West Midlands:— Rhubarb Rhubarb has partnered with POD printers Blurb to launch a new UK photobooks award. Although sadly it’s only open to those who are paying for portfolio reviews at the main Rhubarb event // Jump-the-canal, seemingly a new Brummie craze // West Midlands Creative Alliance is… “a group of arts professionals drawn together with one sole purpose; to develop new and emerging creative talent in the West Midlands” // Birmingham’s Producers’ Forum has a free (to members) all-day ‘Pitch Workshop’ on 31st July 08, 10am to 5pm. It aims to… “strengthen the premise of your [film] scripts and to pitch your ideas with confidence and authority // The Post has a long profile of Warwick’s new £120m Digital Lab // The all-day Creative Pathways Symposium… “Will examine how we navigate the creative process between materials, process, creativity, style, function and context.” Wolverhampton, 22nd Aug 08. £20 // Art Monthly is holding an evening panel debate in Birmingham, The Future of Art Education, on 6th Oct 08. If you want to swot for it, I highly recommend the book Why Art Cannot Be Taught: A Handbook for Art Students. Why hold it in Birmingham? I suspect that the criticisms are largely of London art schools, and so a little distance is desirable // Games megacorp Activision-Blizzard has said it’s… “exploring options”¦ including divestiture” for games developer Swordfish, based in Birmingham and Manchester // The Post and Flickr photographs // A ‘Youth Associate’ is required as part of the ‘Young Gifted Brum’ scheme, at the Drum Arts Centre in Newtown, Birmingham. Pay is “up to £15,000”, Sept 08 to Feb 09. Deadline: 22nd August // Birmingham’s Tindal Street Press has a ‘Paid Traineeship in Publishing’ on offer. It’s a… “12-month publishing traineeship to degree level applicants from the Black African, Caribbean, Asian, Chinese or Middle Eastern communities”. Deadline: 4th Aug 08 // The ‘Doing Music Justice’ scheme is now recruiting for a professional development programme aimed at experienced West Midlands musicians. It runs between Autumn 08 — Spring 09 and provides… “intensive training and shadowing opportunities in youth justice settings in the West Midlands. Full details from: west-midlands _at_ musicleader.net // There’s a new dedicated website (warning: pointless-use-of-Flash) for the Birmingham Art Fair, 18th-21st Sept 08. Local galleries, seemingly not interested in attending? // Birmingham’s Light Night on 12th Sept 08, featuring… “architectural lighting of iconic city centre buildings” //

Fanzines & small press:— There was a time when a small newsagent’s kiosk could be amply filled with various types of paper fanzines produced in Birmingham + area. But there are still a few, even omitting the football zines and the couple of students union mags. Such as Black Velvet; Eccentric City; Speak Out; Things We Love; Jack Kirby Quarterly (new issue promised soon) and Crikey! And the acclaimed Doctor Who steampunk Shooty Dog Thing is from Coventry. Are there more? // A welcome repeat of the two-part “Zine Scene” documentary, Jarvis Cocker’s history of British fanzines. ‘Listen again’ online // Photos and reports from the recent London Zine Symposium // Do people still make poetry chapbooks? Find out at the London Poetry Festival. London, 8th-11th Aug 08 // Caption 2008: ‘Timewarp’. An annual convention for British small-press and self-published comics. Oxford, 9th-10th Aug 08 // The Anarchist Book Fair. London, 18th October 08 // Small Publishers Fair. London, 24th-25th Oct 08 //

Creative production:— Ability to project soft power, restored. The British Council scraps all its restructuring plans, doubles the arts budget, and the Arts Director is now an ex-Director // The British Council has a new scheme, ‘International Placements for Creative Entrepreneurs‘. Deadline: 19th Sept 08 // A new July 08 NESTA report and working paper, “Hidden Innovation in the Creative Industries” // The report “Creative Futures: building the creative economy through universities” (PDF link), blogged about previously on D’log, is belatedly available online // Has Paris died as a place of creative production? // What the digital classroom looses // Eno and David Byrne will give away their next album free on the net. Sadly, Eno doesn’t sing on it //

Foto:— A two-day course in lighting for photography. 16th & 17th Aug 08, 10am-4pm. Cost: £180. West Midlands // Rhubarb Rhubarb photobooks award // An alpha of a script for Adobe Bridge that turns Bridge into a geotag maker/editor for photos // Columbia Journalism Review ponders the likely future of newspaper photographers // Soundings from the Estuary, photosets and texts from London // Due to go live this week, the Internet Archive has acquired more than twenty important NASA image collections, and has merged then into one searchable archive // Vintage Strange Fictions Flickr group, in which I particularly liked some of the work by HaggisVitae, M-Evolve, NHungsta, and Crowolf //

Quirk:— Gay car blog // A blog for starship concept art and designs // Frog museum // A science of magic // Traditional porn in recession // Rock musicians — what exactly is the sex appeal? // Pencil Rebel // The first major New York show of arts & crafts (Hat-tip: Birmingham’s Brass Goggles blog) // Google is now indexing more than a trillion unique web addresses. And Wikipedia is fast approaching 2.5 million articles //

One of my childhood haunts, where I was first introduced to pinball tables, goes up in smoke and flames. Birmingham’s Deb feels the pain.