What’s next: Architecture, Festival and the City

13 November – 29 December 2017

Birmingham City University and the Birmingham School of Architecture are proud to host the 14th annual international conference organised by the Architectural Humanities Research Association.

To coincide with the event, this exhibition brings together work by artists, designers and performers who will be presenting at the conference. Together they provide a unique insight into festival culture and the role that it plays in our cities and lives.


Festivals, rituals and carnivals transform cities. As people gather and celebrate, the streets are filled with colour, noise and activity and fantastical events occur in everyday places.

Evolving from myths, beliefs and religions, festivals create a space for individuals to meet and celebrate shared values.

A festival is a shared belief and way of thinking. Yet, it is also an activity that occurs in a specific time and place. Festivals are a crucial part of a community and the city that it builds and influence the shape of the city, its streets and architecture.

Over time cities and festivals change, evolving together. Some festivals no longer exist and have been lost to time while others are invented to suit the needs of today. Each festival is unique, specific to a time, a community and its values.

Architecture, Festival and the City responds to city festivals in their many forms. Curated in association with the Architectural Humanities Research Association conference, the exhibition explores festivals as a fundamental part of humanity and the cities that we live.

Top 10 art events in Birmingham

As the new university year begins there is plenty to see and do around the city. With exhibitions, events and festivals, Birmingham’s art scene offers something for everyone.

Parkside Gallery has picked its top 10 events and exhibitions in Birmingham this autumn.


Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

I Want! I Want!: Art & Technology at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) is the city’s biggest art museum. As well as a large collection of pre-Raphaelite paintings and historic objects it hosts contemporary exhibitions.

I Want! I Want!: Art and Technology features some of the most influential artists of the last 20 years. But you’ll have to be quick to catch this exhibition before it closes on 1 October.

(1 April – 1 October 2017)

Connecting Stories: Our British Asian Heritage at the Library of Birmingham

The Library of Birmingham doesn’t only hold books. It also puts on exhibitions and music events throughout the year.

Its upcoming exhibition, Connecting Stories: Our British Asian Heritage, will explore Britain’s 400 year relationship with South Asia. Celebrating Birmingham’s diversity, the exhibition will investigate how this connection has shaped the city.

(15 July – 4 November 2017)

Digbeth First Friday

Digbeth is a thriving hub of upcoming artists and spaces.

The first Friday of every month Digbeth comes alive. Live music, street food and entertainment fill the streets as galleries and venues host a range of late night events.

(The first Friday of every month, 6pm until late.)

Pleasure is a Weapon at Grand Union

Susie Green’s first UK solo show, Pleasure is a Weapon will combine sculpture, performance and painting in an exhibition at the forefront of contemporary art.

Look out for a series of performances, talks and screenings that will accompany the exhibition.

(1 September – 18 November 2017)

Saddleworth Moor: Responding to a Landscape at the Midlands Arts Centre (MAC)

The MAC’s upcoming exhibition redefines landscape photography. Saddleworth Moor: Responding to a Landscape showcases the work of photographer Matthew Murray and his unique approach to photographing the world.

Also check out the MAC’s packed programme of theatre, cinema and art events.

(18 November 2017 – 21 January 2018)


Brummagen at Parkside Gallery

Well we had to include one of our own exhibitions at some point. And Brummagem deserves its place on the list!

Sara Kulman and Andrew Kulman chart the history of Birmingham’s buildings in Parkside’s upcoming exhibition. Illustrations, paper sculptures and animations explore the overwhelming sense of nostalgia as Birmingham is redesigned and regenerated.

(18 September – 27 October 2017)

Portrait of the Artist: Käthe Kollwitz at Ikon Gallery

Ikon gallery is one of the city’s most distinguished galleries. Situated in Brindley Place, Ikon hosts national and international artists in a packed programme of exhibitions and events.

In its upcoming exhibition, Portrait of the Artist: Kathe Kollwitz, Ikon explores the life and works of Kollwitz – one of the leading artists of the early 20th century. Showcasing 40 prints from the British Museum collection, this exhibition offers a rare opportunity to experience the emotional quality of Kollwitz’s drawings.

(13 September – 26 November 2017)

Fierce Festival

Fierce Festival is one of the country’s biggest live art festivals. For one week it fills the city with theatre, dance, music, installations and live art.

This years’ highlights include Be the Change at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and live art in Victoria Square.

(16 October – 22 October 2017)


The New Art Gallery Walsall

Legacies: JMW Turner and contemporary art practice at The New Art Gallery Walsall

Not all of the Birmingham’s art is in the centre of the city. The New Art Gallery Walsall is one of many acclaimed galleries that exist across the region.

Works by Turner and the contemporary artists that he has inspired come together in a unique exhibition as part of the gallery’s ongoing partnership with the Tate.

(22 September 2017 – 14 January 2018)

Birmingham Weekender

Birmingham Weekender is the city’s biggest art festival, hosted by some of Birmingham’s most prestigious venues.

This year’s festival is jam-packed with dance, exhibitions, parties, curator talks and much more. With events ranging from an orchestra in a multi-storey carpark to an Art Rave at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the Birmingham Weekender looks set to be a highlight of the year.

(22 September – 24 September 2017)

A look back at the #BCUInspired Festival


Now in its Second Year the #BCUInspired Festival has proven to be a vibrant and exciting event for everyone. The Festival contained a number of graduate exhibitions that showcased the innovative talent of Birmingham City University (BCU) Students across the Arts, Design and Media sites. During the Inspired Festival, Parkside Gallery participated by showcasing an exhibition titled ‘BCU: A Year in Pictures’ encapsulating various special moments from around the university in 2015/16.

The Inspired Festival launched with a special screening of Tarantino’s classic Pulp Fiction, which was voted as Best Film of the 90’s by BCU Staff and Students.

The first graduate show private view was held at the School of Art. It was an engaging and challenging evening that showcased the multi-medium practices of final year Fine Art and Art and Design Students. The inspired event was accompanied by an awards ceremony with prizes given to students in disciplines that included Sculpture, Painting, Photography and Curation. The Prestigious Pip Seymour Painting Prize being awarded to Tabi Lampe for her vibrant and atmospheric paintings.


Set against the dramatic backdrop of the historic building, Birmingham school of Jewellery showcased a diverse range of work within areas such as Gemmology, Horology, Silversmithing and Jewellery practice.  One of the most striking elements was the multi-disciplinary nature of the work, highly relevant to the industry and contemporary jewellery making. Andrew Glover from BA (Hons) Horology went away with four Awards, most notably the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers Award and the Cartier Award.


The night of the 15th June was the largest Faculty of Arts, Design and Media private view, welcoming over 1000 visitors to Parkside building. Shows filled all four floors – bringing together Industry partners, alumni, staff and family to celebrate the student’s achievements. Some of the most prestigious awards came from Furniture Design, Architecture and Textiles Design. Triple Award Winner Beau Birkett was awarded with the Louisa Ann Ryland Scholarship, which will fund his travel to Copenhagen to work in the Furniture design industry for a month.

The second year of the Inspired Festival has been a huge success, it’s generated a large amount of  interest and strengthened links to industry. We’re looking forward to next year’s shows and wish all of our graduates every success in their future endeavors.



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!

For Those That Didn’t Experience Moog Soundlab…

Birmingham’s Supersonic Festival teamed up with the brilliant Moog Sound Lab to host a four-week artist residency at Birmingham City University’s Parkside campus.

Musicians were able to experiment and compose with analog sound-scaping, synthesis and effects using the iconic synth of these revered instruments.

Brighton-based producer, composer and artist Elizabeth Bernholz or Gazelle Twin was one of the artists to let loose in the Moog Sound Lab with a hooded accomplice. Click here to watch the performance.

Composer, sound historian, roboticist, and theremin genius Sarah Angliss was also one of the artists experimenting in the Moog Sound Lab. Watch Angliss pull music out of thin air in the video here.

The Moog Sound Lab also featured the Birmingham duo – Free School who are local purveyors of silky disco, with a cosmic twist. Watch their performance here.


Supersonic Festival 2015

Supersonic festival is partnering with internationally renowned Moog Sound Lab and Birmingham City University, to create a four-week artist residency programme based at The Parkside building from 1 June 2015.

Dr Robert Moog (pronounced like ‘vogue’) first introduced the world to the ‘Moog Modular Synthesiser’ a new type of instrument just over fifty years ago.


Although Moog himself was not musically talented his instrument has gone on to become an influential and fundamental element, with regards to changing music history and becoming a key fixture within experimental and rock compositions.

Audiencefalcons will famously recognise the use of the Moog Sound in the majority of Kraftwerk’s seminal 1974 album Autobahn, the guns in the newest Star Trek movies and the taking off sound of Star Wars’ Millennium Falcon.

The Moog Sound Lab continuously moves to different venues and was previously pioneered at Rough Trade NYC. The lab becomes a temporary residential space offering a unique opportunity for artists to explore and create. There will be a number of academics and students from Birmingham City University that will be able to experiment and compose with the iconic instruments, but the festival will also feature the following artists:

4 June 2015 – Sarah Angliss: Award winning composer, roboticist and historian of sound.

9 June 2015 – Free School: A Birmingham retro-futurist, mask-donning disco duo, exploring a unique fusion of electro house, Balearic and Kosmiche.

11 June 2015 – Gazelle Twin: Twisted Cronenberg-inspired persona of producer, composer and artist – Elizabeth Bernholz.

As part of the Supersonic Festival, the All Ears exhibition will be at Millennium Point for two weeks from 1 June 2015 and will display a collection of archaic music boxes alongside a selection of new works, in response to the innovation of early technology and programmable music machines. Owl Project, Sarah Angliss, Morton Underwood and Paul Gittens are some of the artists who have contributed their fascinating pieces.

All ear

Admission for the All Ears festival is FREE, but do not hesitate to contact parkside.gallery@bcu.ac.uk for more information on any of the activities and opportunities regarding the festival.

BCU Swipeside Festival 2015

Flatpack Film Festival is now in full swing and for the second year, the festival has worked alongside a team of visual communication, media and art students from Birmingham City University  to curate and deliver a new strand: Swipeside.


Swipeside runs for one week from 23-30 March in the brand new Parkside Building and has a number of exciting events, talks, screenings and workshops all taking place.

There will also be a host of national and international guests attending the official launch in the Parkside Gallery on the 24 March, including Nobuaki Doi and Mirai Mizue, Priit PärnCyriak, BAFTA-winners Will Anderson & Ainslie HendersonChris Randall, and Eimhin McNamara. Continue reading