Arts Forum Selly Oak meeting – 25th November – Minutes.

Good afternoon to you all, I hope you are all well. Please see below the minutes of Arts Forum Meeting held on the 25th of November. 

We have details of forthcoming local events in December and news of funding opportunities and arts markets. There is also a spotlight on two organisations who have been chosen by Birmingham City Council to carry out a feasibility study into local arts programming in 2022, and also news of opportunities for Arts Forum Selly Oak to get involved with in January and February next year. 

 If you have any questions, or would like to get in contact with me or the attendees, please do not hesitate to let me know

The plan was to talk about the planning and organising of arts and community initiatives during this time, and to go forward into 2021 with arts and cultural activities both online, socially distanced and (hopefully!) slowly back into the live settings we all enjoy.

Forthcoming Winter Projects

Heidi from Stirchley Snowflake Festival shared with us information regarding the inaugural Festival, supported with funding from Arts Council England. It is ‘a festival of magic, community and creativity’ from 7th – 23rd December 2020.

Created with an enthusiasm to share the message that creativity is something that everyone can do, Heidi told us of several projects connected to the festival that the local community can get behind. A ‘snowflake trail’ – simply making snowflakes and winter scenes and displaying them in your front window; a ‘communi-tree’ – where clay stars will be decorated and hung on the tree outside Stirchley school, and easy-to-make kits to craft at home.

There are also competitions for businesses along Stirchley High Street to decorate their shop frontages, and also four giveaways supporting some of the best independent businesses on Stirchley High Street.

We were joined by Emma from Friends of Cotteridge Park. Whilst the excellent CoCoMAD festival had to move online this year, they have also been hard at work getting the Park café, The Shed open for business. Emma came to our meeting to say that there is electricity at the venue, so they are welcoming creative arts, including live performance, music and drama to be performed in the Park over the Winter months. If you are interested – please get in touch with them.

There are outdoor events  at Selly Manor, including a Nativity on the 5th, and a performance by Bournville Voices on the 13th. Tickets go on sale on Monday 30th November, however, in light of recent government restrictions, please get in touch with them to see if the events are going ahead.

Selly Park artist Maggie joined us to let us know of online craft fairs occurring in December and January.

Members of the Birmingham Etsy community (of which Maggie is one!) had an online Christmas market on the weekend of the 28 – 29 November.

MAC Birmingham will be having their ever-excellent Christmas market online this year. It’s started already, but will run until the 4th of December, so there’s plenty of time to support a local artist over Christmas!

Maggie is also a member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists (RBSA) and also wanted to mention that the RBSA Prize exhibition will stay online until the extended date on the 16th January. – she is also hoping to exhibit at the Moseley Exchange in the New Year –


The Bone Ensemble and Windswept Workshops have been awarded funding by Birmingham City Council to carry out a feasibility study into community arts projects for delivery in 2022. The projects will be co-designed by Birmingham artists/art leaders, arts organisations/groups, residents and communities.

Arts Forum Selly Oak are very much looking forward to be working closely with both The Bone Ensemble and Windswept Workshops on this project, and have already provided local context and guidance in meetings and conversations – it was good to have representatives from the organisations (Jill from The Bone Ensemble, and Erin & Gabi from Windswept Workshops) at the meeting, and hear about their ideas for the forthcoming year.

Arts Forum Selly Oak will also facilitate local networks and opportunities for local engagement and enable the voice of the neighbourhoods to be heard. The Bone Ensemble will be carrying out their study around the area of Bournville Railway Station, and Windswept Workshops, working alongside Sense at Touch Base Pears, will be carrying out their study around Selly Oak Railway Station.

Any help with this from the local community will be very gladly received, and if you want to get in touch with either The Bone Ensemble or Windswept Workshops on this, please let me know.

Sense Connect

Sunney Sharma, the Arts and Wellbeing Manager wanted to share their new Sense Connect project and manifesto. The manifesto was created with acclaimed disabled/visual artist Tanya Raabe-Webber, and is ‘a set of values supporting people with complex disabilities, their friends and families to connect.’

Earlier on in the Autumn, Sunney reached out to Arts Forum Selly Oak to share news of opportunities for local artists and arts organisations to get involved with the planning and making of a series of videos for Sense Connect. Windswept Workshops got in touch,  and they have produced together a video that will be hosted on Sense Connect’s YouTube site within the next few weeks.

In the meantime, do take a look at the manifesto, and also have a click around the YouTube page.

Manifesto –

Arts Forum Selly Oak news

A lot has happened this week. Whilst these projects are very much in the infancy stage, the dream of looking forward to events during the Winter months and a further lockdown is seeming to be answered. More on these TBC, but for the moment…

Echo Eternal Festival

This week I was approached by Claire Marshall, co-ordinator for Erdington Arts Forum, to have a meeting with Selly Oak Trust School, a specialist science college for unique students with special educational needs.

The School will be taking part in one of the campaign days for the Echo Eternal Festival in January, a commemorative arts engagement programme inspired by Holocaust survivor testimony to promote respect and understanding between different communities.

I was very excited to hear more about the project, and was glad to have the meeting, especially when I learnt about the high standard of art that the students are engaging with; visual arts, photography, mini-sculpture and music making (one note drones) and am looking forward to visiting the School next week to meet the students and staff.

Open Theatre

From February 2021 Arts Forum Selly Oak will be one of four Local Arts Forums who will be working alongside Open Theatre, as part of their forthcoming ‘Digital Doorways’ project. Open Theatre ‘use non-verbal physical theatre to collaborate with Young People With Learning Disabilities, creating quality art which reflects and celebrates their unique types of creativity.’ During December I will be having more meetings with the organisation, and I am very much looking forward to letting you know more about this.

Digital Doorways in Erdington alongside Erdington Ars Forum

Further funding

It’s been an excellent year for Arts Forum Selly Oak, and I’d like to thank my colleagues within Number 11 Arts, the Arts Forum Selly Oak network and our funders (!) for all their help this year. I am currently looking into the possibility of putting in a bid for the Arts Council Thriving Communities Fund and working in collaboration with Northfield Arts Forum on this. Please have a look, and if you have any ideas – let me know.

Next meeting, undecided yet. Possibly January but if December becomes interesting it may have to be earlier.

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