Below you can see the programmes from previous Art SOAK festivals, click through links for more information about some of the events we’ve held and see a few pictures too.

Everyone had a wonderful time at Art SOAK 2015, take a look at the programme, information on the events and the photos to see what we were up to.

Flyer page1

Flyer page2

Connecting Communities Exhibition, Druids Heath Library

DH Library 1

Stirchley Sketchcrawl, meeting at Bournville Station

Art SOAK 2015

Pop-Art Portraits workshop, The Hub Hazelwell

Art SOAK 2015

Benji in the Jungle, Yardley Wood Library

Art SOAK 2015

Ex Cathedra Singing Workshop, The Hub Hazelwell

Back Down

Back Down Official Image Art SOAK 2015







Art SOAK 2014 was a massive success and luckily the weather held out for us this year! Take a look at the programme and some of the photos below to see what we got up to.

Art SOAK 14 Programme-page-0

Art SOAK 14 Programme-page-1

Jamboree 6Thissen Thatten 3BeatSOAK 1Tales 1Felting 2


Thanks to everyone who came along to any of our Art SOAK events the weekend of 23rd and 24th March and to any of the Art SOAK Revisited! events after particularly snowy March weather led us to postpone several of the originally programmed events.

If you want to see what sort of things we got up to take a look at the programme and the Art SOAK Revisited! programme below or download your copies here and here.

Art SOAK Revisited front


programme cover

programme detail

programme map

Making a Masterpiece

Saturday 4th May 10am – 4pm at Yardley Wood Library 

On the Bank Holiday weekend we joined artist Lorna Rose to create a collage representing the places we live, work and play and what we like most about them. We made football pitches, parks, schools and houses on a huge collage which is now on display at the Yardley Wood Library.

lorna rose 1 lorna rose 2 lorna rose 3 lorna rose 4

Recycled Jewellery

Sunday 5th May 2pm – 3.15pm and 3.15pm – 4.30pm at Billesley Tennis Centre

Jolene Smith showed us how to make some fantastic jewellery from recycled materials at Billesley Tennis Centre at the beginning of May.

Jolene smith

Aerial Skills

Sunday 19th May and Sunday 26th May 2.00 – 5.00pm (note change of time to leaflet) at Cotteridge Park

CircusMASH showed us the thrill of the circus with their Aerial Silks workshop in Cotteridge Park. Lots of you came down and had a go on the long suspended material, climbing, posing and tumbling to an audience below.

Joe Fearn is the founder of Circus Mash Turning of 18, after growing up in Dorstone Covert in Druids Heath, Joe felt a huge desire to travel and see the world. How to make that happen was a little harder than understanding his desire to go until a cultural exchange programme presented itself through a friend. ‘You get to see the world’, was the only thing that Joe heard before he’d sent off his application, packed his bags and waited in anticipation for the call that would change his life. ‘Would you like to come and join the circus’ said a lovely woman calling from the USA. Thinking back to all of those times as a child in Kings Norton park where he would swing on the monkey bars imagining himself as a high flying acrobat came rushing back as he already had his passport in hand at his mums 3-bed semi raring to go. Of course, you can guess his reply to the circus request and a month later he was eagerly (juggling balls in hand) on his way to New York City.

After a summer of circus training he was asked to stay for the autumn to continue with shows in Alabama & Florida. Ridiculously he had a beaten up Fiesta to think of and a job at Schuh on New Street. Did he really want to come home? Being the responsible kind of guy he was, he turned down the opportunity with the intention of returning in January to Louisvile Kentucky after tying up every loose end in South Birmingham. January rolled around and that’s where the adventure really began. He stayed full time at the company for just over a year before coming back to The Academy of Circus Arts in England where he continued to develop his skills and bring his new performance style back home.

He continued to travel with circus, backpack and see the world for the next 8 years. On each trip back to Birmingham he was aware of the lack of circus community in Birmingham and vowed to ‘one day’ give circus a shot in Birmingham, offering the benefits that he had experienced first hand. Two years ago he decided that it was Birmingham’s turn to run away and join the circus and from the grew CircusMASH.

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See below more details about some of the events that happened as part of Art SOAK 2013…

Take a look at the wonderful photos of Hinterland, an installation overlooking the site of the soon-to-be Tescos  at Hunts Road and Hazelwell Lane in Stirchley. Artist Tom Cahill Jones braved the cold to welcome dog walkers, sledgers and shoppers – our first Art SOAK 2013 visitors!


On 22nd March BBC Midlands Today popped in to see Tom Cahill Jones’s ‘Hinterland’ installation in Stirchley and went on to film some of Debbie Tracey’s ‘Fades, Braids and Keeping it Real’, interviewing the cast, Headmasters owner Rob Grosvenor and Sabra Khan or Arts Forum Selly Oak

Mids Today




Location: The verge next to the junction of Hunts Road and Hazelwell Lane, Stirchley, B30 2PP.
Time: 1pm – 6pm
Date: Saturday 23 March 2013

Constructed from scrap materials reclaimed from local streets over the past two years, a hide has been created that provides a vantage point from which to consider the nature of the proposed supermarket redevelopment site. A once bustling part of Stirchley – which included residents, the Co-operative Education Centre, Bate’s Toolmakers and Eccles Caravans – the area now lies unloved and seemingly in stasis, awaiting a new future as a 600-space carpark. Only TASCOS Social Club and one lone householder, provide flickering evidence of a time now passed.

The hide itself was positioned on the site of Number 65 of a row of prefabs which used to run along the River Rea. Inside the structure was an old map of the area, information on the latest planning developments and a short audio presentation relaying people’s memories of activities which used to take place before the dereliction took hold, alongside thoughts about the current situation.

Hinterland is an ongoing project, which will be moved round different sites within Stirchley over the coming months. We would be interested to hear from anyone who has ideas regarding possible future locations. Saturday’s edition has been kindly supported by Arts Forum Selly Oak and is featured as part of the Art Soak 2013 Festival.

You can also follow Tom on Twitter @TTTTTTTTTTTTTCJ.

Stirchley Happenings tweet as well @ Stirchley Haps.

Special thanks to Sabra, Sandra, Martin and Jo.

St. Andrew’s Healthcare Artwork Exhibition now installed at Stirchley Library!

Exhibition 13th March – 2nd April, of fantastic work produced by patients at St Andrew’s Healthcare.

st andrews 1st andrews 2

St. Andrew’s Healthcare first opened in 1836 in Northampton and was known as the Northampton General Asylum. It was set up as a charity and cared for mental health patients with a capacity of 70. Since then it has grown to be the largest mental health charity in the UK and has developed services in other parts of the country including Essex, Birmingham and Nottinghamshire. To date St. Andrew’s Healthcare currently cares for nearly 600 patients and provides national specialist services for adolescents, men, women and older people with mental illness, learning disability, brain injury, autism and dementia (patients suffering from brain injury, severe autism or dementia are treated in dedicated units due to their specialised care needs).

St. Andrew’s Birmingham was opened in 2009 to provide specialist secure services and comprehensive care pathways for 128 adult male and female patients affected by mental health problems and Autistic Spectrum Disorders.

Creative expression is helpful to healthy human development and recovery from mental distress. More recently there has been growing interest in arts-in-health initiatives where the creative process itself is seen to have therapeutic value in promoting general well-being, including mental health. International and UK research has found that many people with mental health problems find arts helpful, either on their own or as part of a range of therapies.

Selly Oak – Traces of the Past

Sunday 24th March, 2pm  From University of Birmingham South Gates


The relatively short distance between the University of Birmingham gates and Selly Oak Station is packed with evidence of the past, resurfacing in unexpected locations. Sometimes you need a guide to help you see what’s there, and local Historian Ben Waddington was at hand to help us to dig into our High Street history. Some is in plain view but much requires venturing off road, down alleys and up side streets. Along the way we found old ordnance survey markers, crests and cartouches, rich victorian terracotta lettering, ghost signs, unusual building materials and forgotten shops of yesteryear. The ever unfolding present obscures much of it from view but the past is resilient, and wants to tell us things…

Ben’s approach to researching local history is to start with the familiar, and to see it up close at street level. Much of our surroundings go unquestioned as we pace familiar routes, perhaps not expecting to find anything interesting or significant in our everyday surroundings. Yet there is plenty to find and it is discovered by slowing our pace down, even stopping and then widening the scope of our ordinary gaze. Once questioned, the urban fabric will reveal evidence, patterns and stories of how we lived. By this point, we have made the connection with the past and want to learn more. We can then research further in libraries, archives and ever deeper resources. But the first step may have been as close our own doorstep or garden wall, making the journey a more individual experience.

March is bringing Theatre Fever to Birmingham

Our volunteer Hannah Roe from University of Birmingham  directed George Orwell’s 1984 as part of Theatre Fever.


Thu 14 – Sat 16 March, 7.30pm | @A.E. Harris, Birmingham

3Bugs (Birmingham University Drama Society) presents


by George Orwell
adaptation by Matthew Dunster

April 4th, 1984. Winston Smith, a seemingly unremarkable man, is in a very dangerous position. In Oceania, a totalitarian state thriving off fear and fanaticism, people that think for themselves are anomalies which must be erased. Can Winston save himself before it is too late?

In a dark adaptation by Matthew Dunster, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is given a new lease of life!

If you can’t wait until Art SOAK check out the following festivals too…

which include events in the Selly Oak district –

10×10: The Journey Home

DATE: Tues 19 March 7 – 10pm

VENUE:Selly Oak Campus, George Cadbury Hall, Bristol Road, B29 6LG
BOOKING:Pay What You Can on the Night

Email to reserve a place

MRes Playwrighting Studies presents ten new plays – yes ten! What’s more, you can see them all on one night. 10×10 is a brand new show which comprises ten, ten minute plays, by ten playwrights.

There’s loads packed into this inaugural week long festival by the University of Birmingham – which celebrates ideas, research and collaboration across campus. 



  • Extended to eleven days for the first time, and featuring an unrivalled range of events, screenings, exhibitions and activities in venues all over Birmingham, this is probably more fun than anyone should legally be allowed. Tickets are on sale now.
  • Features walk by Ben Waddington from Still Walking who is leading Art SOAK’s Selly Oak Traces of the Past at 2pm on Sunday 24th March.


Presenting the Music of Duke Ellington, Kinda Dukish Big Band
Kinda Dukish

12.30pm Sunday Feb 24th


Hazelwell Lane Stirchley B30 2PR

£5/£4   Under 16 Free

0121 444 4129

Kinda Dukish

Fundraising Concert 9 February 2013 at St Francis Church
Local orchestra South Birmingham Sinfonia is holding a fundraising concert in aid of St Mary’s Hospice on Saturday 9 February in Bournville (and today 2 February in Shirley).
Love Stirchley More – a festival of love, art and commerce.
Our friends at Love Stirchley More are holding a festival; 14-16 February 2013, with venues across Stirchley, south Birmingham.
Full programme & listings announced:
• Love boat show with comedian Barbara Nice, pop-up restaurant from Loaf, film fun from Stirchley Happenings & Kino10
• Artist installations, performances, interventions and something for all ages.
• Event aims to raise profile of Stirchley and link businesses with the local community.
Please find information, images and full listings at:
Stirchley Quickies
Thursday 14th February, 6.30pm
This Valentine’s day Stirchley Happenings will be presenting a series of short films on matters of the heart, exclusively curated by short film experts Kino 10 as part of Place Prospectors’ ‘Love Stirchley More’ festival. The event will be upstairs at Birmingham Bike Foundry, 1539 Pershore Road from 6:30-7:30pm, entry is free and all are welcome: whether you’re loved-up, love-sick or somewhere in between. There’ll be free Jammie Dodgers and Love Hearts waiting for you at the door because we love you, (we really do).
For more information visit their website:

Information below about the highly successful Art Soak 2012

To celebrate and raise our local Arts profile, Arts Forum Selly Oak made a splash on Saturday 24th March with a Selly Oak Art Soak. The Art Soak consisted of a day of Arts activities across various locations within the Selly Oak Constituency.

As part of the Art Champions scheme, the CBSO have developed Selly Oak Constituency Community Choir. They performed a half hour set of songs in Cotteridge Park’s amphitheatre as a warm-up to their Symphony Hall performance on April 12th to an audience of around 200, and it was the perfect sunny day for it. The audience were impressed with the range of musical material and the professional arrangements and singing – and welcomed an encore! Selly Park South Neighbourhood Forum have a fantastic write up of the Symphony Hall performance on their website. This event was supported by the CBSO, Friends of Cotteridge Park, Cotteridge Junior and Infant School and Bournville Scouts group.

The Community Choir had a fantastic turn out for their first public performance.

Following the success of Stirchley Happening’s arty Walk the B30 a few weeks back, the walk was repeated as a fringe event of Birmingham’s Still Walking festival, and Art Soak. A group of ten walked with artist Tom Cahill-Jones as he traced out the letters B, 3 and O using footpaths in the area.

Local artist Penny Dixon led a felt-making workshop on board the Arts on the Move mobile arts unit situated outside Druid’s Heath library. About 25 children and parents got involved making their initials out of felt, and contributing to a wall hanging that is not on display at Druid’s Heath Library.

Artist Penny Dixon and the Art Soak final piece on display in Druids Heath library

Local film maker Goeff Broadway’s short film ‘To Be Home’ (2011) (commissioned as part of the Inhabit arts in empty spaces project) and the City of Birmingham Synchronised Swimming Section Annual Display were shown on loop. Event assistant Carla spoke to those using the bar about Art Soak and gave a background to the films, and took these pics!


Over 30 people engaged with this exciting interactive hidden film screening, showing innovative cycling advocate Fin (from Birmingham Bike Foundry) cycling the journey between Tiverton Baths and the Bike Foundry’s premises on Pershore Rd, Stirchley. This event was supported by staff at Tiverton Road Baths (home of rehearsals by the national Birmingham City Swimming Club’s Synchronised Swimming team), Stirchley Happenings through their Travelling Bug House initiative, and the Birmingham Bike Foundry, who made the film, using a camera attached to a bike’s handlebars.

Poet Laura Biding was commissioned to write poems inspired by the Selly Soak. She came up with three poems, which were displayed on washing machines, to entertain those putting on their week’s wash! Thanks to Laura and staff at the Selly Soak!

We were pleased to see members of the community choir, their friends and family, and many others from the local area come along to munch the buffet, listen to live music from the Kinda Dukish All Stars and generally socialise. Geoff Broadway’s short film ‘To Be Home’ (2011) was screened again too. Thanks to the Kinda Dukish All Stars and our fantastic host TASCOs.

THANK YOU to everyone who has been involved with planning and delivering ART SOAK – Emma, Emma and all at Friends of Cotteridge Park; Graham and all at the Bournville Scouts group; Liz, Ian and all at TASCOs; performers in the CBSO Selly Oak Constituency Community Choir; Jo’s Coffee Company; Mike and all at the Kinda Dukish All Stars; all staff at Cocksmoors Woods Leisure Centre and Tiverton Rd Baths; City of Birmingham Synchronised Swimming team; staff at Selly Soak; all the artists involved – Penny Dixon, Laura Biding, Geoff Broadway, Fin and the Birmingham Bike Foundry; Gen, Chris, Tom, Roxie and Harry at Stirchley Happenings; Nerys James for graphic design; Kerry Leslie for support; Martin Collins for car hire; Carla Smith for venue support; Katie Gardener and all the staff and musicians involved at the CBSO; Karen Stevens, Claire Vaughan and all the staff involved at Birmingham City Council Selly Oak Constituency office; Ginnie at the Council’s Culture Commissioning Service; staff at Druid’s Heath Library; Alex at Project Pigeon; John at Selly Park South Neighbourhood Forum, Dave at Bournville Village News and Mick, Pete and Margaret at Stirchley Neighbourhood Forum; and a big thank you also goes to Lydia Miller, Art Soak events manager – who has will be using the experience to complete her MA in Event Management at BCU. Thank you also to all those who have inputted through arts forum meetings, and everyone who attended on the day! Hope we’ve not missed anyone out!

See what people had to say on twitter #artsoak and see flickr for more pics!

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