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For culture vultures wanting to explore the riches that Birmingham has to offer, there is no better place than Digbeth; a neighbourhood heavily associated with many aspects of contemporary culture.
Art enthusiasts know Digbeth as Birmingham’s creative quarter, home to many contemporary art spaces and galleries- and also to the Custard Factory; a thriving centre for artists and their studios. Music lovers know this district for its many live music venues, and the area’s contribution to the development of the British electronic music scene. And foodies are sure to have heard about Digbeth Dining Club, a street food event that attracts hungry food fanatics every Friday evening.
No matter what day it is, there is never a shortage of things to do in Digbeth, but if you had to pick the best day to visit, it would surely be the first Friday of the month.
Launched in May 2014, on every first Friday of the month Digbeth comes alive with art exhibitions, street food, live music and late-night openings. Local independent businesses, musicians, and creatives each put on special events, allowing visitors to experience samples of the unique culture of this part of the city.
Each of these Fridays is a little different, with a certain air of mystery surrounding exactly what will be on offer until a day or two beforehand. Most of the area’s galleries get involved, often coinciding the openings of their new exhibitions with the first Friday of the month. Of course, Digbeth Dining club already brings something great to the district every Friday, but these particular Fridays are something extra special.
June 2015’s first Friday included late-night art space openings of exhibitions such as ‘THIS IS WHAT A FEMINIST LOOKS LIKE’ at Stryx Gallery, two live art plays at Eastside Projects, and the ‘Dissidents and Dreamers’ exhibition and video installation at Centrala. There was also a live music from Tin Can Choir, Fanny Jam, and Jamirochoir. And, of course, some food delights of the usual delicious standards provided by Digbeth Dining Club.
So far, it seems that July’s first Friday event is shaping up to be a good one. Home for Waifs and Strays will be hosting a launch party for live art and video performance ‘Disconnect’, which explores disjunctures between the real and the virtual and ‘Fierce’, described as a ‘gender-blending booty-pounding perversion of punk dragged through a musical theatre gutter’! This launch party will also include DJs, live music and a bar. From Grand Union, event goers can expect a late-night opening of the solo exhibition by Fay Nicolson, ‘OVER AND OVER PURE FORM’, which plays with the physicality of images and possibilities for formal and material transformation through repetition.