https://www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/blog/posts/zak-mensah-and-sara-wajid-appointed-joint-ceos-of-birmingham-museums-trust

Birmingham Museums Trust, one of the UK’s largest independent museum trusts, has appointed Sara Wajid and Zak Mensah as joint CEOs. The pair will formally join the charity in November, taking over from Dr Ellen McAdam who stepped down in June this year.

Credit: Installation view, Love & Solidarity, Jamie Crewe, Grand Union Gallery, Birmingham, 2020 Photographer: Patrick Dandy.

Credit: Installation view, Love & Solidarity, Jamie Crewe, Grand Union Gallery, Birmingham, 2020
Photographer: Patrick Dandy.

Grand Union is celebrating artist Jamie Crewe’s selection for a Turner Bursary, having been nominated for their sister exhibitions: Love & Solidarity and Solidarity & Love at Grand Union, Birmingham, and Humber Street Gallery, Hull. Earlier in the year Tate announced that it would award one-off bursaries of £10,000 to 10 artists in place of this year’s Turner Prize, as a way to support a large selection of artists through this precarious and uncertain time.

Showing work simultaneously across two venues, Jamie Crewe’s body of work comprises videos, sculptures, drawing and writing to explore ideas of identity, power, desire, community and history. The work takes inspiration from Radclyffe Hall’s 1928 novel The Well of Loneliness, and its lasting impressions on generations of LGBTQIA+ people. The exhibitions consider places, cultures, histories, communities, and individuals that are tied to each other, whether they like it or not. Tate remarked that the jury for the Turner Bursary “particularly praised Crewe’s dynamic and poetic retellings of mythology and literature while exploring contemporary notions of gender.”

This is the first collaboration of its kind between Grand Union and Humber Street Gallery, Hull’s dedicated contemporary visual art space. Bluntly split, this body of work survives in partial form, spread across two cities, two venues, and two exhibitions. This is in accordance with its themes; together, and apart, Love & Solidarity and Solidarity & Love test the possibility of living with a wound.

Love & Solidarity opened at Grand Union earlier this year, but the exhibition and gallery had to close due to the pandemic. Grand Union is planning to re-open the exhibition by appointment to provide an opportunity for audiences to see the work, adhering to social distancing guidelines. 

Cheryl Jones, Director at Grand Union, said:

“We are so pleased for Jamie receiving this well-deserved accolade for such a thoughtful and inspiring exhibition, which now feels more relevant than ever. This, coupled with news that The British Art Show 9 will be opening in Wolverhampton next March, marks an exciting opportunity for the West Midlands. It is an important recognition of the incredible visual arts work that happens across this region.”

This news coincides with Grand Union celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2020. The milestone also comes as Grand Union has recently become a charity and is spearheading a £3.25m project to bring a Grade II listed building on Fazeley Street, Digbeth, Birmingham, back into use. Working with Homes England, they will transform the derelict Junction Works building (former Birmingham Canal Offices) into a new contemporary art gallery and artist studios.

The recipients of the Turner Bursary 2020 are Arika; Liz Johnson Artur; Oreet Ashery; Shawanda Corbeet; Jamie Crewe; Sean Edwards; Sidsel Meineche Hansen; Ima-Abasi Okon; Imran Perretta; Alberta Whittle. 

Further details about the Birmingham exhibition and programme can be found at www.grand-union.org.uk.

Details of the Hull exhibition and programme can be found at www.humberstreetgallery.co.uk and www.absolutelycutured.co.uk  

 

Grand Union is celebrating artist Jamie Crewe’s selection for a Turner Bursary, having been nominated for their sister exhibitions: ‘Love & Solidarity’ and ‘Solidarity & Love’ at Grand Union, Birmingham, and Humber Street Gallery, Hull. Earlier in the year Tate announced that it would award one-off bursaries of £10,000 to 10 artists in place of this year’s Turner Prize, as a way to support a large selection of artists through this precarious and uncertain time.

Recipes for Resistance is an interactive multimedia art project from artist Raju Rage, presented by Ort Gallery and featuring five artists: Sabba KhanJasleen KaurNavi Kaur, Raju Rage as well as artist in residence Yas LimeIt explores the politics of food and its relationship to migration, belonging, memory, culture, coloniality, gender, resilience, adaptability and resistance.

Due to the pandemic, the exhibition has has to be moved online for the time being, however this has enabled the conversation around the project to open up online. We speak to Raju Rage about the exhibition and publication, politics and food, the chosen artists and the changes to the project that have had to take place.

Commissioned creative responses to the publication will be shared via the Ort Gallery website.

Download and listen to the interview HERE.

The publication can be read here.

 

We speak to Raju Rage about ‘Recipes for Resistance’, an interactive multimedia art project. The exhibition at Ort Gallery has had to be postponed for the time being, but this has enabled the conversation around the project to open up in other ways.

The Staffordshire Hoard

The Staffordshire Hoard in focus. Apollo Magazine pick their favourite virtual and digital museum resources. – via Apollo Magazine

Melanie Pocock

We speak with Melanie Pocock, the newly appointed curator at Birmingham’s Ikon gallery, to find out more about her background, research interests and plans for the future.

Melanie Pocock


What attracted you to your role at Ikon?

Ikon provides the kind of environment that artists and curators crave: a beautiful, signature architecture, where it’s possible to take risks and create vision. I was also attracted to Ikon’s size. It’s large enough to create ambitious exhibitions, yet small enough to feel their effects on artists and audiences.

I knew Ikon from my time working at Modern Art Oxford during my MA in Curating Contemporary Art. When Ikon advertised the role, the gallery was presenting The Aerodrome, an exhibition dedicated to the memory of Michael Stanley, who was curator of Ikon from 2002 to 2004 and Director of Modern Art Oxford when I was there. While not a deciding factor in my application, the exhibition did feel like a calling card! Michael’s desire to work side-by-side with artists greatly influenced me and is an approach which Ikon’s programme directly reflects.

The role came at a time when I was looking for a new challenge in an institution closer to home (I’m originally from London). I felt that the internationalism of Ikon’s programme, fostered over many years by current Director Jonathan Watkins, would enable me to contribute my on-the-ground experience in Asia.

What are you most looking forward to about working at the gallery?

In addition to Ikon’s scale and focus, I’d say the opportunity to work with a highly skilled, multi-disciplinary team. In the three months I’ve been here, I’ve been amazed by the expertise and achievements of Ikon’s staff, from the Facilities team’s development of the ‘Ikon lights’ (the gallery’s bespoke lighting system) to the Learning team’s incredible work on artist residencies and offsite programmes.

Since last week, and because of the confinement measures owing to Covid-19, myself and the Ikon team have all been working from home. It’s a big change, but one which I’m embracing—in the interim, at least! We’re already starting to use digital platforms and communication tools more effectively. The Facilities team has been incredible, helping us to get set up for remote working in an incredibly short amount of time.

Ikon exterior

 

What do you hope to achieve in the role?

Bringing artists to Ikon whose work has not yet achieved adequate recognition from the global art ‘system’, or which remains less visible due to issues of language or access, is a priority. I’m interested in consolidating strands of Ikon’s current programme—the role and meaning of painting today, as evidenced in John Walker’s recent exhibition, as well as contemporary artists’ relationship to Indigenous practices. Creating exhibitions and projects which embed artists’ ideas within the socio-cultural and material fabric of Birmingham is also something that I’d like to work towards.

What has excited you so far about Birmingham and/or the West Midlands region?

The history of art schools in the region—the Birmingham and Wolverhampton schools of art, established in 1843 and 1853 respectively, for example—is one that I find fascinating, especially having come from the Institute of Contemporary Arts in Singapore, which is affiliated with an art school (Lasalle College of the Arts). The aim of art schools in the West Midlands to foster artistic approaches to craft and design is vividly reflected in the region’s art history. It’s also a strong current in the work of younger artists, who are reviving this history through their employment of craft techniques like glassblowing and welding.

Can you tell us something about your upcoming projects at the gallery? What can audiences look forward to?

Yes—I certainly can! One project is a group exhibition, which will survey Ikon’s programme in the 1990s. Focusing on Elizabeth Ann Macgregor’s tenure as Director, it will include photography, painting, installation and video by over 40 artists whose work was presented at the gallery during this time. Apart from major works by renowned artists—Mark Wallinger, Adrian Piper and Yinka Shonibare, to name a few—the exhibition will reflect many of the decade’s critical debates on race and class politics. I’m also working on an exhibition by Krištof Kintera, a Czech artist who is known for his macabre sculptures and installations critiquing hypercapitalist systems and societies. It will be his first major solo exhibition in the UK and will occupy both floors of Ikon’s galleries.

www.ikon-gallery.org

We speak with Melanie Pocock, the newly appointed curator at Birmingham’s Ikon gallery, to find out more about her background, research interests and plans for the future.

 

Participate is a new programme from A3 Project Space that will support their studio members to collectively deliver a programme of socially engaged projects. The Digbeth-based project space and studios has relaunched as an artist-led space run by studio members Trevor Pitt, Cathy Wade, Ben Sadler and Philip Duckworth (Juneau Projects), Adam Carver and Carolyn Morton.

Utilising their Digbeth workspace as a base the artists will work in various locations to engage a range of participants:

– Fisherman along canals to initiate conversations

– Artists and makers to learn skills in digital laser cutting

– Canal walkers to explore eco-printing

– People who identify as Womxn to explore environments

– Queer song writers to share ideas and Creative practitioners to develop skills in project delivery.

– Support in planning an art project & writing a funding application

Participate will engage local communities with the arts and support creative practitioners to develop their practice in their locality via group workshops, 1-2-1 mentoring, public encounters and exploration. The aim of the project is to explore different strategies to engage people with contemporary art practice, and the findings of the artists will be shared online and at a public event.

The programme will run from March to August, commissioning 8 artists, engage 55 participants and culminate in a public event on 26 September 2020 at which each artist will discuss their project and launch a publication that shares A3 Project Space’s strategy for a sustainable programme of public engagement.

Trevor Pitt, commented: ‘It’s been an adventure to have steered the organisation for the past 9 years and we have an amazing line up of studio members and I feel it is time for an exciting new phase in which we become a member-run artist space programmed collectively.’

Further information on Participate can be found on the A3 Project Space website.

Participate is a new programme from A3 Project Space that will support their studio members to collectively deliver a programme of socially engaged projects. The Digbeth-based project space and studios has relaunched as an artist-led space run by studio members Trevor Pitt, Cathy Wade, Ben Sadler and Philip Duckworth (Juneau Projects), Adam Carver and Carolyn Morton.

https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/exclusive-birmingham-smithfield-winner-announced/10045971.article?blocktitle=news&contentID=19633

Eastside Projects has been announced as part of the winning team to design the new market of Birmingham as part of the £1.5 billion Birmingham Smithfield regeneration.

Photo: Ken Cheong

https://artreview.com/news/news_3_january_2020_melanie_pocock_appointed_curator_at_ikon_gallery_birmingham/

Melanie Pocock who has been appointed as curator of Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery, will begin her new role this month – via Art Review

https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/olympic-games-supremo-martin-green-to-lead-2022-post-brexit-uk-festival

Martin Green, Birmingham 2022’s Chief Creative Officer has been asked by the government to develop plans to curate, manage, and promote a UK-wide festival in 2022 – via The Art Newspaper

Amber Cooper-Green

Amber Cooper-Green

In:Site Festival returns to Birmingham city centre for a ninth year from 5-7 September 2019. Over three days recent graduates will work with the public to transform the outdoor space around Birmingham Cathedral, creating craft interventions inspired by the space, architecture, people and heritage.

During the festival each maker is allocated time to create and install their temporary artwork on a specific day, turning the making process into a performance. The passing public can watch or join in with the creation of many of the artworks and learn different techniques. This year activities will include creating mini objects using local clay, learning macramé, taking time to stitch or collaborating with a designer to make furniture from scrap wood.

The festival showcases new graduate talent, but also helps to develop emerging craft businesses. It provides graduates with a professional commission and profile for their CV. Benefits to artists include being able to: enhance skills, test the viability of ideas, respond to a public art brief and a specific site and engage with the public at first hand. It also presents contemporary craft for all to encounter and experience in an unconventional public setting.

The festival is curated and produced by Craftspace, a Birmingham-based charity creating opportunities to see, make and be curious about contemporary craft. It is free with everyone welcome to watch and take part. By the end of the festival Cathedral Square will be adorned with new art works.

In:Site Festival takes place in Birmingham Cathedral Square, Colmore Row, Birmingham. B3 2QB
5 – 7 September 2019, 11am-5.30pm (Work is on display until Sunday 8 September.) Free and open to all.

In:Site Festival returns to Birmingham city centre for a ninth year from 5-7 September 2019. Over three days recent graduates will work with the public to transform the outdoor space around Birmingham Cathedral, creating craft interventions inspired by the space, architecture, people and heritage.

Outside In has recently launched the call out for its next national art exhibition Environments which will be held at the Piano Nobile Gallery in Kings Place, London from 28 October 2019.

Since this exhibition will have national reach, Outside In is currently looking to arrange for arts organisations to act as collections points and to provide short term artwork storage around the UK. This will help their artists to get their artwork to the exhibition in a more accessible and affordable way. They are currently looking for an arts organisation in Birmingham to offer to be a collection point.

  • The work will be 2D, mostly paintings. If sculptural, it will be small and easy to store,
  • Work will be needed to be stored for a week. Artists will drop off artworks in the first week of October and a courier, arranged by Outside In, will collect them at the end of the week.

If you think you can assist, or would like more information contact: Cornelia Marland, Exhibition Coordinator, Cornelia.Marland@outsidein.org.uk

Details on the exhibition open call can be found here. Exhibition deadline: Noon, Monday 19 August 2019.

Outside In has recently launched the call out for its next national art exhibition. They are currently looking for an arts organisation in Birmingham to act as a collection point and provide short term artwork storage.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/jul/23/supersonic-festival-review-birmingham

By embracing the heaviness in Birmingham’s heritage, and adding a strong dose of eccentricity, Supersonic is world-class. Review by Ben Beaumont-Thomas – via The Guardian

https://www.artsprofessional.co.uk/news/funding-cuts-birmingham-arts-organisations-softened

Birmingham City Council decided a proposed 30% cut would have been too “damaging”, but says there is still an urgent need to find new sources of revenue. Adele Redmond reports – via Arts Professional

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/jun/23/birmingham-heavy-metal-history-embraced-black-sabbath-one-hell-of-a-city

Vanessa Thorpe reports on Home of Metal, a series of exhibitions and events taking place across multiple West Midlands galleries – via The Observer

https://www.artsprofessional.co.uk/magazine/article/finding-common-ground

In the wake of budget cuts, local arts groups in Birmingham have come together to help shape a new democratic approach to culture in the city, says Tom Jones – via Arts Professional.

From November to December, Birmingham New Street is to host a unique art installation which celebrates 100 years since women were first allowed to vote. The Face of Suffrage will be a floor-based, 200 metre square photo mosaic consisting of more than 3,500 images of women from across the West Midlands and beyond.

The artwork will be made up of historical images, women involved in the Suffrage movement from the early 1900s, as well as contemporary photographs of women who wish to join in to commemorate and celebrate their stories.

When viewed from above, the photo mosaic will show a portrait of a woman (still to be decided) from the Suffrage movement in the West Midlands. The mosaic will be created by artist Helen Marshall of The People’s Picture, who has installed similar projects across Britain marking other historic and significant occasions, most notably at the entrance to the BBC on Regent Street, London, to commemorate the WW1 Centenary.

People from across the West Midlands and beyond are invited to submit their own pictures of women – their mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters, friends, work colleagues and heroines, to be part of the photo mosaic and to celebrate and commemorate women.

There will also be opportunities at the station to have photographs taken and included.

Artist Helen Marshall said:

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to show a huge artwork in such an exciting public space. The idea came from my personal experience as a female achieving my dream to be an artist and the wish for women to become more visible, as they have been so invisible throughout art history, both in the representation in portraiture and as artists in their own right. My work is about breaking down barriers between professional and amateur photography and amongst people. I truly hope everybody will feel compelled to send in a photo and to become part of this celebration.”

The artwork will be on display between Thursday 15 November to Friday 14 December – the day which marks the 100th anniversary of women voting for the first time.

An exhibition accompanying the artwork will be at Birmingham Hippodrome from 16 October 2018 – 31 January 2019.

To find out more and upload photographs visit www.thepeoplespicture.com/thefaceofsuffrage

This project is supported by Network Rail, Cross Country Trains, GRAIN Photography Hub, Arts Council England, LSE Women’s Library, Birmingham City University and Birmingham Hippodrome.

Image: Emmeline Pankhurst, Emmeline Pethick Lawrence and others, c.1911. Photograph, printed, paper, monochrome, a group of seven women on a station platform, among them Emmeline Pankhurst and Emmeline Pethick Lawrence.

From November to December a new large scale art installation to celebrate 100 years of women’s suffrage will be in Birmingham New Street Station. People from across the West Midlands and beyond are invited to submit photographs of the women in their lives to become part of the piece.

Chloe Greeves, In:Site Festival 2017

This September Craftspace are taking over the centre of Birmingham once again for In:Site Festival. The free week-long event will see the green space outside Birmingham Cathedral turn into an outdoor art gallery as it gradually fills up with new artworks, created outside by recent graduates, in collaboration with passers-by.

Cathedral Square is a major thoroughfare and meeting point in the city, with as many as twenty thousand people passing through and spending time in the public space each day. Over five days selected graduates will make bespoke artworks in situ responding to the space, architecture, people and heritage.

The festival aims to showcase new graduate talent and develop emerging craft businesses. It provides graduates with a paid early career commission and profile.

Richard Maloney, In:Site Festival 2016

This year, visitors can see and take part in creative activities including a pop-up community garden made from clay, weaving on a loom, pewter casting, cyanotype printing, terazzo making, clay modelling and spinning wool. With different artists working each day, at the end of the week visitors can expect to see the space adorned with new art works.

In:Site Festival takes place from 3 – 7 September 2018, 11am-6pm (with work on show until Sunday 9 September) in Birmingham Cathedral Square, Colmore Row, Birmingham. B3 2QB. The festival is free and open to all.

This September Craftspace are taking over the centre of Birmingham once again for In:Site Festival. The free week-long event will see the green space outside Birmingham Cathedral turn into an outdoor art gallery as it gradually fills up with new artworks, created outside by recent graduates, in collaboration with passers-by.

http://www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/blog/posts/birmingham-land-earmarked-for-new-world-class-cultural-centre

A site in Yardley, East Birmingham has been agreed as the potential location for a new collection and cultural centre, led by Birmingham Museums Trust

https://www.a-n.co.uk/news/a-n-assembly-2018-new-series-artist-led-peer-learning-sharing-events-announced

a-n’s Assembly programme of workshops, talks and networking returns with a new series of one-day events taking place in four cities around the UK, with events in Salford and Birmingham already confirmed.

Join Birmingham’s cultural revolution!

Eastside Projects report on the 16 new job opportunities created as a result of Arts Council’s NPO funding for Birmingham.