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.


Last Wednesday I was invited to visit ‘Bryant Priest Newman Architects‘, located at 3 Mary Street in the Jewellery Quarter. Sleek and striking, the building has played host to a series of Birmingham based artists including; Ed Wakefield, Jane Tudge, VOID Group Show, Stuart Layton, Sam Brookes and will soon be expecting Karen McLean. These artists were all selected to take part in a program set up by ‘Three’ , generously funded by the Arts Council England, this flourishing 9 month project has provided a succession of wonderful exhibitions.

Sam Brookes is the fifth artist to take part in this exciting program and has been making use of Three’s studio space having presented his exhibition, ‘The Soft Machine’ on the 24th of April, which will be running until the 9th of May. Having read about his intricate illustrations I was excited to see the complex figures up close. Peering around the corner of Caroline Street, BPN Architects’ large glass window glistened at me to come over and with the reference to Kafka’s ‘Metamorphosis’ already ringing in my mind I started wondering through ‘The Soft Machine’, looking forward to meeting and interviewing Sam Brookes.

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Are you a visual arts graduate from one of these West Midlands-based Universities?

  • Birmingham City University
  • Coventry University
  • Staffordshire University
  • University of Wolverhampton
  • University of Worcester

If you graduated with a visual arts BA, MA or PhD in 2012, 2013 or 2014 you are eligible to make an application for the selected exhibition New Art West Midlands 2015.

The Selectors:

Amna Malik - Senior Lecturer in Art History, The Slade School of Art, University College, London

John Newling - artist and former Professor of Installation Scultpture at Nottingham Trent University.

Bedwyr Williams - artist

Deadline: 5pm, Monday 30 June 2014.

Download the application form here.

Via Turning Point West Midlands

With all the build-up and enthusiasm for dance performances during IDFB I feel well and truly ready for BE Festival 2014. Having not personally attended BE Festival before I was a little unsure of what to expect, and so took the opportunity to visit the 2014 launch at Birmingham Rep on the 16th April. I was quickly immersed into a world of acting, exciting workshops and performers.

BE Festival has been hosted in Birmingham since 2010 after responding to an Arts Council-hosted conference entitled, ‘The Challenge of Change: How can we make a better future for theatre, here in the West Midlands?’ in 2009.

5 years on, the realised dream of BE Festival still continues. Having invited performers from 11 different countries to take part in this years’ amazing selection of 22 performances, the festival has already attracted a large following.

This year The Rep will open their doors to BE Festival, with the main stage itself set to feature a pop-up restaurant. There they will be serving delicious interval dinners to artists and audiences so that they can have an opportunity to eat together each evening. The menus include vegetarian options and advance bookings for this are now available through box-office.

You’ll now be able to see all of the wonderful events planned which include visual arts and talks, workshops, performances and even musical post-show events, finishing with an Awards Party on the 12th of July.

Even better, if you’d like a chance to be involved with BE Festival, meeting the performers and organisers behind the action then you might be interested in their volunteering opportunities. Open until the 12th of May, volunteering opportunities with BE Festival also include 6 positions for aspiring stage managers/technicians to form part of the Production Team.

If you would like to volunteer please send an email detailing your interest, any relevant skills, experience and CV to Volunteers will be needed in May and then throughout June and July.

For the full 2014 programme please see HERE.


 Raw Beauty: a new life for Brutalist buildings

A day school exploring the future for British Brutalist buildings, in celebration of Birmingham Library, with expert historians and critics ( Barnabus Calder, Ross Brown, Alan Clawley and Andy Foster ); Preston Bus Station and Sheffield’s Park Hill estate case studies introduced by campaigners, Urban Splash, and architects Hawkins Brown; a Brutalist guided walk (Owen Hatherley); all you need to know about concrete conservation (Catherine Croft); listing considerations (Roger Bowdler, English Heritage); and a celebration picnic at the ‘amazing spaceship of a bulding that in 30 years time our kids will be looking at photographs and saying “what happened to that”‘? – Birmingham Library.

The Brutalism Day School is being held on 28th June at the BMI. Places need to be booked through the 2oth Century Society.

Organised by: Friends of Birmingham Library in association with the C20Society WM Group and the Twentieth Century Society, London


Only just picked up on these having been away for two weeks on holiday and moving house! Apologies for the copy and pasting…

Digbeth First Friday

Time to try something new.

Digbeth comes alive on the first Friday of each month with exhibitions, late-night openings, special events, culture in unexpected spaces, live music, street food and more.

With different things to see and do each month anything could happen on a First Friday night out. Grab a Disloyalty Card from participating venues and collect stamps to trade for treats as you sample the great independent culture Digbeth has to offer.

Digbeth First Friday will run across Digbeth from 6pm ‘til late and starts on Friday 2 May, 6 June, 4 July, 1 August, 5 September, 3 October. What’s on will change each time with different things to see and do every month.

And if you want to get involved and put on something extraordinary of your own just get in touch.”

Browse through the website to find out more about the events on / participating venues.

Photo via Vivid Projects on twitter.

BFSA Regional Heats at Digbeth Dining Club (also on tonight)



DDC is proud to present the Midlands heats of the British Street Awards in Birmingham. The cream of the city’s street food producers will battle for the ultimate accolade – a place in the BSFA finals in Leeds – which can only mean one thing; epic food and fearsome competition.A host of vendors will unveil the finest menus for your delight under the disused railway arches of Digbeth, whilst you are entertained by Madame Moonshine and her devilishly delicious team.DDC won the Best Street Food Event at 2013’s BSFA awards, and now we have the opportunity to welcome you to the ultimate street food party this Bank Holiday weekend.

More info on I Choose Birmingham‘s latest mailer.