Birmingham Street Art Festival 2014

When: Saturday 6th September 2014
Where: Digbeth
Tickets: Free

Street Art Birmingham are running a Kickstarter campaign to fund an exciting new street art festival, which aims to transform Digbeth into the West Midlands’ largest outdoor art gallery!

A partnership of over 20 organisations including The Bench 504,, The Custard Factory, Boxxed, and PST, the festival will see over 80 artists creating murals accompanied by live dance performances and four stages of music!

In the time between now and September, Street Art Birmingham will be engaging in outreach work with three schools in economically-challenged areas, providing 360 pupils (aged 11-16) with the opportunity to participate in the arts and learn new skills such as break dancing, music production or joining a young people’s press gang.

It is hoped that the festival will support the regeneration of Digbeth by improving the appearance of the area through the use of street art; there is certainly the opportunity for increased foot flow with art tourism, which can only benefit Digbeth.

As the event will be free to attend, the organisers are completely reliant on funding. The first £1,500 raised will be used towards the hire of equipment, and any additional funding will be spent on spray paint and youth participation activities.

Since Kickstarter runs on an ‘all or nothing’ basis, we know that Street Art Birmingham have set the lowest target possible to get their idea off the ground. Although they have met their initial £,1500 target which is fantastic news, it will cost a lot more than that to put on an event of this kind! Any donation you can make to the event, however big or small, will truly be appreciated by the organisers, and will certainly help put Digbeth on the map!

To learn more, please visit the Kickstarter page here.

Birmingham Curzon HS2 Draft Masterplan

On Thursday 27th February, Birmingham City Council (BCC) unveiled the Birmingham Curzon HS2 Draft Masterplan.

The Masterplan shows how Birmingham hopes to integrate HS2 into the fabric of the city, by creating infrastructure for HS2 around Digbeth before the new terminus is built.

The Shed vs The Slug

Although on the whole it is a positive document, Digbeth Residents Association has a few concerns:

1. The proposed tram route connecting HS2 with the Coach Station via Digbeth High Street seems to have been changed beyond recognition in the new document. DRA would encourage the final Masterplan to revert to the original and preferred route through New Canal Street and Digbeth High Street.

2. Phil Burrows, Manager of the Birmingham FOE Warehouse explains our next concern in a blog entitled Can BCC Stop HS2 From Choking off Digbeth?:

The station proposed by HS2 is monolithic and is in stark contrast to the organic curves put forward by BCC and its ‘shingled slug’. The Shed feels impenetrable, forgetting to compensate for closing Park St and Fazeley St, by squeezing visitors to Digbeth through Paternoster Row. On the other hand, BCC have ensured that the Slug is a gateway to Digbeth with its open gentle steps and enticing public space.

This is why I’ll be signing up to the Curzon St masterplan and petitioning HS2 as it goes through parliament. I implore the rest of Digbeth to do the same. We need to make sure that we don’t rebuild the concrete collar.

3. Last, but not least, DRA welcomes the inclusion of a ‘Skypark’ through the Duddeston Viaduct in Digbeth. This idea has been proposed in various forms over the years and over numerous Masterplans for Digbeth and Eastside. With the transformative effect HS2 will have on the city, and the loss of green space, we strongly encourage BCC to petition HS2 to support this project in its entirety so that the Duddeston Viaduct will finally be given a new lease of life the structure and Digbeth so badly deserve.

An artist's impression of the view from Duddeston Viaduct Skypark looking towards Warwick Bar, from the Birmingham Curzon HS2 Masterplan

More information on the Birmingham Curzon HS2 Draft Masterplan and how to respond to the consultation is available on the BCC website.

The Masterplan is also available to download in full at the following links:
(Please note that these are large files so we would suggest not clicking on them if you are using a mobile device.)

Stop Courier Fraud

West Midlands Police have launched a drive to raise awareness about a new courier scam, which is conning vulnerable people into handing over bank cards and PIN numbers.

The scam involves a caller posing as a police officer telling the victim their bank account has been hacked, and that they need to seize the card and PIN number to stop further fraudulent transactions. The fraudsters then send couriers to collect bank cards, which are then used to withdraw cash or go on spending sprees.

To help us stop these criminals, West Midlands Police need your help to spread the word about this scam among your friends, family and colleagues. Remember:

  • Your bank or police will never send a courier to your home to collect bank cards
  • Your bank or police will never ask for your PIN number
  • If you receive one of these calls, end it immediately

If you believe you have been a victim, call your bank and cancel your cards immediately (try to call from a different phone), and report it to West Midlands Police on 101. For more information, visit the West Midlands Police website.

Know One’s Fool

When: Saturday 8th March; doors open 20:00, show starts 20:30
Where: The Edge, 79-81 Cheapside, Birmingham B12 0QH
Tickets: £7 (£5 concessions)

Famed Fool Jonathan Kay will be performing his acclaimed one-man show at The Edge next week, as part of a tour that takes him across the UK, Europe, and Scandinavia.

Described as ‘not a play, but you may find yourself in a play’, Know One’s Fool has won critical acclaim:

Not stand up, but the latest one-man shows from a performer and teacher about the Fool who could well have an influence on stand-up in the future… Highly recommended for anyone out for something different.

Time Out

Wickedly funny and completely unpredictable.

The Guardian

Visit the Friction Arts website for more information and to book your tickets.

Jonathan will also be running an intensive five-day workshop for actors and performers, exploring in depth improvisation and the art of The Fool. Click here to learn more.

Sustainability Spring Fair

When: Saturday 8th March, 10:30-17:00
Where: The Old Library and the Dome, The Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Digbeth, B9 4AA
Free Entry

Birmingham is celebrating Climate Week 2014 by staging the popular Sustainability Spring Fair, which promotes sustainable lifestyles and climate change issues in a fun, educational way.

Attractions include:

  • The popular indoor fair-trade and ethical market selling locally sourced produce and crafts from around the world
  • Fair-trade tea, coffee and refreshments for sale
  • Love Food Hate Waste food tasting
  • A stage show featuring a magic act and local bands, with headline act the amazing Electric Swing Circus, all performing on a solar powered stage
  • Environmental Artists offering art interventions and making toys from rubbish workshops
  • Have a go at learning basic circus skills like uni-cycling, juggling and stilt walking
  • Healthy smoothies produced by your own pedal power!

For more information, visit the Birmingham City Council website here.

Digbeth Totems

A few weeks ago I wrote about the Interconnect Birmingham, and the plans to install way-finding totems all over the city.

Well, very soon those plans will become a reality! Marketing Birmingham have very kindly been in touch and informed us of the draft schedule of works. Please find the planned dates and locations below:

St Martin’s in the Bullring | St Martin’s Lane
Foundations built: 27/02/2014
Totem installation (evening): 13/03/2014

Outdoor Market | St Martin’s in the Bullring
Foundations built: 27/02/2014
Totem installation (evening): 13/03/2014

Digbeth High Street | Custard Factory Entrance
Foundations built: 28/02/2014
Totem installation (evening): 23/03/2014

Digbeth High Street | Meriden St Junction
Foundations built: 03/03/2014
Totem installation (evening): 23/03/2014

Moat Lane | Upper Dean St Junction
Foundations built: 03/03/2014
Totem installation (evening): 23/03/20


The likelihood is that the works may take a while longer and may be delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, but the great news is that they are definitely coming. I certainly think that the totems will make Digbeth more accessible and seem less intimidating to visitors, so long may they stand!

Joining the Dots

Joining the Dots is a new support programme for entrepreneurial artists, promoters and others working in independent music in England.

Their aim is to support game-changing ideas, by providing seedcorn funding of up to £10,000 to test solutions for making live music more viable.

Suki10c‘s David Whittall came up with a disruptive idea that could change the live music landscape. Click here to watch his proposal on YouTube.

His idea has been successfully shortlisted to the second round, which is fantastic news for David and Suki10c, but also for Digbeth! Unfortunately there is no public vote so we can’t do much to influence the judges’ decision, but this is just another example of how much creative energy and talent we have in Digbeth!

Digbeth Residents Association wish David the best of luck in gaining funding to trial his idea, and will of course keep you updated as to his progress.

Polish in Digbeth

When: Sunday 2nd March, 15:00-19:00
Where: Spotted Dog, 104 Warwick Street, Digbeth, B12 0NH

We are all familiar with the fact that Irish migrants have long called Digbeth home. Some people know that the Chinese Community Centre Birmingham is based on Bradford Street, and that Digbeth also houses a Somali Youth Centre. Very few know about the history and traditions of the Polish community in Digbeth…

Polish Millennium House on Bordesley Street is the epicentre of the Polish community in Birmingham. The building houses, amongst other services, The Karczma Polish Restaurant. Allison Street is home to Birmingham’s premier Polish Shop, stockists of all staple ingredients and even a Polish delicatessen! And Saint Michael’s Church on Moor Street even holds a Sunday service in the Polish language.

To celebrate this, Polish in Digbeth are holding an event at The Spotted Dog this Sunday to introduce as many people as possible to Polish culture. A collaboration between Digbeth Residents Association, Polish Expats Association (who are also based in Digbeth) and Polish Artists in London, Polish in Digbeth will include:

  • A chance to try some tasty Polish food for free
  • A film screening
  • Stories from Polish folklore
  • Traditional Polish music

Come join us in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere to induct yourself into all things Polish!


Thanks from Digbeth Speaks

Digbeth Speaks was a project that collected images and sound bites from around Digbeth in 2013; the picture of contemporary Digbeth was compiled to add to the Birmingham Archives as a time capsule.

Please see a message of thanks from the team to all of Digbeth below:

NHWN & Suzy Lamplugh Trust Perceptions of Safety Report

Please see an update from the Neighbourhood Watch Network below.

Dear all,

The results of a survey investigating the relationship between street lighting and perceptions of crime and safety are now available to download from our website.

15,786 people responded to the survey. 22% of participants said that lighting had been switched off or dimmed in their area. Of those participants, 55.8% of the women and 38.8% of the men said that their community now feels less safe. When comparing the data by age, a higher number of younger respondents felt their safety was negatively affected. When asked how dimming or switching off lighting affects their behaviour, 40% of respondents considered going out less, 65% avoided unlit areas and 15% said they would take taxis rather than walk.

To read more detail please see the full report.