The Arts Directory is a source of information about organisations and art groups that deliver participatory workshops in Birmingham that people can get involved in. This ranges from community choirs to craft collectives and painting sessions. It includes contact details and links.
Click on art form you are interested in for more details.
Disclaimer – The Binding Pages project from No.11 Arts is not responsible for third party information and this directory should be used as a guide only.
The Crafts Collective is based in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, and offers a range of craft based workshops.
Craftspace delivers activities and courses for adults further information can be found on their website: http://craftspace.co.uk/get-involved/
One of their programmes is Shelanu, a developing social enterprise for women who have migrated to Birmingham, supported by Craftspace. Phone Emma Daker on 0121 608 6668 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Birmingham Royal Ballet run dance courses in the community in partnership with dance to health: https://www.dancetohealth.org/Birmingham
Dance Xchange offers a range of dance courses inc for adults: https://www.dancexchange.org.uk/event-type/classes/
0121 667 6730
Moseley Dance Centre, dance for adults: https://www.moseleydancecentre.com/
Women and Theatre run community comedy courses: https://womenandtheatre.co.uk/project/community-performance-club
The Theatre Workshop: https://www.thetheatreworkshop.com/birmingham/
Birmingham Play Reading Group – Tuesday from 6:30PM-9:00PM, City Centre at the Birmingham & Midland Institute, Margaret St
Hall Green Little Theatre – an amateur ensemble company: www.hglt.co.uk
There are 10 resident-led Arts Forums across the whole of Birmingham, centred around Edgbaston, Erdington, Hall Green, Hodge Hill, Ladywood, Northfield, Perry Barr, Selly Oak, Sutton Coldfield and Yardley.
There are a number of community choirs in Birmingham open to new members:
SO Vocal Community Choir: https://cbso.co.uk/take-part/sing-with-the-cbso/so-vocal
Handsworth Community Choir: http://www.handsworthcommunitychoir.org.uk/
Quinton Community Choir: https://www.quintoncommunitychoir.co.uk/
Voices Entwined Community Choir: https://www.voicesentwined.co.uk/ Contact: email email@example.com or call Louise on 07946 344281
The Wellbeing Community Choir in Chelsmley Wood, Ladywood and Walmley: http://www.thewellbeingcommunitychoir.org/
Contact: Keely on: 0784 192 4289 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rainbow Voices – a choir for LGBTQ+ singers and their friends: https://www.rainbow-voices.org.uk
Second City Sound: http://secondcitysound.org.uk
Selly Park Singers: https://www.sellyparksingers.co.uk
Contact Bob on 0121-744-2889
Choir with no Name is for homeless and marginalised adults: email@example.com / 07794 100938
Generations Community Choir Castle Vale: Call Bob on 07766 923361
Half Circle Singers: https://www.halfcirclesingers.co.uk/
Midland Opera Company: http://www.midlandmusicmakers.org
Contact: 07840 134 038
Notorious Choir: http://www.notoriouschoir.org
Damon Wilding runs drumming workshops in the community and was one of the Binding Pages artists: Drum Together Brum / email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Leaf Creative Arts run a variety of arts for wellbeing activitities including Memory Cafes: https://leafcreativearts.wordpress.com/memory-cafe
Birmingham Centre for Arts Therapies deliver a range of arts activities in community libraries as well as at their own setting: https://www.bcat.info/step-on.html / 0121 440 8273
No 11 Arts is the umbrella organisation for the Local Arts Forums that offer particpatory activities across Birmingham in each constituency: http://www.number11arts.co.uk/
mac Birmingham offer a range of courses for adults, all of which can be booked through their box office: https://macbirmingham.co.uk/courses 0121 4463232
Life Drawing in Kings Norton: Monday Evening 7.30-9pm at ‘The Tower of Song’
artefact café Stirchley offer a variety of events and courses: https://www.artefactstirchley.co.uk
Art Courses Birmingham offer painting courses for adults: https://artcoursesbirmingham.com/
The Ikon Gallery offers a range of learning opportunities for adults: https://www.ikon-gallery.org/learning/adults/ 0121 248 0708
OKK Arts deliver art classes on the 3rd Monday of every month at Lost and Found in Birmingham: https://okk-arts.com/art-classes/
RBSA deliver courses and workshops in Central Birmingham: http://www.rbsa.org.uk/workshops-learning/adult-workshops/course-list/upcoming/
Sundragon Community Pottery is an accessible pottery workshop that runs a number of courses: https://sundragonpottery.co.uk/product-category/pottery-courses/
Binding Pages was a pilot project delivered in Birmingham libraries for adults over 50 who may feel isolated. A variety of arts activities were used to connect people and create friendship leading to improved mental well-being, confidence and social cohesion.
For several years there has been a growing recognition of the important role that arts and cultural activity and programmes can have on the health and wellbeing of citizens and communities. Alongside this, there has been a growing recognition in social care and health of the need to promote independence, personalisation, health, happiness and wellbeing in order to foster better outcomes for citizens. Binding Pages was a project that aimed to contribute to the realisation of the above vision.
The pilot phase of Binding Pages, which was delivered in 2019, engaged 6 artists from different disciplines to deliver their participatory practice with citizens in two libraries in Birmingham, Perry Common in the Erdington District and Acocks Green in Yardley District. The project managers worked with GPs and Social Workers to refer people into the programme using the concept of social prescribing or arts on prescription. Participants had a chance to have a go at visual arts, craft, drumming, singing, music making and clay in a fun and engaging way with others in a safe community space.
“There’s an I in illness but a We in wellness!”
Social prescribing, sometimes referred to as community referral, is a means of enabling GPs, nurses and other primary care professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services. Recognising that people’s health is determined primarily by a range of social, economic and environmental factors, social prescribing seeks to address people’s needs in a holistic way. It also aims to support individuals to take greater control of their own health.
Social prescribing schemes can involve a variety of activities which are typically provided by voluntary and community sector organisations. Examples include volunteering, arts activities, group learning, gardening, befriending, cookery, healthy eating advice and a range of sports.
“It’s not about being the best artist.”
Social prescribing is designed to support people with a wide range of social, emotional or practical needs, and many schemes are focussed on improving mental health and physical well-being. Those who could benefit from social prescribing schemes include people with mild or long-term mental health problems, vulnerable groups, people who are socially isolated, and those who frequently attend either primary or secondary health care.
There is emerging evidence that social prescribing can lead to a range of positive health and well-being outcomes. Studies have pointed to improvements in areas such as quality of life and emotional wellbeing, mental and general wellbeing, and levels of depression and anxiety. Social prescribing schemes may also lead to a reduction in the use of NHS services
“Arts can change peoples lives.”
These short films cover some of the aspects of the Binding Pages programme. Select a video to play in the browser window.
Binding Pages Highlights 2019 – A brief look at some of the arts activities provided via Binding Pages.
What Happens In An Arts & Health Project? – A set of short interviews that explains what happens in arts & health projects.
Why Invest In The Social Prescription Model? – How arts & health activitites can be beneficial to patients and social services.
The Impact of Art Activity Interventions on Communities – The impact of arts activities on the wider community.
Taking Part – Some advice on why you should take part in arts & health activities.
Artists Engagement – A few of the artists involved in the Binding Pages programme give their thoughts on the project and their art sessions.
Binding Pages Conference Panel : Arts & Culture for Health, Happiness, Independence & Wellbeing – A panel of guests talk about Binding Pages and the wider arts & health engagement programme in Birmingham. This panel was recorded live and the audio quality reflects this.
Why Art Matters – The Evidence – https://artlift.org/why-art-matters/the-evidence
Creative Health – https://www.creativehealthcic.co.uk
NCVO: Cultural Commissioning Programme – https://www.ncvo.org.uk/practical-support/information/public-services/cultural-commissioning-programme
NCVO: Know How – Cultural Commissioning – https://knowhow.ncvo.org.uk/funding/commissioning/cultural-commissioning/cultural-commissioning
World Health Organization: Health Evidence Network Synthesis Report (PDF) – https://www.culturehealthandwellbeing.org.uk/sites/default/files/9789289054553-eng.pdf
Second Arts in Health survey suggests ‘massive’ culture change
Taking part in arts activities can prevent ill health and save the NHS money, an increasing proportion of GPs believe.
The survey of 1002 GPs, was carried out on behalf of Aesop, a social enterprise enabling the arts to deliver health improvement.
Headlines from the 2019 survey are as follows –
In the survey, the arts are broadly defined as dance, drama, music, visual arts, films, singing, reading, painting, drawing, crafts and making.
Dr. Michael Dixon, NHS England Clinical Champion for Social Prescribing, Chair of the College of Medicine and former President of NHS Clinical Commissioners, said: “This reveals a massive culture change in a very short time”
“It shows that my fellow GPs have quickly recognised the power of the arts to benefit patients, reduce calls on the NHS and stop the prescribing of ever more drugs.”
Aesop’s Chief Executive and Founder Tim Joss said he was ‘delighted’ by the results of its second Arts in Health GP survey.
He added: “The results are extremely encouraging, showing that there has been a significant increase in the number of GPs that believe the arts make an important and valued contribution to the public’s health and wellbeing.”
In 2018 Aesop commissioned Savanta ComRes to ask 1002 GPs in the UK for their opinions on arts and health. The 2019 survey repeated this methodology and aimed to evaluate if there had been significant changes in the last year.
Commenting on the results of the survey, Lord Howarth, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing said: “Efforts by the arts in health movement to educate and persuade medical professionals are clearly bearing fruit and will help ensure that the arts are central in the development of social prescribing.”
Reflecting on the results, Tim Joss added: “This is a very encouraging read and shows continued positive growth from GPs.
“For Aesop’s continued work in this field and the planned expansion of our Dance to Health programme in 2020, I am extremely encouraged that there is a growing health system appetite for exemplar arts in health programmes.”
Most arts in health projects are time-limited and serve small groups. None has gone to scale in the health system. Dance to Health aims to be the first. It is a falls prevention dance programme for older people. Dance to Health reduces falls by 58%. Sheffield Hallam University evaluated the Dance to Health programme and has concluded that it “offers the health system a more effective and cost-effective means to address the issue of older people’s falls.” Aesop is currently preparing a significant expansion programme across England and Wales that will run from 2020 to 2025.
“Try it, give it a go!”
At the start of Binding Pages, I had many participants tell me they couldn’t draw. I was told by many that when they were in school their teachers had told them they were rubbish or drawn things wrong and that had a long term negative impact on their lives. After showing them that they can draw and that there is no right way and no wrong way of drawing, their confidence grew in a couple of sessions. Suddenly they could all draw by the second session because they realised that everything they did was right, because ultimately it was their work and their interpretation. One lady with autism said
‘ I wish I had been told the positive things you have made me believe about myself when I was young because then I wouldn’t have spent my whole life believing the negative things that other people have said as truth’
The binding pages project wasn’t just art workshops but they were life changing experiences. Some of the participants told me at the end of the six weeks that they can’t believe they have produced such beautiful work because they never thought it was possible. They said when they look at their finished work they think someone else must have created it. This gave the participants with learning disabilities huge boosts of confidence and self belief. Many participants wanted to attend the afternoon sessions as well because they gained so much from the drawing and painting workshops.
Each week their skills and confidence grew at rapid paces. Many were quite reluctant to talk in the first week and extremely frustrated needing support in the first session. After being taught how to draw, how to see things, how to see the best in their work, by the next session these participants totally changed their attitudes. Suddenly, they became confident in working independently and started saying positive things about their work. They began smiling, laughing and talking to others in the sessions in a more relaxed and positive way. All the participants showed so much gratitude for the sessions and said they really enjoyed them and enquired about when the next drawing and painting sessions would start. We obviously told them that this was being piloted and we were unsure. This created disappointment because they felt the need to continue for their well being and benefit.
Many talked about their youth and times of corporal punishment and the lack of opportunities in their time and how these workshops were making up for lost time and healing feelings and misconceptions of the past. Many of the participants had severe learning and other special needs. These workshops gave them a massive boost of confidence and many had amazing creative undiscovered skills which were unfolded during the workshops. The paintings and drawings became a language for them to express themselves.
I thoroughly enjoyed delivering Binding Pages because in six weeks I saw the massive positive impact it had on all the participants. This was a fantastic experience for all involved especially in helping and supporting so many people with ill health, special needs, physical and mental health problems. Such experiences are invaluable and priceless.
I started by attending the Binding Pages sessions with my client, Tracey. The activity gets her out into the social community. At the beginning, I would have to support Tracey to the library and with the activities but as her confidence grew, she got on herself and wouldn’t need me to do it for her. She was in her own element. Tracey has increased confidence and is now at a stage where she independently goes along without me – she wouldn’t even go out of her own flat on her own before-hand. She has developed new skills which she didn’t think she had. Staff members have also seen her confidence increase. I would definitely want to see the project continue. My clients are asking if there’s anything else like this. I definitely, 100%, think arts is the best way to engage with clients. Tracey has decorated her room with all the artworks she has created and looking at the art really builds her confidence and makes her happy. I am hoping you find the funding to invest in the project in the future as I’m not sure what else I can refer my clients to.
For myself, I often find myself so absorbed in the details of the activity that I become completely quiet, which sometimes makes the facilitators a little worried that I am not chatting with the others. I explain that it’s a form of mindfulness that works better for me than any mindfulness session I have had. It’s very restful.
‘The project has successfully engaged some very isolated local people in high quality cultural activities. Staff have noticed that people were apprehensive about initial visits but have become much more relaxed about meeting with other people and taking part in interesting and rewarding activities. I have also been impressed by the variety of activities and the professionalism of the tutors who have a high level of skill in their field and excellent people skills. Two library volunteers have helped with the sessions and have thoroughly enjoyed the project from their own perspectives alongside witnessing progression within the groups. I have felt confident that anyone I have referred to the group would be treated with sensitivity and would have very positive social and cultural experiences in the library’.