The day is here, and we couldn't be more excited to welcome you to Birmingham Hippodrome this morning! So, you may think you've got your head around the programme for the day, but little do you know we're packing a lot more to shake a #perspectives stick at than all the magic we have been crafting for the stage itself. In this blog, visual curator Alison Baskerville takes you under the hood of our #Perspectives Parlour, which we invite you to explore in the breaks and breathers throughout the day. It's a full blown creative takeover of Hippodrome's restaurant on Level 2, and you can even still have your lunch in there. Winning.
Last year I watched with awe as a team of motivated people whipped up an enormous level of energy and organised TEDxBrum 2016 - Power of Us. As a newcomer to the city I was intrigued by this event and decided to get a ticket. What followed was a series of talks and moments that left me inspired and blew my mind. As a creative I wanted to channel this into something that had an impact and was part of the framework of supporting creativity in the city. After a few swivels round on the wheelie chair and a gentle nudge from friends, I volunteered to take part on this year's team. As the visual curator I began to gather ideas on how we can bring art into this year’s venue - the huge Birmingham Hippodrome.
During the first venue walk around, my head ran away with ideas of giant installation pieces, exhibitions and all kinds of crazy art ideas. After reminding myself that there were already 32 amazing ideas onstage doing plenty to inspire the crowd we set about looking at interventions that would be fun and easy to access. Here's what we came up with:
TEDxBrum² | All Day
One of the early ideas has been based on an idea set up in 2016 called Brum Squared which also featured as as part of City Camp. Tired of photography being exclusive to those with expensive cameras, Brum Squared was created as a democratic citizen-led platform based on creative exploration using the A-Z map of Birmingham. Folk choose a square on the map and captured photographs within it. Simple its creation and wonderful to see in action, TEDxBrum² (TEDxBrum Squared) was born as this felt like a perfect format to apply to this year's theme of #perspectives.
In the lead up to this year's event we’ve hosted a few gatherings to create images as part of TEDxBrum². The first event was made up of a group of international visitors who were in town for a gathering around the Global Jams. With camera phones in hand our jammers set off across Digbeth and captured some great images. Since then we’ve worked with Northfield Arts Forum, BCU and more to bring a wide collection of images which you can see on the day on the screens outside the #Perspectives Parlour up on Level 2.
Connect with Brum Squared at @BrumSquared on instagram, twitter and facebook.com/brumsquared.
Perspectives Zine Library | All Day
I’ve been very fortunate in this journey to be surrounded by some brilliant creatives. One of these being Louise Byng and Illustrated Brum, who will bring TEDxBrum's first ever zine library to this year's event. Based on an open call we’ve gathered and catalogued a healthy pile of tiny to large, photocopied to perfect bound, awesome, creative, mind-opening zines. New to this way of independent publishing, I’ve become totally hooked on the zine format and love how we can put literally anything we want into these. It’s been a real joy to watch Byng unwrap and document each piece of art as it appears in the post. I’ve been so impressed with the inspiring poetry, illustration, photography and more found within the pages. We’ve made a special space within the Hippodrome for this, and I really encourage you to take browse of the zines that have been sent in to uncover new perspectives, alternative ideas, personal anecdotes and creative talent.
Say hi to @IllustratedBrum on twitter and follow along with the zine collection at #PZLibrary on instagram.
Awkward Artists Cafe| 2pm - 3pm
Beyond this, I also still wanted artists to be present in the spaces. Over the past 3 years I’ve had the pleasure to meet quite a few and often become engrossed in the work of artists when they are on hand to explain the idea behind their work. Interpretations of a piece vary from person to person, but the idea behind the work from those who create it adds an insightful layer of understanding to the piece and will often lead to new meaning(s). So, we have five wonderful artists in our Awkward Artists Cafe: Kenny Cowle, Laurie Ramsell, Lily Wales, Shaheen Kasmani and Zed Lightheart, and I’m so looking forward to these talented artists sharing ideas with you. What a great way to share lunch and art all in one space?
Makers Alley | All Day
Independence and creativity are two very strong themes within my own values and whilst sat in the Bullring one evening with my pals, immersed in ice cream and gal chat we came up with our #Perspectives Makers Alley (thanks Chris from the Hippodrome for the name). It’s great to be able to offer a space for those who have such high quality products. Please bring an extra bag, as you may just want to cram it full of goodies.
Find out more details about our fabulous makers on page 19 of your programme.
All of this creative goodness takes place in our #Perspectives Parlour, and we can't wait to welcome you!
As these ideas began to grow, the time with the team became more energised and the fortnightly meetings turned to weekly and as we entered those final few days we’ve been full steam ahead to bring you a day like no other. These past few weeks have taught me that connections and friendships are key to building ideas. There’s been coffees, cakes, chats at market stalls in Autumn downpours and walks along the canal to bring this all together. I hope you enjoy meeting our artists and exploring the zines as part of a fantastic day.
It’s been a blast putting this together and, speaking as an ex soldier, it’s nice to use the word ‘blast’ in a much more friendly and exciting context. Thanks for reading, and see you there, explorers.