EVENT03.02.2014 / 1.00pm6.00pm

Midwest to Midville: repositioning the visual arts in the Midlands

1-6pm (followed by drinks reception) – Free, booking essential

Live online streaming via This is Tomorrow

Midwest to Midville is a free symposium, organised by Ikon and Turning Point West Midlands, for visual artists, students and arts professionals.  Looking at the past, present and current ambitions for the visual arts in the region, this debate considers future opportunities for the sector. Special guest speakers include internationally acclaimed curator Matthew Higgs, White Columns Gallery, NY, and David Powell, co-author of the recent independent report Rebalancing Our Cultural Capital (2013).

Rebalancing Our Cultural Capital (Peter Stark, Christopher Gordon, David Powell, 2013) http://www.theroccreport.co.uk

Two panels, comprising writers, academics, artists, a councillor and a curator, discuss past, present and possible futures of the visual arts in the Midlands.

Midwest* Panel – Considering the current visual arts ecology in the region and significant developments over the last fifty years, since the beginning of Ikon (est. 1964)
Featuring: Rachel Bradley, Daniel Pryde – Jarman, Marlene Smith and Steve Trow (Sandwell Borough Council).

Midville** Panel – What does ‘not London’ mean for a region that includes the second largest city in the UK, a city that sits in such close proximity to London? To what extent is self-determination, a sense of self and place, a prerequisite for a vibrant arts scene in the region and success for its artists nationally and internationally? What are our assets?  How do we promote these, how do we shape the visual arts scene we want now and in the future?  What could Midville look like?
Featuring: Wendy Law (TPWM), Lynda Morris (Norwich University of the Arts), Jonathan Shaw (Coventry University) and Gavin Wade (Eastside Projects). Panels are moderated by Debbie Kermode and Jonathan Watkins and each will be followed by an opportunity for Q&A.

This is a free event and booking is essential.  Places can be booked online or by calling Ikon on 0121 248 0708. (Please note, places are limited and if you have booked and are unable to attend do let us know so we can offer your place to another person)

This is the opening event of Ikon 50, the year-long programme celebrating Ikon’s 50th anniversary.

Additional information

*Midwest (2003-08) was an artists’ development programme and catalyst for creative thought in artist-led culture originated and emanating from the West Midlands. It aimed to develop the ambitions and capacity of artists through regional, national and international dialogue and develop a critical mass of nationally and internationally active practitioners.

**Midville, a name used by Charles Madge and Barbara Weinberger in 1973 for Birmingham and Coventry Colleges of Art, is used again by Lynda Morris to denote ‘not-London’ in a 2013 exhibition catalogue essay for New Art West Midlands.



1:00-1:30 – Registration & Coffee

1:30 – 1:45  – Welcome from Jonathan Watkins (Ikon Gallery)

1:45 – 2:15 – Keynote speaker: David Powell ‘Rebalancing our Cultural Capital’

2:15 – 2:30 Q & A session (moderated by Jonathan Vickery, University of Warwick)


2:30 – 3:30 – Roundtable discussion: Rachel Bradley, Daniel Pryde – Jarman, Marlene Smith, Steve Trow (Sandwell Council)

Q&A session

Chair: Debbie Kermode (Ikon Gallery)

3:30– 4:00 – Coffee Break

4:00 – 4:30 – Keynote speaker: Mathew Higgs

4:30 – 4:45 Q&A session (moderated by Jonathan Watkins, Ikon Gallery)


4:45 – 5:45 Roundtable discussion:  Wendy Law (TPWM), Lynda Morris (Norwich University of the Arts), Jonathan Shaw (Coventry University), Gavin Wade (Eastside Projects)

Q&A session

Chair: Jonathan Watkins (Ikon Gallery)

5:45 -6:00 Closing Comments – John Butler (Birmingham City University)

6:00 – 7:00 – Drinks reception and networking 

Event Date

This event has passed
Image Credits
1. Cormak Faulkner, Sandra Hall, Cristina Lina, Suzi Osborn, Jenni Shuett and Simon Poulter. 'Stalker' mac birmingham micro-residency as part of the 2013 Artist Development West Midlands programme in partnership with the New Art Gallery Walsall and mac birmingham, supported by Turning Point West Midlands.

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