Slow Wet Tar (a fictional, but stubborn substance)

16th April – 15th May 2016, 9am-5pm, (including Saturdays)

Parkside Building ground floor (adjacent to main lifts)

Richard Schofield, a lecturer at the School of Visual Communications in Birmingham City University, has provided a unique insight into the works on display as part of the Slow Wet Tar exhibition.  Each piece tells an intricate story that stretches beyond the art itself visually and links into make though provoking issues we face today.


Slow Wet Tar, a new work by Richard Schofield:

A – Discontinuity:

Several lines of thought, (almost) simultaneously.

Familiar to us all during the course of the day; one distraction or preoccupation triggering another, from the need to amend our supermarket list, to feelings of frail mortality, and everything in between.  This life of fractions may perplex when applied to the audience experience of an exhibition, where a ‘body of work’ presents instead as a multiplex, a mix of semantics, and a mix of visual ‘languages’.  The convention is generally for the aesthetic to maintain a steady heading, a solid coherence, a singular, continuous visual presence.

This convinces the audience of the vein of authenticity, and reassures the market-place of the continuous vein of salability; whether commercial or intellectual.

At the other extreme, there are individuals who have insisted on cultivating a stream of atypical work.  It’s about somewhere half-way between that interests me.  A couple of times during the hanging of the exhibition I was asked if the work was created by several individuals.  It’s interesting that stepping across boundaries still has an element of awkwardness to it.

Discontinuity……the incursion of slow wet tar….a fictional, but stubborn substance.

B – The Rock Pool:

As a child I served a full apprenticeship in rock-pooling, drawn by the apparent total other-worldliness; staring into a universe whose complex and extraordinary system does not necessarily co-exist with ours.  Escapism certainly, but, above all an exploration; close observation, acknowledgment of another universe, visitor to an alternative multiplex.

Natural history: – its scientific aspect, its mysterious aspect. Precisely delineated and delicate visually, but also a grand abstraction and a medium of continuously variable liquid distortions.

C – Thinking with the hands:

The Italian chemist and writer Primo Levi (1919-1987) I refer to once in relation to four works (We Are Not Monsters) in the exhibition.  Completely

A look back at Flatpack Film Festival


The Flatpack Film Festival is over for another year and Parkside Gallery are proud to have been part of the event. During the festival the gallery showcased the Diafilmprojektor an installation by Gebhard Sengmüller which attracted a lot of attention.

Many attended a private view of Gerhard’s work with new media and slide projection and were able to see the 80 second film sequence in a custom installation at Parkside Gallery. The installation also included the added aspect of a soundtrack that emerges as a by-product of the mechanical clattering of the projectors themselves.


Gebhard Sengmüller’s work has been showcased at Ars Electronica Linz, the Venice Beinnale, the Insitute of Contempoarary Arts London and the Microwave Festival in Hong Kong. Gebhard provided a talk to attendees providing a detailed in depth discussion on creating Diafilmprojecktor and how the piece came to be. Gebhard discussed the history and background of his piece before engaging in conversation with attendees over drinks. Gebhard Sengmüller previous work include VinylVideo makes possible the storage of video (moving image plus sound) on analogue long-play records.

Gebhard’s website provides an in-depth description of his work with this new media piece:

“In this way, VinylVideo™ reconstructs a home movie medium as a missing link in the history of recorded moving images while simultaneously encompassing contemporary forms of DJ-ing and VJ-ing”


This unique installation was part of the 10th annual Flatpack Film Festival which started life as a monthly night in a Digbeth pub a decade ago and has continued to grow in popularity. Through collaborations with various events spaces, including Parkside Gallery, the success of Flatpack will hopefully continue for another 10 years. We’re certainly looking forward to what the festival will have to offer next year!

‘Is There Anyone Out There?’ Documenting Birmingham’s Independent Music Scene 1986-1990

3rd-27th May 2016, Parkside’s Atrium Gallery

Image 3

Paul Long, Jez Collins and Sarah Raine from BCU’s Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Studies have been working in collaboration with Birmingham-based promoter and photographer, Dave Travis, to produce the upcoming exhibition ‘Is There Anyone Out There?’. This exhibition surveys the nature and value of The Click Club, hosted at the Burberries nightclub on a pre-regeneration Broad Street, locating it within the context of a wider set of cultural and economic activity. 2016 sees the 30th year of the Click Club: an opportune moment to celebrate the space and scene it represents.

A central venue on the touring circuit, the club showcased bands such as Primal Scream, Fuzzbox, The Mighty Lemon Drops, The Charlatans, Mighty Mighty and Killing Joke, becoming one of the key nights in the Birmingham alternative music scene. Setting many bands on their way to national recognition, The Click Club also provided a space for the expression and regional adaptation of a range of subcultural styles, inspired and influenced by these particular surroundings. Drawing on the personal archive of Dave Travis, this exhibition engages with posters, magazines, contract sheets, video and audio recordings, ticket stubs and set lists, in addition to a photographic record of the club, detailing a dynamic space and time.Burberries

The Click Club holds a very special place in my memories of the time. It was a brilliant experience, full of hugely talented and dedicated people from the bands to the promoters, record shop workers and owners to indie and rock kids out for a good time.

- A Click Club regular.

In addition to working with Dave’s personal archive, the curators have engaged with the club’s community of regulars, who continue to produce their own archives of memory and memorabilia on and offline, including individual and group memories in both curatorial interpretation and the development of an exhibition catalogue. Through the use of a range of archival materials, the Parkside Gallery will host the spaces, people, bands, music and ephemera created by the four years of culturally and musically influential nights at The Click Club.

In collaboration with Vivid Projects post-punk season and the BFI National Archive, BCU will also be hosting This is Now: Film and Video After Punk, a major new touring project that looks at artists’ film and video from the post-punk era (1978–85). During this event, Video Killed the Radio Star will be screened at BCU, followed by a panel discussion and tour of the exhibition. Dates to be confirmed.

Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research

Havill & Travis

Birmingham Music Archive

Vivid Projects

BFI This Is Now

5 jewellers moving beyond the boundaries of jewellery design

Parkside Gallery’s latest exhibition flockOmania2 has been attracting a lot of curious interest, as the work of creator Zoe Robertson along with other artists and performers pushes the boundaries of jewellery design.

  1. Di Mainstone : Di Mainstone has garnered international recognition for her work within creating sonic sculptures that extend from the body and trigger sound. Di has been featured within the New York Times and acquired critical acclaim for projects such as the Human Harp Project. Utilising sound and technology and creating wearable sonic instruments. Di has pioneered “body-centric design” and is considered as part of a new generation of visionaries.

12. Zoe Robertson: An award winning jewellery artist, Zoe is pushing jewellery into the fields of performance, sound, and dance. By designing using unconventional materials, her work not only explores the boundaries of what jewellery is perceived to be, but also initiates a visual language for audiences. Her pieces convey key themes such as body extension, movement and dual wearability in immersive environments, which invite audience interaction and participation. Zoe is constantly planning new shows and collaborative works.


3. Michelle Jessop : Michelle is researching further into art–led contemporary jewellery that goes from being just a physical object and instead becomes a form of language. Her focus is on relational strategies that evoke a sensory response or trigger a memory from the audience. This is further expanded through the use of digital media, social interactions and exploring the role of viewers in gallery spaces.


4. Katrin Spranger : Focuses her work on the future depletion of natural materials and combines this with time-based interactive jewellery. This allows for the creation of stories that comment on consumer culture, environment and science fiction that touches upon several disciplines like fashion, food, photography, performance and installations.


5. Noam Ben-Jacov: A former jewellery design student at the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, Noam has been discovering broader perspectives through jewellert experimentation. This has resulted in him uncovering and developing his own unique language and style, revolving his works around the human body and drawing upon the mental and physical elements combined with the space, expanding on potential restrictions. Noam considers that “The human, is both ‘viewer & participant’ at the same time on the one hand he is the center (participant) of the ‘unit’; on the other hand, he is also the viewer, looking on events…”.


flockOmania2 and the symposium are testament to pushing and exploring the boundaries of Jewellery design. The collaborative relationship with dance artists Dr Natalie Garrett Brown and Amy Voris also make this abstract experimentation possible through tailored chorography that matches the vision of the designers, creators and artists. It is expected that design, wearable technology and art, along with interaction will become a more prominent focus for contemporary discussion. These very discussions will show how new stories can be created when exploring beyond conventional and potentially rigid boundaries.  



New musical score exhibition ‘TEXT’ encourages people to think about music in a “different way”


Pop-up musical score exhibition ‘TEXT’ has recently been unveiled at Birmingham City University’s Parkside Building and will occupy the main corridor of the ground floor until April 8.

The display includes 32 musical text scores, a type of post-war written music developed in the mid-twentieth century.

The curators

This Parkside Gallery sub-exhibition has been curated by Andy Ingamells, Paul Norman and Hillary Springfield, second year PhD students at Birmingham Conservatoire and overseen by Dr Michael Walters, Assistant Head of Composition at Birmingham Conservatoire, who said:

It’s about exploring what is music and what is art, we are potentially pushing musicians and thoughts on what music is out of a lot of people’s comfort zone and encouraging people to think about music in a different way.”

Functions of a text score

This “niche practice” in contemporary and classical music has two functions; the first is to encourage musicians to play the pieces, but the second to reflect on conceptual thought experiments.

The audience

The “interpretive nature” of the pieces broadens the audience for this art form, not being confined to just musicians. PhD student, lecturer and performance artist Andy Inagemells said:

“You don’t have to necessarily read music to interpret this form of music, as long as you speak the language that the score is written in. This is an extended idea of what music can be, the style really is quite playful and imaginative and if you keep an open mind it can be quite a joyful experience.”

Andy added: “This form of expression has allowed me to network all over the world, experience being a part of a really nice scene of people and think about music in a different way.”

Formalising this way of thinking

This conceptual thinking has inspired the development of proposed new course ‘MMus Visual and Performing Arts: Idea, concept and realisation’ expected to be implemented in 2017/18, which will formalise this way of thinking.

Birmingham Conservatoire

Birmingham Conservatoire’s new building currently under construction as part of Birmingham City University’s City Centre Campus will include a bespoke ‘Experimental Performance Space’ in which investigative concepts such as ‘TEXT’ can be explored.

Frontiers Festival

‘TEXT’ also promotes the notion of welcoming every style of music as long as performers put their all into it, supporting the ethos of Birmingham’s ‘Frontiers Festival’.

Keep up to date with all of the latest news and information from Parkside Gallery by following @Parksidegallery on Twitter and Instagram or like us on Facebook.

New exhibition ‘flockOmania2′ in pictures

Welcome to flockOmania2, a unique solo exhibition filled with captivating approaches by award-winning jewellery artist Zoe Robertson.

This multi-sensory experience, created in response to a collaboration with dance artists Dr Natalie Garrett Brown of Coventry University and Amy Voris, revolves around the linchpin of exploring the relationships between performing jewellery and dance.

Parkside Gallery nominated for ‘What’s On Readers’ Award


Parkside Gallery has recently been announced as a finalist for the Midlands’ leading arts and entertainment guide ‘What’s On Readers’ ‘Best Birmingham Art Gallery/Exhibition Venue’ Award.

The shortlist

The shortlist for the prize includes a selection of well-known art galleries in Birmingham including The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Centrala in Digbeth, Grand Union in Digbeth, IKON Gallery and mac Birmingham.

John Hall, Exhibitions Manager at Parkside Gallery said: “We are thrilled to be nominated for this prestigious regional award, and to be considered in the same category as some of the most reputable and well-respected art galleries and exhibition venues in Birmingham.

“Being shortlisted is a real sign of recognition and highlights the hard work on behalf of everybody associated with Parkside Gallery.”

The date announcing the winner of the award and the location of the ceremony is yet to be confirmed by ‘What’s On Midlands’.

Parkside Gallery’s next exhibition

Parkside Gallery now prepares for its next exhibition called ‘flockOmania’, involving the collaboration of two of the biggest universities in the West Midlands, Birmingham City University and Coventry University to produce a contemporary jewellery exhibition showcasing wearable sculptures, exploring the relationship between Jewellery, Dance and Performance.

To find out more about ‘What’s On Midlands’ visit the official website, and to keep up to date with all of the latest news and exhibitions at Parkside Gallery follow @Parksidegallery on Twitter and Instagram or visit the official Facebook page.

Birmingham City University's Contemporary Art Gallery