News from our Partners

Please see below for news and offers from some of the organisations who we work alongside:


Grayson’s Art Club: The Charity Raffle

MAC has launched the Grayson’s Art Club: The Charity Raffle. For £2 per ticket, art lovers can be in with the chance of winning one of six original artworks created by Sir Grayson Perry, Philippa Perry and renowned celebrities including Joe Wilkinson, Jo Brand, Dame Prue Leith, and Katy Wix!

The celebrity artworks are currently on display as part of MAC’s exhibition ‘Grayson’s Art Club’. An original ceramic artwork has also been contributed by

Sir Grayson Perry as a Charity Raffle prize. Since opening in Birmingham, ‘Grayson’s Art Club: The Exhibition’ has welcomed over 30,000 visitors from across the UK to the arts centre, and has been extended due to popular demand until Sunday 25th June 2023.

Raffle tickets may be purchased until 12pm on Thursday 22 June 2023. Winners will be drawn at 12pm on Friday 23 June 2023. Click here for more information and to buy your ticket.


Untold Stories: Women in the Arts and Craft movement – Symposium
Thursday 16th March at 6.30pm
Bournville Village Primary School

Bournville Village has been described as ‘perhaps the fullest expression of Arts and Crafts ideals’ in Birmingham. George Cadbury put enormous faith in William Alexander Harvey, a young architect and former student of the Birmingham School of Art, to design charming Arts and Crafts cottages and public buildings. But what of the women who contributed to Bournville, and were themselves trailblazers in town planning, conservation, art, and design? And how far reaching was their influence beyond Bournville?

Rachel West – Nora Yoxall and Elsie Whitford, distinguished stained glass artists, who formed a partnership whilst studying at the Birmingham School of Art. They designed and made the Memorial Window in St Francis of Assisi – Bournville Parish Church.
India Wilson – Mary Sergeant Florence, a celebrated British painter, who painted the frescoes that surround the hall of Bournville Village Primary School. Active Suffragist and designer of posters for the Women’s Rights Movement.
Henrietta Lockhart – Evelyn Crosskey, daughter of the housing reformer John Sutton Nettlefold, met the challenges, traumas, and opportunities of the early 20th century head on, with a sense of leadership and a passion for improving the lives of others.

The symposium will take place in Bournville Village Primary School, in the hall that is decorated with the frescoes.

The event is FREE (although if you are able, we ask for a £5 donation towards Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid).

Click here to book.

Click here for full details of the event.



‘Voices From The Cones’

‘Voices From The Cones’ retells – in a song cycle and narration – real stories from workers at the old Stourbridge Glassworks, which closed in the 1990s. For over 400 years, the glassmaking industry flourished in Stourbridge in the West Midlands, where – thanks to the skills of immigrant French Huguenots – it became the most important glassmaking area of the country. In recent years the industry has faded away, with the last factory apprentice, Malcolm Andrews, now teaching artisan makers who are the last link in this glassmaking chain.

Black Country musician Dan Whitehouse was invited by Alan Ellsmore of the Ruskin Mills Trust in Stourbridge (a college built on the old Glassworks site) to research and write a narrated song cycle about the history and community of the glassworks in 2019. The resulting ‘Voices From The Cones’ sprang from an archive of interviews with 100 former glass workers, talking about their memories of working in the glass trade, alongside new interviews conducted by Dan, accompanied by storyteller John Edgar.

Their double CD album is being officially launched with a gig at Ruskin Glass Centre on 21 October 2022.


International Festival of Glass – 26-29 August 2022:
An unmissable wearable glass and Hanbok fashion show

Rose Thistle Sleeve by Ayako Tani, photo by Simon Bruntnell

The countdown is now on to Hot Hanbok / Cool Glass – a wearable glass and Hanbok fashion event – part of this year’s International Festival of Glass. Work has been arriving at the show’s venue, The Glasshouse Arts Centre in Stourbridge, and the exquisitely made pieces will make for a dramatic fashion show alongside the Hanbok costumes that inspired them.

There will be a 200 seat fashion show on Saturday 27 August with 30 Hanbok ‘looks’, including the detailed creations of traditional King and Queen costumes, paired with giant lampworked glass crowns by South Korean glass artist Eunsuh Choi.

Dragon Shield by Opal Seabrook

35 glass artists from seven countries have created stunning wearable glass creations, inspired by traditional and contemporary Korean Hanbok (clothing) for Hot Hanbok / Cool Glass. The evening will feature classical and Korean music from The Kasper Trio and the contemporary dance performance, Un-Tact, choreographed by Yenn Dance. The event will culminate in a remarkable glass and Hanbok fashion show bringing music, movement and magic into the heart of the prestigious British Glass Biennale exhibition, with the models walking to the beat of a specially commissioned Korean DJ soundtrack by composer and sound producer, Jun Seok Kim. The show will feature traditional Hanbok curated by the Korean Cultural Centre UK; alongside new contemporary designers – the stylish brands ‘London Hanbok’ and Seoul-based ‘Danha’, famous for dressing mega K-Pop group Blackpink.

Contemporary Hanbok designers, Danha, have sustainability at the heart of what they do and a number of the invited artists are similarly aligned to this sustainable way of production – recycling and repurposing to make their show stopping creations. Award winning Costa Rican artist Juli Bolaňos-Durman, now living in Edinburgh, has worked with recycled components, including found glass from the community for her elaborate wearable sculpture. Helen Pailing has created a stunning head piece and shoulder piece using salvaged Boroscilicate glass (pulled point remnants) and salvaged window blinds.

Event details: Saturday 27 August, 7pm, Glasshouse Arts Centre, Stourbridge.
To book a ticket, visit

Public Call Out: Be part of an exhibition celebrating 60 years of MAC 

Midlands Arts Centre is looking for people to submit personal objects telling a story about your connections to MAC from 1962 to the present day.
60 objects will be selected to be part of the exhibition MAC at 60: A History of MAC in 60 Objects opening in autumn.
You can submit any kind of object for consideration, from photographs to ceramics, tickets, documents, music, posters, visual art, videos, stories, or poems.
Fancy getting involved? Visit to find out more.


We wanted to draw your attention to an exhibition at the ikon gallery which features a loan from Birmingham Museums – a maquette for Antony Gormley’s ‘Iron Man’. See details below for more information:
‘A Very Special Place: Ikon in the 1990s’
18 June – 30 August 2021
Ikon presents ‘A Very Special Place: Ikon in the 1990s’, an exhibition featuring 40 artists from the gallery’s 1990s programme. It comprises work by those who featured in exhibitions at their venue on John Bright Street during 1990 – 1997, and at Ikon’s current premises in Brindleyplace until 1999. The title ‘A Very Special Place’ is from a visioning document produced at the time, imagining Ikon’s future.
With Elizabeth Macgregor as Director, Ikon’s outlook was increasingly international with a particular emphasis on the Americas and Australia. Concerning the representation of British artists, she resisted the fashion for ‘Young British Artists’ in favour of an eclecticism ranging from painters such as Basil Beattie and Lisa Milroy to the more overtly experimental practices of Georgina Starr and Mark Wallinger. Ikon’s 90s programme also featured a number of local artists associated with diaspora communities, including Permindar Kaur, Keith Piper and Donald Rodney.
Click here for more information.


Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society
The Annual Lunchtime Lecture
‘Ancient Mesopotamia: land, monuments and people’
7 January 2020 at 1pm
Venue: Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Chamberlain Square, B3 3DH – Gas Hall Meeting Room
Speaker: Ellen McAdam
The Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society’s Annual Lunchtime Lecture will be held on Tuesday 7th January 2020 at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Chamberlain Square, B3 3DH. The lecture is entitled ‘Ancient Mesopotamia: land, monuments and people’ and will be given by Ellen McAdam, Director of Birmingham Museums Trust.
Click here to download the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society’s Lecture Programme. For more information, please click here.
The event is free and tea and coffee will be available.
If you would like to attend please RSVP to [email protected].


RBSA Gallery’s programme of 2019 Summer Art Workshops for adults
The RBSA Gallery is running a programme of summer art workshops for adults throughout July and August. Courses range from 1 to 2 days long and include a range of subjects and techniques. They have workshops for a variety of abilities, including beginners, and prices start at just £30.  Click here to view the full list of the courses available throughout July and August on their website and view Workshop articles on the RBSA’s Art Blog:

Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society
Investigating the Anglo-Saxon Halls at Atcham, Shropshire

Tuesday 2nd April 2019 at 7pm
Speaker: Dr Roger White, CAHA University of Birmingham
Venue: Birmingham and Midland Institute

Most people familiar with the work of the person delivering this lecture will associate him with the late (and arguably post-Roman) site at Wroxeter. However, his PhD was in Anglo-Saxon archaeology and, with a foot in both Roman and Anglo-Saxon camps, this lecture explores the potentially complex relationship between the site at Wroxeter and the cropmark site of presumed Anglo-Saxon date at Froghall, Atcham. First seen, and scheduled, in 1975 the site had not been investigated before 2017 when a small-scale excavation was carried out under the aegis of the University of Birmingham and the National Trust, owners of the site. The results will be presented here, hopefully in full knowledge of the AMS Radiocarbon dates that are expected to arrive in March 2019.

The lecturer has worked at the University of Birmingham for 25 years, first with Birmingham Archaeology on the Wroxeter Hinterland Project, and then within the Ironbridge Institute before moving back to the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology. He recently contributed to and co-edited the Roman Research Frameworks for the West Midlands, Clash of Cultures.

Click here for more information.

Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society are holding their annual lunchtime lecture on Tuesday 8th January 2019, and have invited the Friends to join them. For more information, see below:

Digging HS2
Tuesday 8th January 2019 at 1pm
Speaker: Robert Early
The north section of HS2 spans 87 km, and forks into Birmingham. The whole project is the largest historic environment project undertaken in the UK and as such represents a huge challenge to the professional archaeological community. This talk will highlight how the teams of archaeologists are undertaking the works, focussing on new discoveries and the excavation of known sites such as Park Street Burial ground where 19,000 post-medieval burials are currently being excavated; the largest archaeological project to date in Birmingham. Rob will provide a resume of research undertaken and the results to date highlighting some of the challenges ahead.

Rob Early is currently the lead for the Historic Environment section North. He has over 30 years of experience in archaeology and heritage and has a number of publications of his work that range through the prehistoric periods through to Second World War. He currently leads the heritage team at the design engineering company WSP but formally worked for Oxford Archaeology.
This lecture will take place at the BMI.

For more information, click here.

2018 reports


RBSA Charity Auction on 20 November 2018
If you love supporting local art and artists, make sure you don’t miss the RBSA Charity Auction on 20 November 2018.

Graham Blaine RBSA, Orange Boat, watercolour

Local artists have donated works worth thousands of pounds to help raise much-needed funds for both the RBSA and Cure Leukaemia, one of Deutsche Bank’s UK Charities of the Year.

Art lovers can bid on hotly-tipped artists, many of whom draw inspiration from local scenes. Local life is often depicted – Birmingham landmarks, Baddesley Clinton, and even the local hospital – in the works which are up for auction.
Click here to buy a RBSA Charity Art Auction ticket online.
Click here to view the Auction artworks on Flickr.

A request to ‘HELP A BMAG ARTIST!’
Emily Sparkes received her BA in Fine Art from Birmingham School of Art (BCU) before staying on to complete her MA in Queer Studies in Arts and Culture (distinction). She is currently undertaking PhD research – “Painting in the Time of Memes” – at the Royal College of Art.
Emily gave a talk to the Friends in 2015 after her painting ‘An Ode to Christian Joy’ was bought by the Friends for Birmingham Museums (see Emily with ‘An Ode to Christian Joy’ below). The painting has recently been featured on the art trail for the “Coming Out: Sexuality, Gender and Identity” exhibition.

After multiple solo and group shows around the Midlands and in London (inc. Flowers, Mayfair and the Ruth Borchard Self Portrait Prize, Kings Place), Emily has recently been accepted for her first international exhibition at ‘OPEN OUT’ queer arts festival in Tromsø, Norway. She has asked for your help to get there – so please click here to join the KICKSTARTER campaign!

Dippy on Tour: A Natural History AdventureDippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure
26 May – 9 September 2018

Tickets for ‘Dippy on Tour’ can now be booked online. The exhibition will run from 26 May – 9 September 2018. Whilst the exhibition is free, you will need to book a date and a time slot for your visit and you are recommended to pre-book your tickets.
The Friends funded the conservation work carried out on Birmingham Museums’ bird collection – the living dinosaurs – which will be exhibited alongside Dippy.

Hilary Paynter Wood Engravings
4 April-21 April 2018
Private view: Tuesday 3 April

Following on from the article about her exhibition in the latest edition of ‘Artefacts’, Hilary Paynter has invited the Friends to the private view of her exhibition – Hilary Paynter Wood Engravings – at the RBSA Gallery on Tuesday 3rd April to the Friends. Click here to download the invitation. Read more about her exhibition on the RBSA website.

27-29 April 2018

Fresh: have kindly offered Friends a complimentary ticket to Fresh: Art Fair 2018. Fresh: brings together 46 leading UK Galleries showing nearly 5000 contemporary works of art by 400 artists. The Fair will take place in the Centaur Building at Cheltenham Racecourse from 27th to 29th April with a Private View on the evening of Thursday 26th. There will be a very broad spectrum of original prints and paintings, sculpture, glass and ceramics from £100 to £50,000 with something for everyone from complete newcomers to established collectors.

The debut Fresh: Art Fair in 2017 was a huge success attracting 4,300 visitors over 3 days. The event is already seen as a key player in UK art fair circles and was described by one leading dealer as “the best contemporary art fair outside London”. Thirty of the best 2017 exhibitors are returning with 16 outstanding new galleries, a new outdoor Sculpture Park, bigger and better Fresh: Cafes, new expert Talks and new painters and sculptors working live. Visit:

Fresh: Art Fair Partners include The RWA (The Royal Academy in the West); The Royal Birmingham Society of Artists; Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum; Cheltenham’s Wilson Gallery; Fine Art Auctioneers Bonhams and Cheltenham’s Supercar dealer H R Owen Ecurie. The Fair is sponsored by St. James’s Place Wealth Management.

Click here to download your ticket, which may be printed or shown on a mobile device.

Fresh: Eleanor and Anthony Wardle

The Orchestra of the Swan are kindly offering members of the Friends a 50% group discount when booking for a group of 10+ to attend their series of ‘Friendly Classics’ concerts at Town Hall Birmingham. Please see the image below for more details. We hope you enjoy the concerts if you are able to attend!

The Orchestra of the Swan offer for the Friends of Birmingham Museums