Mercurial | THE SEED | Photo Credit- Katherine Kowaser Ullman

It’s not just in the city centre that exciting arts events are happening. This week in Yardley a school group will be promoting their local community centre in what could be the start of an interesting new arts/community space.

Children from Oasis Academy Hobmoor have joined with Coventry-based digital-dance company Mercurial Arts to create a new dance performance for their community. Working collaboratively since May, sixty Year 5 pupils have worked on the project, inspired by and exploring neuroscience.

As well as the dance performance, half of the children have been working on a ‘Digital Play Space’ to compliment the work featuring insights into the brain, interactive projections, film footage and sound using new technologies.

As a starting point, the children visited the University of Birmingham’s Medical School for in-depth investigations into the workings of the brain, and looked into complex questions such as, ‘Where do ideas and movements come from in the body?’

Ruqqayah and Laura at the University of Birmingham Medical School - Credit Toni Kerr 3

Mercurial Arts’ Artistic Director Oliver Scott said:

One of the exciting things about this project is we can set the children complex and real challenges. Not only will they become a fully-fledged dance company making their own new work, they will share it with the general public. It is an ambitious task that develops physical, personal and social skills that will stand them in good stead in many contexts.

Chaotic Liquid Network is part of an exploration into the brain Mercurial Arts have been undertaking over the last year, and first investigated during their project The Seed, performed at the Coventry Mysteries festival in 2013.

Chaotic Liquid Network invite

The public performance of Chaotic Liquid Network will take place at 11.45am this Friday (4 July) at Oasis Hobmoor Community Centre, Yardley. Capacity is limited. Book via the school. The Digital Play Space will be open as a drop-in, from 11am-3pm on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 July 2014.

Find out more about local Arts fora and the Arts Champions scheme here.


Today Arts Council England announced its investment plans for 2015-18. It lists 46 arts organisations joining the portfolio. 58 will be leaving, and 43 of those are outside of London.

Plans for the West Midlands include 48 arts organisations and three Major Partner Museums.

One new organisation joining the West Midlands portfolio is BE Festival, an international theatre showcase.

Black Country Living Museum is a new Major Partner Museum in the West Midlands, joining Ironbridge and Birmingham Museums Trust.

The six organisations being offered a higher level of funding to achieve specific aims are:

There are three organisations from the West Midlands leaving NPO. From what I gather, those are Big Brum, Rhubarb Rhubarb (which has been in hiatus since 2011, following the sudden and long-term illness of Rhonda Wilson, MBE — its founding CEO and creative force) and Tindal Street Press (formerly based in Birmingham. Since 2012, it has been an imprint of Profile Books Ltd.)

Here are a selection of happy tweets I’ve seen in my feed today:

And the not so happy … 

You can check out the stats for yourself on the Arts Council England website, and just the NPOs in the West Midlands on this spreadsheet I uploaded to Google Drive.

Credit to Polaroids and Polarbears for some of the stats info – and thanks to Jenny Duffin from Birmingham Loves Photographers for her help.


The third edition of Digbeth First Friday takes place this week. Celebrating the wealth of culture in the area, ten very different venues will be opening their doors for an evening of exhibitions, film screenings, music and serving great food:

• Take the time to see Oliver Jones‘ studio at A3 Project Space. He’s been asked to exhibit at GUSFORD Gallery in Los Angeles in September. Catch him while you can!

• Take a peek at the studios at Grand Union.

• Play a record player as a musical instrument and create kaleidoscopic visuals with electric and mechanical devices made by Sellotape Cinema at VIVID Projects.

Eastside Projects will be open late with two new exhibitions.

Stryx present a group exhibition featuring 11 Midlands-based artists who were born outside of the UK.

• Flatpack Film Festival converts Edible Eastside’s canalside garden into an al fresco cinema, screening one of the finest – and strangest – movies of the 1980s: Repo Man. (This event has been postponed because of the weather, please refer to Flatpack for details of when they’ll be showing it again.)

• On it’s 50th anniversary The Giant Screen at Millennium Point screen Stanley Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove.

Friction Arts presents a selection of side-splitting short films by Brummies, about Brum.

The Cobalt Blue Contemporary Arts presents United States of Art – an exhibition of visual, performance & installation art at The Lakeside Gallery, Custard Factory.


2014-06-25 Glug CiB - flyer


We’re thrilled to be joining forces with Inkygoodness & Glug to present Glug Birmingham: Midland Masters – a series of talks by local designers, illustrators and studios celebrating the creative talent of the Midlands.

What is Glug?

Glug is a series of events for the design and creative community. Their showcase event is held in London but there are now 6 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.

Glug events have included great talks, film previews, live art, installations and exhibitions from the likes of Airside, Anthony Burrill, Baiyon, Dixon Baxi, I Love Dust, Jason Bruges Studio, Mainframe, Marc Kremers, Noma Bar and Why Not Associates. Alongside these regular Glugs, they’ve also run events in conjunction with Arts & Business, D&AD, DAHRA, GameCity and Pick Me Up.

Recently they’ve hosted Google Creative Labs, B-Reel, Tellart, United Visual Artists, Marshmallow Laser Feast, Hudson Powell, Serial Cut, Soimon Manchip of Someone and Peter Crawley.

Midland Masters | Launch event

When: 6pm – late, 21st August 2014

For the first edition of Glug Birmingham we’re presenting a series of engaging, energetic and inspiring evening events of talks, live drawing, stalls & more at Fazeley Studios in the creative quarter of Digbeth – located 2 minutes from The Custard Factory and a short stroll from the Bullring and Birmingham New Street station. As well as six brilliant speakers, there’s going to be a BBQ and a bar.

The Speakers

Alex Fowkes

Alex Fowkes is a freelance graphic designer from London. He graduated from Nottingham Trent University in 2010 with First-Class Honours in Graphic Design. Clients include: Sony Music, NHS, Timba Smits, Empire, Fruit of the Loom, Tommy Hilfiger Denim, Next and many more.


Studio Output

Studio Output are a creative agency making still, moving and interactive work. And whatever the medium, they have one aim in mind: to make amazing work. Work that goes far beyond ticking the boxes on a brief. Work that takes you by surprise, makes you see things differently, and inspires you to share it with other people. Truly creative work, that will be remembered. Glug exists thanks to Studio Output.

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 00.20.42

Waste Studio

Waste is an award winning independent creative agency based in Nottingham, UK. We’re a collaborative, diverse, and forward thinking team who have a geniune passion for what we do. We deliver considered and engaging design for a wide range of clients across both the private and public sectors. Waste have curated events and collaborated on projects in the Midlands since 2004.  Waste were invited by Type and Birmingham Institute of Art & Design (BIAD) at Birmingham City University to be involved in the production of ‘The House of Caslon’. 

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 00.19.14

Matt Nation – PROVIDE

PROVIDE is an experiment. We’re following our passions, interests, beliefs and ideals wherever they take us and collecting curious, inspiring and talented people along the way. We produce a graphic-led line of clothing and accessories which we sell alongside books, magazines and other things we love in our retail shop in Digbeth, Birmingham. Everything we do is motivated by three simple choices; Choose Adventure. Embrace Failure. Defy Impossible.


Gemma Germains – Well Made Studio

Well Made Studio are a design studio based in Liverpool, specialising in design for brands, realised through well considered and emotionally engaging print and digital projects.


Dan Button – FRUKT | Hero Of Switzerland

Co founder and Creative Director of illustration collective Hero of Switzerland, Dan Button is also Senior Designer at FRUKT Source, a creative agency specialising in music, entertainment and lifestyle marketing trends from across the globe.

@FRUKTsource | | @heroswitzerland |


The venue

We’re taking over Fazeley Studios in Digbeth.



Tickets are – £7.50 for an early bird.
Glug combo pass* – £20 (Save £2.50) – Limited availability. 

*Inclusive access to all three Glug ‘Midland Makers’ events in August, November & March. (Dates and speaker info tba.)

Tickets are on sale via Eventbrite


Are you a Midlands based illustrator, designer or creative? Are you interested in a FREE stall to sell your wares to Glug attendees? You’re in luck! A limited number of stalls will be available at each of our #GlugBrum events. Register your interest by emailing with ‘Glug Brum’ in the subject line. Please include a link to your website and a brief introduction – no attachments please.


If you’re a local business and interested in sponsorship opportunities, please contact for a sponsor pack.

Phew, that’s a lot of information

To keep up to date with everything Glug Birmingham: • facebook • twitter • facebook • twitter • facebook • twitter

We also have set up a facebook event.

Sneeky Fox Pop Up



On Friday 27th June, Sneeky Fox will launch its first pop up shop for one week located in an area that the brand classes as its home, Digbeth, the creative quarter of Birmingham that has fuelled inspiration and direction for Sneeky Fox to date.

The shop will act as the launch for the new Sneeky Fox staple collection, a 12 piece range of wardrobe essentials all designed, cut and sewn with Digbeth street life in mind. Minimal branding and high quality materials play a key part in this collection.

On the launch night they will be offering 10% off throughout the event. Past collections will be available with up to 50% off the ‘Home & Away’ collection on the night, then a generous 30% for the rest of the week.

Alongside the apparel, there will be a host of well known Birmingham artists exhibiting their work, including G87″, Newso and Zoot, with a live showcase of street art on launch night.

To top it off, there will be free beer and doughnuts, along with The Record Store and friends providing the soundtrack for the evening.

Friday 27th June, 18.00 – 22.00, Boxxed. + facebook event page



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

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 23.38.11


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