Tag Archives: Digbeth

The future of the Custard Factory – Part 2

Some time ago I wrote a blog post about what might be the future of the Custard Factory, claiming that its capacity as a music venue had somewhat reached its terminal velocity. Every big night is full but you can’t expand financially until you expand physically.

Time for the Custard Factory to fulfil its potential
Time for the Custard Factory to fulfil its potential

The answer to the conundrum may be answered by the forthcoming Bodies Revealed exhibition and similar events. Bodies Revealed is open all day, six days a week and is expected to bring 6,500 people through the doors of Custard Factory’s Space 2. That is a consistent number that doing big club nights simply can’t compete with. In addition to that, every visitor will no doubt drop into ‘Yumm’ for their lunch, The Old Crown for a pint and do some shopping in the flea market or COW. The knock on effects for the local economy could be profound.

It also provides invaluable PR for the Custard Factory. A new breed of customer will be taken into the creative beehive and see what everyone gets so excited about. It could inspire bigger exhibitions or events to use the Custard Factory, in turn perpetuating more business to the complex and its neighboring amenities.Bodies Revealed

The Gallery, Old Library, Theatre and Factory Club could all benefit from the extra exposure and visitor footfall. The potential of the Custard Factory has been the talk of creative Birmingham for some time, maybe now it is the chance to fulfil it.

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One single vision – Where next for Birmingham

With the departure of Clive Dutton, who has been so instrumental in securing the future of the city, thoughts turn to ‘what do we do next?’.

Do we carry on as we are, or do we introspect a bit and refine our strategy? These are tough questions and it proves what we should already know; town planning is not easy.
custard_factory
Our glorious leader, Anthony Tattum, said so eloquently in the Birmingham Post‘s ‘Pen Portrait’ (Sorry Alun) that Birmingham ‘needs a single vision’. I didn’t know he harboured this opinion until I read it in the paper, and I have to say I agree.

There is a relentless tug-of-war between seperate sectors on how the future of the city should look and feel.

One side would prefer to capitalise on Birmingham’s burgeoning creative industry and Digbeth based online innovation, whilst the other side would rather a more urbane, modern chic. See it as BrindleyPlace versus The Custard Factory.
brindly place
But here is the problem, it is difficult to achieve both and I can’t see the council favouring post-industrial developments such as Fazeley Studios over slick new builds like The Library and New Street Station.

Is there a middle ground or should we develop Digbeth and Eastside in the creative mould whilst cleaning up the city centre with modern designs?

Personally I think the creative industries are the future of this city and it gives a unique selling point; it would make sense to invest in these areas.

The only thing we do know is that we need to pick a direction and run in it.

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Filed under Big Business, Big Cat Group, Digbeth, Eastside

The Birmingham Big City Plan: Digital Challenge

Please try and make change the scenery between the Bullring and Digbeth

Please try and change the scenery between the Bullring and Digbeth

The Big City Plan is set to reshape the way we see Birmingham, through its economic, social and environmental future over the next 20 years.

The Birmingham Big City Plan: Digital Challenge gives you the chance to show how you want to reshape and revitalise the city centre.

The challenge is to show how you think Birmingham should develop over the next 20 years through photography and film. The photo/film you take could be an idea for the whole city or even just a local area, and the more imaginative the idea, the better. Maybe you feel Birmingham would benefit from more communal areas, better public transport, it could be anything you want it to be.

Every entry is welcome, and at any level, whether youre a professional or purely just love to be creative. There is no particular image/video quality needed so you can use a Digital SLR right down to your own mobile phone.

The closing date for this competition is 20 April 2009. For more details on categories and how to enter, please follow the links. Be sure to read the competition rules fully before entering.

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‘Secret Wars’ art battle comes to The Rainbow

monsterposh_320_260x320Please welcome yet another guest blogger, the beautiful and lovely, Jason Hannon.

Much like the cult classic, Fight Club, ‘Secret Wars’ battles are set up and promoted through word of mouth (Although you are allowed to tell people about it).

Artists are given the task of creating their own unique illustrations within a certain time frame; there is no preparation time, there is no time to think, it is purely to create there and then.

This creative battle network grows bigger by the day, every month or so they add more battle locations while new and exciting artists enter the frame.

According to the Secret Wars website, “Secret Wars is on a global mission to turn live art into a recognised sport.”
The Semi final for this years Secret Wars happens in Birmingham’s prime location for creativity, Digbeth.
If anyone fancies taking a look, it takes place in The Rainbow Pub in Digbeth on the 21st of February, This SATURDAY, starting at 9 o’clock. I think this just shows how diverse a city Birmingham is that it can host an event like this.

I have added a cool link to showcase what they actually do in Secret Wars from the 2008 final, which also took place in Birmingham.

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Big City Plan needs a Big City Philosophy

I, and many others, attended the Big City Plan meeting at the Council House last night to hear about the Council’s and the public’s ideas for the City. Before I go any further, I think it is worth mentioning that allowing citizens the chance to influence how their city should grow is a very encouraging thing for the Council to practise.

After Philip Singleton’s talk about the City Plan, the great unhosed mob of civvies filed into their groups to discuss problems and solutions while staff wrote down all the thoughts culminating in 3 main points that would presented back to the council.

To give my own point a plug, I feel strongly that physical communications must be set up between the BullRing and The Custard Factory because if you didn’t know what was down in Digbeth you would never go down, simply because the adjoining walk is not a particularly inviting one.

But by far the best idea, I thought, came from John Mostyn (or at least his team) that the Big City Plan needs a philosophy that we can then act upon. One of the problems Birmingham has had in its regeneration is a lack of cohesion and common thread between the seperate areas of regeneration as well as a lack of sympathy with the culture of independent marketers and establishments. Personally, I think the city should base its philosophy around the independent creative community creating visual arts centres and helping the community have a national platform to show off the city’s talent. On a slightly bigger scale, I also think a international landmark would be a great way to turns eyes on to Birmingham.

Once a philosophy is agreed upon, it would become significantly easier to decide on architecture, angle, what people to target for population growth, amenities and cultural hotspots. Lets hope Mike Whitby and his crew don’t let us down at the final hurdle by ignoring his citizens, particularly with regards to the Big City Philosophy.

Big hello to everyone who attended by the way.

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