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.

School of Art alumni in ‘blockbuster’ V&A exhibition

Ian Emes, a Fine Art graduate from Birmingham City University, features in Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The exhibition, a retrospective of the British band, has been one of the museum’s most visited shows, attracting over 300,000 visitors. Its popularity has prompted the museum to extend its run until mid-October.


Ian Emes

Emes, who had a solo show at Parkside Gallery in 2013, plays a major part in the exhibition.

The School of Art graduate worked regularly with Pink Floyd in the 70s, producing animations for their iconic animated concerts. The Dark Side of the Moon (1974), which includes the famous ‘time sequence,’ featured in the rock band’s internationally acclaimed concert tour.

Emes has produced animations for numerous other international musicians including Mike Oldfield and Paul McCartney. His animations are iconic of 70s pop culture.

As well as working with famous rock musicians, Emes has produced a series of other projects over the last five decades. Other works include a music video for Duran Duran, commercials and numerous television series.

Recently, Emes has directed Bookaboo, a children’s programme which is going into its second series on CITV.

Emes’ success has led to his inclusion in numerous group exhibitions in recent years at The Horse Hospital, London, and Ikon, Birmingham.

Current projects include a collaboration with dance artists Flock Dance in what is set to be a spectacular collision of cinema and live performance.

His work will soon feature in David Gilmour Live at Pompeii which airs in cinemas on 13 September.


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)

All Because of You: Northern Soul Portraits

A photographic exploration of Young Northern Soulies in Birmingham and the Midlands

27 January – 24 February 2017

‘Chloe’, image permissions via Bethany Kane Photography

Coming to Parkside Gallery this January is the work of Birmingham-based independent photographer Bethany Kane and Sarah Raine, a researcher for the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research. They have documented the underground northern soul scene in Birmingham and the West Midlands through what Raine describes as a “curated collection of photographs, audio, memorabilia and scene insider accounts.”

The exhibition takes its name from the 1967 hit track, All Because of You, by The Dramatics. A true classic, it is a must-listen for anyone interested in this pivotal period of music and culture. You can listen to the track below…

The exhibition has a focus on the younger ‘Soulies’ on the scene, which has been achieved through ethnographic studies of Northern Soul in Birmingham and the West Midlands. Raine has been awarded a rare insight into the social mechanics of this secretive cultural movement, which is firmly underground within the wider music scene.

A 19-year old Birmingham-based Soulie called Nancy said the scene had been crucial to shaping her personal identity…

“Before [finding] Northern Soul…the clothes I [would] wear, I felt like it wasn’t me and I never really knew why… I just felt like I didn’t belong here. I didn’t really like people’s opinions on stuff and I didn’t like listening to the music they listened to. I didn’t know what was out there for me and then after my first all-nighter, I just felt like a completely different person, that I’d finally found who I was and that’s all down to the music.”

I can personally identify with Nancy as I felt the same before I experienced the beauty and vibrancy of the Northern Soul music scene. I couldn’t relate to what people my age were doing and experiencing, I knew I liked Motown and Soul but there was something missing. There’s something about the music and the passion of the people that surround you within a Northern Soul event, you can be yourself – or anyone you want to be. I feel that it is so important to listen to young people, to their stories, memories and experiences within this city and within wider society. I feel this to be the crux of the exhibition, as there has been a real care and concern for how this is affecting young people.

As Raine has said: “This exhibition aims to explore how these young people place themselves within the dominant ways of seeing the scene, and how they make their engagement meaningful as both a Northern Soulie and a young person in the 21st century.”

Here at Parkside Gallery we are getting ready for the upcoming show. To follow our progress you can access our social media below, and that of AllBecauseofNS …




Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research www.bcmcr.org

Bethany Kane http://www.bethanykane.co.uk

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/551044365085019/

Twitter @AllBecauseOfNS

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/allbecauseofns/

Leanne O’Connor is a Fine Artist, Curator and Collaborator based in Birmingham, UK. She works as a Marketing and Exhibitions Assistant here at Parkside gallery, and is in her final year on the BA (Hons) Fine Art Course at Birmingham School of Art.

‘In the Loupe’ @ Vittoria Street Gallery, School of Jewellery

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Over head view of ‘In the Loupe‘ @ Vittoria Street Gallery

‘In the Loupe’ is the inaugural show for the new Vittoria Street Gallery at the School of Jewellery. The exhibition brings together a multi-disciplinary group of ‘artists, educators, researchers and practitioners from the School of Jewellery, Birmingham City University and The Plymouth College of Art and Design’  (Zoe Robertson). The show is also applauding the work of School of Jewellery Alumni, in addition to the Gallerist Victoria Stewart, as she is celebrating her 10th Anniversary as Director of The Victoria Stewart Contemporary Jewellery Gallery.

The creators exhibiting are as follows:

Dauvit Alexander, Beaulagh Brooks, Sybella Buttress, Rachael Colley, Sally Collins, Sian Hindle, Andrew Howard, Bridie Lander, Anna Lorenz, Jo Pond, Claire Price, Zoe Robertson, Fern Robinson, Kate Thorley and Maria Whetman.

Zoe Robertson kindly gave us a Curators Tour of the new exhibition,and her insights are reflected throughout this article.

“What we’re trying to do is celebrate the depth and diversity of what we do here at the School of Jewellery, each member of staff has a really different voice, a really different style and a really different practice or concept that they are exploring”

– Zoe Robertson

The exhibition truly emphasizes the ever changing nature of the Jewellery Industry, as there is an eclectic mix of designing, methods and materials used. The show will be highlighting the breadth of talent of those involved, through the collaboration between The Plymouth College of Art and Design and School of Jewellery, Birmingham City University. There is an interesting contrast between these jewellery styles, with the coastal landscape evidently reflected in the materials and textures used in the Plymouth alumni’s pieces as demonstrated by Sybella Batress in her use of sea-life-like textures and Maria Whetman’s use of precious materials that are reminiscent of coastal rock formations. (Pictured below)

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Maria Whetman, Plymouth College of Art and Design Alumni.

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Plymouth College of Art and Design Alumni

Whereas the Birmingham based Makers styles are more reflective of the Industrial Landscape that this city offers – echoed in the various tones and treatments of the metals and materials used in the works.

These industrial, aged textures are prominent in Jo Pond’s work. Jo pond is a narrative Jeweller who creates works that are extremely multi-faceted in narrative, materiality and meaning. Her work really resonated within me and I feel it was one of the strongest within the exhibition.


I come from a family of ‘Ponds’ who appear to have a genetic necessity for hoarding and a passion for objects which others might not quite appreciate… Some of these find their way into my work.’ – Jo Pond, Jopond.com


According to colleague Pete Croton, ‘ Jo takes old objects, is able to retain the original quality, and turns them in to something beautiful’. Croton went on to explain the original objects, revealing one as a match stick holder, beautifully crafted and adorned with lettering that created a new narrative within the piece. Zoe Robertson expanded upon this by explaining that the lettering on the piece was  taken and reconstructed from old biscuit tins. (Picture Below)

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Works By Jo Pond, School of Jewellery Alumni

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To find out more about Jo Ponds practice, you can visit her website: jopond.com

The Curator and Director of  The Victoria Street Gallery – Zoe Robertson has exhibited a past work (pictured below), that was part of the development of Flockamania. You can find out more about Flockamania at Parkside Gallery by viewing our past blog post on the show. Flockamania fused performance and contemporary jewellery making that resulted in an innovative and vibrant Show and series of performances.

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Work By Zoe Robertson, Director of Vittoria Street Gallery

“My past work has been a real investigation in materials, I really like industrial materials that aren’t used in the traditional, commercial side of jewellery”

– Zoe Robertson

The detailing that has gone in to this piece is immense, with a multitude of processes being utilised. Such as flocking; sublimation and vacuum forming. The outstanding qualities of the work is firstly in the drawing that has been sublimated on to the work. Using special inks that has been transferred using heat and pressure. Secondly, in the vibrancy achieved in the flocking that adorns the entirety of the work.

 Overall the show is an eclectic and engaging inaugural show for Victoria Street Gallery, which reflects the breadth of the Jewellery Industry and the talent of the makers both at Birmingham City University and The Plymouth College of Art and design.

All those involved in the realisation of ‘In the Loupe’ should be congratulated. We look forward to more successful exhibitions!

The exhibition is running until Friday 16th December 2016.

The Gallery is open Monday to Friday, 10am – 4pm, term time only. Please be aware that the Gallery is not open on weekends.

To keep up to date with the new Victoria Street Gallery and for more information on the individual practitioners, you can access the links below:




Leanne O’Connor works as a Marketing and Events Assistant here at Parkside Gallery, and is in her Final Year on the BA (Hons) Fine Art Course at Margaret Street School of Art.

The Birmingham Big Art Project voting is underway

The city of Birmingham is set to undergo a massive change in future with the development of the HS2 high speed rail line. The project is a massive undertaking that will see renewed growth within the city. While this will develop the accessibility of trade and business, it provides the perfect opportunity for Birmingham to mark the occasion with its unique style and commitment to public art.


The Birmingham Big Art project was set up to commission an iconic piece of public art that will help Birmingham’s international recognition and place the city on the world’s cultural map. The aim is to build upon the new developments within the city and provide a lasting legacy that encourages civic pride through the diverse communities in the city using public art.


The project is set to cost around £2 million pounds and will also build upon Birmingham’s already rich culture in industry, design and art. It will be the centre piece of the new Curzon Street development and more importantly the final art piece will be decided upon by the residents of Birmingham.

As we have seen with the example of the Angel of the North, public art can be a powerful symbol for a community and city. I am happy to hear that Birmingham is encouraging the public to help raise funds for the Birmingham Big Art Project. 

Empowering citizens through culture is a positive way of engaging the local community.  Whether large or small, I hope Birmingham picks a work that will make the public proud, stand the test of time and act as a magnet for cultural tourism. 

I hope it also inspires other artists to create new works.”

Androulla Vassiliou

Europe’s Former Culture Commissioner

In May 2015, land was secured by the council and a shortlist of artists were selected to submit their ideas. A year later and the ideas where turned into full 3D models and placed on show as part of the public consultation process. The five artists, their ideas and proposals are as follows:

1: Susan Philipsz : ‘Station Clock’

Station clock is proposed as a aural clock that is designed to represent the testament to time covering past, present and future. The clock comprises 12 digits that represent each of the twelve tones on the musical scale. Sounds will be produced in conjunction and collaboration with Birmingham City University Conservatoire. Each tone changes in volume depending of the time of day such as the loudest chorus being played at midday.


Born in Glasgow in 1965, Susan Philipsz live and works in Berlin. Her work involves exploring the psychological and sculptural potential of sound. Susan has had many exhibits displayed over the last last few years including the Museum of Modern Art in Chicago in 2011 and Tate Britain in London 2015.

2: Roger Hiorns : ‘As yet untitled’

The ‘As yet untitled’ submission from Roger Hiorns proposes a landscape of transformed steam and locomotive engines. The engines will sit amongst a scattered collection of stone car engines to provide contract. Exteriors of the trains engines and carriages will be set to resemble human skin. The idea is proposed as a symbol of shaping our sexual and physical identities by and through the development of technology.


Roger Hiorns was born in Birmingham in 1975 but lives and works in London. Hiorns work combines material to transform objects and urban situations. Hiorns has displayed some of his past exhibits have be displayed in the Rudolfinum in Prague 2015 and The Art Institue of Chicago in 2010 along with many other galleries around the world. In 2009, his installation ‘Seizure’ was nominated for the Turner Prize award.

3: Heather and Ivan Morrison: ‘Blue Print for Happiness’

Heather and Ivans Blue Print proposal is derived from the perfect colliding cuboid geometries created in minerals beneath the earth. The design is to provide intricate gleaming facets representing the many layers of Birmingham’s long history into a new geometry. The sculpture serves as a metaphor for the potential of Birmingham and its statement of intent to become a city of the future in a world full of constant change.


Heather was born in 1973 in Desborough while Ivan was born in Instanbul in 1974. They both live and work in Herefordshire and craft works designed for public spaces. Their work revolves around active engagment covering everything from story telling to histories, sites, material and processes. In recent years their work has be placed on display at the Whitechapel Gallery in London along with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney and Tate Modern in London.

4: Brian Griffiths:  ‘Small Giants’

Giffiths’ sculpture is based within jewellery and designed to be worn by the city of Birmingham and its people. The proposal includes working within select groups in the jewellery quarter to produce a series of additional bespoke pieces that would be made available to the public to compliment the sculptures display.


Born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1968, Brian lives and works within London. Brian’s sculptures value the narrative and overblown theatricality through the use of everyday objects.  His work has been exhibited far and wide including at the Galeria Luisa Strina in Sao Paulo, Brazil along with being part of the Hayway Touring Exhibition in 2011.

5: Keith Wilson: ‘Industrial Revolution’

The industrial revolution proposal by Wilson involves a slow moving public sculpture that over a ten year period will travel from one end of the Eastside City Park through to the other. The idea is to represent Birmingham’s history of labour and the transportation of materials  in a reinvented post-industrial ‘art’ sculpture that carries layers of rich culture within its design.


Keith Wilson was born in Birmingham in 1965 but now lives and works from New York, USA. Wilson’s sculptures are designed to be playful while being imbued with domestic and industrial resonance. Wilson’s exhibitions have been displayed in galleries across London including the Milch Gallery and the Camden Arts Centre. He has also been involved with wider projects such as the Hayward project space in London.

Voting is open to members of the public who visit the exhibition at Millennium Point. Forms are available on site and also provide an opportunity to feedback to the artists directly via the comments box. The aim is to unveil the winner in early 2017 with a view to having the piece commissioned and built for 2018.

You can also follow the progress of the project via the Birmingham Big Art Project’s  website and keep up with the latest developments via the projects twitter account @bigartproject



Big Birmingham Art Project from Eastside Projects on Vimeo.

Sourced: The Birmingham Big Art Project , Millennium Point