Visit Digbeth instead of London

New York magazine, one of the most influential publications in the US, has sung the virtues of visiting Birmingham instead of London.

With our world-class culinary, music and arts scenes, it’s not difficult to see why. Of course, Digbeth gets more than just a mention in the article, describing the Custard Factory as an amalgam of East London and Dumbo (I have no idea either!).

The author takes tips from Lucan Gray, custodian of the Custard Factory, on an itinerary through our vibrant streets with stops at award-winning vintage clothing shop Urban Village, art gallery Eastside Projects, Spotlight’s Digbeth Dining Clubthe UK’s best street food event – and finishing in The Rainbow.

Digbeth also features in Visit Birmingham’s new promotional video, with flashes of the Custard Factory and Eastside City Park welcoming people to our city:

It’s great to see such bastions of Digbeth’s creative circle gaining the international recognition they deserve. Hopefully this sort of coverage will help us all feel even prouder of Digbeth, and perhaps entice more people to take that short walk from the city centre – they just don’t know what they’re missing!

Antique & Vintage Bazaar

When: Saturday 16th November, from 10:00
Where: The Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Digbeth
Free Entry

From collectable toys to vintage clothing, from retro furniture to accessories, and from antiques to jewellery, the choice on offer at Saturday’s vintage bazaar will be eclectic to say the least!

This weekend, the Custard Factory will be showcasing an amazing variety of antique and vintage wares, along with vintage inspired food.

The bazaar is now a regular fixture in the Custard Factory’s calendar and each one is bigger than the last, and that’s not all: dates for future events have just been announced, so you can be sure to get your vintage fix in 2014!

  • Saturday 8th February
  • Saturday 5th April
  • Saturday 21th June
  • Saturday 9th August
  • Saturday 18th October
  • Saturday 13th December

Check out the Facebook event page for more photos. See you there!

Eastside Projects – November 2013 News and Exhibitions

Cao Fei: House of Treasures

When: Until 18:00 on Friday 15th November
Where: The Atrium, Millennium Point, Curzon Street, Digbeth, B4 7XG
Free Entry

A giant inflatable suckling pig by Chinese artist Cao Fei, is currently on exhibition in The Atrium of Millennium Point.

House of Treasures is described as a reflection on contemporary prosperity and abundance, balancing a serious commentary on consumption with playful interactivity. Visitors may enter the pig through an opening in its side, finding within its belly several films by the artist.

House of Treasures has been brought to Digbeth in collaboration with Eastside Projects, and this is the first time the work has been shown outside of China.

The Atrium is open daily from 10:00 until 18:00; the exhibition is free to enter, and you certainly won’t miss it once you’re there!

Provide Cinema: Never Sorry

When: Tuesday 12th November 2013, 19:00
Where: Spotlight, Unit 2, Lower Trinity Street, Digbeth, B9 4AG
Tickets: £5 (available online here or on the door)

In this evening’s next instalment, PROVIDE Cinema presents Ai Weiwei – Never Sorry:

Ai Weiwei is a globally renowned Chinese artist who has, to say the least, tested the patience of his government. The film is a look at contemporary China, focusing on Ai Weiwei and the impact his art is having on Chinese people and society at large.

The venue is Spotlight, complete with a big screen, chesterfield sofas and a fully stocked bar, a far more sociable way to enjoy cinema in Digbeth than your average venue!

Tickets can be bought online here, or in person at PROVIDE in the Custard Factory. Advance booking is recommended, but there will probably be a few tickets left on the door.

To whet your appetites, see the trailer for the film below.

Help Protect Yourself

The Digbeth neighbourhood police team are holding advice sessions in Digbeth throughout the autumn.

At the sessions, a trained professional will showcase basic self-defence techniques, and share tips on personal safety.

Click here to book your placebooking is essential.

If you are interested in learning more about policing priorities for Digbeth, the next Nechells Tasking Group meeting takes place at 18:30 on Wednesday 27th November at Highgate Fire Station.

Trams for Digbeth

Last Thursday 7th November, Chair of DRA John Gordon attended a Council meeting focussed on Maximising the Impact of HS2:

“Digbeth Residents Association is broadly in favour of HS2, but we are keen to see good connectivity (including connectivity to the coach station and the High Street), community compensation for the impact on Eastside Park, consideration for the community during the construction phase, quality environmental and public realm responses, and appropriate steps to ensure that Digbeth, and the people who live there, share in the economic benefits that should flow from the project.”

DRA are delighted to say that the meeting gave serious consideration to the option of a tramline connecting HS2 to Digbeth Coach Station, Birmingham International Airport, and the east of the city as far as Coventry. The proposed tramway would leave the new terminal down Fazeley Street, and arrive in Digbeth via New Canal Street, before heading east along the High Street.

John continued: Our response to the HS2 Draft Environmental Statement called for a commitment to a link with the National Express Coach Station, preferably leading through Digbeth to the airport. Linking both existing and emerging communities in Digbeth via a tramway has the capacity to create an inviting promenade through Digbeth, and facilitate the flow of economic and social resources in our direction. It would also help define Digbeth as a welcoming, clean and safe part of the city.”

“We would like to thank Nechells Ward Councillor Ali, as both Digbeth and DRA received recognition throughout the meeting, and the need to ensure good connectivity between Eastside and Digbeth was regularly referenced.”

This is great news for residents of Digbeth, who would have the best of both worlds – being just a short distance from the city centre, and less than 20 minutes from the airport. The benefits of this project could be felt very soon since it was made clear throughout the meeting that the infrastructure connecting transport links in the city centre should precede the completion of the HS2 terminal.

For more information on the meeting, click here to see the supporting documents, and here to watch the meeting in full, which was broadcast live via the web.

Darker Nights Return

While West Midlands Police have driven down crime to record lows over the past decade, burglary, robbery and vehicle crime all spike when the clocks go back.

Simply by using a timer on lights and keeping valuables out of sight, police are reminding residents that you don’t have to be a superhero to make a big difference in Digbeth. To support residents’ efforts, officers will be stepping up their usual crime busting efforts including:

  • Encouraging people to join a local Neighbourhoood Watch scheme.
  • Increasing uniformed and plain clothed police patrols for areas identified as potential crime hotspots.
  • Using cars fitted with hidden cameras and silent alarms which alert nearby officer if tampered with will be parked in areas where thieves are known to operate.
  • Turning empty homes into capture houses which spray burglars with invisible ink, record their every movement and alert officers when valuable are taken.

For security tips, safety advice and more information on the new campaign visit

The Archive Paradox

When: Saturday 9th-30th November 2013, performance Thursday 28 November 19:00-20:00
Where: Grand Union, Minerva Works, Fazeley Street, Digbeth

Lindgren & Langlois: The Archive Paradox is a dramatised exchange of letters between two influential film archivists on opposing sides of the debate between preservation and circulation.

Artist Ruth Beale has constructed a narrative from the writing, correspondence and commentators of Ernest Lindgren, the BFI National Film Archive’s first curator who was careful, scientific and restrained by public responsibilities and budgets; and Henri Langlois, the flamboyant and passionate co-founder of the Cinémathèque Française who collected, saved, and screened as widely as possible.

An installation of Beale’s research and drawings will be presented at Grand Union from today, in the lead up to a performance of The Archive Paradox on Thursday 28 November 2013.

For more information about the exhibition, visit the Grand Union website.

Vegan Retail Opportunity at The Warehouse

The current owners of The One Earth Shop are moving on to pastures new, so Birmingham Friends of the Earth are looking for someone else to take on the baton for vegan food in Birmingham.

Image: Flckr user hack man

BFOE have supported a vegan shop at The Warehouse for over 20 years and remain as committed as ever, but they want to be sure that the new tenant have a clear vision of how to encourage more people to enjoy sustainable food.

For that reason, they are asking interested parties to complete and return an expression of interest form, designed to find the best possible tenant for the premises, to before the 30th November 2013.

Birmingham Friends of the Earth is committed to creating positive environmental change and one of the ways that we do this is by having a vegan shop in our building. We want to know a little bit about you, your ethics and your sources of motivation.

Before you fill in the form, BFOE highly recommend that you visit them to see the premises and discuss the possibilities. Contact Phil on 0121 632 6909 to book an appointment.

We look forward to welcoming our new neighbours and a new sustainable shop to Digbeth soon!