Save Our Print Works

This year, Brum Spirit celebrates the power of combining forces, to make lasting and positive change on our doorsteps.

old print works
From brightening up grey urban spaces with yummy fruit, veg, useful plants and wild flowers through Gaia’s Garden, to throwing family friendly celebrations in forgotten buildings, we’re all about championing what can be achieved when we’re in this together.
As part of this celebration, we’re championing the Old Print Works Unit Partners, in their campaign to ensure the future of this vibrant creative hub in the heart of Balsall Heath.

This group of very talented craftspeople, arts educators and community activists enliven this 30,000 sq ft ex factory building with industry, activities and events that focus on hand made skills and wellbeing. From ceramics to yoga, metalwork to photography, upcycling to fashion design, there’s a real buzz behind that huge factory frontage, right opposite Moseley Road Baths and next door to Moseley School of Art.

Not forgetting Ort Cafe of course – a welcoming and cozy community space where you can enjoy home made cakes, live music of all kinds, spoken word, neighbourhood meet ups and language classes.

Faced with an uncertain future, the Unit Partners are rallying together, so this Grade 2 listed community arts venue can be restored and maintained for the benefit of Balsall Heath residents and visitors, for years to come.

Things are moving quite quickly, and there will be plenty of ways for you to get involved along the way. Just this week, we heard the awesome news that Arts Council England have granted an amazing £100k to help secure the future of the Old Print Works! You can read more about this latest development here.

Look out for more updates on the Save Our Print Works campaign, and get involved – this place is meant for everyone – we’re in this together!

Brum Spirit at Moseley School of Art

Last weekend, we flung open the doors of Moseley School of Art and invited you all in for two days of Brum Spirit fun…and what a seriously amazing weekend it was!

Moseley School of Art

 

We were (once again) privileged to be able to gather some of the finest artists from around the globe right here in Brum, to join us in exploring and celebrating this year’s theme; “We’re In This Together”.

 

Across the two days, we were wowed by all kinds of arts, including the “We Come In Peace photography exhibition, breakdancing workshops by Break Mission, fab participatory forum theatre by Jungo Arts, and some fascinating screenings by Stickelback Cinema, to name a few.

 

Live music came from homegrown talent Kate Goes, the stunning Polish string quartet String Fantasy, and toe-tapping headliners Panorama Do Choro, all the way from Sao Paolo, whilst the Hi-Lite Arts collective, from Coventry Uni, delivered a series of inspiring and thought-provoking performances throughout the day.

 

Ben Waddington’s Empty Room Tours really was a unique treat, leading us on a fascinating tour of the beautiful Moseley School of Art and giving us a rare glimpse into the history of the incredible, distinguished building!

Moseley School of Art Empty Room Tours

 

On top of all of that, the amazing team at Made Welcome connected communities and highlighted their invaluable work with our city’s refugees, and we devoured the most delicious treats from the Real Junk Food Project Brum!

 

Big shout out to all of the talented artists who performed and exhibited their incredible work across the weekend, and, of course, thank you to all of you beautiful people who came along and celebrated with us – it was awesome to see so many of you come together!

 

Finally, a huge thanks to 144 Media who joined us over the weeekend to capture the whole adventure on film – stay tuned for the video coming soon, and check out our Facebook page here for some wicked photos from the weekend!

 

Remember to stay tuned for more Brum Spirit events coming very soon to our city this summer! We’re in this together!

Hi-Lite Arts at Brum Spirit 2016

Amongst our exciting roster at this year’s Brum Spirit 2016, we’ve got Hi-Lites contemporary arts programme. Curated by Darryl Georgiou, the art-works will showcase experimental and collaborative work by some of the finest emerging artists. Intrigued? Check out our Q&A’s with Darryl to get a taste of what to expect…

 

How did you begin as an artist?

When I was 7, I painted a picture of a boy at Wattville Junior School, in Handsworth, Birmingham. I attempted to make the boy’s eyes blue, but I ended up making the paint too runny, which prompted the teacher to ask me why the paint was running down the page…I told her it was because the boy was crying. That work ended up in a show of childrens’ art at Tate Britain. It taught me that in the arts at least, mistakes can be a positive thing.

hi-lite logo

What is the concept behind Hi-Lite Arts?

Hi-Lite is just one, but an important part, of an ongoing project called The Salon, that I’ve been developing with a number of well known and emerging artists, designers & creatives, along with filmmakers and performers, some of whom include my postgraduate Contemporary Arts students from Coventry University.

 

What are the aims of the visual art-works at the event?

To re-animate and recapture the spirit of a fascinating space and place – the old Moseley Art School, which ceased to be seat of creative learning in 1975. Using contemporary arts, interventions and performances which are unconventional and non-traditional, we hope to evoke the spirit of a building, which previously bore witness to so many creative outpourings over several decades of the 20th Century.

 

What can the audience expect to see from these art-works at Brum Spirit?

We want the audience to be entertained and  surprised, but perhaps more importantly, it’s about having a conversation with the public.

 

What do the different elements of visual, phonic and performative art bring to the programme?

Darryl Georgiou Live Art

There are three primary themes or departure points for the exhibition: Redamency ((n.) the act of loving the one who loves you; a love returned in full), Confrontation and Environment, which hopefully provide a kind of social sculpture.

 

What was it like to collaborate with the group artists on this project?

Like all projects of ambition or worth, it was a challenge and a privilege.

 

How does this exhibition tie in with Brum Spirit’s theme of We’re In This Together?

It’s simple… It’s a collaboration that involves music, film and art to engage a wide and diverse audience. Ultimately, it presents us with the opportunity to positively share a complex space in a time of increasing challenge and change in the world.

 

What do you hope the audience will take from the exhibition at Brum Spirit?

For me and my creative partner (Tolley), Brum Spirit is a celebration. A glimpse into the epic and the everyday.

 

Where can we find more about your work? 

Darryl Georgiou is an award winning artist whose work is held in international collections, including the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Deste Foundation in New York and Athens. He is the postgraduate programme leader for Art & Design at Coventry University and a Director of arts and photography organisations, ‘Still Walking’ and ‘Some cities’. He was artist in residence at the ‘Ars Electronica’ Futurelab in Linz, Austria in 2014. He is currently a recipient of a Henry Moore foundation research award for the forthcoming ‘Liber Topia’ project. He has an interdisciplinary production company with his partner – film maker and lens based media artist, Rebekah Tolley.  

https://darrylgeorgiou.wordpress.com/

 

In 2010, Rebekah Tolley set up Tarian Films in creative collaboration with award-winning director, Michael Grigsby (1936-2013), widely regarded as “one of the giants of British documentary filmmaking.” (BFI, Sight & Sound, 2013). Their final collaboration was the critically acclaimed feature documentary WE WENT TO WAR  (2013) which was nominated for the Sheffield Doc/Fest’s prestigious Innovation Award (“for originality in approach to form and radical manifestations in the delivery of its story”), and followed up with screenings including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, Cinequest Festival in California, and Cleveland International Film Festival; opening to critical acclaim at the ICA in London, and a UK TV premiere on Film4. Also a professional photographer whose work has been featured in The Guardian, Observer Magazine and Photography magazine amongst others, Rebekah has been a jury member for a number of national and International Film Festival juries. Prior to embarking upon her career as an independent Creative Producer, Rebekah was Executive Producer/Director for Welsh international media producer, The Tinopolis Group, where she lead interactive projects for the likes of the BBC, United Nations and Channel 4. As an independent producer, she has worked on projects for BAFTA UK, BAFTA LA (inc. the Los Angeles Heritage Archive Project), Five TV and Oxford University

 

Most recently, she was Creative Producer for the documentary feature, OKHWAN (2016) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2iM30Rk6fY. Rebekah is a graduate of Coventry University’s MA course in Design & Digital Media/Arts (the first digital arts postgraduate course in Europe) and of the 2011 EAVE European Producers programme. Rebekah is owner of an interdisciplinary production company with her partner, artist Darryl Georgiou.

 

www.wewenttowarthemovie.tumblr.com

Empty Rooms: the Guided Tour

After our brief hiatus, Brum Spirit is back with a bang this weekend! Amongst the talented artists lined up, we’ve got Empty Rooms: the Guided Tour to look forward to. To find out more, we had a chat with the man behind Empty Rooms, Ben Waddington…

How did you begin as an artist?
Fine Art BA at Wolverhampton University 1990 – 1993

 

What is Empty Rooms: the Guided Tour?
A 60 minutes guided tour for up to 12 people exploring the three levels of Moseley School of Arts.

image1 (23)

What can attendees expect from the tour?
Empty Rooms demonstrates that abandoned spaces are anything but: architectural aspects, forensic details, subtle clues and our own presence there reveal elements of a greater story still being played out. Empty Rooms takes the form of a guided walk but drops the notion of a tour being a ‘sight seeing’ experience and encourages the audience to uncover the purpose, history and meaning of a place by active observation.

 

What is the process when approaching a room?
I will begin by narrating and steering observation through an environment: details, atmosphere, materials &c. I will encourage observations from the group and incrementally become more ambitious in scope. In larger rooms I will allow a group to explore briefly at will and then thread together their independent discoveries as the group warms to the experience.

 

How does it tie in with Brum Spirit’s central message of We’re In This Together?
The tour guide’s usual role is to deliver information and to direct movement, attention and subject. Empty Rooms encourages audiences to contribute to the shared experience with their own observations, memories, outlooks and discoveries. A recognition that the group’s pooled knowledge as as valuable as the guide’s research and knowledge.

 

What do you hope the audience of your guided tour will get from the experience?
A sense of how close observation of an environment, considered and playful responses to clues (especially in a group setting) can create a greater attachment to our environment: room, building, street, town and city.

 

 Still Walking
Does leading such a niche tour help you develop as an artist?
I’ve gained confidence in taking this approach on recent guided tours, recognising the value it has with audiences and would benefit from the opportunity to expand the scope of environments.

 

What is the favourite or most interesting Empty Rooms tour you’ve led so far?
Round House ‘Un Tours’ for National Trust this summer: 150 years of history demonstrated by evidence remaining in-and-outside the former Sheepcote Street Wharf (I was a consultant and director for this project rather than a guide)

 

What attracted you to Moseley School of Arts as a building?
Designed around light and space as currency.

 

Where can we find out more about your work?

(Moseley School of Arts image credit: Daryl Georgiou)

Brum Spirit: We’re In This Together Programme

There’s not long to go now ‘til Brum Spirit 2016: We’re In This Together gets going, and we’re so excited! Over the weekend of 23rd-24th July, we’ve got a whole lot of film, music, arts, and feasting lined up for you all to enjoy.

Brum Spirit 16 flyer

Our programme of family friendly, free and affordable events will bring us all together to explore the thrills and challenges of sharing spaces in this ever-changing world of ours!

Amongst the global roster of talent we’re showcasing across the weekend, we’ve got live music from Kate Goes and String Fantasty, with a headline performance from Brazil’s Panorama Do Choro, visual art from the Hi-Lite programme curated by Darryl Georgiou, 5 fantastic films brought to us by Stickelback Cinema, Empty Room Tours led by Ben Waddington, Jungo Arts’ Forum Theatre, craft workshops and exhibitions by refugee programme Made Welcome, and lots of delicious pay-as-you-feel treats courtesy of the Real Junk Food Project. Phew – just a few things to look forward to then…

Like we said, most of these events are totally free, and the rest very affordable, but please RSVP to let us know you’re coming here. It all kicks off from 10am on Saturday, and 2pm on Sunday, but you can check out exactly what’s happening when below.

In the meantime, remember to check in with us online to keep up-to-date with all of the latest news on Facebook here.

The countdown is on! We hope you can join us for another Brum Spirit celebration!

Brum Spirit - A5 Flyer - Internet Back V3

We’re In This Together: River Rea Mural

Have you been passed the River Rea recently in Basall Heath? If so you will have seen our latest public art mural, We’re In This Together!

The mural called on the expertise of the team behind the well known ‘Welcome To Kings Heath’ mural, created back in 2013 by local talent Hoakser, who at the time teamed up with visiting Brazilian artist Ficore.

river rea mural

This year our commission has transformed an over-looked wall on the banks of the river Rea when Hoakser team up with Lebanese duo AshekMan.

Hoakser’s work ranges from public artworks to private commissions, which are currently held in collections in 13 countries across five continents. Most recently he was called on by Ebay to feature in a short film about his work.

Birmingham graffiti legend Zooki grew up in Balsall Heath, the site of this years Brum Spirit mural. He has been painting for well over 20 years, and his style is very distinctive.

For those who know their graff culture, Zooki is in FKS, NHS and INS crews to name a few.

His sharp style contrasts smooth graphic lines with old school references to graffitis roots, with characters straight out of a Bronx block party transposed into brightly contrasting everyday settings. Collectors can currently get a hold of his prints, T shirts and canvases at Graffiti Artist, in the heart of Digbeths Custard Factory.

ashkeman

Ashekman traveled to Birmingham from Lebanon for a flying visit to bring their well know Arabic Calligraffiti style of work to the mural.

AshekMan are identical twins and are most known for commissions for the likes of Nike, Coca Cola, MTV, and even celebrities such as Snoop Dogg have purchased pieces!

Ashekman have their featured character the Grendizer at the centre of the mural with the words ‘Peace on Earth’ in arabic, which is the 2nd most spoken language of the area. 

The theme of the mural is to honour people across the world who have made Balsall Heath their home, and to celebrate what the local community have achieved together.

We were able to pull Ashekman away from the wall for a couple of minutes to get a couple of words from them:

 

Have you ever worked in Birmingham before?

No but weve visited lots of places in the UK before. Weve been to London, Liverpool, Manchester all over really apart from Birmingham!

 

Whats it like being in Birmingham? What do you think of the city so far?

People are very welcoming here, the people are very cool. We come from a city between Beirut and Dubai, and its a concrete jungle, but Birmingham is the opposite. Its actually very relaxed and quiet here. We love how Birmingham culture is one big melting pot, theres so many different religion and races all living in harmony, and thats what its like in Beirut.

 

Whats it like working with Birmingham artists?

Very cool! Our styles are quite different our style of art is caligrafitti, is inspired by Arabic, which weve been doing for 10-15 years, but Hoakser and Zookis art is more like old school, traditional, pure graffiti, so our work is completely different to theirs and its a nice contrast.

 

Whats the inspiration behind the mural?

The mural is inspired by the city and the people who live in it. Where we come from, we write messages on the walls thats our main mission to spread a positive message –  so Hoakser wrote in latin were in this togetherand we wrote in Arabic For peace on earth.At home, we use the image of Grendizer, the Japanese manga superhero, who has become a good guy icon.Its important to mention that lots of people might think its vandalism, but its not, its about spreading peace and positivity.

RIVER REA MURA

Meet the Artists: Rebecca Belcher

Bringing their craft workshops and exhibitions to Brum Spirit ’16, Made Welcome will be showcasing the amazing work they do for Birmingham’s refugees from 10am on Saturday 23rd July. Ahead of the weekends cultural celebration, we had a chat with another of the seriously talented artists running Made Welcome workshops at the Old Print Works, Becky Belcher…

 

Name: Becky Belcher

Workshop: Sun Dragon Pottery

 

What is your occupation?

Ceramic Artist

 

What medium do you work in?

Clay

 

What does Made Welcome mean to you?

An opportunity to meet a diverse mix of people from all over the world. After the first session I had met so many people from all over the world, it’s an amazing experience. For the participants, I think it it gives them an opportunity to get involved, to meet other people in a similar situation. Particularly the mothers, and talking about legislation and what happens when their children turn 18, it’s a place to share knowledge and experience.

 

What do you cover in your workshop?

We covered all sorts, from the beginnings of playing with clay to pot making. We are making pots, and a few people tried the potters wheel, some have painted their finished articles. It’s been really lovely have been painting vases, with many using colours from their culture. We have faced challenges with the time frame and having to incorporate the process. We give them space to combat the negative messages in the media and concentrate on things that are beautiful and useful.

 

Where are you from? How long have you lived in Birmingham?

I’ve lived here most my life.

 

What inspires you as an artist?

Personally, the microscopic and the microcosm, patterns in nature and microscopic images of virus.

 

How did you find out about Made Welcome?

Through Tessa Burwood, and being a part of the Old Print Works community.

 

Why did you want to get involved with Made Welcome?

I believe in it, and what it wants to achieve. I don’t watch the news, as I am aware that it is mainly a propaganda vehicle, and I cant listen to anymore negative and ignorance towards asylum seekers.No one talks about what we have in common, its only our differences pointed out. I want to talk about what we have in common.

 

What skills do you hope to teach the participants?

Well not just working with clay! The whole idea of self reliance, that if you need something you make it or trade for it. If you want to start selling something then you can make something and sell it. And that their are support networks open to them.

 

How have you found participants have received the workshops so far?

Some people are really enjoying it, but some find it dirty, although they are all really proud of what they have made.

 

How has Made Welcome benefited you as an artist and personally?

It’s reinforced things that I already thought…people have a genuine reason for being here, and we should make them feel welcome, not punish them. We are all human beings

 

How can we find out more about your art?

The Pottery have Facebook, Instagram and a blog. You can find out more about the workshop here.

 

Check out Becky chatting more about Made Welcome on Big Centre TV!

“EARTH WITHOUT ART IS JUST EH”

Earth without art really is just ‘eh’, and we truly believe this at Espirito Brum. That’s why this year, the city’s favourite cross cultural celebration has embraced all things art and has teamed up with a few of Brazil’s finest creators to deliver you some amazing artistic events this summer!

I Love KH

If you haven’t spotted it already, keep your eye out for the spectacular graffiti mural on the side of Mariano’s Cornish Café. The poignant piece is a creation by the wonderful visiting Brazilian artist Ficore and Kings Heath home body Hoakser, who have joined forces to mark the arrival of the cultural exchange in the bohemian suburb. If you want to get a look at this creation head to the Facebook page 🙂

The community inspired work of art explores the merging cultures of Birmingham and Brazil, and we think it’s fab!  The artists have even placed a focus on suggestions from local residents about their favourite things in Kings Heath, including the famous Kings Heath monkey man, who visited the mural the day before his 60th Birthday!

"Monkey Man"

Here at Espirito Brum we’re also really excited to tell you about another creative collaboration in Kings Heath. Graffiti painter Ficore is going to be working together with our favourite independent clothing boutique People Shop, painting fabric to be made into a bespoke dress by in-house designer Mr.Christian!

We were so excited to speak to Allison Saddler from the People Shop about this one of a kind opportunity, who told us: “We are really looking forward to working with Ficore and being a part of Espirito Brum. Shops like ours need to work together and to collaborate with other organisations on interesting projects more often. This keeps the excitement alive.”

Following this, Espirito Brum will be keeping its creativity flowing right through to the very end of the programme, and our final event is set to close the festivities in true artistic style! We have got together with Project U-Neek to organise an art trail around Kings Heath BID. We’re going to be putting prints of the exhibited works online for sale and at a special charity auction held in Loco Lounge August 8th, with all profits will be divided between the exhibiting artists and two amazing charities, find out more here.

Hand in hand, Espirito Brum 2013’s arts events work to inspire a community and showcase emerging artistic talents in a way that it has never been done before. As you can see, Kings Heath is Birmingham’s place to be this summer, and this is not one to be missed!