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Small Talk = “A polite conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial matters”.

There’s an event coming up – which although is sold out – is without a doubt, still worthy of a mention so that you don’t miss out next time. You can get on the waiting list via their eventbrite page just in case there any cancellations.

What are we talking about?

Badego was setup to bring together the creative types in the city and give us a place to hang out, no structure, no pressure, no agenda.

We’ve been successfully doing just that for the last year or so. But it’s time to shake things up and do something a little different to get people talking a little.

Small Talk is our first ever Badego event. We’ll be hoping everyone who comes down gets involved in a bit of small talk with someone they’ve never met before. Because you never know, that little chat might turn into a much bigger conversation.

And that’s the power of Small Talk.

There are going to be five speakers including:

There’s also going to be an exhibition as part of the event, curated by Claire Hartley. It will feature some of Birmingham’s finest designers and illustrators (full list on the website.)

Small Talk is taking place at Bodega, Weds 5th March 6.30pm-late. It’s brought to you by Gavin Auty of Badego.

Badego is monthly and you ought to sign up to their newsletter so you don’t miss out on any future events.

I’d like to offer a tiny apology here, because I’d purposely put off posting this post until the event sold out (which happened to be within only a couple of hours, as I expected.) It’s only a relatively small venue and it’s good for these things to sell organically. Better luck next time!

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Beatfreeks have teamed up with BBC Radio 1Xtra and the exciting new Soundlounge project to produce a must-see evening of spoken word and live music on Tuesday 18th February.

The Beatfreeks collective is a youth-led social enterprise committed to creating social change, empowering young people and unleashing creativity in everyone. This group of local artists are quickly becoming a movement that demonstrates the vitality and passion that young people have for the arts.

They have been making a big splash over the past year by nurturing socially engaged artists in the city. They are actively promoting new young talent and showcasing the best that Birmingham has to offer.

This is a one-off event but remember to follow their Facebook and Twitter pages with news and updates on their monthly Poetry Jams at Urban Coffee Company and events elsewhere in the city.

Soul Sessions is a great opportunity for any aspiring poets, spoken word artists, musicians and dancers to get involved with some creative collisions at the heart of Birmingham’s thriving culture scene.

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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 FOIBirmingham@selfridges.co.uk 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 www.rogueplay.co.uk and email to: info@rogueplay.co.uk by Monday 17TH February 2014.