Gaia’s Harvest at Old Print Works

The Great British Summer Time is drawing to an end, and to celebrate the changing of season, Gaia’s Garden at the Old Print Works is holding a community harvest – and we’re all invited to join them!

Gaia's Harvest3

 

As many of you know, Gaia’s Garden is a community green space tucked away in the courtyard of the Old Print Works. Over the last six months or so, an amazing group of volunteers and local residents have worked incredibly hard each week to transform the once disused area into a thriving garden, planting, nurturing and tending to a whole host of useful plants, herbs, fruit and vegetables.

 

Gaia’s Harvest, which will take place on Saturday 10th September from 10am-3pm, will see an abundance of organic, homegrown fruit and veg gathered from the garden and prepared into a huge community feast for us all to enjoy! Sounds delicious!

 

As part of the feast, please feel free to bring your own contributions, dishes and ingredients from your backyard or allotment to share…the more the merrier (and yummier!).

 

As well as there being lots of tasty treats on offer, the harvest will be a fantastic opportunity to come together, meet our green fingered community and check out what’s been going on in the space throughout the Summer months.

 

Gaia's Harvest1

The team will also be collecting non-perishable goods for Sparkhill Food Bank, so please do bring along any donations that you may have on the day.

 

Everyone is welcome to join the harvest celebration, so come along and join us at Gaia’s Harvest on Saturday 10th September!

 

You can find out more here.

Impact Hub: “We Are One”

With the recent drastic changes to the UK’s political landscape, there’s no question that the UK faces an uncertain future, and it’s clear that now more than ever we have to come together as one community.

 

impact hub birmingham2

This notion, that ‘We Are One,’ is the belief at the heart of Impact Hub, and the motto that has driven the organisation forward to become the diverse global network that it is today. With over 7000 members in 40 locations, this community centre come social enterprise lab allows people to come together as one to work, learn, inspire, connect, collaborate and grow. Offering a wealth of opportunities, programs, and events.

 

Based in Digbeth, Impact Hub Birmingham has inevitably brought together the crème de la crème of our city’s creatives, thinkers, doers and makers, who believe that together, we can build a better world, starting right here in Birmingham. The work they do is genuinely exciting; working in unison and implementing their Mission Birmingham Model to affect real change in the city – we’ve got a feeling even more seriously positive stuff is going to be coming out of Impact Hub!

 

impact hub birmingham

Sounds like something you’d like to get involved with? They offer various membership packages depending on the needs of your organisation or individual, so you can join this awesome growing community of social superheroes.

 

For all the details, head to their website here.

Balsall Heath Forum

Let us paint the picture for you – almost 25 years ago, in the heart of Balsall Heath, a few intrepid locals came together to forge the “Build A Better Balsall Heath” campaign. Passionate about making positive changes and improving the lives of people in their little corner of Birmingham, these volunteers from various subsections of the area’s diverse culture, quickly became the forefront of social change.

balsall heath forum

 

Fastforward to present day, and the Balsall Heath Forum is as strong as ever. Now headed up by a team of dedicated staff and supported by many passionate volunteers, this neighbourhood lead organisation acts as voice for residents and community members. As an organisation, their key focus lies around safety issues, youth culture, and environmental issues – you know, all the important stuff! They bridge that sometimes wide gap between the local people and the authorities, act as link to service providers, improve the image of the area across wider Birmingham, build a strong sense of community. So basically, the benefits of Balsall Heath Forum is endless!

 

We think Birmingham needs more organisations like the Balsall Heath Forum – keep doing what you’re doing!

 

Keep up to date with their amazing work on Facebook here.

 

Balsall Heath WI

balsall heath wi logo

What comes to mind when you think of the Women’s Institute? A group of elderly women having a natter over tea and scones? Well, you’ve clearly never come across the Balsall Heath WI, then! Never mind the tea and scones, this group of Birmingham’s finest ladies meet on the first Sunday of every month to do something awesome.

 

Born only two years ago, over 50 local women came together to celebrate the launch of the Balsall Heath WI. Bringing together the women of Balsall Heath and beyond in sisterhood, these fabulous ladies aim to make our community a better place through friendship, activities, campaigns and shared skills.

 

Amongst their packed programme of activity includes bike maintenance, urban foraging, talks and discussions (admittedly with lots of tea and cake!) and all kinds of music and community events throughout the year, plus more – you name it, they do it. They work hard to help our community become an all round nicer place to live, work and socialise, and it looks like they have a good time doing it, too!

 

Want to get involved? You don’t strictly have to be from Balsall Heath to get involved – many of the members are from surrounding Birmingham suburbs, with the constituency seeing an increasing number of younger women joining – right on, ladies! Come along and see what it’s all about – your first meeting is free, so there’s no excuse!

 

You can find Balsall Heath WI on Facebook here.

 

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!

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.

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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)

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