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 …

https://twitter.com/ParksideGallery

https://www.instagram.com/parksidegallery/

https://www.facebook.com/parksidegallerybirmingham

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.

Midlands Modern Review

The Midlands Modern exhibition is currently taking place in Parkside Gallery until January 14th, 2017 and is an opportunity to see some great exhibits of modern Midlands manufacturing. At a recent private viewing of the show, I got the chance to look through the range of exhibits on display.

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To start off some of my personal highlights, I first looked at the Gordon Russell exhibit containing the design work of Richard Drew Russell. This particular exhibit shows design work on chairs and includes a cathedral chair from Coventry. These chairs have interesting design elements to enhance the functionality of the seat.

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One of the most exciting pieces within this part of the exhibition is the 1949 Baffle Console and Radio Cabinet.  The design and curvature alone make it interesting. It also serves the purpose of baffling the sound from the radio console above making it a must see for audiophiles.

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Midlands Modern also features designer Susie Coopers work for Wedgewood Group. Wedgewood is still a household name in ceramics and tableware today but the Carnaby Daisy and Gay stripes surface patterns by Susie really makes this range of Wedgewood stand apart. The ceramics exhibit highlight how designs can change the nature of an ordinary object into something far more interesting aesthetically.

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Midlands Modern covers the wide spectrum of disciplines in manufacturing and design throughout the Midlands. The works of printed and woven fabric by Tibor Reich are on display within the exhibition space. In the mid-1950’s Tibor developed a brand new approach to textile design entitled Fotextur to create revolutionary next design for fabric. It is fascinating to see some of the different results of Tibor’s experimental design work in the gallery.

The Midlands manufacturing scene isn’t just known for its work with ceramics, design and fabrics. Midlands Modern includes a wide range of different displays including steel and metalwork, lighting and more.

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I would highly recommend visiting the gallery for this enjoyable exhibition as not only are the exhibition ranging in variety and interest but are a testament to midlands manufacturing over the years. Curator Richard Snell has also provided an interesting video to give you an insight to some of the thinking behind the designs. He also highlights that these designs are important as part of Midlands history and heritage and they will also be part of its future in manufacturing and design.

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A lot of companies involved that pioneered these designs are still going strong today. Their influences can be seen in other modern day products and manufacturing processes. With the Midlands beginning to experience growth again, new opportunities will arise in manufacturing and design. By looking into the manufacturing designs and successes of the past in Midlands Modern, we can see that they are still relevant today and could be a great influence for future design and manufacturing processes within the Midlands.

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Midlands Modern is now open and will continue until January 14th. Check out the website for more details on all of the current and future exhibitions and sign up for the regular newsletters.

Parkside Gallery is active on Twitter and Instagram via @ParksideGallery, so if you go to the exhibition, be sure to tweet or tag the gallery using #MidlandsModern

5 Christmas tips for Artistic people

Christmas is just around the corner with seasonal stress beginning to take effect. Art can often help relieve some of that stress and help give your busy schedule and hectic mind a rest. Here are 5 Christmas themed tips we have created for artistic people to help relieve the stress.

1.Visit the German Market:

You may think that the volume of people and the hustle and bustle of the Birmingham German market may be stressful. However, it’s all about timing. If you visit the market during the middle of a weekday and it becomes more peaceful. It also gives you a proper opportunity to browse some of the fantastic arts and crafts on display.

2.Winter Art Fair:

If you want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the city centre, then Eastside Projects Winter Art Fair might be for you. It launches during Digbeth’s First Friday on the 2nd of December and continues over the weekend. The gallery will be transformed and filled with affordable artworks, artist books and editions, music, homemade refreshments and will showcase independent artists and self-publishers from the West Midlands and beyond.

3.The Magic Lantern Festival:

This next festival is being launched for the first time in Birmingham at the Botanical Gardens on the 25th of November. The festival is designed as a fusion of art, heritage and culture; a festival of light and illumination. Visitors will follow a trail around Botanical Gardens and explore giant lanterns and more while exploring traditional Chinese culture and the amazing 2000-year heritage of Lantern Festivals.

4.Winter Craft Fair at Ikon Gallery:

On the 25th of November Ikon Gallery will be holding its annual seasonal market showcase. The market contains bespoke handmade products by artists, designers and crafters from around the Midlands. It’s the perfect opportunity to pick up those unique one-off gifts for friends and family. The great thing about holding an event like this at the Ikon gallery is that you have the chance to take in the exhibitions that are on at the moment. Art, shopping and then a relaxing cup of tea/coffee (hot chocolate if not a fan of the others) makes it an ideal destination for artistic people.

5.Netflix and Bob Ross:

If you have had enough of  crowds stressing you out and want to relax. Pick some paints and canvas and be artistic from the comfort of your own home. The best way to do this is to watch Netflix. Relax with Bob Ross as he guides you through the Joys of Painting. There are over 30 episodes with more to come in the future. It  is sure to keep you busy and actively creative over the Christmas holidays.

“We don’t make mistakes. We just have happy accidents.” – Bob Ross ‘The Joys of Painting’.

That’s our five Christmas tips for artistic people. Why not share yours with us. It could be an event, something you like to do over the Christmas period or any tips you want to share us.

Let us know in the comments below. You can also Tweet us or tag us via Instagram and Twitter @ParksideGallery using #PGChristmasTips

Corridor Exhibitions @ The Parkside Building

‘Walk in my shoes’

Graphic Design Exhibition at the Parkside Building, Floor One, Cardigan Street.

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‘Walk in my shoes’, is a creative collection to raise awareness of real world issues. The exhibition from the School of Visual Communication has been on display since the 9th November, and continue until the 29th November.

This exhibition aims to highlight real world issues through the form of graphically designed advertisements. Many of the issues illustrated in the exhibition largely go unreported by  mainstream media, with a select amount having no visibility at all.

This exhibition has proved to be positively progressive, as it has enabled students to research world issues that are in need of desperate recognition and campaigning. Such as the refugee crisis, homelessness visibility, the lack of recognition of anxiety disorders in young people and ageism within our society.

One of the most engaging and empathetic advertisements was designed by Visual Communications student Abigail Bills (in collaboration with level 4 students Joseph Matten and John Cooper), who tackled the ever-present issues of prejudice against certain breeds of dogs.

Currently, there is a growing issue within the UK of misidentifying Staffordshire bull terriers as dogs classified under the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991. This misidentification has tragically ended with certain dogs being put down.

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Abigail believes that the Staffordshire bull terriers have been ‘ misportrayed by the media and society as a ‘dangerous breed’’ and also that ‘it is fact the irresponsible breeding of owners that has condemned the Staffordshire Bull Terrier above all’.

Abigail’s empathy for this issue can be felt through the emotive use of black and white portraiture to present the true nature of this breed. Also, by the use of language in her strap lines that engage the audience to review their own thought on how these dogs in the are portrayed mainstream media.

All students and staff involved are to be congratulated for a thought provoking and innovative exhibition!

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‘Bipolar Fantasy, reserved for…’

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‘Bipolar Fantasy, reserved for…’ is a photography exhibition on the ground floor of the Parkside Building, and is showing until the 21st November. It is a five-year study undertaken by Paul Lander, who is a lecturer in photography here at Birmingham City University.

This five-year study has culminated in an exhibition of his self-titled ‘photographic observations’ of the paradoxical nature of the state of Florida, USA.

 ‘Encountering Tinkerbelle v Harry Potter, dolphin v alligator, the Everglades v humanity, have all contributed to a self- interrogation of how I perceive awareness of those moments in my life

-Paul Lander

He has captured this bizarre visual culture solely through the use of his iPhone – stepping out of his role as a tourist and into the role of the observer. In doing this, he captures the everyday pictures but heightened to a new ethereal status in the warmth of tones, vividness of colours and the unique quality of subject matter.

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Each image is juxtaposed in the subject matter and form. However, each one is seamlessly tied together to create an undisturbed narrative within which the audience can take a glimpse into this paradoxical state.

If you want to find out more about Paul Lander and his practice, access the link below for more information:

http://www.bcu.ac.uk/visual-communication/about-us/our-expertise/our-staff/paul-lander

Be sure to look out for our upcoming corridor exhibitions here at BCU on the Parkside Gallery blog!

Digital Arts combines with wearable tech to map reactions to music

Birmingham-based digital arts producer Harmeet Chagger-Khan has teamed up with artist Tas Bashir and leading British Asian arts agency Sampad, to explore how the concept of Rasa can be mapped and digitally visualised into conceptual art.

Photo (top): Cassipeia A: Cassiopeia A in Many Colors, Smithsonian Institution

Photo (top): Cassipeia A: Cassiopeia A in Many Colors, Smithsonian Institution

Utilising Qawwali music to generate a state of mind and then mapping it digitally could lead to some unique artistic outcomes. The mind has been an interesting theme for artists but through the use of digital tech, the ability to map the emotional response leads to a potential unique form of art. Turning performance art into tangible physical art that unique crafted digital through emotional responses could lead to interesting hybrid results.

Qawwali is a form of Sufi devotional music with a tradition that stretches back more than 700 years. The rise in its contemporary mainstream popularity can largely be attributed to the late, great Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan who is widely credited with introducing Qawwali to international audiences. Qawwali music tends to begin gently and build steadily to a very high energy level in order to induce hypnotic states and a sensation of the sublime, both among the musicians and within the audience.

From October 2016, the creative team will collaborate with neuroscientists and psychologists from the University of Birmingham. They will be using new technologies to capture detailed scientific data from a group of participants made up of a variety of generations from local communities.

The aim is to test the assumption that it is possible to capture and cultivate a sense of transcendental awe through monitoring and recording the neurological, physiological and emotional responses to the music. Through the combination of musical responses and technological monitoring, patterns in responses can be mapped. These can be presented in a variety of visual ways and could lead to new forms of art and music combinations.

Clayton Shaw, Associate Director of Sampad says

“Although this kind of digital mapping and exploration has been carried out in relation to responses to Western classical music, it’s truly fascinating to now take it one step further by using new technologies to explore how people in the 21st century connect with centuries-old Qawwali music and perhaps challenge audience expectations of how art can be presented”

The Qawwali Shrine project and the creative team will also partner up with Birmingham Electro Acoustic Sound Theatre (BEAST) at the University of Birmingham in January 2017.

The open performance will invite people from the tech, digital, arts and academic worlds to join the test participants.  It also includes members of the wider community for an interactive musical experience, that will immerse them in a soundscape of traditional and digitally re-worked Qawwali sounds.

Producer for The Qawwali Shrine, Harmeet Chagger-Khan adds:

“We want to find out more about how people experience and express the ‘sublime’ and whether similar patterns of response emerge, as they transcend into a state of enlightenment in reaction to the music. Can we pinpoint that state of ‘Rasa’ or spiritual rapture? Can science and tech help us harvest that evidence? Can we capture it visually?”

Findings from The Qawwali Shrine will be presented in March 2017 as part of the University of Birmingham’s annual Arts & Science Festival.

You can find regular updates about the project on twitter @qawwali_shrine.

If you want to get involved or participate in the project, you can find out more at http://sampad.org.uk/

Top ten places and events to visit in Birmingham in the coming weeks:

The new academic year is upon us with tens of thousands of students from around the globe descending on Birmingham. We have compiled a short list containing some of the events being held around the city including some of the best places to visit in your first few weeks in the city.

  1. Digbeth Dining Club is always a great start when visiting Birmingham. These events held around the city every Friday offering a range of street food from around the world. At the end of every month there is a street closure party. Here the traders from throughout the month come together for a mash up of cultural flavours.digbeth-dining-club
  2. Eastside Projects is a free gallery space that creates public art. Starting on the 1st of October they will be running a new production show titled ‘Prototyping, Discovering, and Analysing’.  This is the second exhibition in an evolving series and will contain new sculptures made in and around Birmingham and Kingswinford. It will contain new works by Alice Channer, Nicholas Deshayes, Linda Brothwell and Des Hughes. The show will feature everything from typography, models of live/work space for cultural workers and more.  The show will take place from 1st October 2016 and will run through 10th
  3. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is located in the heart of the city and always has various events that can be attended almost daily. There are often guided tours at weekends along with various lunch time music concerts. We suggest checking out the Abbeyfield’s Golden Gallery: Art and Soul exhibition. The show is currently ongoing till the 14th of October and highlights the therapeutic benefits art brings to older people. You can find out more about the Abbeyfield’s exhibition and other events via the galleries ‘what’s on’ page.Once you have taken in the breadth and depth of the museum and galleries, there is a traditional Edwardian tea room to relax and recuperate in.edwardian-tea-rooms
  4. Vivid Projects in Digbeth is part of the core spaces in Minerva Works. The space is curator-led and explores all forms of media arts practice. This includes, moving image, performance, digital and interdisciplinary artistic research. The space hold regular events including a new event being held on 22nd September 2016 titled ‘MAPPLETHORPE: LOOK AT THE PICTURES + POP UP POLAROIDS’. The will be a workshop between 7pm and 8pm where you can create Polaroid’s using various techniques used by Mapplethorpe. Following the workshop, a screening will take place and will feature a documentary on Mapplethorpe’s life including unique and unprecedented access to his work.stryx
  5. Stryx is also another great space to see exhibitions based in Minerva Works in the heart of Digbeth. Currently the space is running an exhibition titled ‘Short Circuit’ and features a touring group show consisting of nine new media artists and collectives, and devised by independent curator, Aly Grimes. The project’s structure aims to investigate new ways that exhibition spaces can present touring shows in the Digital Age and will manifest as a highly experimental research project susceptible to failure. It might glitch, trip, malfunction or ‘short circuit’. The exhibition is open Thursday – Saturday between 12pm and 4pm and runs till the 29th October 2016. Stryx will also be involved in a public talk at the Ikon Gallery in association with New Art West Midland ‘Curator Bursary Award. Juneau Projects will also be holding an augmented reality workshop as part of Digbeth’s First Friday on the 7th October 2016.rbsa                                          ‘Dave Walton RBSA’
  6. The Royal Society of Artists (RBSA) in Brook Street is the perfect opportunity to take in some exhibitions while exploring the city’s Jewellery Quarter. There is plenty to see between now and the 8th October 2016. The Wunderlust Craft Exhibition is currently ongoing till 24th David Walton is also exhibiting his work in ‘Portrait Study,   solo exhibition runs till the 1st October 2016. Another solo exhibition currently running till the 8th October is Jasmina Ajzenkol work with sculpture and clay based around the marine theme. Jasmina will also be holding a demonstration event on the final day that visitors can participate in.
  7. MAC Birmingham will be holding a new exhibition from Peter Kennard titled ‘Off Message’. Regarded as Britain’s most important political artists over the last 50 years, his work has become iconic on placards and banners used by activist groups.  His photomontages have been published extensively in newspapers and magazines around the globe. ‘Off Message’ is a retrospective of the artist’s work between 1968 and 2016. It will include some of his iconic photomontages include collaborative works with other artist such as Cat Phillips and Banksy. The exhibition is being curated by Craig Ashley and opens on the 24th of September, continuing till the 27th November 2016.  Opening hours are Tuesday till Saturday between 11am and 6pm.daddiescropped
  8. If you venture further into the city and head into the Jewellery Quarter you will find the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter. The perfectly preserved jewellery workshop is a hub for many various regular events. The museum holds regular tours around the surrounding areas in addition to regular workshops such as silver ring and bangle crafting. Currently there is an ongoing exhibition running till the end of the year titled ‘Collecting Birmingham: Stories that should be shared’. It is the first of four exhibition containing stories from local people in Ladywood, Aston, Soho and Nechells areas. The exhibition is exploring how working lives for both men and women have changed over the last 60 years and features various objects and also interviews from over the years. It provides and unique opportunity to look back into the part of what is now a thriving part of Birmingham. The exhibition is open from Tuesday till Saturday between 10:30am through to 5pm. There is also a Halloween spooktacular ghost walk being held on the 29th October. tempest-1800wx900h-new-990x495
  9. This year marks 400 years of William Shakespeare. The Birmingham Hippodrome will be involved in the celebrations with a special performance being held between the 1st and 8th October 2016. The Birmingham Royal Ballet will be performing a full length ballet performance of ‘The Tempest’. Director David Bintley promises a retelling of ‘The Tempest’ that features eye-catching stagecraft, mesmerising puppetry and breath taking flying.
  10. As part of the ‘Birmingham’s Film Knight’ exhibition, Parkside Gallery are putting on a special screening of ‘The Blue Lamp’ produced by legendary British film producer Sir Michael Balcon. This special screening will take place on the 29th September 2016 and is a great opportunity to see this classic movie. It’s also the perfect opportunity to explore the exhibition about Michael Balcons work, life and his contribution to the British Film Industry. There is also a brief talk from co-curator Professor Roger Shannon before the screening. It is set to provide insightful context on what his work has meant for the industry. You can book tickets for screening via our Eventbrite pagethe-blue-lamp

These are some of our highlights on events and venues to visit in Birmingham. If you have further suggestions of further events, please let us know via our Facebook and Twitter pages and we will share them too.

6 things you should know about Sir Michael Balcon, Birmingham’s Film Knight:

6 Things you should know about Sir Michael Balcon, Birmingham’s Film Knight:

 Birmingham born Sir Michael Balcon (1896-1977) is featuring in a brand new exhibition at the Parkside gallery. The exhibition is dedicated to the film producer whose work had a huge impact upon the British film industry for over half a century, he was knighted for his contribution to British cinema in 1948.

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Here are six things you should know about the legendary film producer:

  1. Sir Michael Balcon helped create the original BAFTA awards. Balcons’ grandson Daniel Day Lewis has won the BAFTA award for best actor four times along with an three Oscars.
  2. Balcons’ filmography features over 300 films including cult classics such as BAFTA award winning The Blue Lamp and Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps, Whiskey Galore and Kind Hearts Coronets.
  3. Birmingham born Balcon would make references to his child hood city. In the Blue Lamp, the hero protagonists PC George Dixon was named after the school he attended in Birmingham.
  4. Balcon was an integral part of the British Film Institute (BFI) and helped set up the Experimental Film Fund in the 50’s. The fund has since become part of the BFI’s regular funding for British Film Projects.
  5. Balcons granddaughter, Tasmin Day-Lewis followed her grandfather’s footsteps and has also directed and produced movies. Her work includes Private Wound (1996), The Healing Arts (1986) and The Cat and the Canary (1978).
  6. The Blue Lamp (1950) which featured Dirk Bogarde and Jack Warner won a BAFTA for the best British movie in that same year. This film was produced by Sir Michael Balcon and directed by Basil Dearden.

“Birmingham’s Film Knight – Michael Balcon” exhibition is set to open to the public in the gallery space on Monday 12th September and will continue till the 21st of October 2016.