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.


B-Town at IDFB



Following IDFB’s spectacular outdoor productions in each edition of the festival, 2014 sees pioneering performers from the world of street dance brought together in a show stopping new production, B-Town.

Referencing the ancient and the futuristic, B-Town sees elemental forces of good and evil harness the energy of our city, battling across the continents in Birmingham’s landmark Victoria Square. This electric new production features explosive dance from world B-Boy champions Morning of Owl (Korea) and an all star line-up from Funkstylerz UK collective brought to you by ProDance.

The event runs from 21st-24th May, performances are at 9.30pm, and you can find out more about the story of B-Town on the IDFB website.

B-Town is an outdoor production, so fingers crossed for good weather! In case of bad weather there is a film version that will be screened, so keep up-to-date with IDFB by following their updates on twitter and facebook.

There are still plenty of fantastic productions at IDFB taking place, so peruse the website to see what else is on offer – the festival finishes on 25th May.

Illustration by Sweaty Eskimo

new art bus logo

On Thursday a selection of Birmingham’s most popular art galleries will once again be throwing their doors open until late in the evening to showcase new exhibitions. This is part of the Museums At Night scheme – a nationwide festival of inspiring after hours cultural events at museums, galleries and heritage sites curated by Culture 24.

To make it even easier for you to sample the best of Brum’s cultural institutions, there is a free Art Bus that will cart you between the Ikon Gallery, Barber Institute of Fine Arts, RBSA Gallery, MAC Birmingham and Eastside Projects.

Click HERE for details of the route and follow the links above for information about the free exhibitions available on the night.

The CiB team have been really excited about new exhibitions in Birmingham. Check our review of Bill Drummond’s pieces at Eastside Projects HERE.


The summer exhibition at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery Gas Hall captures beautifully the story of inventor Rowland Emett. It starts by introducing you to the breadth of his work, showcasing his skill and enthusiasm. The display then moves on to the wonder of mechanical wizardry, including the machines he created for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Emett’s creations are detailed and full of humour. The drawings are earnest and make you smile, and the machines are the illustrations brought to life as he imagined them.

Wait a few minutes in quiet wonder for each machine to spring into life and you will definitely leave smiling whatever your age.

The Exhibition runs from 10th May 2014 – 21st September 2014

Tickets can be bought on the door or booked via the museum events page.

To find out more about Rowland Emett visit The Rowland Society.


Showing at the Electric Cinema until 15th May (this Thursday) Locke is set almost entirely inside the car of its main character Ivan Locke (played by Tom Hardy) as he travels from Birmingham to London.  It’s the perfect film to see at the Electric as you chuckle whilst he drives out of town, towards spaghetti junction and past Star City…

Written and directed by Steven Knight, the creator of Peaky Blinders, it’s not your typical blockbuster, but an engaging and cleverly thought through piece of cinema which draws you in.