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Launch of the new ‘Hire Space’ at Wolverhampton Art Gallery

26th March, 2009.

Wolverhampton Art Gallery writes:

Saturday 28 March 2009
2pm – 4pm
Free, drop-in

Please join us to celebrate the launch of the new ‘Hire Space’ here at Wolverhampton Art Gallery.

Converted from the previous shop premises located near the Lichfield Street entrance to the Art Gallery, the ‘Hire Space’ will be starting its programme with a photographic project Photo ID: Young People from Wolverhampton, an education and outreach project displaying artwork created by young people as a result of workshops led by Michelle Sank.

The ‘Hire Space’ will provide platform to showcase art by artists who were born, work or study in the West Midlands. Annually the Hire Space will provide seven exhibition slots for artists to hire and three slots for use by Wolverhampton Arts + Museums Education and Outreach teams, costing only £195 to hire for 4-weeks, the application process is open to all on a first come first serve basis.

Photo ID: Young People from Wolverhampton will be on show until Saturday 25 April 2009, and is opened in conjunction with the launch of the exhibition Interface by Michelle Sank, which is on display until Saturday 2 May 2009.

Enquires regarding the ‘Hire Space’ can be made to laura.marsh at or to 01902 552055.

Interface’ by Michelle Sank at Wolverhampton Art Gallery

26th March, 2009.

Wolverhampton Art Gallery writes:

Saturday 28 March 2009
2pm – 4pm
Free, drop-in

Please join us to celebrate the launch of the exhibition Interface by Michelle Sank.

Join artist Michelle Sank for the opening of Interface. Commissioned by Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Michelle has produced a series of photographic portraits looking at Sikh and Muslim teenagers in the City of Wolverhampton, exploring issues of identity, gender religion and dress.

Also previewing will be the exhibition Photo ID: Young People from Wolverhampton, an education and outreach project displaying artwork created by young people as a result of workshops led by Michelle Sank. This will be on display in a brand new gallery space called the ‘Hire Space’, which will be made available from June 2009 to hire by local artists.

At 4pm there will be an artists’ talk at Light House, and a chance to see the further examples of her work.

Gallery/Studio Cinema, Light House, The Chubb Buildings, Wolverhampton
4pm – 6pm
Free, drop-in

Interface is a collaborative project with Light House in Wolverhampton who will be exhibiting previous projects Young Carers and Teenagers Belfast by Michelle from 27 March – 15 May 2009.

Michelle will give an illustrated talk about how she creates portraits focussing on the nuances and norms of teenage identity in Europe. Followed by a chance to view the work with refreshments served in the gallery.


Visit the Wolverhampton Art Galley web site to find out more about the exhibition

Rhubarb-Rhubarb presents Hungry

23rd March, 2009.

To coincide with Rhubarb’s tenth birthday, photographers in the UK are invited to apply for the new Rhubarb/Arts Council Bursary Scheme 2009, where the ten chosen will be profiled at the Rhubarb International Review – July/August this year. Five photographers will be chosen from the West Midlands region and five from the wider uk.

Winners will receive

  • An exhibition of their work at Wolverhampton Art Gallery
  • Prints produced by Genesis, London
  • Free Ticket for the Rhubarb International Review Seminar on Thursday 30th July 2009
  • Attendance at the Rhubarb International Review Portfolio promenade – Saturday 1st August
  • A free Place at Cultivate, offering 3 twenty minute sessions and a day of Seminars


  • A free day at the Rhubarb International Review, offering six twenty minute sessions with some of the world’s most renowned photographic fine art curators, gallerists, publishers.

(depending on which category you enter)

please go to for full details.


Words, Signs & Vibes.

21st March, 2009.

Words, Signs & Vibes (WSVYT) is an integrated Youth Theatre for young Deaf & Hearing people aged 13-18, based at the Hippodrome Theatre in Birmingham.

WSVYT will be performing 2 sign songs as part of Wolverhampton Disability Arts Festival.

When: Saturday 28th March
Where: Wolverhampton Arena Theatre
Time: 8pm
Tickets: £5

To book tickets please contact the Arena Theatre on 01902 321321 or to book tickets through the WSVYT website.

The Public – misunderstood, mismanaged and poorly promoted?

19th March, 2009.

I’m first going to write my own opinion, please feel free to comment and air what you think.  I hope to have this as a series of posts discussing The Public.

What I think it is?  It’s a central social hub for the town of West Bromwich.  In reality it is a 21st century town hall fit for today’s use.  It offers facilities such as a conference suit, music hall, theatrical stage, a gallery, office and retail space.

There is belief that people of the region think it is ‘just an art gallery’.  I can understand why, it was started by a community arts, media and communications company based in West Bromwich known as Jubilee Arts. Perhaps this motion of ‘just an art gallery’ became engraved into peoples minds from day one.  Perhaps the organisation behind the development didn’t really have an understanding of what they wanted, and how they would promote this multi-purpose social space.  It has always been a little hazy to some.

The company behind the making of the building went into administration before it was completed.  It was forecast to cost £38m, but ended up at £54m.  I know to some extent how much these things cost.  I’m a development technofreak, I even have a blog on Eastside in Birmingham.  £38m was a real underestimate from first glance, £54m is realistic.  The nearest other development of size and use I can think of is the £140m Millennium Point in Birmingham.  Perhaps the MAC in Birmingham of ~£15m is your next art centre in mind, but it is nothing of the scale of The Public.   New Central Library in Birmingham may cost £150-200m.  People of West Bromwich, you got a cheap building and at a fair price.

I also think they fail to understand some of the business models of today’s world.  They seem a little outdated and solitarian.  Let’s take social media as one way of engaging the general public.  I’m not going to give a lecture on social media, I’ll leave that for the newly formed Black Country Social Media Cafe.  I’m yet to see any social interaction from the current management of the building.  Have you?

Then we get the press. All bar one news paper hates The Public.  They have been giving very biased views, they like to only include interviews with opinions from those who have already been spoon fed untruths and classically conditioned to think everything is for the worse.  |’ll let you all name and shame news papers for the comments, but I want to say the Birmingham Post is the exception and seems to give balanced arguments.

There was also controversy over the cost of entry.  £7 for adults was advertised.  Lessons should have be learned from the ThinkTank museum in Birmingham and it should have been used as a case study.  It struggles, it’s expensive, and Brummies have never got over the fact the old Science Museum was free. With The Public’s problems of build over-expenditure, poor promotion and management, this put the nail on the coffin.

Arts Council bail out The Public

19th March, 2009.

Ok, the Express and Star report on this one.  It’s not a bail out as such, but 72 disgruntled dog owners who were promised to have their pictures of their dogs on show have managed to attain funding. You can follow the story “Public is given another handout” at the Express and Star web site.

As retail shops stand empty, why not use them as Art Galleries?

15th March, 2009.

Neville Patten, leader of Wolverhampton City Council has proposed, why not use empty retail floor space to host art galleries.

I know personally Wolverhampton is struggling.  I counted over 17 empty units on Dudley Street, Mander Centre and Wulfrun Centre in spring of last year.  Let’s not also forget the area around Summer Row development where now only one notable shop, Sevenoaks Sound and Vision, exists in the area.   Summer Row also has lots of large units (up to the size of a medium supermarket) sitting empty while the council twiddle their thumbs thinking when can they introduce compulsory purchase orders on the land.

My question is, what sort of art could be displayed?

Personally I think they would make very good venues for a festival.

Lee Allen Photography

13th March, 2009.

Lee Allen has just launched his new web site with the web2 factor which includes a blog. He is now doing business under his own name, specialising in portrait, wedding and music photography.

Lee Allen is a self-taught photographer who originates from the wilds of Norfolk and now lives in the West Midlands. His friendly approach, coupled with his knack of capturing that “moment”, has seen him work for national magazines through to the BBC.

From the regal surroundings of a wedding in a stately home to the sweaty confines of a small club gig, Lee always approaches each job with the same level of commitment and professionalism ensuring breathtaking results every time.

What does CitBC cover, and how to contact us

13th March, 2009.

What does Created in the Black Country cover?

CitBC covers the Black Country’s artistic and creative communities. If you’re not sure if that includes whatever craziness you’re into then send the info anyway, what’s the worst that can happen?

How to get onto CitBC

If you would like to get your creative endeavours talked about on Created in the Black Country please follow these guidelines:

If it is our first contact, please tell me:

  • Who you are?
  • Where are you based?
  • What do you do?
  • What do you want to promote or discuss?
  • A link to a web site if you can.
  • How can readers contact you? Address, phone number, web address, e-mail, Twitter etc.
  • Please attach further information as a text document, a word file or PDF.

I don’t always reply back to all of the emails I recieve, so please check CitBC to see if I have covered it.

I will also subscribe to any feeds you send me, however I do prefer e-mails.

Be aware that anything you send in may be reproduced on the blog in an unedited form.  So be nice and use a spellchecker.  That includes press releases and flyers.

Please be aware that Created in the Black Country is not a comprehensive listings service.


There’s too much music-related stuff going on in the Black Country, more than Birmingham, to do a decent job of covering it here – other places do a better job of that. Basically, if you’re a band/DJ/promoter and you’ve got a gig coming up then don’t expect a mention unless there’s a wider context to tie it into (festival, album release, venue launch).

New Blog – Created in the Black Country

13th March, 2009.

Well welcome.  I have decided to start a new venture, Created in the Black Country.

This is my second new project in two days, I also run the Black Country Social Media Cafe web sites.

So what will this blog become?  It will be just like the multi award winning Created in Birmingham, but only covering the Black Country.  I hate to say this is “under construction” (so 1996!), but it is for now.

I have started this because of relentless “just do it, please!” from the likes of Jon bound, Kate Spragg, Pete Ashton and many.