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Liz Hingley Photography Exhibition

We are delighted to present Home Made in Smethwick, an exhibition of photographs by local photographer Liz Hingley, which will tour to six Sandwell libraries. Liz worked with residents for two years to create an intimate photographic portrait of the people and the food cooked in Smethwick in the Black Country, one of the most culturally diverse towns in the UK. A book of the work was published in August 2016 but this is the first time an exhibition of photographs has been exhibited publicly.

The launch event was in January 2017, at Smethwick Library but at the start of each leg of the tour there will be a special afternoon preview with the chance to see the work and taste homemade bread from Albert, a project participant.

We are delighted to present Home Made in Smethwick, an exhibition of photographs by local photographer Liz Hingley, which will come to Tipton Library from 13 April to 12 May 2017.

Liz has worked with residents for the last two years to create an intimate photographic portrait of the people and the food cooked in Smethwick in the Black Country, one of the most culturally diverse towns in the UK. A book of the work was published in August 2016 but this is the first time an exhibition of photographs has been exhibited publicly.

The exhibition will be at Tipton Library, Unity Walk, Owen Street, Tipton, DY4 8QL until Friday 12th May.

This event is part of a series of special exhibitions and film screenings brought to you by Multistory and Sandwell libraries.

Free entrance – no ticket required.

Tour Schedule:
Blackheath Library (0121 559 1884) 15 May – 9 June
Central Library, West Bromwich (0121 569 4904) 12 June – 10 July


Commissions Callout for 100 Masters and Funny Things

Creative Black Country are seeking to commission artists (open to all art forms) to collaborate with them and the communities they are working with to deliver their two Landmark projects; 100 Masters and Funny Things.

100 Masters
This project aims to discover and profile Black Country experts of today through public nomination. This means one hundred talented, skilled, and pioneering people who are living, working or connected to the area will be profiled through a creative media campaign.

You can invite someone you consider a master to put on some expert talks, you might want to organise an event to celebrate a local master or you might want to go and see or meet one of your masters!

For Commission information click here.

Please contact 100 Masters Producer Liam Smyth at liam@creativeblackcountry.co.uk if you would like more information or discuss an idea.

Funny Things
A celebration of Black Country humour and comedy. Creative Black Country are currently developing a comedy festival in Wolverhampton which will take place from 26th October to 5th November 2017. You can programme events, create events or develop some activity related to comedy as part of the festival.

For Commission information click here.

Please contact Funny Things Producer Jenny Smith at funnythingswolves@gmail.com if you would like more information or discuss an idea.

Deadline for proposals for both projects is Thursday 20th April 2017 and we will respond to shortlisted proposals by 28th April 2017.

Event reminder: FUNNY THINGS Open Meeting Invitation on Thursday 6th April, 6pm -7:30pm at Wolverhampton Art Gallery.

Come along to find out more the FUNNY THINGS and discuss how you could get involved, to help us make the first comedy festival in Wolverhampton a success.

RSVP by 31st March 2017 to rosalind@creativeblackcountry.co.uk


Creative Arts Launches the Pull of Wool Knitting Project

Creative Arts, part of the team behind the award-winning Ceramic Garden, is looking for people to get involved in their latest community project – The Pull of Wool.

The team wants to collect interesting photos of people knitting in unusual locations as well as photos of people who don’t normally knit.

People are also encouraged to donate unwanted wool or woollen items, and get involved with the team at Creative Arts to help knit items for display.

These are all set to be displayed to the public later this year to raise awareness of Creative Arts and its positive contribution to the local community.

Creative Arts is a council-run team that provides day opportunities for people with a range of physical and learning disabilities, as well as bringing together local people ranging from four-year-old pupils to 92-year-old pensioners.

This latest project by Creative Arts follows the award-winning Ceramic Garden project, which is due to feature in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Malvern Spring Show from 11 to 14 May.

Councillor Ann Shackleton, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for social care, said: “They did some amazing work on the Ceramic Garden initiative and deserve support to come up with another interesting piece of creative work.

“I would hope that anyone who can help this excellent organisation on their latest exciting project will get in touch.”

Richard Flatley, from Creative Arts, added: “We’re after photos of people knitting in unusual places, or just photos of people who you would not expect to be knitting. We hope to make an exhibition of these photos to accompany the knitting when it is on display.”

Anyone who wishes to find out more, provide photos, get involved or donate some woollen items can visit Creative Arts, 37-39 Cyprus Industrial Park, Cyprus Street, Oldbury, call 0121 552 8095 or visit the Creative Arts Project Facebook page.

Creative Arts set up the Ceramic Garden project last year with arts organisation Creative Black Country. The garden won a top award from the Royal Horticultural Society’s Britain in Bloom Award for the It’s Your Neighbourhood category. The project received a Level 3 award.


Nominations Wanted for 100 Masters

100 Masters is a new campaign produced by Creative Black Country that aims to identify contemporary skilled people from the region and help inspire future talent. The public are being asked to have their say and nominate someone they know who is brilliant at what they do. No achievement is too big or small; maybe your neighbour bakes the best bread you’ve ever tasted, or your local landlord brews the best beer?

Did you know that a West Bromwich cactus-breeder has received gold at RHS Chelsea for the last seven successive years? What about the Dudley-born fashion illustrator who counts RnB star Rihanna and the Kardashians as her fans? Heard about the Wolverhampton lecturer who has won an unprecedented international accolade for his pioneering research into the medical uses of sugar? Only last year at the Edinburgh Fringe, a care worker from Sandwell beat 14 professional comedians to win the ‘Joke of the year 2016’.

The Black Country was forged at the hands of men and women from all walks of life who honed their skills to the highest levels. It was through their craftsmanship and diligence that the region became renowned as the industrial heartland of the UK, and while we successfully recognise our great industrial heritage, we believe it is time to represent the present-day masters who have been making tremendous strides.

Creative Black Country know there are more stories out there of local people receiving attention and accolades for their work and they want to find and promote these individuals. The project is open to ideas of noteworthy people who have forged their own path and displayed outstanding ability that has influenced others in their field.

A master can be from any walk of life and there are no restrictions in specialism but they must have either been born, educated, lived or worked in Sandwell, Walsall, Dudley or Wolverhampton for a significant period of time.

Do you know someone that deserves to be recognised for their passion and commitment? Then you can nominate them here.

About the Masters
-West Bromwich cactus breeder – Stan Griffin
-Dudley born fashion illustrator – Elizabeth Ilsley
-Award winning Wolverhampton lecturer – Moses Murandu
-‘Joke of the year 2016’ winner from Sandwell – Masai Graham

See the current Masters here.


mARTch – Celebrating Art, Culture and Creativity

A month-long roadshow of workshops and sessions to get artists of all ages being creative and talking about the future of the arts is coming to Sandwell.

‘mARTch’ – art in March – will give artists, dancers, photographers, poets and writers the chance to tell the council what more can be done to help them.

They will also be able to add their own creativity to a piece of community art, which will go on display later this year.

Family-friendly workshops and consultation events are planned for all six towns throughout March.

Councillor Richard Marshall, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for leisure, said: “mARTch is a great opportunity for local artists – whatever their talent – to get involved in shaping the future of arts in Sandwell.

“We want to know what more we can do as a council to help creative people and groups.

“As well as giving their views, artists can help us create a really special piece of community art, building on the success of the Ceramic Garden project last year.

“I would encourage all local artists – and anyone who’s interested in getting creative – to join one of our upcoming, family-friendly workshops.”

During the workshops, artists can decorate a white tile (6×6 inches) which will be mounted alongside other tiles from their town.
They’ll also have chance to glaze a ceramic flower for the Ceramic Garden, which is going on display at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Malvern Show in May.

Events announced so far:
• Saturday 18 March, 10am-4pm, Oak House Museum, West Bromwich (workshop runs 11am-3pm)
• Sunday 19 March, 10am-4pm, Haden Hill House, Cradley Heath (workshop runs 11am-3pm)
• Wednesday 22 March, 4pm-8pm, Coneygre Youth Arts Centre, Tipton (workshop runs 4.30pm-7.30pm)
• Thursday 23 March, 10am-4pm, Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery (workshop runs 11am-3pm)
• Saturday 25 March, 10am-4pm, Oldbury Library (workshop runs 11am-3pm)

More venues will be confirmed soon.

For more information, contact Alex Howell the Arts and Projects Officer by email alex_howell@sandwell.gov.ukor by phone on 07827 305 784.


GAP Centre Presents DIY Drive-In

The GAP Centre, West Bromwich has secured funds from Creative Black Country to present their DIY Drive-In Cinema event. This is a family friendly event where children use recycled materials and cardboard boxes to design and build their own kid-sized cars before settling down to an afternoon of short family films.

The Gap Centre would like to invite you to their family friendly event taking place on:

Saturday 25th March 2017 from 2-5pm at the GAP Centre, Hargate Lane, West Bromwich, B71 1PH.

Light refreshments will be available.

To book your tickets (priced at £10 per family – 2 x adults and 2 x children) or to find out more about this exciting opportunity please email info@thegaponline.org


Creative Black Country – 100 Masters Nominations

The Black Country was forged at the hands of men and women from all walks of life who had honed their skills to the highest levels. It was through their craftsmanship and diligence that the region became renowned as the industrial heartland of the UK.

100 Masters’ is an arts campaign to identify contemporary skilled people from the Black Country and help inspire future talent.

This year long regional campaign aims to inspire and offer local people a fresh perspective about the strengths, skills, talent and expertise surfacing from their locality and community.

Did you know that the Playstation font was designed by twins from Wolverhampton? Or that a local cactus-breeder has received gold at RHS Chelsea for the last 7 successive years? Ever heard of the person who’s book they wrote in evening class was turned into a Hollywood film starring Nicole Kidman?

We successfully recognise the great industrial heritage of the region and repeatedly celebrate historic achievements through education, publications, heritage projects, and journalism. Whilst it is important to commemorate the past, we believe that people in the present-day who have been making tremendous strides have been underrepresented.

The rest of the world is taking notice of the work being made by the people of the Black Country and it’s time we started to recognise the rich talent from the area. Meanwhile, Rihanna continues to be a big fan of the jackets made by a Dudley fashion student, a local nurse has won an unprecedented international accolade for their pioneering research into the medical uses of sugar and last year at the Edinburgh Fringe, a care worker from Sandwell beat 14 professional comedians to win the ‘Joke of the year 2016’.

We know there are more stories out there of local people receiving attention and accolades for their work and we want to find and promote these individuals. There is no achievement too great or small. You may know someone from Caldmore who makes the best cheese cobs in town or someone from Tipton attempting to break the land speed record.

A master is a noteworthy person who has forged their own path and displayed outstanding ability that has influenced others in their field. A master can be from any walk of life and there are no restrictions in specialism but they must have either been born, educated, lived or worked in the Black Country for a significant period of time.

Do you know someone that deserves to be recognised for their passion and commitment? Then you can nominate them here.


Spotlight on Creative Black Country

1. Tell us what you do.

Creative Black Country (CBC) is a three year campaign, funded by Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places project, which aims to make the most of creative talent in the Black Country.

We work with local people to discover, explore and grow an exciting and meaningful programme of arts activity in Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton. We have a range of projects where we engage with communities putting them at the heart of each idea. In 2016, two of the major projects included Imagine That! and Desi Pubs.

Open Access Awards
We have Open Access awards which supports activities that build audiences and is open to individuals, groups and organisations in Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton. If a project builds audiences, connects local people with professional artists and brings great performance, art and creativity to the Black Country, Open Access could help make that project happen.

To apply or for more information click here.

Groundwork Groups
We work with community groups as ‘Groundworks‘ which offers local community groups the opportunity to start an exciting creative journey, supported by an Arts Advisor to help develop and shape the groups creative ideas and a Development Worker who offers support in areas such as:  governance, funding, training and information.

Groundworks groups, as part of the journey, have the opportunity for their members to Go and See a wide range of performance and visual arts to spark off ideas of their own.

2. What is your proudest achievement?

In our short time, CBC has had many proud moments but programming and organising the 2016 Sandwell Arts Festival was a brilliant one!  Two fantastic days of performances, workshops, pop up cinema, music and the famous Ceramic Garden were offered to the Sandwell public. We worked with volunteers whose enthusiasm helped to make the festival really special!

3. What is your experience of support received from SCVO

CBC makes the most of SCVO’s connections particularly around knowledge of local relationships which connects the voluntary, the arts and cultural sector.

4. What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?

One of the most valuable lessons has been listening to what people wish to see in their area and working with Sandwell individuals and groups to help turn their arts and cultural ideas into reality.

5. What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?

We have an exciting year ahead, keep an eye on our website, as we are currently firming up future events or better still sign up to our newsletter.

The challenges are no different to other organisation i.e. around funding and sustainability.

6. How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?

SCVO can carry on supporting groups that CBC connects with and help us to spread the word about what’s happening in Sandwell which are linked to the activities that we are developing in partnership with others.

For more information on how to get involved please contact Creative Black Country on 0121 525 1127 or alternatively drop us a line via email at info@creativeblackcountry.co.uk


Bearwood One Day Choir with Marianne Ayling from Ex Cathedra

Ex Cathedra are an incredible choir based in Birmingham and We Are Bearwood are very excited to be bringing Marianne Ayling from Ex Cathedra to Bearwood, thanks to the help Creative Black Country.

Whatever your singing ability, you’re invited to join our free one-day singing workshop. No auditions! No need to read music! All Ages welcome!

By the end of it We Are Bearwood are pretty sure you’ll sound better than you thought possible and you’ll feel great.

Fancy giving it a go? It’s on Saturday 18th March 2017, 10.30am to 2.30pm at St Hilda’s Church.

To find out more about this event and others taking place in Bearwood please visit their website.

We think this’ll be quite popular, so make sure you reserve your free space by emailing bearwoodsings@gmail.com


Made in Oldbury: Opening the Archives

Made in Oldbury: Opening the Archives is a fantastic opportunity to see some rare archive materials selected by independent photographic curator Pete James along with Maureen Waldron and Ian Gray from Sandwell Community History and Archives Service. Dr Terry Daniels from Oldbury and Langley History Societies will be on hand to share some of his personal archive of the area.

The event includes film footage from Albright and Wilson from the early 1070’s, artist interpretations of archive material from Jain Mckay and Josh Whitehouse, and special performance by Black Country poets Billy Spake Mon and Brendan Hawthorne, offering their own unique reflections on industrial history in word and verse.

The event will be taking place on:
Saturday 25th February 2017, 2pm till 4.30pm at Zion Methodist Church Hall, Langley Green Road, Langley, B69 4TP

Come along and share some of your stories and personal memorabilia or if you are interested in researching some of the archives, please get in touch. For further information please contact Kate Jackson – Project Coordinator either by email at kate@katejacksphoto.co.uk or call 077203 28116


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