Birmingham Fest 2016

A highlight of the year, Birmingham Fest takes place from 15-31st July. The theatre festial organised by the energetic Darren Haywood promotes new plays, dance, music, comedy, magic amongst it's performances all with low-price tickets.

I headed to the preview and have highlighted a few must-sees [FAVE]

Honey [FAVE]

Alice in the Wilderness


Sentimental Journey of Jazz

The Austerity Games [FAVE]

Fanny a New Musical

Learned Friends [FAVE]

Sings Ella Fitzgerald

Our Kylie’s Getting Wed

Make Britain Magic Again

Green Witches & Funny Girls

Rivers Up [FAVE]


All the Things We Could Have Been

The Voices in My Head


Back again this year, the fabulous

An Audience with Gorgeous George [FAVE}

Find out more: Website @BhamFest #BhamFest

Meet the Artist: Liskbot

From Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh, to Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Banksy. We all have our favourite artists - and we all have our from styles of art. Those who enjoy a Rembrandt may not necessarily like work by Shepard Fairey or other street artists.

Me, I do. I'm a big fan of street art. You only have to take a walk through Digbeth to appreciate some of the fantastic street art on offer in Birmingham. And to fully appreciate some of the street art available, I highly recommend you visit Millennium Point before February 16th 2016 to see the amazing art being exhibited by Liskbot.

To wet your appetite, get to know the artist a bit better, find out how they got involved in street art, why they've chosen their style and which artists they recommend we look out for, by reading the Q&A I did with them recently.

There are a few famous street artists, perhaps none more so than Banksy. But who inspired you to get into street art?

My earliest introduction to street art was while I was studying at Walsall College, when an older student brought a tiny street art book back from a trip to London. I was aware of graffiti but was blown away by the different ways artists in London such as Banksy, Toaster, Invader and D-face used different mediums to create humorous and cleaver art in a public space.

Who are the street artists both locally and further afield whose work we should be looking out for?

I'm always excited to see new work popping up on the walls and lampposts of Birmingham. Lately 'Johnny Vcnt's' use of poppy images and stylish fonts remind me of nostalgic advertisements.

'Foka Wolfs' been going for a while but still gets me excited seeing his paste ups around town. The work of Gent and Newso always leave my mind blown, such skill and imagination, creating some monstrous pieces of work around Digbeth.

Your art predominantly features robots, why?

While failing to support myself living in the Netherlands, sometimes I drew a little box like character that illustrated my thoughts and worries while I was in a different country. I came back and people seemed to like my character more than my holiday photos, so I drew some more onto stickers and over time each bot I drew developed its own character and sinister motives, it has been fun unveiling the plans for our future.

Your art has popped up in some places it may not be expected, such as stickers on lampposts (including outside Dismaland) & bins, but where's the most unusual place you've left your mark?

I've come to find stickers on lampposts as the norm, and I try and make my art available and accessible to all. Putting my robots in super public places up and down the country, from dark and dingy city alleys to rural village towns, whenever I'm on my travels I always have a back pocket full of stickers and if I've been anywhere new or see a fellow artists work I'll put a bot up.

How did you first get into street art & can you remember your first piece (& is it still there)?

The first boxy character i did was hand drawn on a set of sticker labels and I sheepishly put five up around the grounds of my university, luckily they weathered off within a few months. I'm glad they did, they were terribly naïve.

Where do you get your ideas / inspiration from and how long does it take to turn the idea into the finished art work?

I'm fascinated with history, especially with the remains of what was left from before, like Birmingham’s dying industries and the deteriorating factories left behind. I also love all things Science Fiction, especially cartoons, movies and games, depicting apocalyptic landscapes. I take inspiration from these visions of the future, and from there the bots demand I put them into worlds similar to the ones in the movies, so I'll pencil quick ideas into a sketch book and normally sit on the idea till I'm able to apply it to the street. sometimes for months.

For you what's the best and worst thing about being a street artist / street art?

Well the worst thing is working with Birmingham's not-so sunny weather. It's hard to pick the best part. Meeting people who are as passionate as me about the art-form, being able to create collaborative pieces of art with some of my heroes, even hearing that the sight of one of my bots makes somebody’s bus journey to work a little better.

By Michael Younger, Copywriter by nature, Twitter user (@myounger14) & chief street art spotter.

Frieze Art Fair/Ikon Gallery

Frieze Art Fair at Regent’s Park, London is the annual extravaganza which provides an opportunity for international fine art galleries to show off the work of selected artists from their stables, make a bit of a splash and often enough court controversy with some outrageous offerings. If the many regulars I met last week are anything to go by, this year was a much more considered and serious event than some in previous years.

There was nothing that I saw which in any way outraged me, and much that delighted and engaged me. Chief amongst the latter were works by Frank Auerbach, Carmen Herrera (whose wonderful show at Ikon a few years ago remains an abiding memory), Roy Lichtenstein, Kwon Young Woo, and John Hoyland. But especially enjoyable was the sole offering from The Sunday Painter, an artist-led gallery based in Peckham, which showed a water feature by Samara Scott, recessed into the floor and sitting so still and unmoving that, like most other viewers, I initially took it to be a layer of inlaid resin. This colourful, thoughtful, subtle installation seemed to have caught the imagination of many visitors and was one of the most talked about items amongst my fellow visitors on the first day of the show.

That was especially satisfying as this relatively young gallery was taking part in its first Frieze, sited in the curated section in which galleries had been selected by the organisation for inclusion. Samara Scott exhibited recently at Birmingham’s Eastside Projects so there must be some satisfaction in that quarter to have talent spotted at an early stage.

There were 164 galleries from 27 countries in total, spread over the main space at the south end of Regents Park and several more in Frieze Masters at the North East corner, as well as those individual artists whose work was featured in the Sculpture Trail which extended throughout the whole demaisne. In a full day of trekking, looking, discussing, and looking again, I only managed to take in the main event. To “do” Frieze properly I imagine one would need to devote at least two days. However, with so much happening in London’s galleries at the moment, a day was all that could be spared.

Other exhibitions viewed recently included: Barbara Hepworth and Frank Auerbach at Tate Britain (soon to be graced as Director by the inimitable Alex Farquharson of Nottingham Contemporary), each of which was magnificent in its own way, Auerbach particularly thoughtful and thought provoking; Agnes Martin and The World Goes Pop at Tate Modern, the first of which was a WOW (Martin is very much an artists’ artist) but now ended, while the latter might not be too high up on anyone’s list of priorities, insightful as it may have been; Goya Portraits at the National Gallery, which must be seen if only because there will never be such an opportunity to view them all gathered together like this again; the small but utterly gorgeous Barkcloth Textiles at the British Museum, which anyone with an interest in textile art ought to make an effort to see.

No, I didn’t see them all in one visit: it so happens that there have been other business reasons to be “In Town” regularly recently so these have been the bonuses added on to some of them. Additionally, you might want to pop in to the Wellcome Trust on your next visit to London since it is just across the road from Euston Station. There is always something really intriguing here, even if there is no featured exhibition and you simply go to view the permanent collection gathered over a lifetime by Dr Wellcome.

No matter how long you are in London, you will need some sort of food intake. As in all tourist cities, there is much that is awful, plenty that is mediocre and, lots of ripoffs, but if you know where to look or just have a nose (as well as a taste) for it, there are some really good and surprisingly not overly expensive eating places. As I was overnighting at a delightful find from Airbnb in Chalk Farm, I found myself at the Colonel Fawcett in Camden Town. This is a well known and well liked bar with a bit of history and (more importantly perhaps) food and which, I suppose, thinks of itself as a Gastropub. The food is pretty good, the wine seems reasonable, and the beers on tap more than acceptable. I had their Roast Smoked Pork Belly with Confit Potato, Black Pudding Croquette, Kale, and Mustard and Cider Cream which was as good as any Pork Belly I have ever tasted and my colleague the Sirloin Steak with Burnt Shallot Puree, Roast “Heritage” (really?) Tomatoes, Bone Marrow Butter and “Hand Cut” Chips which looked, smelled, and tasted very good indeed. Does that sound just a tiny bit pretentious? Well, maybe, but it was well cooked, and tasted excellent. The pub prides itself on its range of gins and does have an acceptable wine list but it also serves some damned good beers so we both had the Redemption Pale Ale which went down very well with both dishes: rich, hoppy, fresh, a lively tickle on the palate.

Since I think of my main task of food criticism as being principally related to Birmingham restaurants, I am not writing about this one in any more detail but I can definitely recommend the Colonel Fawcett should you be in London and want decent food at a reasonable price. (1 Randolph St, Camden Town, London NW1 0SS)  Two main courses and two beers each, £52 plus tip.

Spending a few days in London and being so excited by the gallery scene there makes one forget just what great venues we have back in Birmingham. The main Museum and its various branches house a collection as good as anything and better than most outside of the capital. In the Ikon was have one of the country’s (indeed one of Europe’s) most interesting galleries, and the various enterprises now thriving in Eastside offer regular events of work by new, upcoming, exciting and often thought provoking, mainly young, artists and groups. We are lucky to have them but we should cherish them and help them to develop by supporting them. The next Digbeth First Friday would be a good way to start.

In the meantime, the new Fiona Banner exhibition at Ikon is at the top of my list. A visit there in the next few days is definitely on my schedule and, of course, Café Opus is always worth a punt. Since my first review some months ago, I have returned several times and each time come away as satisfied as on the first occasion. Consistency is as important as genius.

By Big Enn who can be contacted on @NcherryNorman

Fiona Banner, Scroll Down And Keep Scrolling, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, 10 October 2015 – 17 January 2016, (With thanks to the Ikon Gallery for these photos)

Culture Faves: The Secret Gallery

Opened in 1939, just six weeks before the outbreak of World War II, and tucked away in a corner of Birmingham University campus is a very special place, known to fewer people than it ought to be. At least (I hope) until now. This is the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

A striking Art Deco building designed by Robert Atkinson, the imposing exterior does credit to the treasures within.  With a permanent collection that includes work by Picasso, Monet, Rodin, Manet, Degas, Magritte, Turner, Derain, Van Gogh, Whistler, Gauguin, Botticelli, Rubens and Gainsborough, as well as containing several hundred drawings and prints, any visit to the Barber is an artistic delight, and you can visit on any day of the week.  Perhaps what I most value about the Barber is the space and peace of the galleries, qualities rarely - if ever, now -  found in places like the Tate or Royal Academy. You can really take time with the painting or drawing of your choice, to engage with it and let it get under your skin, as you won't have to jostle with crowds, or have your concentration broken by some selfish philistine cutting across your line of vision. 

If your tastes are more modern, the Barber is not just about long-dead artists. In February the Barber joins the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Wolverhampton Art Gallery and the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry, in hosting New Art West Midlands 2015. This exhibition contains some of the best work by recent graduates of the five West Midlands university art schools and the Barber trails it by saying that "Voyeurism, idolatry, the transience of life and orange-phobia are among the diverse subjects and themes explored in this years New Art West Midlands."  I can't wait.

Many people don't know that the Barber also has a coin gallery, which has, among other exhibits, one of Europe's finest collections of Byzantine coins. There is also an excellent concert hall which in this quarter alone hosts the Birmingham International Piano Festival and performances from, among others, the Nash Ensemble and the Dante and Tesla string quartets.

But one of my favourite aspects of this gallery is its accessibility to the young.  The Barber regularly holds creative Sunday workshops, welcomes visits from schools and colleges and makes art a living, breathing thing for all. On 17th February, a Picasso Family Day is being run on a "no booking required" basis, where young visitors can enjoy storytellers, animations and films about Picasso (in an event organised in association with the Flatpack Festival) and can even make a Picasso postcard to send to the Japanese home gallery of one the Barber's current borrowed exhibits "Woman Sleeping in a Chair".

There is so much more than this (did I mention the book club?), but why not go there as soon as you can and form your own view? I bet you go again...and again.

The Barber is special to Birmingham, and makes Birmingham a more special place. The gallery even has its own bull....

Words by PJB @TamertonPJB #BetterInBrum

All photos © The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham. @BarberInstitute

Birmingham Books: Must Haves

Looking for ideas on original book presents? Here are some Birmingham infused book recommendations put together by city tour guide, Ian Braisby in 2013. Birmingham Books and Writers

Mainly regarded as a city of commerce and industry rather than culture, there is actually a very good reason why Birmingham’s coat of arms offsets the man with hammer, anvil and crucible with a lady carrying a pallet and a book.  Over the years, it has been the birthplace, home and inspiration to many well-known and hugely successful poets, playwrights and novelists.

At The Flix with @Timmy666

Hello all. Welcome to the weekly flix roundup. So once again the weekly allure of celluloid is a proven elixir and escape from the real world.

This week, we have a busy film schedule including the latest big Disney animation, some Beat Generation with the man Radcliffe, a Stallone penned action flick with The Stathe, a slab of Alexander Payne's unique philosophy with Nebraska, and Hollywood remake of a Korean classic with a man, er Oldboy.

Frozen (PG)

Disney's latest animated film, Frozen, looks like a return to the sort of films people of my age grew up on. Many reviewers Stateside have commented on this, and that despite the CGI and 3D elements, the films main instigators Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee are tapping into their love of Disney's classic late 80s/early 90s output like The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid.

For people of a certain age, this will be great! A story of love, the relationship between two sisters and some cute animals  (and a reindeer!), there's, no satire, no clever twists or sci-fi elements. So, all in all there's something gloriously old-school about a bit of singing, dancing and any plot device involving "true love's kiss". In fact, it's ideally festive, and not done in an ironic way which many 'knowing' Pixar and Dreamworks films have employed from time to time.

Kill Your Darlings (15)

The film focuses on the Beat Generation poets when they first came together in the mid 1940s.

A number of critics have picked up on the film's love of the Beat Generation, a love story and a murder story and how director John Krokidas either grasps or fails to negotiate a path between them all. A film with any of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs would arguably be material enough, to interweave to a murder plot and love tale within all of this is quite the undertaking.

I think it's great to see Daniel Radcliffe taking on a real variety of roles post-Hogwarts. As is well known, he's a poet himself, so there's no doubt a lot of appeal to take on a role as Allen Ginsberg and to embrace the Beat Generation who represent figureheads for young creative rebels everyone.

Nebraska (15) Alexander Payne's films are always relentless in dark humour, passing judgement on large swathes of society, but also not towing the line in terms of film conventions or characterisation.

This looks like being no different with Nebraska. Payne's male characters are usually deeply unhappy or flawed. He takes great pride in showing regret and disappointment and definitely no sentiment.

He does bittersweet though and in Bruce Dern and Will Forte's performances as Woody and David, I am hoping you have this in droves. Woody, an elderly father, and David, his son going on a very uncomfortable road trip to pick up a flyer telling him he has a become a millionaire. Obviously it's a scam but the wealth of characters and encounters are what will make this movie memorable.

Whilst in black and white, it's a movie hopefully brim full of  classic indie conventions that I hope will be richer in colour with its characters, far more so than many other films you will see this year.

Homefront (!5)

An average Jason Statham action B movie is nearly always better than any other average action B-movie. Fact. Jason Statham is awesome.

Statham's delivery in action from the hilariousness of The Transporter series to craziness of Crank to The Bank Job, manages to be likeable, commanding the screen in that way that only The Stathe loves to. He can actually act, a bit, and his fighting skills are second to none.

A little of that is due to something that Stallone (scriptwriter for this film) would I'm sure appreciate. He can do the action hero thing in a way that appeals to fans of 80s action flicks as much as it does to 21st century action fans.

Back to Homefront, the story sounds like typical Stallone fair with Statham playing a former DEA agent who moves his family to a quiet town, but he soon tangles with a local drug lord and a number of unfriendly characters.

Rumour has it Stallone's script has done the rounds for a number of years before a director was attached to it. I am hoping its action zing hasn't been diluted because that's what we want to see!

With a cast including James Franco and Winona Ryder, I am hoping it stands up in the Statham B-Movie pantheon.

Oldboy (18)

The remake to Chan Wook-Park's classic 2003 film has been talked about for a number of years. I love the original. It's amazingly poetic, beautiful, strange and at times grueling, a revenge flick with a strong oedipus tale at the heart of it, and a film with lots of pathos.

In fact, the original Oldboy has a level of detail and care which deserves repeat viewing. Look behind the violence and you have something which is both complex and classically Korean with its horror conventions and unerring sense of ambition.

With Spike Lee directing the remake, you have a most talented director at the helm, and in Josh Brolin, a more than capable lead. And yet, reviews have not been praiseworthy. I am not against a remake, for example, look at how Infernal Affairs became remade as The Departed.

If you're going to remake a classic film such as Oldboy, you have to be doing something just as classic and if it falls just a tad short, it will be a disappointment.

Lee's film will be free of live octopus eating though! If you've seen the original, you'll know what I mean.


My question of the week - what's your favourite Statham flick and why?

So that's my overview for this week. Which of this week's films are you tempted by? Let us know by tweeting @brumfaves or if you take issue with any of my rants, tweet me @timmy666.

Until next week ladies and gents!!

Do comment below or tweet Tim on @Timmy666

Trampled Under Foot: The Power and Excess of Led Zeppelin by Barney Hoskyns

I’m sure most readers are familiar with the great Led Zeppelin, although you may not be aware that both the vocal and percussive powerhouses of the band (Robert Plant and John Bonham) were West Midlands boys, and cut their teeth on the vibrant music scene of the region in the 1960s.  Barney Hoskyns’ new oral history of the biggest band of the seventies provides us with a fascinating insight into those days, where bands would traipse from venue to venue performing multiple gigs a night.  The region is more than just a jumping off point for Plant and Bonham, with the industrial heritage of the area being cited (not for the first time) as a driving force behind the “heaviness” of the music, competing to be heard with the roar of the factories.  Lest we forget, it is perhaps no coincidence that Birmingham and the West Midlands are widely regarded as the birthplace of heavy metal, with Led Zeppelin (arguably) the first metal band.

Barney Hoskyns’ book is based on exhaustive interviews with a wide range of people who “were there” as Zeppelin conquered the world. As well as the band there is testimony from roadies, friends, musicians, management, and many others.  The result is a book that leads the reader into feeling like an insider, from the first gigs as the band rose from the ashes of the Yardbirds, through to the death of John Bonham, the end of the band and their endeavours since.

Zeppelin were renowned for their excess (as the title suggests), and this is presented unflinchingly, painting a rather tragic image of how this side of success ate away at the band.  However, there is also plenty of time devoted to how powerful the band could be (especially live) and how much joy they gave in their huge performances.

The book is divided into four sections which broadly cover the origins, formation and rise of the band, then covering their demise and the subsequent work of the surviving members. Each section is prefaced with a short description of the bare bones of what happened in the period but most of the text is made up of word of mouth descriptions of the action, which leads to a patchwork view of the events in question and a real sense of immediacy.

At 552 pages, the book is heavy in more than once sense, but well worth the effort of picking up.

Blake can be contacted on Twitter  @brum_enthusiast or take a look at his blog.

At The Flix with @Timmy666

.... Here's Timmy!!

Hello gang. So, are you ready for another diatribe of film-related gumph related to what's out this week? Well, you should be, as it's At The Flix time.

This week's releases are a decidedly mixed affair, a few of which I am somewhat curious to see and another few I'd rather substitute for a daytime antiques show instead. Which ones do you think I'm talking about?

Saving Mr. Banks (PG)

One of the big films out this week, this is the story of when  P. L. Travers went to Walt Disney during the production for the adaptation of Mary Poppins, leading to a reflection of her difficult childhood.

There's much that appeals about this film, first and foremost the cast with its acting talent. Messrs Thompson and Hanks in the lead roles seem so ideal. This film also hints at having far more weight than just the coming together of Travers and Walt Disney, principally because it is a character examination, it reflects on each of the main character's childhoods and is very open about the power of storytelling in all its multiple guises here.

I'm hoping that the film doesn't bog itself down in sappiness, sentiment or self-congratulatory, but is actually an affirmation of the power of the story. Fingers crossed.

Carrie (15)

Another remake and another question mark placed against why we need to see another version of the great book after Brian DePalma's classic exists in the pantheon of horror films.

Of course, this is not described as a remake but as a reimagining! With the great Chloe (Hit Girl) Grace Moretz in the lead role of Carrie White and with Julianne Moore as her mother Margaret White, there are definitely the acting chops in play here but I'd rather see Sissy Spacek going to the prom instead.

I'd like to be proven wrong but I've found myself so frustrated at classic horror films or books being adapted, sorry, re-imagined over recent years.

Rather than see remakes, go see great horror films made by original directors like Ben Wheatley, Neil Marshall and the like.

The Best Man Holiday (15)

Christmas movie number one this week is a follow up by director Malcolm D Lee to his 1999 film The Best Film. I never saw the original. College friends reunite after 15 years over the Christmas holidays and discover how easy it is for long-forgotten rivalries and romances to be ignited.

On initial glance, I thought it would be dreary but reviews have been strong Stateside for this film and that it's a properly acted, well written and timely Christmas drama, tapping into social issues that people face, not overplaying stereotypes but dealing with something of weight or substance.

Free Birds (U)

This is not the bio-pic of Lynyrd Skynyrd but a animation about two time-travelling turkeys who go back in time to get turkey off the Christmas menu.

Yes, it's Christmas, so unless you eat nutloaf on Christmas Day, turkey is an absolutely must. With this in mind, how much of a stuffing, yes I said stuffing, will this film get critically and popularity wise?

Either way, it's going to be a turkey whether on the screen or on your plate this Christmas!

I'm not excited about this one but it will be the only time you will get to see animated turkeys in 3D .... I'm pretty sure about that?

Generation Iron

Making its UK premiere at The Electric Cinema on Sunday 1st, Generation Iron is a new documentary from Vlad Yudin following the extreme world of modern-day bodybuilding. At the time of writing this, it is worth noting that are no tickets available but it will be shown on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th December at 3pm.

A great coup for The Electric especially given the generally strong reviews for this documentary.

Ok, did you get a ticket for Generation Iron? You're a lucky so and so!

Anyhow, that's it from me this week! As always, send your quips, remarks and disagreements on twitter @timmy666 and keep cinema watching prominent in your calendar of entertainments.

Till next week! See you at the party Richter.

Do comment below or tweet Tim on @Timmy666


Lost in Metropolis

By Lou Knight Weeks before the exhibit opened at Gas Hall, it was brought to life in this stunning trailer Metropolis: Reflections on modern city. Developed alongside the New Art Gallery in Walsall and Ikon Gallery, as part of the £1 million Art Fund International initiative, it showcased work by 25 contemporary artists. Curved partitions made flowing pathways where at any time you could view multiple pieces from various angles. The exhibit included projections, media installations, paintings, sculptures and photos from around the world.

Metropolis Collage

A blue mural featuring a photo of the Selfridges building marked the exhibit’s beginning; the voluptuous curves of silver discs unanimous with the city. Untitled by Barry McGee (2011) brought street art and geometric pattern together (see above left). With its bright colours and concave design it was a visual loudspeaker clamouring for attention. Studying its many components; the humorous and calligraphic sketches were diverse, as fascinating close up as the entire piece was impressive, stood at a distance.

Photos of the social divide existing at the outskirts of Paris comprised scenes of conflict in a set of framed photos. Improvised by Parisian youth and based on the artist’s direction, they were unsettling and yet vulnerable. Juxtaposed screens in an enclosed space, showed a woman blowing air and each time the video opposite sped up; the city streets racing by with each exhale. The simplicity of the idea and complexity of its timing made it compelling viewing.

Some of the other media projections included two giant screens set beside one another, capturing overlaid city views by night. The imagery in soft purples and inky hues blinked with lighthouses and outlines of Ferris wheels. A kaleidoscope of Las Vegas collapsed and expanded upon itself in sharp angles, making the neon landscape dance.

Simple design took metallic shades to great heights in a commentary on the digital age with Aleksandra Mir’s World Map of Social Networks (2009) (see above right). Stooped and bent figures painted in sharp repose spoke volumes of the vagaries of city life. A large painting of smoke curling upward made a hauntingly wistful image.

Audio taken of marches accompanied by black and white footage reminded us of how cities have suffered at human hands. Memories retold on the softly spoken stereo that you could sit beside invited and then drew out strong emotions if you lingered. In the next room, a 30 foot long mural of an Indian street scene brought the vibrance and cacophony of a morning market to life. Dayanita Singh’s photos from the Dream Villa sequence 2008 (see above centre) beautifully captured the rich depths of colour in urban back streets, by lamplight.

Despite its success, BMAG continues to provide free exhibit such as this to the public. The ambitious collection was a rare insight into how our cities operate and have evolved. Invaluable to students and admirers of art and history alike, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is a zeitgeistian labyrinth that nourishes the creative spirit of all who enter. For current events at BMAG click here or follow them on Twitter @BM_AG

Writer Lou Knight can be contact on Twitter: @louknightweb

A Colourful Crowd

By Tim Wilson A Colourful Crowd (aka #TheCrowd) is a ground-breaking programme run by young people, offering an alternative take on what happens at The New Art Gallery Walsall.

A Colourful Crowd Jul 13 Collage5








The group came into being large as a result of Damien Hirst's year long exhibition at the gallery. The gallery wanted to make the most of the opportunity of having the works of an iconic figure like Hirst on display. Doing something brilliant with young people was a vital part of this and A Colourful Crowd came into being.

It's all about the young people's ideas. #TheCrowd conceive and manage high quality activities and events, as demonstrated by their recent one day extravaganza Spin Day // Spot Day, a family focused event dedicated to having fun creating, making, dancing and eating toast! :)

Putting on events is one just one part of what The Crowd do though. As young people, they want to develop their skills, so they get to:

- Work and negotiate with professionals from various backgrounds

- Come up with ideas for skills and training workshops - Visit and explore different places and venues.

As the confidence of the young people grows, increasingly I take a step back and let the young people fly with their creative ideas. I am a big kid at heart so it's inspiring to see their creativity prosper.

For more info Visit: Facebook: Twitter: @acolourfulcrowd Hashtag: #jointhecrowd #thecrowd

Tim Wilson is project lead for A Colourful Crowd and can be reached or @Timmy666