Archive for April, 2008

Rhubarb Rhubarb dates

Rhubarb Rhubarb dates… “The dates for the 2008 UK’s International Image Portfolio Review are 31st July and 1st, 2nd, 3rd August 2008. We also have a new venue, the Aston Business School Conference Centre. Bookings for the event aren’t being taken yet.”

St. George’s Day activities, No.5 : ‘Elizabeth: The Golden Age’

This evening, you might immerse yourself in an intelligent and gripping contemporary take on English history — with a double-bill widescreen DVD of the excellent Elizabeth and the more expansive sequel Elizabeth: The Golden Age… Not quite historically accurate; but you’ll probably prefer storytelling to a filmed encyclopaedia entry. Which, of course, is rather English […]

St. George’s Day activities, No.4 : start pursuing an odd, eccentric, hobby

Start pursuing an odd, eccentric, hobby. Possibly including harmonium-playing and/or contributing to our grand British tradition of surreal nonsense-poetry / songs… Or perhaps take an allotment and start growing giant vegetables. Ideally accompanied by large doses of English ciders and wines, both during the digging and the eating.

St. George’s Day activities, No.3 : plan your British summer holiday

With the credit crunch, rising prices, and the 10% tax-grab all biting, low-earning artists and creatives may be thinking of a cheap summer holiday in the British Isles. A few suggestions that you might not otherwise think of, within easy reach of the Midlands… Llandundo as a prelude to walking part of the Pembrokeshire Coast […]

St. George’s Day activities, No.2 : go for a ride on the National Cycle Network

The charity SUSTRANS built our National Cycle Network in just twelve years — 12,000 miles of substantially off-road bicycle paths, complete with signage, robust surfacing, and volunteer rangers. It’s a triumph of the sort of practical volunteering spirit that can move mountains on a shoestring budget, outwitting pettyfogging bureaucracy and red-tape along the way. Find […]

St. George’s Day activities, No.1 : play Pooh Sticks

Play Pooh Sticks, with a wonderful Flickr photo set from the Channel Islands to inspire your designs…

‘The hacienda must be mobile’

A thought for a new city-centre, aimed at avoiding large rambling ‘cow-shed’ shops, and the jobsworth sales assistants that go along with them. What if the city gutted some of the increasing number of empty shops, those that have good road access, fitting them out as simple small shells with rails that could “slide-in” complete […]

Crewdson in London

Gregory Crewdson has a London show of new pictures, produced with extravagant film-set -like precision. It opens on April 23rd, and runs until 23rd May 08.

Lieko Shiga

Japanese photographer Lieko Shiga‘s contemporary photographs, re-working the recovered tradition of spirit photography…


Cryptosphere: mapping paradise, artist-made maps from the first artist residency at the Royal Geographical Society (exhibition runs until 9th May 08).


British performance art and video art usually bores me rigid — but if it’s the sort of art you’re into, Birmingham’s VIVID is running a festival of it, aptly named Endurance (24th – 26th April 08).

Springtime for bricklayers

Some interesting-looking springtime regeneration work is starting in Smethwick (Chance’s Glass Works is suddenly crawling with JCBs and pallets of new bricks) and Wolverhampton (serious attempts to restore parts of the arson-gutted Springfield Brewery complex). There also seems to be (?) an extension to the great Tipton underpass, since there’s a massive earth-scrape going up […]

The economic impact of culture in market towns

Exploring the economic impact of culture in market towns – a one-day seminar. 29th April 08. The Britannia Hotel, Nottingham. “The East Midlands Cultural Observatory is pleased to invite you to a one day seminar on the measurement of the economic impact of cultural events and fixed assets (such as festivals and museums) in market […]

‘Five Go Exploring’

MADE has a new Flash website,… “The project gathered the evidence for what makes places distinctive [ and ] developed a series of alternative visitor guides focused on five towns in the West Midlands. […] Artist Simon Whitehead revealed the Ladywood area in Birmingham through residents’ voices, views and paths less trodden. In Rugby, […]

Cuts to the Arts Council

Apparently Arts Council England is to get its own dose of funding cuts — the DCMS is asking it for £4m of cash-releasing cuts to the cost of administering the Lottery and Grant-in-Aid, over three years. The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council is also being asked to make large savings, apparently 25% of admin costs, […]

Dub Tardis

Keir Williams has a cool ‘Tardis meets dub sound system’ art-thing happening at Methodist Central Hall, Birmingham, in June 08. Made possible by his research internship with FADE.

Brum’s self-belief

An interesting Birmingham Post commentary by Simon Jones, Creative & Music Director for The Custard Factory Spaces. He seems to suggest that Brum’s lack of cultural self-belief is intimately linked to the fact that taxpayers’ money mostly bypasses the city’s more adventurous movers & shakers, and those creatives whom funders tacitly deem ‘not-quite-safe’. Certainly, if […]

City-region is off the agenda?

This could be an-echo-of-an-echo, but… “according to research by Local Government Chronicle magazine [ into ] areas considering creating legally binding city-region bodies, which would have increased powers over funding [… translation: “would add another new tax” ]   Birmingham say they had no plans to create a city region.”

“Thought is free.”

Fab; we’re going to get free public access to a website containing the collected earliest-known versions of the plays of Shakespeare… “all seventy-five pre-1641 quarto editions of Shakespeare’s plays into a single online collection.” …via… “a one-year project, which begins in April 2008” [ and among the participants is ] “the Shakespeare Institute at Birmingham […]

UK WordCamp

Fans and coders for the WordPress blogging software (it runs this blog) have our first UK WordCamp event… “We’re aiming for Saturday and Sunday 19th-20th July 2008 in Birmingham, and we’re currently looking for a suitable venue.” Birmingham city-centre’s patchy wi-fi might seem to rule out many venues, but I note that the University of […]