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Big Blank Canvas

Now that Birmingham has made the shortlist for UK Capital of Culture, there could be no better time to open a debate about the future of the city’s arts provision.

As the Big Blank Canvas promo campaign makes clear, Brum is on a mission to engage local people with the Culture bid – all part of Cabinet Member Martin Mullaney’s effort to create a grass roots “buzz” comparable to that which swung the European Capital of Culture Liverpool’s way.

So much for 2013, but spend an hour in Mullaney’s company – as dozens of the city’s movers and shakers have done in the last few weeks – and it becomes clear that the city stands on the brink of a massive expansion in creative spaces of one sort or another, with local people having every chance of influencing the outcome.

Arts or cultural buildings have been identified as suitable for the following developments – or potential developments - which are in various stages of the planning process:

  • Arena Central in Broad Street - behind the old Central TV building
  • Martineau Galleries – between Corporation Street and Dale
  • Paradise Forum – when the Central Library has been knocked down
  • Wholesale Market – due for sale to open up the link between the city centre and Digbeth
  • Digbeth South Side
  • Curzon Street Station

Ideas for these spaces include a new Contemporary Art Gallery (earmarked for the Wholesale Market) but as Mullaney has made clear, very little is set in stone.

He wants to engage the public in a series of formal and informal discussions of which the Stirrer Forum is one.

Let the conversation begin.


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