Monday, 3 July 2023


Vanley Burke is in conversation with Dr Reza Gholami, Deputy Director of the Centre for Research in Race and Education, University of Birmingham, about his artistic practice and photographing Birmingham’s diverse communities to inform a more inclusive and engaging education in schools around themes of diversity, belonging and equality.

This event takes place at The Exchange, Centenary Square. Book tickets here.

This event is presented as part of The Migrant Festival 2023. 

A Gift to Birmingham by Vanley Burke is on display at The Exchange, Birmingham (3 July – 16 September 2023).

About the participants

Vanley Burke (b. 1951) is often described as the ‘Godfather of Black British Photography’: an artist, photographer and curator whose archive, surveying the Black British experience, is held at the Library of Birmingham. His exhibition, At Home with Vanley Burke, took place at Ikon Gallery in 2015. Arriving in Britain in 1965, Burke has documented the experience of black people in the UK for decades, producing what is regarded to be the greatest photographic record of African Caribbean people in post-war Britain. A Gift to Birmingham was previously exhibited at Ikon Gallery in March-April 2022.

Dr Reza Gholami, FRSA, is Reader in Sociology of Education at the University of Birmingham, UK, where he is also the Deputy Director of the Centre for Research in Race and Education (CRRE). Gholami’s research is internationally recognised and focuses on community-led and ‘diasporic’ forms of education, working with formal and non-formal educators in the UK, US and Australia to develop innovative educational resources to support local schools and foster intercommunal learning. Currently, he is working in partnership with The Play House, and with funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, on a project which addresses issues of belonging and diversity in schools through theatre-based pedagogies. He is also working on a Leverhulme Trust funded project that explores how young people in England engage with freedom of expression around sensitive issues of race and faith. Gholami is the author of numerous books and articles in his field.


Wednesday 23 August 2023


Free, donations welcome

Booking essential via The Exchange

Please note this event takes place at The Exchange, Centenary Square, B1 2DR

This is a seated event

Information on The Exchange’s accessibility is available here

For additional access enquiries please contact

A British Sign Language interpreter can be provided. Please contact us at least 10 working days in advance of the event to request a BSL interpreter

Blooming lovely! Worcester’s roadside verges and green spaces help boost biodiversity

Worcester’s roadside verges and green spaces are becoming a riot of colour again this year as Worcester City Council continues to expand its wildflower initiative.


The City Council declared a biodiversity emergency three years ago, recognising that action needed to be taken immediately to stop the decline of native species.


Since then it has been looking to boost biodiversity wherever possible by keeping the edges of grass verges trimmed, planting wildflowers and leaving patches to nature itself. Mowing of these areas is carried out every two to three weeks, depending on the weather.


Biodiversity is also high on the agenda in the City’s parks and open spaces where patches of poppies, cornflowers and a host of other plants are flourishing, creating the perfect habitat for bees, butterflies and other insects and wildlife.


Information boards explaining the initiative have been put up in many areas.


Chair of Worcester City Council’s Environment Committee, Cllr Karen Lewing, said: ''We are increasingly receiving positive comments about our approach to managing nature in the city as residents understand the importance of helping wildlife. Our aim is to keep our roadside verges neat and tidy around the edges, but also to provide a valuable habitat where flora and fauna can flourish by providing 'important wildlife corridors' or 'connected natural habitats' through the built-up urban environment. This gives a huge boost to local biodiversity and looks very pretty too!”


Other biodiversity-boosting measures taken by the City Council include placing bat boxes and bird boxes in many areas, as well as some log piles to attract reptiles such as slow worms. Areas of long grass are also kept, providing habitat for small mammals.


The council is working alongside Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, Worcester Environmental Group, Severn Rivers Trust and the RSPB, as well as volunteers from the ‘Friends’ groups of local parks.


Paul Snookes, co-founder of Worcester Environmental Group, said: “We are happy to be working with Worcester City Council on these biodiversity initiatives. Research has shown that when we manage our green spaces and grass verges with wildlife in mind, it results in a huge increase in the numbers of bees, bats, butterflies and many other species, all of which means we can also flourish in this thriving environment.”


To find out more about the City Council’s plans to boost biodiversity, go to


Male chorus members wanted for The Wizard of Oz


Hi Spaghetti

Wonder if you can help at all. We are performing The Wizard of Oz at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall in September this year. We are really struggling for chorus members over the age of 16, specifically men. Could you give us a shout out please. We rehearse every Monday evening 7.30 till 10 pm. For further information people can contact me on 07990727355 or email us at 

Many thanks

Stacey Muxlow 

Chair of Cloc MTC 

Artist-led workshops to explore the future of public art in Hereford

Workshops and events involve local people in bringing art to public spaces in our city.

Local people, organisations and businesses are being invited to share their thoughts and ideas about public art in Hereford, at a series of artist-led workshops and events in June.

The workshops mark the launch of a new public art programme for Hereford - Art + People + Place - and are designed to stimulate ideas and creativity for what public art looks like and where it goes. The outcomes will help inform the creation of a contemporary public art strategy for the city and generate ideas for new public art commissions.

The new public arts programme is funded jointly by the council and Marches LEP as part of the ongoing £6m Hereford City Centre Improvements to enhance the city public realm and create a more attractive environment for residents and visitors, encouraging people into the city and ensuring they have a great experience when they are there.

The Art + People + Place artist-led workshops will be held on:

21 – 23 June 2023, Unit 18 Gomond Street, Hereford City Centre

The artists are looking to involve people of all ages and backgrounds, with a wide range of interests and expertise. 

Please email for further details, and to register your interest. Look out for the full workshop programme advertised on Studio Response’s website in the coming days.

Out Of The Blue at Leamington Spa - Sunday 6 August - Art in the Park


Through stunning visuals, breathtaking choreography, and a captivating original score, "Out of the Deep Blue" explores the delicate balance between humans and nature, reminding us of the power of connection and the importance of preserving our planet.

We are delighted to announce the initial tour dates, but the journey doesn't end there! We have heard your calls for more shows, and we are thrilled to share that we will be adding additional tour dates to meet the overwhelming demand.

'Street Games' returned!

Street Games
 is an inclusive and accessible fun day of street games, live music and dance with BSL Performance and Interpretation.

Last weekend we joined Wednesbury Day community festival to celebrate the town. Black Country Touring and Multistory brought together family-friendly theatre performances, interactive street games with live music and other fun activities to the town centre. Our new hosts Bethan, Kevaughn & Will had an amazing time with our first audience this summer and are ready for all the upcoming tour dates!

You can expect games from around the world that everyone can get involved in, hosted by fabulous Game Hosts and party music sets from EIF Sound and Music.


Recently commissioned by OPUS (Outdoor Places Unusual Spaces) as the official Festival Site warm-up party to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony and for Birmingham Pride, we engaged with a total number of 6750 people!

2023 Tour Dates

Grew Up 80s - Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum


Image from the exhibition

  • I Grew Up 80s arrives at Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum on 8 July until 9 September 2023
  • Exhibition includes over two-hundred treasures from the 1980s
  • From the same collector, Matt Fox, who brought to Worcester the exhibitions May the Toys Be With You and The Magic of Middle Earth

An entire generation has a chance to wallow in nostalgia when the fantastic new exhibition I Grew Up 80s arrives at Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum on 8 July until 9 September 2023.


This summer, visitors to Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum will travel through the cultural landscape of a childhood spent in 1980s Britain – revisiting the vibrancy, quirkiness and innovation that defined the decade. From Betamax to the BMX, the Rubik’s Cube to the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, the Thompson Twins to Transformers, over 200 objects will inspire memories and moments for families to share.


Collector and cultural commentator Matt Fox has devoted himself to exploring a 1980s childhood through the iconic objects of a decade in which so much changed. Matt, who was aged eight in 1980, has carefully curated a time capsule of over two-hundred treasures that showcase the youthful exuberance of the much-loved decade. Matt hopes the exhibition will have parents sharing memories and stories with their children:

“Those that grew up 30-40 years ago pre-internet, in the 1980s, can genuinely state that life was very different then. In my view, the 80’s were a remarkable time to be a child. We roamed out on our bikes, away from our parents and without the umbilical cord of mobile phones. In cinemas Star Wars had ushered in a new era of special FX movies – perfect for us kids. Music similarly was a feelgood riot of colour and sound. And televisions were no longer just for watching programmes like Grange Hill and The Young Ones - as games consoles and home computers transformed the humble telly into a host of imaginary worlds where children could play and explore.”


I Grew Up 80s showcases a wide array of wonderfully preserved objects and encompasses, toys, technology, sport, fashion, food, film, books, TV, and more. Visitors can also dress up in bright 80s fashions for their selfies and play iconic 80s board games in the Gallery. To really get in the spirit visitors can purchase 80s Deely-boppers when they arrive.


Matt adds: “It’s a look back at objects that many people either owned or perhaps desperately wanted to! For example, you’ll see Dunlop Green Flash trainers alongside cool Adidas High Tops. Toys and electronic games that kids once poured longingly over in the Argos catalogue. Iconic albums you played to death on vinyl and cassette. Chocolate bars and candy that are no longer with us. Plus, some great examples of 80s excess like the Casio KX-101 ‘king of boomboxes’, neon leg warmers, and purple shell suits!”


So, if you grew up in the 80s get ready to exclaim “I remember that!”, and like Bill and Ted in their phone booth or Marty McFly in his DeLorean, let Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum take you on a most excellent adventure this Summer to revisit the greatest decade in the history of history – the 80s!

The exhibition opens on Saturday 8 July and admission is free. For more information, please visit


Image from the exhibition

Fighting for fairness: Everybody’s Battle, Everybody’s Business!

Image of Pakistani elders

Read an important blog post on how the findings of the Birmingham Pakistani Report are already familiar to the citizens of Sparkhill – and how Birmingham City Council is working to address them. 

WINDRUSH 75: events do us PROUD in BRUM!

Image showing diversity

The Windrush generation brought incalculable benefits to modern Britain – and it has NEVER been more important for us all to have celebrated the super-important, annual, national Windrush Day on 22 June: marking 75 years since the first passengers disembarked HMT Windrush, to play a key part in helping rebuild this country after the Second World War. And, perhaps nowhere in Britain have they made a bigger contribution than HERE, with us, in BRUM.



17 August – 3 September 2023

For five years, Ikon has produced The Migrant Festival, a free annual event that celebrates Birmingham as a city of migration, sanctuary and refuge.

This year’s festival features projects by three Birmingham photographers – Vanley Burke, Maryam Wahid and Ayesha Jones – who are collaborating with inner-city communities to share their stories of migration. The festival also includes artists’ talks, music events by Celebrating Sanctuary Birmingham and a family workshop.

Wednesday, 26 April 2023

Vinland - a cinematic epic of history and myth - by a cast of two!


Poster promoting Vinland

Alice Millington reviews Vinland at Wolverhampton Arena

Jack Dean & Company is a disabled-led, non-profit that strives to produce shows exploring stories that wander between history and myth, aiming to explore the world as it could be. With this in mind, their new production Vinland seems a valiant conquest of epic proportion.

The show follows the lesser-known tale of the Viking’s final expedition to North America, in line with Dean’s desire to uncover hidden tales of the past. With a focus on the young Snorri, the audience watches on as the Viking group explore the new land, with the local population and ancient spirits proving unexpected company. Snorri embarks on a journey of establishing his independence and strength in an environment that continually dismisses and undermines him for his youthfulness, whilst also navigating the ground-shaking discovery of an integral part of his identity. Battling his way through feelings of hurt, fear and disorientation, Snorri prevails valiantly to destroy the lesser-known, ancient ‘Thingy’ and prove himself a Viking with as brave and true a heart as any. It is a tale of how self-belief and resilience can triumph even in moments of what feels like unrelenting adversity, a message that transcends time and registers just as poignantly for a modern audience.

Aside from the optimism of the story, what is equally impressive about this production is its use of staging, sound and script to convey the gripping plot. Dean emphasizes the nature of the production as a ‘story-telling show’, and upon watching, this proves to be a very apt term. The show is framed by a narrator whose alliterative lyrical spiel propels the plot along, as well as a live musical performance that uses instrumental and voice effects to establish atmospheres that befit every shift in setting and mood. The two onstage actors use shifting accents and tones to represent a continuously expanding collection of characters that could otherwise be portrayed by a cast of tens or hundreds. They serve as vessels to bring countless complex experiences to life, which is enhanced by detailed illustrations that pay homage to the traditional Viking art styles. This results in an effectively constructed performance wherein the audience can distinguish and develop nuanced relationships of engagement with each individual character.

The visually exciting animations are used for more than just the characters as they are also projected onto the backdrop and other props to add a further element to the story-telling method. Settings and surroundings shift before the audience’s very eyes, with a single stepladder transforming from the helm of a Viking boat over choppy waters, to a campfire crackling atmospherically in the night, and even the udders of a cow that Snorri is tasked to milk. With only a few clever spatial shifts and the projection of these animations, the staging of the show is just as exciting and engaging as it is practical and smart, allowing the company to brilliantly capture the story-telling tradition that facilitated these epic tales to be passed on and preserved centuries later.

Dean expresses a fascination for this and the way in which history and myth become intertwined over time. This can be traced in the depiction of the land’s native population, traditionally referred to as the Skraeling by the Norse Vikings. Dean himself looks to depict the ‘terrifying and dominant force’ of the Vikings in a ‘new light’ that ‘says something unexpectedly powerful about the hubris of colonialism’. This materializes effectively as the audience sees a relationship unfold between the two groups, initiated when Snorri develops a kinship with a young Skraeling boy. In this sense, the production challenges traditional colonial narratives that champion dominance and conflict, and instead leaves audience members with a powerful meditation on the importance of solidarity and human connection.

Ultimately, Vinland is exactly the ‘cinematic’ experience that Dean describes it to be, with a continual integrity to the Viking tradition of storytelling and an uplifting message of bravery and cooperation. It is interesting, engaging and epic for an audience of any age – a production to be proud of.

Wednesday, 12 April 2023

Joey Millington in conversation with Aston Villa legend Tony Morley


Last year marked 40 years since the magnum opus of Aston Villa Football Club. The celebrations of that famous night in Rotterdam have brought the legendary team together once again. 

European Cup winner Tony Morley recently joined the UTV Podcast again to discuss the phenomenal achievement and his stellar Villa career four decades on.

Read the full interview on the UTV Podcast website here

Saturday, 8 April 2023

Are YOU organising a right royal knees-up in Brum?


There are 40 days before the Coronation of King Charles III and Birmingham is preparing to make it a weekend full of community activity and celebrations.

Centenary Square will be the focal point for the city’s celebrations, where there will be a big screen so people can watch the Coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey, followed by a full programme of entertainment on 6 and 7 May–  more details will be announced nearer the date.

And the party will continue as people across Birmingham are being encouraged to hold their own street party as part of the Big Lunch on 7 May.

Residents will need to apply for a road closure, free of charge, before 21 April 2023 if they wish to use their street or cul-de-sac for a get together with friends and neighbours.

The closing date for applications for street party road closures is Friday 21 April 2023.

Brace yourself: INCREDIBLE summer for BRUM!

GET IN! Pictured with Perry, from left, Cllr Jayne Francis, cabinet member for digital, culture, heritage and sport; council leader, Cllr Ian Ward; and Raidene Carter, executive producer for the Birmingham 2023 Festival
GET IN! Pictured with Perry, from left, Cllr Jayne Francis, cabinet member for digital, culture, heritage and sport; council leader, Cllr Ian Ward; and Raidene Carter, executive producer for the Birmingham 2023 Festival

Did YOU know, Birmingham Festival 23 is set to hit Brum in June with a bang? Get ready for a BRILLIANT, FREE programme of entertainment – showcasing our amazing culture, youth and diversity, with live music, and theatrics, creative and participatory activities, and big-screen content – right in the heart of the city, in Centenary square. Across 10 days and 9 evenings, from Fri 28 July till Sun 6 August, we’ll all be WOWED, as artists, local communities and volunteers come together to watch, listen, relax, dance and play.

Mayor unveils revamped memorial to Worcestershire soldiers who died in First World War

Photo: Mayor unveils revamped memorial to Worcestershire soldiers who died in First World War
The Mayor (second from left) with the Worcestershire Ambassadors at the expanded and re-dedicated Worcestershire regiment memorial in Geluveld, Zonnebeke. Picture credit: Eric Compernolle

The Mayor of Worcester has led the unveiling and rededication of a memorial in Belgium to Worcestershire soldiers who lost their lives in the Battle of Gheluvelt during the First World War.


Councillor Adrian Gregson led a Worcestershire delegation to Geluveld, Zonnebeke on Friday March 24 for the ceremony at the renovated and extended memorial to the 34 men of the 2nd Battalion The Worcestershire Regiment killed at Gheluvelt in October 1914.


The Mayor said: “This was a moving ceremony to remember the sacrifice of the men of the Worcestershire Regiment who fell defending our freedom more than 100 years ago. It is a matter of great pride for Worcester and Worcestershire that we were so strongly represented at the rededication of this memorial.


“The memorial in Geluveld was privately funded and we felt it needed renovation. The memorial now has two new panels and a brick surround, thanks to funding from the Worcestershire Ambassadors, the Mercian Regiment, Worcester City Council and the Worcestershire World War 100 project.”


Cllr Gregson led a delegation of 20 people from Worcester and Worcestershire, including representatives from Worcestershire Ambassadors, the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regimental Association and the 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment.


On the evening of the same day, as the Last Post was played, the Mayor laid a wreath at the Menin Gate in Ypres, alongside Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Mark Jackson MBE, representing Mercian Regiment and Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Association, and Russell Walker of Attwell International, whose great-grandfather fought in the Battle of Gheluvelt, representing Worcestershire Ambassadors.


The Battle of Gheluvelt, after which Worcester’s Gheluvelt Park is named, took place in October 1914. Around 400 soldiers from the 2nd Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment fought at Gheluvelt. Their counterattack saved Ypres from capture and the British Army from defeat. 


Weary from two months of hard marching and fighting, unshaven, unwashed and in torn uniforms but good spirits and with plenty of ammunition, they forced the young and inexperienced German enemy to withdraw and, with the few soldiers of the battalion of South Wales Borderers who had been left behind in the retreat, they cleared the area of enemy.


The heroic success of the 2nd Battalion’s counterattack turned the course of the War, helping Allied forces to organise a more substantial defence against the Germans.

Last Post Association shows (left to right) Lt.Col (retired) Mark Jackson MBE, Mayor of Worcester Cllr Adrian Gregson, and Russell Walker of Worcestershire Ambassadors laying wreaths at the Menin Gate, Ypres. Picture credit: copyright Last Post Association.

Last Post Association shows (left to right) Lt.Col (retired) Mark Jackson MBE, Mayor of Worcester Cllr Adrian Gregson, and Russell Walker of Worcestershire Ambassadors laying wreaths at the Menin Gate, Ypres. Picture credit: copyright Last Post Association.


Thursday, 30 March 2023

Free Welfare Benefits Training - Monday 17th April 2023

We would like to highlight some upcoming free Welfare Benefit Training for volunteers and staff from community groups and organisations starting in April. Attached is a poster with the full details, please feel free to share.

 Coming soon, free training on welfare benefits provided by Mark Portlock of the Birmingham Carers Hub. Mark has a reputation across the city for his expert knowledge on welfare benefits. In the past his training has been delivered to social workers, health professionals, carers and carer support groups.

Now the Sutton Coldfield NNS is funding a course of 6 training workshops to local groups and assets. The 6 workshops will cover different types of benefits and each one will last 2 and a half hours. The first session, an introduction to benefits, will take place at The Harvester function room on Boldmere Road on Monday 17th April. The same session will be provided in morning and afternoon. You can attend one workshop, all six or pick which are of most interest to you. List to be published soon.

If you would like to attend the first session please do get in touch to book your place and preferred slot (morning or afternoon.)

Email us at