Author Archive

The 24 Hour Rave Experiment

When: from 12:00 on Saturday 20th September, until 12:00 on Sunday 21st September
Where: The Rainbow Venues, 160 Digbeth High Street, Digbeth, B12 0LD
Tickets: from £24 (available online here)

Now time for something completely different…

Later this month the Rainbow will be hosting an experimental 24 hour rave event, in aid of Birmingham Children’s Hospital. The venue will be transformed into ten different indoor and outdoor spaces, including an astro-turfed courtyard, a street party arena, and even a beach! There will also be a themed food court area to ensure revellers keep their energy levels up throughout the duration.

The event will take place from noon Saturday to noon on Sunday; anyone lasting the full 24 hours will have their ticket money refunded to them, and anyone who doesn’t will see the face ticket value donated to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Anyone caught sleeping will be politely asked to leave.

Due to the uniqueness of this event, it is anticipated that it will grab the attention of the national press, but residents of Digbeth are being reassured that it should not affect them; Sergeant Snape of West Midlands Police issued the following statement:

This event has been approved by the Safety Advisory Group and will have increased security, including a eight foot high solid metal security fence around its perimeter and a photo ID recording system at the entrance. The Digbeth Neighbourhood Policing Team will provide a high visibility reassurance presence at the main entrance and will be working with the event organisers. It is anticipated that this event will have no impact on the residents of Digbeth.

For more information, please visit the Rainbow website.

Digbeth Canal Lengthsman

Our readers may have noticed the appearance of two narrow boats along the Grand Union Canal at Minerva Works; after living on narrowboats for over ten years, Alison Tuck and Louise Moore have moved to Digbeth. As well as running Harris Moore Canvases, Louise is a member of the Guild of Waterway Artists specialising in paintings of the Birmingham Canal Network, and Alison runs her business, Da Vinci Crafts from one of the two boats.

Plenty of people use the canal, including cyclists, walkers, and families at the weekends, but Louise and Alison wanted to make the area more welcoming and less threatening. Their presence seems to have reduced the amount of anti-social behaviour, which was becoming an increasing problem, but they haven’t stopped there: Alison has been a Canal and River Trust volunteer and has taken it upon herself to become a guardian of the Digbeth stretch of canal.

Known as lengthsmen, the pair have been using their spare time to collect litter and undertake general gardening and improvements along their length of canal: from the bridge access on Great Barr Street to the Warwick Bar Junction, and the shorter stretch from the start of Ashsted Tunnel to Typhoo Basin.

They are currently working on the seating area by Fazeley Street Bridge where they would like to add wire bins with clear plastic bin bags to help tackle the litter problem. If any readers know of bins that could be donated we would be incredibly grateful. They then hope to move onto seating area opposite the Banana Warehouse, where they’d like to reinstate the notice board and create a pleasant spot to sit and look over the flora and fauna at Edible Eastside.

Future plans include repainting the locks, notice boards and handrails, and extending their lengthsman area up towards Camp Hill locks.

We’ve included some before and after photos to show what has been achieved so far, but Louise and Alison would always welcome any extra helping hands! If you would like to get in touch, please join the Facebook group or email Alision at

We think the ladies have done an outstanding job and are helping to make Digbeth a much better place to live, work or visit. Long may it continue and who knows, we may soon have more narrowboat neighbours along the canal!

Bike Unltd

When: 12 September – 30 November 2014
Where: Vivid Projects, 16 Minerva Works, 158 Fazeley Street, Digbeth, B5 5RS

This Friday sees the launch of Bike Unltd, a new project exploring the creative possibilities of pedal power, at Vivid Projects in Digbeth.

Working in collaboration with a multi-disciplinary team of professional producers, technicians, cyclists, artists and designers, Vivid Projects will go low carbon to deliver a series of practical workshops this autumn.

The team will be generating and testing ideas that harness bicycle technology, from film production to mobile tagtooling, and are looking for people to get creative with bikes.

For more information and to learn how to get involved, email Vivid at

The Secret Screenings Club

When: 17:00 onwards on 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th September 2014
Where: The Mockingbird Theatre and Bar, Custard Factory, Digbeth, B9 4AA

The Mockingbird Theatre and Bar, in conjunction with Back to the Theatre, are holding free film screenings every Tuesday evening in September.

The catch? The film is a mystery up until the last minute – although I’d hardly call that a catch!

The aim of the Secret Screenings Club is to introduce film fans to movies they may have otherwise not considered, and to revisit classic flicks that everyone loves.

To learn more, email as the mystery film will be revealed by email. But if you can’t wait that long to find out, the screens at the Mockingbird Bar will hold clues to help you guess which film you’ll be enjoying.

For more information, visit the Mockingbird’s Facebook page, the Back to the Theatre Facebook page, or the Mockingbird’s website.

Social Saturday Festival

When: Saturday 13th September, 10:00-16:00
Where: Zellig, Custard Factory, Digbeth, B9 4AA

Social Saturday is a national initiative launching on the 13th September, with the aim of increasing awareness of Social Enterprise and encouraging people to buy social.

Social Enterprises are also known as Community Interest Companies (CICs), and exist purely to make a difference in their local communities. Any surplus made by a CIC is ploughed back into the community, meaning that by buying from a social enterprise, you are directly benefiting the local area and not lining the pockets of a ‘fat cat’.

To celebrate Social Saturday, iSE are holding a festival at the Zellig in the Custard Factory, including a retro-themed market and photography exhibition, along with displays from local artists and live music.

The market will be selling a variety of products, from food and homeware, to handmade gifts and vintage goods, so make sure you pop down to the Zellig to learn more and buy social!

For more information about the event, click here to visit the iSE website. If you are a social enterprise wanting to participate, click here to learn more.

iSE recently launched an action plan to use social enterprise as a tool for regenerating Digbeth, to address social, economic and environmental issues. For more information and to read the report, please click here.

NHWN Newsletter – August/September 2014

Dear members & supporters,

Please find the August/September 2014 edition of ‘Our News’ (the NHWN 6 weekly e-newsletter) below.

This edition includes:

City of Colours – Information for Residents

When: Saturday 6 September, 11:00-20:00
Where: Various locations around Digbeth, centred around the Custard Factory

Today is the City of Colours festival, with 130 international and local street artists descending on Digbeth.

Along with the live street art, there will be fringe workshops and six music stages, all centred around the Custard Factory.

If residents have any concerns during the event, please contact Richard on 07817 378869. Outside the times of the event, the team can be contacted by email at

Digbeth First Friday – September 2014

When: Friday 5 September, 18:00
Where: Various locations around Digbeth

Along with all the other excellent stuff happening around Digbeth this First Friday evening that we’ve already featured (Imbue at PROVIDE and the Nowhere Bar pop-up at A3 amongst others), there’s still lots more to get your teeth into later on today:

Operation Tom @ Friction Arts
The Edge, 79-81 Cheapside, Digbeth, B12 0QH

Friction Arts will be exhibiting artwork created by emerging artists, aged 7 to 16, as part of their Saturday morning Art Club.

The work includes prints, drawings, paintings, and a sculpture made from finger-knitting enlarged to an industrial scale. Most striking is the video art which includes shadow-puppetry, and a film created by the young people in which they read out their own imagined epitaphs.


Away From All Suns @ Eastside Projects
86 Heath Mill Lane, Digbeth, B9 4AR

Giant Axe Field will be taking over the Eastside Projects gallery to perform a live and improvised audio visual reworking of Jindřich Polák’s pioneering 1963 film Ikarie XB 1. Bass, guitar and drums trigger film clips, creating an immersive audio-visual excursion into Deep Space Rock. Giant Axe Field is an experimental music project by Sean O’Keeffe and Simon Bailey.

For more information about other events taking place this month, visit the Digbeth First Friday website.

The Boogie Dave Birthday Bash

When: Saturday 6 September, 12:00 onwards
Where: Suki10c, 21 Bordesley Street, Digbeth, B5 5PJ

If you’re venturing into Digbeth for the City of Colours festival tomorrow (if not, change your plans NOW!), Suki10c should certainly be on your list of places to visit.

The building’s exterior was transformed with street art when Boogie Dave took over, turning it into a modern landmark and a definite marker for where the borders of Digbeth begin.

To coincide with City of Colours, Boogie Dave is holding an all-day Birthday Bash on Saturday, accompanied by a paint jam; permission has been obtained to decorate the wall of the New Canal Street car park (opposite Latifs and Suki10c). Rest assured that this won’t be any ordinary paint job!

The artists enlisted will be announced on the Facebook event page at some point today, but, suffice to say, the end result will be something quite stunning. The party will be free all day and will last all night, and is likely to involve a free BBQ if the weather holds out.

In the words of Mr Boogie himself:

There’s so much going on this Saturday in Digbeth you’d be silly not to give it a visit!

Marcia Farquhar: Larger Than Life

Launch: Friday 5 September, 18:00-20:00, with a performance lecture at 19:00
Exhibition continues: Until 7 November 2014
Where: Grand Union, 19 Minerva Works, Fazeley Street, Digbeth, B5 5RS

This Digbeth First Friday, Grand Union will open Larger Than Life, a solo exhibition by Marcia Farquhar.

The ‘unfinished’ exhibition – comprising performance, video, audio and sculpture – will evolve throughout its duration. The installations orchestrate a number of situations in which visitors encounter psychological and physical manipulations to their own shape and size.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of events including a performance lecture during the opening night, a weekend when the artist will be in residence (10–11 October, 12–5pm), and a Day of the Dead doll making workshop (Saturday 1 November, 12–3pm).

The closing performance on Friday 7 November will see Marcia lead a procession to Edible Eastside for a pagan-inspired, fakeloric (sic) burning of an effigy.

For more information, click here to visit the Grand Union website.