disused or unloved corners of Birmingham could be transformed into performance spaces.

See the results in an exhibition which aims to kick-start regeneration and community development projects across the city. On Thursday and Friday look out for pop-up performances by Birmingham Ormiston Academy dance students, inspired by the architectural designs. The exhibition forms part of Birmingham Made Me 2014.

Have a look through the IDFB website for more information and for other events.

Sidenote: The new IDFB website is rather nice. when it’s not in festival mode, it functions as an archive of past events. Very cleverly designed by Birmingham based Supercool.