West Midlands:— AWM announce the £9-million Glasshouse in Stourbridge in the Black Country; this will have 24 new units for glass makers and artists, workshops, and a gallery + cafe // ‘Project X Presents’ music and performance across three stages, in September in Birmingham. Radio to Go devotes an entire podcast (.mp3 link) to previewing the event // A photography gallery for Birmingham? // Fused mag launches a sister title, Blink in the Autumn // This year’s Black Country History Day at the University of Birmingham has a number of talks of interest: Keith Hodgkins on the architecture of the region; Sally Hoban on the local Arts & Crafts movement; and Michael Hall on the novelist Francis Brett Young and his Black Country novels. The same page has information about a 2009 history conference — “Made in (Middle) England: Design, Consumption and the Arts in the Midlands” // August’s Creative Networks talk looks tasty: “Making Movies On A Micro-Budget” will also show clips from the Midlands-made comedy Faintheart and a Tomb Raider machinima. 28th Aug 08, Millennium Point, from 5pm // The Women in Games conference at Warwick University is coming up very soon. Registrations are still being taken, but accommodation is “very limited” // There’s another round of the European Media Artists in Residence Exchange (EMARE) scheme which will distribute sixteen production awards to “emerging media art talent”, in the form of two month residencies in 2009 with either Impakt (Netherlands); Werkleitz Gesellschaft (Germany); or Interspace (Bulgaria). It’ll also see European artists undertaking residencies at VIVID in Birmingham. Application form (PDF link). Deadline: 20th Oct 08 // The head of Sandwell Metropolitan Council has… “apparently been sent on a £5,000 course to enable her to ‘like herself'”. In Florida. //

Photography:— Photosynth for Windows is officially released from the Microsoft Live Labs, and launched as a fully-working public web app. Sign up to get a free 20Gb of storage to host your synths — which you’ll need, since each synth is best made from between 50 to 300 photos. I tried to make one of Victoria Sq. in Birmingham city centre, from a set of 40 old panorama shots, but had a “server-too-busy” message — so you may want to wait a week or so until the rush dies down // Linux and open source software for photographers: “are we there yet?” // A new online issue of Lens Culture // CS4 beta UI preview // Podnosh covers the Big Picture unveiling in Birmingham. Video here //

Arts & letters:— Coilhouse no.1: “a love letter to alternative culture”. Victorian monsters, science fiction, retro-futurist fashion, photography by the superb Eugenio Recuenco. Buy! (they accept PayPal — although that service seems to be rapidly going downhill along with eBay, due to unresponsive servers causing pages to fail to load in either IE7 or FF3) // Neal Stephenson’s new science-fiction novel Anathem, based on the Clock of the Long Now project. Annoyingly, the U.K. version of Anathem gets the same sort of generic dull-as-ditchwater cover art and layout that the U.K. edition of Stross’s recent Saturn’s Children also had. Amazon U.S. has video of Stephenson reading from his book // Retracing Elmet (radio, listen again) //

The war on photographers:— an excellent Telegraph article on the UK’s increasingly crackpot attitude to public photography // Just one incident in Bristol; where a photographer was handcuffed, his camera smashed by police, and he was then wrongly accused of assault and being ‘drunk & disorderly’ // The venerable Urban 75 has issued a new protestors guide to photographers rights // The UK Bureau of Freelance Photographers has recently issued its 7,000 members with a photographers rights card (webpage has a scan of the card) // UK 2009 conference on social fears and moral panics //

Politics:— The Cities Unlimited report (PDF link), written by a Lib Dem activist for the conservative Policy Exchange think-tank. A far more interesting read than suggested by the silly-season newspaper coverage given it by lazy journalists and pundits who clearly hadn’t read it // P.M. Gordon Brown’s personal website apparently rips off a WordPress theme, removes all credit to the author, then slaps on a government copyright notice //

Quirk:— computer-generated Emily…