Breaking Bread

A photographic journey of cooking and companionship in Birmingham immigrant communities.

An exhibition by Francesco Falciani

Darkroom Birmingham
The Old Print Works 
506 Moseley Road 
Balsall Heath
B12 9AH

Evening reception Thursday 30th June 7-9pm
Exhibition runs until 20th July,
Tues-Thurs 10-3,
Saturday 9th 11-4 and by appointment.

One of my earliest memories with my mother was when I was small enough to have my hand round her leg and feeling the motion of her body as she was chopping and cutting food ingredients. That is a beautiful memory!

Sadie, Spring 2022, Change Kitchen

Breaking Bread is an ongoing, research led, documentary photography project by Birmingham based photographer Francesco Falciani. He writes: 

‘Sharing food has always been an obsession for me. I have always seen this as a way to reach people, an integral part of how I communicate my love and affection, how I try to inspire trust. Being an immigrant has made this aspect of my character even more important, an instrument to remember who I am and where I come from but also a way to integrate in the country I choose to live in. ‘

Through photography and interviews I have been exploring the way people feel the emotional and ritual element of cooking and eating together.’

This project was developed through the 15 Frames exhibitions programme at darkroom Birmingham, and in association with Change Kitchen CIC.

Arts, Culture and Heritage Strategy

Birmingham is a city of thousands of creative trades from jewellery making to grime music and yet its biggest asset is ‘the people’. Birmingham is in the process of developing a new Arts and Culture Strategy for the  next decade. A range of meetings have been planned to give the people of Birmingham a chance to have their say. 

Whether you have a passion for Creativity, Arts and/or Culture or you just want to share your ideas, we would invite you to join us in smaller discussions focussing on ‘your experience of creativity, arts and culture, the councils role and shaping the vision for the future.’

Your views matter and will contribute towards beginning to paint the picture of what the creative future of Birmingham should look like by 2032.

The first meeting will take place on the 10th of June at Wynner House in Birmingham City Centre 10:00 – 12:00. Click here to book a place.

If you are unable to attend this meeting, there are other opportunities to take part this month. Please see our schedule here.

More Information

To keep up with news about the visit our designated webpage:  Big Creative Birmingham Conversation

Take part in the Big Creative Birmingham Conversation questionnaire:

Big Creative Birmingham Conversation Survey

For any queries email us at

NB: please feel free to pass this invitation on to any of your contacts/organisations who you think might be interested.

Supporting Healthcare through Arts

Call out for Artists who could deliver Arts in Health sessions.

The Arts in Health Project funded by BCHC Charity aims to deliver a far-reaching, accessible and participatory arts and cultural programme for the patients and healthcare workers of Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. This helps to improve the mental health and wellbeing of patients and staff through arts sessions.

We are offering paid opportunities for freelance artists who are able to deliver bespoke artistic sessions; either directly to patients on wards, or to our hard working healthcare staff in numerous settings.

The wide ranging benefits of arts in healthcare include supporting physical, mental and emotional health as well as improving recovery through decreasing anxiety, relieving stress, boosting confidence and raising morale.

Arts Sessions currently offered by BCHC Charity

Thanks to generous grants, fundraising and donations, BCHC Charity offer the following types of sessions:

  • Music – including live performances by musicians, or interactive sessions e.g. drumming workshops.
  • Movement – such as dance or tai chi.
  • Arts and crafts workshops – such as painting, sculpting, mindful colouring etc.
  • Drama, including live performances or interactive workshops.

We are always looking to broaden our network of artists.

Do you think you can offer something new?

If you are a freelance artist who could provide an Arts in Health session and would like to know more please contact:

Artist opportunity – paid role in Sparkbrook

Are you a community artist with availability in June and July?

As part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival for the Commonwealth Games, Art Works are very pleased to share that we have been successful in a public vote for both Balsall Heath West and Sparkbrook & Balsall Heath East ward ‘Celebrating Communities’ funding.  If you cast your vote for us then thank you!

We want to creatively explore the many and varied journeys that people have made to Balsall Heath and Sparkbrook from both near and far, celebrating the area as a place of refugee and a home to people from around the globe.

As part of developing these plans, we are on the lookout for community artists who can deliver participatory workshops with adults, and possibly some Key Stage 2 pupils, during June and July.  Any work produced will be exhibited to coincide with the Commonwealth Games. You may have noticed our previous callout for this project, but after a period of planning we we unable to appoint an artist and are putting this role out again.

We anticipate that we will be working with two Sparkbrook school parents’ groups and a third community organisation for workshops over six weeks in June and July. These will likely be a 1-2 hour morning workshop each week with each group. However, we are also exploring the option of a more intensive programme, delivered over a few days towards the end of term. We are open to working with an artist who can deliver workshops for all three groups, or three artists working with one group each.

Fee: £1,000 per group (6 sessions at £150 per session, plus £100 planning and liaison)

To apply: Send a CV plus a short paragraph, video or voicenote outlining your interest in the project and how you may approach the brief to by noon on Friday 27th May.

Textile Artist opportunity – paid role in Balsall Heath and Sparkbrook

Are you a community textile artist?

As part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival for the Commonwealth Games, Art Works are very pleased to share that we have been successful in a public vote for both Balsall Heath West and Sparkbrook & Balsall Heath East ward ‘Celebrating Communities’ funding.  If you cast your vote for us then thank you!

We want to creatively explore the many and varied journeys that people have made to Balsall Heath and Sparkbrook from both near and far, celebrating the area as a place of refugee and a home to people from around the globe.

As part of developing these plans, we are on the lookout for community textile artists who can deliver participatory workshops with adults, and possibly some Key Stage 2 pupils, during June and July.  We know that participants have some experience and/or interest in working with textiles, so we want to build on existing skills and support development of new skills.  Any work produced will be exhibited to coincide with the Commonwealth Games.

We anticipate that we will be working with three community groups for weekly workshops over six weeks in June and July.  We are open to working with an artist who can deliver workshops for all three groups, or three artists working with one group each.

Fee: £1,000 per group (6 sessions at £150 per session, plus £100 planning and liaison)

To apply: Send a CV plus a short paragraph, video or voicenote outlining your interest in the project and how you may approach the brief to by noon on Monday 16th May.

Art Works Gathering and AGM

Save the date!
Art Works Gathering and AGM
The Old Print Works, Friday 8th July, 12noon-3pm

This July we are bringing together creative folk for an afternoon of community and connection.  This is a space where artists, makers, community convenors and anyone interested in the power of participatory arts can come together to help build our creative community over a pot-luck lunch.  We’ll be asking:

How might we make our neighbourhoods viable places to make and create art?

How might we engage more people in community arts and making?

How might we ensure that local artists can pursue meaningful creative careers?

In the spirit of sharing generously, all attendees are invited to prepare a short (3-4 minute) presentation on their work so we can all get a flavour of what others in our area are up to.  More details on the format of the day, plus booking details, will follow soon.  In the meantime, do get in touch with ideas or questions.

‘Hello Bird, Hello Fish!’ sharing event at The Springfield Project

Art Works commissioned B’Opera to co-create a new musical production with children under five and their families at The Springfield Project in Sparkhill.

B’Opera have co-created a new musical production, ‘Hello Bird, Hello Fish!’ with and for children and their families who are users of The Springfield Project Children’s Centre, Mini Springers and Park Road nurseries. Funded through Birmingham City Council’s ‘Next Generation’ fund, the piece was devised through a programme of participatory sessions and was showcased at The Springfield Centre on 22nd February 2022. Families were invited to this special performance to see their ideas in development.

Read more about the whole project, including the process of co-creating the work with pre-school children and their adults and exploring big ideas with little people on our ‘Hello Bird, Hello Fish!’ project page.

Relaxed, interactive and inclusive

Everyone was greeted with free-flow sensory play opportunities with members of the B’Opera team to allow children and their adults time to explore the space, meet the performers and touch some of the props. This was crucial in creating a relaxed, interactive space where everyone was welcomed and made to feel comfortable.

High quality opera in Sparkhill

The playfulness continued as B’Opera began the performance, with some children moving, singing and dancing alongside the performers. The audience was treated to a combination of classical opera, new versions of classical nursery rhymes and a lullaby in Urdu. Characters wore colourful costumes that accentuated each animal’s movements – the gracefulness of fireflies, the elegance of fish or the swooping and swishing of the lost bird.

Space to reflect

The audience was invited to gather for food and reflection following the performance, through informal conversations or adding written comments to the ‘feedback fish’. Some spoke about their own experiences of feeling excluded, through racial or faith based discrimination. Others commented on their parents’ use of lullabies to soothe them as children.

Sarah Robbins, CEO of The Springfield Project, has written a piece (opens as a PDF in a separate window), outlining the value of this project for the community she serves in Sparkhill. Thanks are due to Sarah and all of the staff at The Springfield Project for embracing and facilitating the project throughout.

Where next?

This initial sharing of ‘Hello Bird, Hello Fish!’ is hopefully the first outing for the work – B’Opera hope to develop it further and tour the piece to other children’s centres and community venues. There are plans to include performances as part of this year’s Commonwealth Games Festival programme and The Springfield Project’s Creative Families Festival.

If you are interested in learning more about ‘Hello Bird, Hello Fish!’ or would like to host a performance, contact Zoë Challenor at

All images © Rachel Gillies for Art Works

Connect and Create – Birmingham’s Arts and Health networking event #4

Join this networking event for those exploring arts and health activities in Birmingham.

Who is it for?

Anyone working in the health and social care sector in Birmingham looking to enhance their knowledge of arts activities which deliver social care outcomes.

Anyone working in the arts sector in Birmingham looking to enhance their social prescribing knowledge, contacts and arts & health good practice.

Connect with: artists; activities; conversations; ideas; people; spaces; taster sessions; venue tours

Create new: contacts; skills; experiences; knowledge; networks; friendships; ideas; passions; partnerships

To book:

Further details to follow in 2022. For more information email:

Midlands Arts Centre

10-4 Friday 20th May 2022

MAC, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham, B12 9QH

Keith Piper and Gary Stewart in Conversation

Keith Piper and Gary Stewart are alumni of the Moseley School of Art from 1972-79. An informal artist conversation about their experiences.

Saturday 19 February 2022, 4pm
Buy tickets here

Join Keith Piper and Gary Stewart for an informal conversation about their experiences of attending the Moseley School of Art and other shared experiences.

About the artists

Gary Stewart is an artist concerned with social and political issues, particularly with reference to history, identity and culture, working across sound, moving image and performance. Collective practice is key to his work using experimental media practices and technologies to explore the unique spaces emerging in public spaces, art galleries and museums formed by the shifting intersections and blurred boundaries between audiences, authorship and participation.

Currently Lecturer in Fine Art (Studio Practice) at Goldsmiths, University of London, he is a founder member of interdisciplinary artist, research and performance group Dubmorphology and Artist Associate at People’s Palace Projects based in the Drama Department of Queen Mary University of London working with activists and academics on projects that address a wide range of social justice and human rights issues.

Keith Piper is a Visual Artist and Associate Professor in Fine Art at Middlesex University London.

His creative practice exists in response to specific issues, historical relationships and geographical sites, and has exhibited nationally and internationally. Piper was a founder member of the Blk Art Group in the early 1980s and during this period he established a research-driven approach prioritising thematic exploration over an attachment to any particular media. His work over the past 40 years has ranged from painting, through photography and installation to a use of digital media, video and computer-based interactivity.

Friction Arts ‘We Made Birmingham’ – An Opportunity for Young Community Journalists

Friction Arts is looking to support three aspiring young journalists to be part of an exciting community journalism project in Digbeth, capturing the voices of people telling us their We Made Birmingham stories, which will feature in digital displays across the city to celebrate the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

We will support you to undertake a short five session course in community journalism training that will equip you to be part of our We Made Birmingham team – recording and sharing stories of heritage, community activism and migration from residents of the Digbeth area.

Pictures from Friction Arts 2021 How Were You? community interviews


All training sessions will be held at:

BVSC Centre, 138 Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 6DR.

The first two sessions are on Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday 23rd February, and will run for three hours each, with the choice of a morning slot (10:00am – 1:00pm) or an afternoon slot (1:00pm – 4:00pm).

There will be three additional Saturday training sessions held before Easter. These five x three hour sessions will include:

  • theory behind conducting an excellent interview
  • pre-production processes
  • technical set up of the equipment,
  • camera techniques
  • a session led by a working journalist

The Project

During May and June, you will work at least three half days (times and days to be flexibly arranged) as part of a team of three community journalists and a professional caricaturist, using your training to capture the voices of people as they tell us their We Made Birmingham stories. These interviews will then be edited to become Augmented Reality connected to the twenty portraits as part of a touring exhibition to different sites during Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth.

Friction Arts and our commitment to you

Friction Arts is passionate about heritage, interviewing, oral histories and gathering awkward as well as historic stories. We have a long history, of over thirty years working creatively across Birmingham with experience in oral history (training, interviews, editing and distributing) across different digital formats including Augmented Reality, video, recordings, montage and animation.

Not only will we support you with training, travel and refreshment expenses, you will be part of a live community journalism project with Friction Arts, a well established community arts organisation, who will help you to evaluate the experience and then support you in potential opportunities for the future.

Please contact Marcus to find out more: / Tel: 07784302283

Closing date: Midday 21st February 2022

Mixed Heritage Women Sharing their Extraordinary Stories of Identity – Callout for interviewees

Friction Arts have launched a new project called ‘Stir’ and have put a callout for contributors to this new project that shares the joys and complexities of the identities of women of mixed heritage.

What is Stir?

Stir is a platform created by Friction Arts, for women of mixed heritage, to share the joys and complexities of their identities and the journeys that shaped them. As part of a wider community journalism project in Digbeth, Friction Arts is capturing the voices of people telling us their stories of heritage, community activism and migration, which will feature in Birmingham Public Library’s archive. Friction Arts will also be working in collaboration with an award winning female portrait artist to create a series of extraordinary Stir visual portraits reflecting these extraordinary women and their lives.

How will Stir work?

During March Lead Artist Sarah Kaur will lead a series of one to one interviews inviting Stir participants to share how they experience their multiple ethnicities, and how these experiences shaped their identities. These interviews will last around 1 hr and can take place in the home, or at our studio ‘The Edge’.

Stir participants will also be offered the opportunity to take part in a group Zoom meeting to share their ideas for the series of portraits that will accompany the stories – contributing thinking around themes, sets and costumes.

In early April, a small group of Stir participants will meet at our Studio at the Edge to have their portrait realised by an award winning female portrait artist, to create a series of extraordinary visual portraits sensitively reflecting the complexities of mixed heritage identity.

About Friction Arts

Friction Arts has a history of over thirty years working creatively across Birmingham with experience in oral history across different digital formats including Augmented Reality, video, recordings, montage and animation. We are passionate about heritage, interviewing, oral histories and gathering awkward as well as historic stories.

How to get involved in Stir

If you are a woman of mixed heritage with a story rooted in identity to share, we’d really love to hear from you. Please contact by midday, 27th February 2022 to arrange an informal chat about getting involved with Stir.

‘My Doorstep, My Culture’ exhibition launched at Moseley Road Baths

‘My Doorstep, My Culture’ is an exciting programme of creative workshops across three community organisations, led by local Artist ILdikó Nagy. It has culminated in a group exhibition, open until the end of March at Moseley Road Baths.

Participants from Amal Creative, Kinmos and Smart Women CIC co-designed a series of workshops based on which artforms they wanted to explore with multidisciplinary Visual Artist ILdikó Nagy. Participants were eager to express themselves creatively and committed to working collaboratively to create something reflecting their skills, talents and cultural heritage. From a henna decorated door lit by lanterns to handsculpted incense burners, a huge willow-woven heart to needlefelted Yemeni flags, each group has crafted objects to show others who they are and what matters to them.

You can find out more about the groups’ creative journeys over on the ‘My Doorstep, My Culture’ page of our website.

The exhibition was launched to an invited audience of participants, their families and friends on Saturday 22nd February in the glorious setting of Moseley Road Baths’ empty Gala Pool. Over 30 people attended the launch where groups viewed each others’ work for the first time and reflected on their achievements with food and drink.

My Doorstep, My Culture’ is in the Gala Pool until 31st March 2022.

Art Works will be continuing to explore ways to support these community artists in their creative journeys.

Mental health support for the arts sector

Birmingham Centre for Arts Therapies are offering online training and supervision for arts professionals working in arts and health in Birmingham.

These FREE sessions are aimed at supporting your own mental wellbeing whilst delivering activities in challenging circumstances.

For more information, there is a short video available on YouTube.

Further information can be found at

To book, please contact

Job Opportunity – Arts Administrator

Application Deadline – Monday 31st January, 5pm

The Gap Arts are looking for an emerging/early career arts administrator to join our small creative team at a really important and exciting moment in The GAP’s journey.

We need an ambitious, motivated and caring individual to support our core team of artists during this transformational moment. The appointed Arts Administrator will play a crucial role in the successful delivery of our cultural programmes by ensuring the smooth running of the organisation’s daily operations. As a new role, the successful candidate will take responsibility for designing and implementing new administrative systems, working closely with the core team to identify how best to support our activities. We are also offering a package of training to further the successful candidate’s development, which will be tailored to their specific interests and needs.

​This role has been created to the support the development of arts leaders who identify as being from an ethnic or cultural minority, as LGBTQI+ and/or disabled.

For full job description and how to apply, visit

ICF x Ort Gallery Partnership

Ort Gallery have announced a new partnership with two emerging curators.

We are excited to announce that we have partnered with the International Curators Forum (ICF)  to appoint 2 emerging curators to work with us and selected artists on a new project called ‘Emergence(y)’ during 2022. Following the turbulent year of 2020 and the ongoing covid crisis, the curators will explore the themes of Emergence, Care and/or Warmth. They will bring their own research interests and working methodology with them and they will also decide how they want to work together or what they want to create, whether that be an exhibition, an event, something online, a partnership with another gallery, or any other format of their choosing. 

Orphée Kashala is a Birmingham based curator. His curatorial practice promotes care, inclusion, empathy, equality and understanding by telling stories that explore and challenge our collective perception of the human experience.

Since 2020, Orphée has taken on the role of Creative Producer at Maokwo(a Belgrade Theatre springboard organisation based in Coventry) as part of the young leadership programme for emerging young artists from migrant backgrounds. Currently, Maokwo have partnered with the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, where Orphée is co-curating an exhibition exploring key national collections, co-organising artists’ lead workshops, developing project ideas and curatorial skills, whilst also co-creating a new provision for artists in Coventry. In September 2021, he curated his first exhibition titled “Survivor’s Guilt” for the Coventry Migrant Centre, as part of Coventry City of Culture; which was an exploration of the bittersweet memories and lived realities of African migrants living in the UK via photography, videography, installation and poetry.

Sarah Francis is a Leeds based Artist Curator who focuses on bringing under-recognised artists and narratives to the public, using empathy and warmth to build self-confidence in creatives left behind by the mainstream system. Fascinated by complex possibilities lying dormant in ‘familiar’ environments, setting a challenging dialogue between cultural identity and the inner worlds which we as artists manifest within our work. This conceptual framework draws parallels between artists from differing socio-cultural worlds, whose work follows similar lines in metaphysical realms. Francis’ interpretation of the curator is that of a caretaker of other worlds, working in collaboration as the tour guide and storyteller, bringing these converging manifestations to our physical spaces.

Francis’ artwork centres around her neurodiverse and queer identity, building her own language and worlds to explore and understand ‘how I made me’; a reference to an early body of work that investigated her inner trauma and re-articulation of her current self. Her work has been shortlisted for the Saatchi Gallery’s Art of Giving Prize, selected by Richard Billingham for Curator’s Choice Noise Young Talent 2009, and recognised in Aesthetica’s 100 Best Contemporary Artists in Europe. In addition to her work, Sarah Francis is the Founder and Director of Aire Place Studios, Leeds.

Curiosity Productions seeking Kickstart trainees

18-24 and on Universal Credit? Work with us!

It’s a really exciting time at Curiosity at the moment, as we start creating and building partnerships across the Black Country and Birmingham, and so we’re looking for three new Kickstart trainees!

We need :

💥 2x Creative Projects and Events Assistants

💥 1x Trainee Performer (with Cloud Cuckoo Land Theatre)

The roles are for 25 hours per week, and are at the National Minimum Wage. Find out more about us, Cloud Cuckoo Land and what’s on offer at our website below – and ask your job coach to refer you. The deadline for applications is the Monday 24th January, so apply now!

Spread the word!

The Play House – Recruiting Artistic Director

The Play House is recruiting for a new artistic director to take the company on the exciting next step in its journey. They are seeking someone creative, ambitious and determined with a track record of directing, devising and producing education and/or community programmes/performances.

The Play House Theatre in Education Company creates unique and thrilling participatory work delivered in schools and community settings with the aim of creating meaningful participation for every child. Putting young people at the centre of their work, they look to expand children’s aspirations and inspire their curiosity no matter what theme or story they are exploring.  

Deadline for Applications: 12pm, Wednesday 19th January 

Further information: Recruitment packs (including recorded and large print copies) can be found here 

Commonwealth Natural Wonders in Music.

​Creating a Commonwealth-wide video celebrating the natural wonders of the Commonwealth through music & art.

Musicians, artists, photographers, creatives & composers – every age, ability, instrument & art form welcome!

This video will feature a ​new piece of music created by Commonwealth musicians, composers & creatives and illustrated by Commonwealth artists & photographers,
to demonstrate the variety & wide array of incredible wild & scenic locations around the Commonwealth, celebrating & sharing the diverse environmental riches in the Commonwealth.

​A contributor doesn’t have to be a performer – you could be an artist or creative illustrating the video, you could be involved in composing & creating the music, you could be a performer on the video.

Your music could be recorded natural sounds, traditional music from your country or practised performance from notated music provided by us.

There are 5 ways to be involved
Click on the coloured title for the application page

1) Submit recordings of Indigenous or Traditional Music from Your Commonwealth country
(eg ethnic drumming or panpipe groups, Haka, traditional chanting etc) 
2) Submit recordings of Sounds of the Natural World from Your Commonwealth country (eg wind through the trees, bird song, the sounds of the waves & waterfalls) 

3) Submit Artworks & Photographs of Natural Wonders from Your Commonwealth country

4) Composer – creator of this new piece of music

5) Performer – musicians: instruments & vocals, any instrument, any ability, any age

This will be a Commonwealth celebration of outstanding local nature around the Commonwealth, released in time for The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend in June 2022


  1. You must be currently resident in the Commonwealth country of your nationality
  2. Only individuals can apply, no groups
  3. You can be a contributor in any section that you want, you don’t need to pick just one
  4. You must have access to a smart phone or other video recording device or scanner so that you can get your submissions to us electronically
  5. If you are under 18, a Parent or Guardian must sign the permission form for you to be able to participate
  6. Everyone’s submissions will definitely be featured in one of the project’s videos
  7. This is voluntary, all participants will need to sign a release/permission form for their contributions to be used
  8. Email us with any questions at