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Northfield’s Arts Champions

7 Oct

Birmingham City Council’s Arts Champions Scheme brings the arts to all areas of the city by partnering respected arts organisations from the city with each of Birmingham’s constituencies.

These “Arts Champions” bring new events, advice and activities to their partnered communities.

Northfield has been partnered with Birmingham Repertory Theatre since 2008. The Rep has brought theatre, workshops & education into the local community over the period of the partnership, including the Sparks Toy Theatre Project with local schools.

The Rep also offers specially discounted tickets to some performances as part of their Northfield Nights scheme. Residents of Northfield constituency (including the wards of Northfield, Longbridge, Kings Norton and Weoley) can purchase up to four tickets for Northfield Nights performances at the discounted rates. Visit the site for details or call the box office on 0121 236 4455 for details.

From April 2011,until 2014, Northfield will have new Arts Champion partners: The Ikon Gallery and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.

We look forward to finding out what these fantastic arts organisations can bring to Northfield.


The World at 4am

27 Sep
4am Project: Birmingham: Counting seconds...

Image by

What does your world look like at 4am?

After going out around Birmingham at 4am to capture life during this magical hour, photographer Karen Strunks posted the resulting images on her blog and wrote about her experiences. After a positive response from blog readers &  twitter followers, she decided to set up the 4am Project.

The project encourages photographers of all abilities to get up, get out (or stay in!) and help document what the world is like at 4am. A flickr group and the 4am Project website pools these images from around the globe.

Karen has since arranged several 4am Project dates, organising and encouraging meet ups of photographers in Birmingham and beyond, including a 4am trip to Birmingham Wholesale Markets and one to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. The project has gained support from 4iP, Screen WM and Advantage West Midlands.

The next 4am Project date is 17th October 2010. Karen will be in New York at the time, working on her new photographic project The Big Apple Unpeeled.

We’d love to see your pictures of the Northfield, Rubery, Frankley, Longbridge area at 4am, like this one from a previous project date by local photographer Adrian Burrows.

Frankley Beeches No2

Frankley Beeches at 4am | Image courtesy of

So get out into your street, or high streeet, or local park, or garden, or even do something artistic in the warmth of your home! You don’t have to have an amazing camera, use any camera you have, even a cameraphone! It’s not just about stunning images, it’s about recording a space in time we don’t normally see. Upload your 4am pictures to flickr (you can set up an account for free, if you don’t already have one) and add them to the 4am Project group & the B31blog group. If you can’t make it on October 17th, you can add pictures from any day, so long as they were taken between 4-5am.

We look forward to seeing your pictures!

New city centre designer-makers market

4 Aug

The fabulous Creative Open Workshops (C.O.W) have secured space in the Bullring markets for Handmade: an independent designer-makers arts market.

The arts market will be held weekly on Saturdays and Sundays.

If you’re a local crafter/artist with lovely stuff to sell you can rent a stall at very reasonable rates.

Handmade City Centre: Submissions Open

Out Yer Tree

23 Jul

Brolly Folly by Taz Lovejoy, Lickey Hills Country Park 2010 | Image by Sas Taylor 2010

Out with the family on a sunny May Sunday, at Lickey Hills Country Park, we spotted three people and a ladder,  sticking brollies in a tree.

Curious, we wandered over to discover the installation was part of an outdoor exhibit of art works by Out Yer Tree which was to run in the park throughout June.

Out Yer Tree was established by four artists in 2008 and is now run entirely by two of its founder members, Taz Lovejoy & Mark Biddulph of Rednal, Birmingham. The project enables emerging artists to get their work out into the open air, mainly into country parks, where the public may be surprised to spot them during a sunny Sunday stroll! To open exhibitions, members of the public are invited on a walk where they can discuss the art works with their creators.

I asked Taz what it’s like being an artist living in Rednal.

We recently moved to Rednal after living in Smethwick for a year or so, the area is fantastic for me and my practice as I need to be near the great outdoors for inspiration and the Lickey Hills are just perfect for that. Me and my partner, Mark Biddulph (another artist and partner in OYT) would have never contemplated moving if it wasn’t for the first time Out Yer Tree exhibited at the Lickey Hills. It was such a fantastic environment and the area seemed so receptive to the arts that it wasn’t long until we were packing up our stuff and moving. The move also worked out well for me working at Newman as the distance wasn’t any further but much quicker roads.

Deciduous Colorificus - Taz Lovejoy, 2009

What do you do at Newman University College?

I am employed at Newman as  ‘Graduate Assistant in Creative Arts’, I provide technical support to art, media, music and drama and also an aspect of my job is my independent research. Newman fund me to attend my MA at Coventry and although originally I intended to take a typical Fine Art MA, I later decided to push myself in a slightly different direction. I am not sure now on reflection this was the best step, as the course appears to be very digitally/ film focused although it wasn’t stated as this when Iapplied. They do support me to continue working with my outdoor sculpture, but it has been a bit of a struggle to convince my tutors that this was were my practice and focus lay.

Who else runs outyertree with you and are they from the area?

OYT is run by myself and my partner Mark Biddulph originally we had 4 members which included another couple from our home town, Kettering but they  moved to Wales in the summer of 2009 and wanted to settle for a quiter more relaxed life. So now OYT is entirely based in our home in Rednal although we exhibit countrywide.

What inspires you and what would you like to pursue in the future?

Within my practice I am inspired by many things but most importantly the natural environment. When I discuss this with people, many point out that none of my artworks are really environmentally friendly and I often use materials such as plastics. This is a real conflict for me as although I appreciate the environment and wish to do my part in saving it, within my artwork I thrive on using brightly coloured objects, which you don’t get with natural materials. I do try to use recycled materials which can be seen in my most recently shown sculptures at Lickey Hills called ‘Hybrid Infusions’, within which I have used old unwanted plant pots from a local garden centre and the same can be said for my umbrella artworks.

Hybrid Infusions, Taz Lovejoy 2010

I am currently working on some sculptures to be exhibited in connection to The Herbert Gallery in Coventry and an OYT exhibition in Coombe Abbey Country Park, Coventry (28th August to 17th September 2010 with a free walk and talk event on Saturday 28th of August at 2pm). Beyond this my real ambition is to continue to showcase my work in alternative venues across the country.

We hope to see more from Taz in the coming years, and look forward to the prospect of an Out Yer Tree exhibition in Lickey Hills Country Park in 2011!


External Links:

Taz Lovejoy – Artist

Out Yer Tree – Outdoor Art Organisation

Out Yer Tree Exhibition, Lickey Hills 2010

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