Early November sees Birmingham’s Eastside transformed and taken over by 100 artists. The Event is the second contemporary arts festival organised by the Birmingham Contemporary Art Forum and features a number of artist led projects at a variety of spaces throughout Digbeth.
Digbeth’s previous guise as an area of manufacturing has been slowly transforming in to the city’s Creative Quarter or ‘Eastside’. Artists have always been resourceful and where they move in to old and disused spaces to hone their craft a community builds around them – this is of course how The Custard Factory came in to being.
So it’s with no surprise that when the steel bashers moved out and abandoned their factories the artists moved in and new spaces emerged. Several of these new spaces will be open to the public for the first time including Grand Union’s unit on Fazeley Industrial Estate, Fazeley Street, a temporary space at 119 Floodgate Street which will be home to Mona Casey Projects for the duration and Crowd6’s use of fellow artist group The Lombard Method’s raw space at 68a Lombard Street, B12. We’ve picked out our highlights of The Event that shouldn’t be missed.
Join Mark Essen for his roaming Record Exchange. He’ll be popping up at most of the venues as well as The Anchor Inn on Bradford Street (5 Nov). Not only can you debate, negotiate and swap records but you can also try the specially made ‘Mark Essen Event Brew’. For the Friday night official launch (6 Nov) Essen will lead a performance of “and you will know us by the trail of Morris men” where Morris dancers will escort the audience from each venue to the after party at Eastside Projects on Heath Mill Lane.
If you are feeling lonely and need something else in your life then everyday at 10am and 2pm join The Family who will engage you with a variety of ‘activities’. Taking their inspiration from the dubious cults that offer comfort to the lonely and confused a.a.s. will live together at Birmingham Central Backpackers on Coventry Street and invite you to join them each day.
The flat-capped life of the Pigeon fancier is relived by [insertspace] who will be opening their Pigeon Loft to visitors from 2-4pm on Friday 6, Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 at The Rea Garden, 1-8 Floodgate Street, B5. Having built the loft and reared pigeons artists Alex Lockett and Ian England’s practice combines their interests in nature’s relationship with culture, as well as traditional and contemporary modes of communication. Latest artist led initiative Grand Union open up their new Fazeley Street home to host an artists’ publishing fair on Friday 6 from 12pm. Stick around until 2pm and you can see Calum F. Kerr and his Book Coat, a portable garment containing over 50 individual artists’ books.
Be part of the art from 8pm on Friday 6th at Eastside Projects on Heath Mill Lane. Stan’s Cafe will be hosting a continuous dialogue of visitors to the exhibition commenting on their every move. From 9pm there will be a live performance by Juneau Projects who invite the audience to become their percussion – prepare to get involved.
If you want a more rounded view of The Event then a great way to engage with the artist community and see the continually changing face of Digbeth is through the free, guided tours which leave from Eastside Cafe everyday at 3pm.
For a full timetable and information on all the performances, events and interventions taking place visit the-event.org. Information Point: Eastside Cafe, 101 Coventry Street, B5