Library of Birmingham Opening Season

From September right through to December 2013 Capsule were appointed to curate, produce and manage the Discovery Season – a four month programme of  dynamic events, activities and performances for residents of and visitors to Birmingham on the theme of Discovery,  celebrating the opening of Library of Birmingham, the largest public library in Europe.

This ambitious season saw total audiences of 1.2 million people and included work by 469 artists with 57 new commissions, 113 performances and 183 workshops.


Our approach

“The Discovery Season was an imaginative way to encourage wide public engagement with the Library of Birmingham. Its contribution to the excitement and success of the opening, in keeping with our aspiration for the building to be a centre of learning at the heart of the city’s cultural offer and by the sense of celebration it created”.
Councillor Ian Ward
Deputy Leader, Birmingham City Council


Capsule chose artists who were unashamedly contemporary and of the highest quality. They were selected with care to be both inspirational and aspirational for audiences taking part. But they were also accessible – their work encouraged participation, debate and engagement.

The Discovery Season programme is inspired by the Library’s internationally-important archives and special collections, and draws on content as diverse as one of the world’s largest books, Victorian children’s games and toys, and even train and bus tickets.

Lisa Meyer, Creative Director, Capsule:

Capsule is delighted to present the Library of Birmingham’s Discovery Season. It has been a real adventure to develop and commission work for this exciting and inspiring new space…Our programme will celebrate the great cultural life of the city, giving a platform to our very best artists and creative practitioners and the organisations that support them, from the smallest independents to our big cultural institutions. This collaborative approach reflects the library’s ethos to be a place for us all to meet and exchange knowledge and ideas.

Including The Pavilion (pictured below), a spectacular and ambitious new commission, a hand crafted structure designed by Studio Myerscough which provided a dedicated space for Discovery Season activity to take place throughout the 4 month period. It acted as a billboard for the Discovery Season as a whole and provided a hub for visitors to participate in numerous activities and experience high quality-creative practices. The Pavilion was home to 14 creative residencies, involving 97 artists.

Together We Breathe

Super Critical Mass - Together We BreatheSound artists Super Critical Mass were invited to the Library of Birmingham to present an innovative take on the traditional fanfare. Together We Breathe was a large-scale performance installation created by the Australian sonic arts company to celebrate the opening. The free event brought together over 100  local brass players of all ages and backgrounds, to set the tone for Europe’s largest civic building. The participants (drawn from schools, colleges and professional ensembles) stood throughout the library, filling the air with sound as its first visitors wandered through its sights and delights.

Visitors were treated to a truly unique and memorable welcome. Whilst moving through the space, they heard the deep throb of tuba, the wash of trombone, and the sinewy swirl of trumpets, audiences were welcomed to the Library of Birmingham by a forest of brass. Following the mass, the entire library erupted into life through sound, leaving you to bask in its acoustic and architectural glory. The performance featured on the BBC’s Culture Show.

Supported by Sound and Music + PBone
Partners CBSO, Birmingham Conservatoire, Town Hall Symphony Hall, Youth Brass, Brass Band of Birmingham, Performing Arts Services


Birmingham 2022


We all frequently ponder about the future, silently asking ourselves “Where will I be in ten years time?” Though perhaps we shouldn’t be asking ourselves where we may be, but who we shall become. Birmingham 2022 set out to find young writers
and artists embarking on their own ten-year journey, and encourage them to look at what arts and culture might be like in Birmingham a decade on.
Led by Amy Martin, designer Keith Dodds and Fused magazine editor, Kerry O’Coy, the group were then given an official starting point to their journey; establishing their name in the creative arts scene by becoming the writers, illustrators and designers of the Discovery Season Brochure.

They spent four months at mac Birmingham preparing for their ten-day publication period in July, taking part in culture sector focus groups, writing sessions with an art critic and trend forecasting. They were then thrust into the world of press releases, deadlines, word counts and interviews to collectively produce the brochure currently in your hands whilst also running an online blog. A team of creative young minds has officially started their artistic careers with Birmingham 2022: a scheme foreshadowing the period over which these young artists shall create themselves.

Keep up to date with the project via

PROVOCATIONS /  2 – 4 December
Building on the activities of Project 2022, young people will be encouraged to participate in a short series of live provocations. Students from local further education institutions will explore themes relating to the future of arts and culture in Birmingham.
A platform for these students to showcase their unique and original ideas, these events put the thoughts and feelings of young people centre stage, allowing them to voice their opinions on contentious creative issues. Birmingham 2022 creates a platform for young people to lead the future of their city, shining a light on the thinkers that will shape the culture of tomorrow.

Supported by Ideas Vendor, mac, Birmingham Metropolitan College,

The Pavilion


Discovery Pavilion photo by Gareth Gardner

Discovery Pavilion photo by Gareth Gardner


Studio Myerscough were commissioned to create a structure that would act as a billboard for the entire Discovery Programme. Situated in the Library foyer, The Pavilion housed an 18-week rolling programme of creative residencies focused around the theme of Discovery.
Morag Myerscough is an award winning artist, founder of Studio Myerscough and member of the creative collective Supergroup. Often referred to as a ‘place- maker’ she has produced an eclectic — and sometimes eccentric — body of work that is frequently unclassifiable but always engaging. For The Pavilion, Morag worked with fellow Supergroup member artist Luke Morgan to create a vibrant and stimulating surrounding for the residents.

Entirely hand–crafted and hand-painted The Pavilion was a bold and engaging structure reflecting the diverse, and often radical, offerings of the Discovery Season. A neon crown of signs used words that originated from discussions and workshops with the Birmingham 2022 group.



The Pavilion in progress

Creative Residencies

The Pavilion hosted a rolling programme of Creative Residencies. Artists, film makers, book makers and a range of other creatives set up home in The Pavilion for a week at a time, making new work and offering a variety of free activities for Library visitors.

Each week, visitors entering the space were treated to a different experience, ranging from interactive pieces such as audience inspired theatre and film workshops to exhibitions of sci-fi sculptures made from junk and artefacts honouring lost mythical deities. The Library’s collections and literary resources inspired much of the programme, and each residency encouraged audiences to discover something new in the Library of Birmingham.

The Commentators – Stan’s Cafe

The Commentators, brought to you by theatrical provocateurs and internationally renowned performance company Stan’s Cafe,  carefully documented everything they saw, from the vital, to the peculiar, or the mundane. Which books were being borrowed? What was the weather like on the rooftop terrace? The queues for the large print romances!

The Commentators  broadcast live via webcast radio from The Pavilion for the first three days of opening.

Self Portrait Birmingham – Brian Homer

The life-blood of a community is its people, and no one knows this better than photographer Brian Homer. Brian is enthusiastic about recording locality through self-portraits, and is giving Birmingham the opportunity to celebrate its homegrown individuals. Brian developed the Birmingham Self Portrait project, with the aim of capturing each Brummie’s personality, and creating a snapshot of contemporary life. The shutter release cable (a remote controlled camera switch) is designed to aid the subject in portraying themselves in the light they desire. His rationale is visible when he says ‘there is a clear difference to the portraits where the photographer remains in control’, wishing for every unique personality to shine, he allows people to be their own photographer.

As one of the crucial figures involved in the Handsworth self portrait project in 1979, Brian’s current version is a direct development of this project on a larger scale. The original images were stored in the city’s Central Library, so it only seems fitting that this modern day re- imagining was introduced to the opening of the new Library. New photographs were taken during the Discovery Festival, and uploaded to big screens so that they could be viewed quickly after being shot. The photographs were stored in the archives of the new library, for future generations to enjoy. As well as representing and celebrating the cultural diversity of modern Birmingham, these images hope to give an insight into modern life. Self Portrait Birmingham

Studio Myerscough
Taking up residency in their own pavilion, Studio Myerscough presented a number of print based workshops allowing audiences to interact with The Pavilion’s dynamic aesthetic. Famous for integrating graphic design into architectural settings, Morag Myerscough has transformed the discipline by going past the typical 2D boundary. Her work, which is situated in a range of unique settings, from cafes to trains to warehouses, uses graphics to encourage its inhabitants to engage with their surroundings.

Morag is conscious of how people feel and react in a space. Central to her pieces is the act of handing the newly made places over to their occupants; their meaning is located in how they evolve and change and belong to the public. Speaking on her work at the library she states ‘What you see at the beginning hopefully won’t be how it exists at the end’, underlining that her work will continue to grow long after her residency has

Vintage Sci Fi – 2arttoyguys

Taking inspiration from the adventurous Science Fiction novels of H.G Wells, Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs, they have created three models of iconic literary machines and characters for the Discovery Season using recycled material, obsolete technology and a healthy dose of the imagination.
Included in this exhibition were DIY interpretations of the Martian War Machines from the War of the Worlds and an astonishing full- size (but sadly non-functioning) replica of Wells’ Time Machine, manufactured from scrap, junk and all manner of unwanted debris – futuristic toys crafted from the relics of the past. As practising artists based in a studio at the Custard Factory, the duo have always utilised their creativity and enthusiasm to produce toys and models spurred by their fond childhood memories of reading pulp magazines entitled ‘Tales of Tomorrow’ and watching classic television programmes such as Thunderbirds.

Trevor and Steven clearly strive to re-awaken and instil the innocent feelings of joy and happiness that are so prevalent in childhood into their work.

The Sound Trolley – MortonUnderwood

The Sound Trolley, a collaborative project between David Morton and Sam Underwood, a duo of innovative and experimental musicians and instrument makers, is a whimsical audio creature that contains an array of electronic and acoustic sounds. It is controlled through an accessible interface and features an optical sequencer at its core; triggering sound as the trolley is pushed around on floor patterns made from vinyl. The designs were determined what sound the trolley emitted when it was manoeuvred over them. It was a playful vehicle of sonic delights.

The Book Apothecary Presents: Transcibe by Ben Freeth & Yvetter Hawkins

Book Apothecary is a travelling museum of artist’s books. The project was established in 2011 by visual artist Yvette Hawkins and seeks to provide a platform for artists to make and exhibit artist’s books within the North East region and beyond. For their Creative Residency the Book Apothecary presents a new site specific installation Transcribe by Ben Freeth and Yvette Hawkins.

The House of Beorma Archive – The Outcrowd

Building on their project The Festival of The Rea that took place in 2012 The Outcrowd Collective turned The Pavilion into a museum of fictional and real archival material around ‘Beorma’ the chieftan of the Beormingas clan who are the first known Anglo-Saxon settlers and founders of Birmingham. Drawing on Benjamin Stone’s photographs of rural procession and folk celebrations – held in the Library of Birmingham’s archives’ – The Outcrowd also presented re-imagined celebrations and rituals to Beorma.

Carousel. A live tape/slide workshop

A Vivid Projects commission from artist Cathy Wade. Carousel was a participatory interdisciplinary work using projections within a collective immersive environment that explores ownership, time, sound and image. The public worked with the artist to experience hand held projectors or carousels, with original slides and mementos, to create ever changing projected environments that had to be immediately experienced.

Scott Johnston (Film Ficciones)

The magic lantern was an important source of entertainment and edification in the nineteenth century, and its transitions and visual tricks pointed the way towards the medium that would eventually supplant it; the cinema. Birmingham produced lanterns and slides for a global market, taking an instrumental role in visual culture, which continued with the patenting of the kineograph (aka the flipbook), the production by Alexander Parkes of a celluloid prototype, and onwards into the twentieth century and cinema’s early ‘Wild West’ period. Artist Scott Johnston used the Library’s Pumphrey slide collection as a starting point to explore early techniques of creating moving image .

The Museum of Mythical Creatures – Girls Who Draw 

The museum was a collection of magical characters, fabulous beasts and imaginary beings inspired by myths, legends and folklore from around the world. Created by illustrators Girls Who Draw, they have painted, printed, cut, drawn and even sewn an array of imaginative artwork and unusual objects to inspire, intrigue and entertain visitors of all ages. Over the last few years Girls Who Draw has evolved from a small group into a larger network including both emerging and established illustrators. Most have been brought together through their involvement in printmaking and self-publishing; creating their own fanzines, comics, and artist’s books. They work together in order to publish a postcard book once a year and each new book is accompanied by an exhibition.

The Library of Lost Books

The Library of Lost Books was an exhibition of book art by over 40 UK artists and was accompanied by a three day conference, Resurrecting the Book. The project was the brainchild of Birmingham based artist Susan Kruse in 2011 as a way to celebrate the move from the old Central library to the new Library of Birmingham in 2013. She assembled a collection of the library’s unwanted, damaged books and sent them to more than 40 artists and printmakers from around the UK to re-work, breathing new life into them through their interactions and interventions. Because many of the books are old, or obscure, this was a unique opportunity for artists to work with books, manuscripts, papers, typefaces and bindings that they might not otherwise have an opportunity so to do.

Craftspace and artist Jivan Astfalk with Shelanu

An exploration of migration to Birmingham in collaboration with artist Jivan Astfalk, Shelanu and MA students from the School of Jewellery.

Craftspace is a crafts development organisation based in Birmingham established in 1986. Working to push boundaries and perceptions of crafts practice, presentation and learning through building relationships between artists, people and organisations.

Haworth + Hayhoe –  The Library Project

Haworth + Hayhoe  installed a miniature interactive library. The Library Project was originally developed with Abigail Conway at Koganecho Bazaar 2012, it builds a local library where all the books are made and written by you. Haworth + Hayhoe ranrunning daily bookbinding workshops, so that participants could write their own book, or draw their own graphic novel, or share family secret recipes. The completed book were  shelved and catalogued as part of our library, after which the books created by participants  joined a growing collection that will travel the world as part of The Library Project.

Extra Special People – Eastside Projects 

Extra Special People (ESP) is Eastside Projects’ Associates scheme for art graduates, supporting the development of work, ideas, connections and careers through a programme of events, opportunities and projects.

Bureau of Lost Discoveries – Eric MacLennan

A suitcase and a sense of adventure go hand in hand so there is a reason that the suitcase features so prominently in film and fiction. Whether it is a box of memories, exploits, danger or just the everyday, it has the potential to be filled with a sense of wonder. Playing on this intriguing atmosphere, Scottish theatre maker Eric MacLennan has invented an installation that is both performance and art.

The creator of many bold, audience based works over the last twenty-eight years, MacLennan uses entertainment to encourage his spectators to think. Inspired by the writing of Xavier De Maistre, who was devoted to uncovering the interesting in everyday life, MacLennan wishes to encourage an audience to discover the exciting aspects in their own world. In his realm, you’ll learn that the norm can become extraordinary and new.

MacLennan’s desire to take part in the Discovery Season was so that he could create theatre in a non-theatre setting. The aim is for the viewer to experience the excitement felt when watching a performance, but in the style of a special encounter. MacLennan’s set up allows the spectator to instantly become involved in the story, and to become a character in their own personal adventure.


Discovery Trail

Image by Laura Kate Chapman

Inspired by the library’s most treasured works and collections, and their iconic new home, Capsule has curated a trail of art works which will lead visitors around the new building and encourage visitors to explore more of what the library has to offer. The works encompass a wide range of media, including sound, digital media, and extraordinary objects. Some are new commissions, and others we have chosen for their ability to stimulate ideas and questions about what a library can be.

Children’s Library Commission – Laura Kate Chapman

Taking the Parker Collection of Children’s Book and Games as her starting point, Laura Kate Chapman has created a series of contemporary illustrations and characters that inhabit the Children’s Library on the Lower Ground Floor.

The Parker Collection of Children’s Books and Games is a historic collection including books and educational games which date from 1538 right up to the present day. This collection is founded on two individual collections, one made by Mr James Frederick Parker and Mrs Alice Parker (nee Tangye) of Tickenhill Manor, Bewdley and consisting of children’s books published after 1830. The other one is by Mrs Mildred Berkeley of Cotheridge Court, Worcester who concentrated on children’s books and moral stories produced before 1830. For her commission Laura Kate has been particularly interested in these moral stories and in the changing attitudes of what is considered ‘good’ or ‘bad’ behaviour.

Audubon Animation – Matt Watkins

For the Discovery Trail, Capsule have commissioned award winning animator Matt Watkins to create a brand new animation using digitized images from the one of the Library’s most precious books. The Audubon Book of American Birds is one of the library’s hidden treasures and makes up part of Library of Birmingham’s Early and Fine Print collection. It is thought to be the world’s most expensive book (one copy fetching £7.3 million at auction in 2010).

Library of Secrets – Serena Korda

The Library of Secrets is a mobile library conceived from the love of keeping and finding things amongst the pages of books. The Library of Secrets invites you to leave your thoughts, wisdoms and secrets amongst the pages of one or more of the 400 books in its collection. Peruse the shelves for your favourite 19th or 20th century classic or maybe just rummage through the books to find other peoples secrets.

Su Blackwell

Su Blackwell’s newly commissioned sculpture features Bottom from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and references The Birmingham Shakespeare Collection – one of the world’s best collections of works by and about Shakespeare. The sculpture sits among the lending shelves on the Upper Lending terrace.

Su Blackwell is a World-renowned artist working predominantly within the realm of paper. She employs this delicate, accessible medium and uses irreversible, destructive processes to reflect the precariousness of the world we inhabit and the fragility of our lives, dreams and ambitions.

Shapemaker – Miller Goodman

A large-scale soft-play version of MillerGoodmans’ award winning children’s toy Shapemaker has been commissioned especially for the Library of Birmingham. In response the Parker Collection of Children’s Toys and Games this piece is a delightful example of no-tech gaming and play.

Boulton & Watt Commission – Leon Sparks

Artist and illustrator Leon Sparks has created a new piece of work using the collection of technical drawings by Boulton and Watt as his inspiration. Matthew Boulton and James Watt established a partnership in 1775 based in Soho, Handsworth and their steam engines where manufactured in Smethwick. The drawings and writings are held in the Library of Birmingham’s archive. Leon’s new work is situated on the 2nd Floor. Boulton & Watt Collection


Replacement – Lucy McLauchlan

Responding to the spectacular surroundings of the Book Rotunda artist Lucy McLauchlan has created a site-specific work. Her large sweeping brush marks are freely painted and will embrace the spirit of the new building: the energy and the feeling of moving forward into something fresh and exciting. Within the painting are subtle references to the architecture and it’s environment, not only celebrating the new building but also remembering John Madin’s library. Lucy’s work can also be seen on Birmingham Central Library from an earlier commission through EC-Arts.

Adaptation – Rebecca & Katy Beinart

The greenhouse style cabinet on the 3rd floor by artists Rebecca and Katy Beinart references Victorian era plant collectors; who brought back strange and rare plants from around the world. These plants were displayed as rare treasures, until they slowly adapted to their new environment. For the Discovery Season Adaptation contains plants chosen for their relevance to Birmingham’s diverse communities. Over the entire period of the exhibition the panels of the case gradually open, allowing the plants to adapt to their environment and to each other.

Vegetable Quest – Juneau Projects

Birmingham based contemporary artists Juneau Projects have created new work inspired by the Library of Birmingham’s third floor terrace garden. Particularly interested in the edible plants being grown and the idea of self-sufficiency implied they have created vegetable family dioramas.

Juneau Projects formed in 2001 in Birmingham. Their work is influenced by both folk art and technology and often examines hand-made aesthetics through digital and mechanical production techniques. Recent work has focused on post-apocalyptic narratives, exploring the role of art and craft in a possible post-disaster society.

 Theatre Jukebox presents Wingate Bett – Stand+Stare

Theatre Jukebox is an arcade-style cabinet that plays stories instead of records and allows you to choose the chapters you want. Visitors to Library of Birmingham can listen to accounts of imagined journeys and travel stories inspired by the Wingate Bett Transport Ticket collection. Wingate Henry Bett was the first president of the Transport Ticket Society and founder of the Electric Railways Society. He co authored Great British Tramway Networks with John C Gillham which became the bible of British tramways. His collection of transport tickets is one of the Library of Birmingham’s collections.

Birders Paradise – Airspace

Artists Anna Francis and Andrew Branscombe have created a series of bird sculptures that are placed throughout the Library of Birmingham. Each bird has a particular literary reference including the Roly Poly Bird from Roald Dahl’s The Twits or the paperback cover of Daphne De Maurier’s ‘ The Birds’. Visitors are encouraged to take their binoculars and explore the Library to spot each of the birds

Paper Typewriter – Jennifer Collier

Sited in the main entrance of the book rotunda, next to the encyclopedias, Jennifer Collier’s delicate work Paper Typewriter references recently obsolete technology and knowledge. Her work is highly crafted and delicately handmade. She has featured in many magazines including Vogue, The Times, The Telegraph and Marie Claire.

Symphony of Atlas – The Book Apothecary

A new audio work presented inside an augmented suitcase this piece merges new and old technologies into an interactive sound sculpture. Inspired by an enigmatic suitcase belonging to nineteenth century composer Granville Bantock held in the archive of the Library of Birmingham, this work allows the listener to interactive with Bantock’s compositions and his extensive travels.



Harvesting Stories

To celebrate the cultural diversity of 21st century Birmingham, Harvesting Stories has been developed to bring its people and their favourite food together. Between July and August, National Storytelling Laureate, Katrice Horsley, led workshops with groups in local settings and libraries to collect recipes, stories and images to showcase the city’s diverse range of multi-cultural communities. Dishes were brought and shared to be used as a starting point to learn more about each other, our tastes and histories.

For the Discovery Season, Harvesting Stories presents three public picnic days, with each picnic representing stories, recipes and images from the workshops and includes further opportunities for sharing and engaging with food.
Harvesting Stories affords a real opportunity to articulate Birmingham by its extensive palate and culinary heritage, and gives voice to the people about something that unites us all – the making and sharing of food.

FREE Public Picnics will take place at Library of Birmingham:
8 September – FOOD & PLAY
20 October – FOOD & STORIES
14 December – FOOD & FILM

Thursday 14 November
6.30-7.30pm – £3
Join Jen Bakewell and Dr Sian Roberts as they look to the Library of Birmingham’s collections and discover how Birmingham’s cuisine has changed over the years.
Box Office: 0121 245 4455

Discover New Music

Rhys Chatham

Our adventure with the role and function of the Library of Birmingham continues with a series of cutting edge live music performances. The breadth of performances on offer showcase some of the most exciting music around, from internationally renowned artists to young Birmingham bands making a real impact on the independent music scene.

Friday 6th September
Leftfoot presents Omar

A British soul singer, songwriter and musician, who learned his craft classically, playing the trumpet, piano and percussion. Omar has been making albums since the early 1990s and his work is often compared to Stevie Wonder’s work of the 1970s He is described by some as the father of British neo soul.

Wednesday 2nd October
Rise of Birmingham

The city’s music scene has been making an impressive impact of the national indie scene in recent years. Last year, NME celebrated the ‘Rise of Birmingham’ and the diverse indie music scene here. This night will see some performances from some of the best emerging bands in the region including experimental three piece, Victories at Sea, Youth Man grunge band Victor and electronic group Free School.

25-27 October
Bring to Light: a weekend of adventurous music

Capsule produce extraordinary events for adventurous audiences, with a keen eye and ear for the most exciting music and performance around. A weekend of dynamic and innovative sound will see the visual artist Dinos Chapman presenting his new horror soundtrack inspired music. Other artists include hip-hop trio Clipping, Zomes, Robedoor and Tokyo based Masaki Batoh with his ‘Brain Pulse Music’. We will also be delving into the archives of Delia Derbyshire, hearing rare footage from the Coventry born electronic music pioneer and new work inspired her innovations.

Kids Gig at Symphony Hall

Saturday 26th October
Shangaan Electro

The high-speed dance phenomenon from South Africa has risen from streets into clubs and venues all around the globe. The creation of charismatic producer Nozinja, this is a very contemporary product of Africa. Based in Soweto, Nozinja saw the chance to update Shangaan music for the 21st Century, replacing its traditional bass/guitar instrumentation with midi-keyboard sounds and repitched vocal samples (in English and seemingly sampled from rave anthems). Propelled by jacking four-to-the-floor beats and trademark drum-fills, the sound quickly became a hit at weekly street parties in Soweto, with young and old competing to show off their moves to this dizzyingly fast music, which can reach speeds of up to 188 beats per minute.The craze soon went viral in Europe and the US via a vast archive of youtube videos.

Saturday 2nd November
Rhys Chatham & Charlemagne Palestine + Ex Easter Island Head Large Guitar Ensemble

Rhys Chatham and Charlemagne Palestine first met in the late 60s at Morton Subotnick’s electronic music studio at NYU in New York, where already they were working on slowly evolving music in precise tunings, and of long duration.  They became friends and performed together in a number of contexts at the start of the seventies, and then went their separate ways, with Palestine moving to the West Coast and Chatham founding the music program at the Kitchen Center in New York.  At the end of 2012, they decided to revisit their collaboration, and made a series of recordings together at Palestine’s studio in Brussels over a three-month period.

Ex Easter Island Head’s Large Electric Ensemble was commissioned for the inaugural World Event Young Artists (WEYA) festival, held in Nottingham 2012. Bringing together 1,000 artists from 100 countries, the festival provided the facilities and opportunity to develop new work on a large scale. Utilising an ensemble of experienced local musicians from a range of bands including Kogumaza, Cantaloupe, Dusty Bible and more, the piece sees an ensemble of 12 guitarists playing modified ‘third bridge’ guitars from a unique graphic score to create a unique shimmering soundworld, rich in heavenly drones, overtones and repetition.

Sunday 24th November
Adrian Utley Guitar Orchestra  – Terry Riley’s ‘In C’ + Pram

Adrian Utley (Portishead) brings together an orchestra of electric guitar players to interpret Terry Riley’s ‘In C’. Written in 1964 and perhaps one of the most influential pieces of music from the  20th Century, one that established minimalism as a music genre, In C’s simple musical rules – 53 musical phrases in C and no duration – allow for infinite variations. Utley’s impressive Guitar Orchestra is augmented by percussion and organs making for a vintage and mesmeric sound. The effect is an organic musical experience very much created in front of the audience both fragile and thunderingly uplifting.

Birmingham’s Pram craft fairytales from concrete reality. The second city’s spin cycle of perpetual renovation, from the slum clearances to its current cosmetic upgrade, is etched in Pram’s restless groove, an endearing and gently refusenik mix encircling early Rough Trade innovators The Raincoats, astro jazz, sci-fi soundtracks, creepy Victoriana, tropical analogue and tumbledown funk.


Box Of Light

Before the days of film, the magic lantern was an important source of entertainment, using glass slides to create moving images and visual tricks. Birmingham played a key role in this pre-cinema world, producing thousands of lanterns for export, leading to the birth of the flipbook, and eventually the cinema. The Library of Birmingham boasts a hefty archive of 60,000 lantern slides, and to coincide with the Magic Lantern society’s annual conference in Birmingham, Flatpack Festival presents Box Of Light, a weekend full of events, workshops and activities celebrating early cinema.

25-27 October there will be a variety show, intimate performances, a talk, family friendly workshops and more, go to the Box Of Light event page for more info.


Down the Rabbit Hole...

10th November, 7pm
£35 for five courses, available from
Box Office: 0121 245 4455

Let us take you on a meandering journey through the senses where you taste, see, touch and hear the words. Companis invites you to dive into the world of books and immerse yourself wholly in the realms they create in an elaborate five course sensory mobile meal. Using the new architecture of the Library of Birmingham, you will be subject to readings, sensory deprivation and enlightenment.
Feel uplifted and moved by evocative passages whilst consuming exquisite and delectable morsels inspired by the text. Companis asks that you trust them implicitly, and place your senses and yourselves at their mercy. The Library is a place to gain knowledge, and they shall lead you to the path of wisdom via sensorial exultation!

Companis, meaning to ‘break bread with someone’ is a very tongue-in-cheek creative trio. They delight in the absurd and the naughty, weaving this into their work of bespoke and humorous dining experiences which thoroughly chew and spit out the norms associated with eating, immersing the diner in a fusion of performance, food and spectacle.

Volume: Birmingham's Art, Book & Print Fair

Volume: Birmingham’s Art, Book and Print Fair, in December has been created as a unique event for the Discovery Season by bringing together existing organisations in collaboration (Writing West Midlands, Birmingham Zine Festival, An Endless Supply, Baskerville Society, Grand Union and Eastside Projects). Volume will open with a keynote speech from artist, musician and writer, Bill Drummond  and design team Studio Myerscough, with a live performance by The Highliners.

The event features panel discussions, workshops, performances and a selling fair, featuring artist books, zines, new poetry and literature, comics and limited edition prints.


Sunday Film Club

Sunday Film Club presented by KINO 10 sees a quirky mix of films for each month.

22 September
Children’s horror classic The Witches
Feature film screening of this classic with live theatrical interactivity from Little Earthquake.

20 October
Birmingham and Beyond
Archive travel compilation of shorts with a focus on Birmingham. Footage from BFI and MACE

10 November
Silent comedy shorts: The Immigrant (Charlie Chaplin) + One Week (Buster Keaton)
A programme of silent comedy shorts with live piano accompaniment.

15 December
Family friendly Christmas shorts: The Snowman + Peter and the Wolf
Screening of the seasonal classic short The Snowman with live musical accompaniment, Suzie Templeton’s Academy Award winning animation Peter and the Wolf, and more.

Tickets £5. FREE for children under 12 / Box Office: 0121 245 4455 /