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.



The next SOUNDkitchen event takes place on Saturday 13 September at Vivid Projects and features an all Midlands line-up:

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 18.43.35

More on SOUNDkitchen’s website.


This coming Sunday (7th) is mac’s montly craft market, which takes place on the first Sunday of the month.

With a huge history of successful Christmas Craft Fairs here at mac birmingham and a phenomenal number of local designer makers, our spring and summer craft fairs continue this success. With a multitude of stalls and an exclusive selection of products including ceramics, jewellery, paintings, and craft items.

Local designer/makers at Sunday’s market are:

For more mac Birmingham activities see their website.


Just a quick one, the BIAD – Art & Design MA shows are on now-25th September:

Bursting with creativity and fresh ideas, our MA Shows showcase our emerging professionals and take place across three sites in Birmingham city centre from Mon 1 to Thurs 25 September 2014. These events are free entry. Please note dates and times vary according to each art and design site.

  • Art-based Masters at Margaret Street –  Saturday 6th – Friday 12th Sept
  • Jewellery, Silversmithing & related products at School of Jewellery Monday 8th – Thursday 25th Sept
  • Fashion, Textiles & 3D design at Parkside – Monday 1st – Wednesday 17th Sept
  • Visual Communication at Parkside – Monday 8th – Friday 12th Sept

More information on the BIAD website.


“Each September the British Science Festival transforms a different UK city into a vibrant celebration of science, engineering and technology. This year’s Festival will take place in Birmingham, in partnership with the University of Birmingham, from 6 – 11 September 2014.”

There are more than a few creative events that will satisfy curious minds, and here’s a pick and mix of a few events with a snapshot summary from the programme. The full programme is well worth a read through and is available here.

  • A Perfect Picture. Discover basic science of modern photography. (Sat 6th 4pm-5pm)
  • 21st Century Materials. Bionic people and living buildings are on the horizon! (Sat 6th 4pm-5pm)
  • Things that go Pop. Flatpack’s freewheeling one-night festival to help kickstart the British Science Festival. An evening of combustible vapours, fizzy drinks and free thinking. Inspired by chemist, theologian, and all-round visionary Joseph Priestley (Sat 6th 6.30pm-10.45pm)
  • How Does the Brain Cope with Modern Life. Find out how modern brain imaging can shed light on the changes to brain structure and function. (Sun 7th 11am-12pm)
  • The Art of Anatomy. History of the illustrated anatomy text through time, illuminating advances in anatomical knowledge, the changing relationship between art and science, and the development of new technology (Sun 7th 2pm-3pm)
  • The Future of Cities. What will your city look like in the future? What will a city look Like in 2065. (Mon 8th 4pm-5pm)
  • Gauging sentiment on the social web. Many of us now express all sorts of opinions on the internet through blogs,forums and social media. All this data can be analysed to track public opinion and sentiment. How does this happen? (Tue 9th 1.30pm-2.30pm)

Details of all the events are available online at www.britishsciencefestival.org.

Booking is required, although many events are free of charge, and tickets can be booked online or by calling 08456 807 207




Scalarama is a celebration of cinema that takes place across the country every September. In Birmingham there will be two weekends of shorts, installations, archive screenings and more.

Full listings can be found here, but highlights include:

  • A sunset screening of Invasion of the Body Snatchers at mac birmingham
  • An evening of film and music inspired by Jim Jarmusch at Vivid Projects.
  • Obcsure 16mm films courtesy of Outer Sight.
  • Screenings of Daisies, the dazzling Czech new wave 1966 film about two girls on a dadaist rampage.

As well as screenings at established cinemas, events will also take place at the Mockingbird Bar & Theatre, Somali Hilaac restaurant, One Love Community Studios, The Spotted Dog and Polish Community Centre.

…and if that isn’t enough, this Saturday Flatpack host Things That Go Pop, an evening of combustible vapours, fizzy drinks and free thinking, all inspired by chemist, theologian, and all-round visionary Joseph Priestley as part of the British Science Festival.