Saturday, 29 January 2011


MASH/HER/DIP, Dinner with a Cannary, Malta Festival Poznan, 2010

In a few days we are expecting the arrival of a culinary art group MASH/HER/DIP, which is   created by Olga Badowska, Joanna Baranowska and Anna Kasińska. The group officially began in 2009 but the artists had worked with each other before on numerous occasions. Anna and Olga run the Underground Restaurant – a private underground restaurant commenting on the
tradition of elitist meetings. Together with Joanna, they created their interactive multimedia performance “Pampering” in New Theatre in Warsaw and run a Food Jockeys Night in one of Warsaw biggest theatres – Teatr Dramatyczny – Café Kulturalna. Their latest project called “Dinner with a Canary” was created within New Situations at Malta Festival Poznan 2010.

MASH/HER/DIP perceives feeding their audience with their unique dishes as a tool allowing them getting inside of the viewer in a subtle and sometimes brutal way. Food is an essential ingredient of every performance. The viewers and participants always co-create the project and become its crucial element. The group use various means of expression in their project such as video art, acting/performing and sound. All their activities are preceded by thorough research and study. Cooking allows MASH/HER/DIP create a completely different reality and gives an
opportunity to look deeper into our everyday existence.

MASH/HER/DIP, Dinner with a Cannary, Malta Festival Poznan, 2010

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Birmingham Coat of Arms

Birmingham Coat of Arms,  Spring Hill Library

I’ve been doing a bit more digging into to the history of the Birmingham Coat of Arms.  It looks as though its origins began when the borough of Birmingham was incorporated in 1838 and it adopted the armorial bearings of the de Bermingham family as its seal. 

When Birmingham was given city status in 1889, it gained the right to add supporters.  Two figures were added a man on the left  representing industry holding a hammer, and a woman on the right symbolised art,  dressed in white she holds a brush and an artist's pallet in one hand and a red book in the other. Other alterations included an ermine fess taken from the Calthorpe family arms and a mural crown made of bricks which represented local government.

Birmingham Coat of Arms, Kent House

In 1974, the old Birmingham corporation changed, this time to include the Borough of Sutton Coldfield. The fess was exchanged with a cross and the mural crown in the centre of the shield was replaced with a bishop's mitre.  A Tudor rose was added and the figures moved to opposite sides of the shield.  The man also acquired a cupel (representing the significance of Birmingham jewellery making)  to hold along with the  hammer.

Birmingham coat of arms, Victoria Square

Monday, 24 January 2011

Week one of the residency

Following on from Roma’s discovery of St Basil's, it’s been a jam packed week, beginning with a 3.30 am trip to Digbeth coach station to pick up our second artists Christian Costa last Wednesday morning.  Since then we have taken artists on various walks around Digbeth as well as introducing them to the Central Library and their studio spaces at The Lombard Method. We have also played scrabble and attended openings at art spaces such as VINYL and TROVE.    I was keen to witness  Polish/Italian food shopping, Chris spent more time choosing the correct olive oil then selecting the wine, it was an education for me, resulting in some exquisite Italian cuisine, thanks Chris!  On the subject of food, we had a lovely meal on Friday evening with the artists and members of Polish Expats Association at Cafe Soya.  

During these early days of the residency Kamila has developed an interest in the Birmingham coat of arms and perticualrly the moto for the city 'Forward' which has now developed into a mild obsession amongst all of us!  I now feel the need to photograph any kind of reference to the coat of arms whenever we come across it.  The design is situated on street signs, lamp posts, and even graffiti all over the city.  There was a comical moment where upon discovering the coat of arms on a bin on New Street Kamila, Chris and I spent a little too long staring at it much to the amusement of passersby.

Meal on Friday evening with the artists and members of Polish Expats Association at Cafe Soya.  

Saturday, 22 January 2011

What, where, when - find out about our upcoming events!

Digbeth an area traditionally at the heart of British industry plays host to three emerging Polish artists exploring its heritage. Their month stay will accumulate in an exhibition summarising their research of Digbeth and its historical and social context.


Christian Costa, Kamila Szejnoch, MASH/HER/DIP

Artists' Talk

Thursday 17 February 2011, 6.30 - 8pm
Eastside Projects, 86 Heath Mill Lane, Digbeth, Birmingham, B9 4AR
For further information visit


Friday 18 February 2011, 6-9pm
The Lombard Method, 68a Lombard Street, Digbeth, Birmingham, B12 0QR
Admission free


Saturday 19 - Sunday 27 February 2011
Open Thursday - Sunday from 11am -6pm
The Lombard Method, 68a Lombard Street, Digbeth, Birmingham, B12 0QR
Admission free

Parent & Children Workshop

Sunday 27 February 2011, 11am-12.30pm*
The Lombard Method, 68a Lombard Street, Digbeth, Birmingham, B12 0QR
Admission free

*All ages welcome, but children must be accompanied by an adult. Workshop
places have to be booked in advance via e-mail:

The Project is conceived by Birmingham-based curators Roma Piotrowska and Kate Pennington-Wilson in partnership with Polish Expats Association (PEA). Post-Industrial Revolution is developed in collaboration with the Lombard Method (UK) and Wyspa Institute of Art (Poland). The call for submissions for British artists will be circulated in January 2011 with the residency and exhibition taking place from May 2011 at Wyspa Institute of Art (Gdansk).

Post – Industrial Revolution is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and Birmingham City Council.

For further information please visit 

Contact: or 07507361837

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The first day of the residency

St. Basils Church, Heath Mill Lane, phot. Ell Brown

Kate Pennington-Wilson and I collected our first artist Kamila Szejnoch from Digbeth Coach station yesterday evening, so the residency has officially started.  The first day went very well. The weather was good, we had an original fish & chips from the Rag Market and we discovered some new facts about Digbeth. We also had a proper look into a fascinating building, the St Basil's Church in Digbeth which is now the St Basil's Centre on  Heath Mill Lane. St Basil's Centre works with young people to prevent youth homelessness. In the 1960s building was the meeting place of the Double Zero motorcycle club. A lovely lady who works there let us in and shown arround, so we could see this great example of Arts and Crafts primitivism, constructed in 1910-11 to a design by A.S. Dixon, from the inside. Building was refurbished in the 1980s, so even though the original chapel is still there, the nave is filled in with the offices. Originally the building was built as a catholic church, but now the chapel can be used from time to time by all religions.
Birmingham Rag Market, phot.  mondoagogo

Friday, 14 January 2011

Kamila Szejnoch

Kamila Szejnoch, Swing, installation, Memorial to the Berling Army Soldiers, Okrzei Street, Warsaw, September 20th, 2008 
Kamila Szejnoch, Swing, installation, Memorial to the Berling Army Soldiers, Okrzei Street, Warsaw, September 20th, 2008 
Today we would like to introduce you to Kamila Szejnoch's art practice.  Kamila deals with art in a public space. She has realised   installations, sculptures and urban designs in several European cities such as Warsaw, Oslo, Belgrade, Yerevan, Fribourg,  and  Lublin. Her favourite topics are history, ideology and religion – the elements which influence our identity. She  tries  to approach outdated layers of the past by adding something new, contrasting with its original style or function. Most of her works consist of two elements. One is historical and traditional, second one is more contemporary, open, playful and interactive. One of her public space projects suggested the change of the function of  post Soviet monuments, which served the communist propaganda to commemorate Polish-Soviet brotherhood in arms. Her intervention into those grim monuments has ‘changed’ them into big toys – carousel, slide and swing. The installation “Swing” (September 2008) was based on a contrast between monumental bronze Army soldier and a tiny individual swung by a big hand of history. Her aim was to highlight historical complexity, to show relation - individual versus historical machine.

More about Kamila's works:

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Socio-political changes in both cities

David Miller, factory, Digbeth 

Birmingham has developed significantly through the Industrial Revolution, therefore, has a reputation of a working-class city. Trade unions were created in Graet Britain in 1824 and became popular during the Industrial Revolution in many countries. Both, the Gdansk Shipyard, and Digbeth, were not only important industrial centers, but also witnesses of socio – political changes. Archive footage shows Digbeth, as a place where closing of factories, anti-fascist marches, and worker's strikes were taking place, due to recession, unemployment, demise of industry, and  its movement abroad. In Gdansk, Strikes which were held in the shipyard 30 years ago by the 'Solidarity' (the first independent trade union in the Communist bloc), helped to overthrow communism in the Central - Eastern Europe.

 Digbeth related footage you can find here:

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Christian Costa

We would like to introduce the practice of each artist invited to take part in the Post-Industrial Revolution residency . We begin with Christian Costa who was born in Warsaw and now lives in Naples, Italy and Warsaw. He explored the world of art having living in many different European cities such as Wien, Milan, Rome, London. Christian’s artistic practice is focused on identities connected to places and perception of the genius loci. In 2002 along side L.Dalisi, M.Galateo, P.Mezzacapo he founded the container collective, an artistic group and a visual design studio. From 2002 to 2006 he has had twenty exhibitions under the name container. During 2009 he conceived and created, along with the artist Fabrizio Ajello, the public art project Spazi Docili [Docile Spaces] focused on the city of Florence.  Other works of his in the field of public art were produced as part of Progetto Isole and N.EST projects. 

Project called N.EST (Napoli Est, East Naples), is curated by Danilo Capasso and it's focused on the eastern part of the city, a place where everything that people can imagine related to Naples (art, sea, architecture, archaeology...) is simply lacking. It's a huge industrial area with a lot of very interesting buildings (industrial archeology), some really polluted zones, some little villages absorbed by the city, different types of public housing (government founded in the '60, '70 and '80), the main part of the port, the Business District (Centro Direzionale) and a lot of districts with different characteristics.
Christian Costa, Neapolis Est cycle, digital photography, 2008.
Christian Costa,, Neapolis Est cycle, digital photography, 2008.
Christian Costa, Neapolis Est #001: Centro Direzionale [Business District] cycle, digital photography, 2007.
Christian Costa,, Neapolis Est cycle, digital photography, 2008.
'Progetto Isole' started in the 2005. During the first edition the group of  artists had workshops and meetings with local community for  six months. They among others organized a workshop to teach how to properly write an art project and apply for money.

 In 2005, Chris with his artistic group, took a gray element of the landscape and paint 
it over  with fundamental colors. This simple action changed the life of the entire community. The installation, the painted concrete was a real challenge for everyone in town, but the real success were the kids screaming with joy when we only appeared with colors and brushes! Everyone has to tell his opinion, it was imposible to ignore this thing. The sense of community I felt during this work is something hard to describe. Especially the youngests understood that if you can change your landscape, you can change your future.

Photos from the Frangiflutti cycle, analog photography, 100 cm x 70 cm, 2005, Christian Costa

His preferred techniques are installation, video and performance, often focused on sound (sound art, sound installations). He uses digital and analog (Hasselblad) photography to explore the ‘desert of the real’ and to produce raw materials to edit in his videos or to assemble in collages, drawings or installations. The idea of ‘place’ is his medium. He is interested in identities connected to places, in the way they are perceived by the people living there and by the people coming from the outside, in the mutual relationship between identity/memory and physical space, as well as in the consequences that socio-economic processes have on cultural perception of space.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Digbeth an area traditionally at the heart of British industry shall play host to three emerging Polish artists intending to explore its heritage

View of Digbeth and the sign   ‘A Hundred thousand welcomes’ A  translation of a traditional Irish greeting, in Gaelic ‘Cead mile failte’ , phot. David Miller

We are expecting  the artists from Poland (Christian Costa, Kamila Szejnoch and MASH/HER/DIP) very soon. The Artists’ visit will mark the official beginning of Post Industrial Revolution. Artists will begin the one month residency  from the 15th of January  till the 15th of February 2011, using it as a period for research and for the production of new art works directly responding to the district of Digbeth, its historical and social context.  

These newly create art works will be displayed in an exhibition at the Lombard Method (Digbeth), an artist run studio and project space, from the 18th of February 2011.  The call for submissions for British artists will be circulated in January 2011 with the residency and exhibition taking place from May 2011 at Wyspa Institute of Art (Gdansk).

Co-curator  of Post – Industrial Revolution Kate Pennington – Wilson outlined ‘The focus of this residency exchange is for artists to develop work which responds to these environments, reflecting this shift in usage as well as the change in social, political  and industrial history of such spaces’.

Both Residencies will be accompanied by a series of events including Workshops, Artist Talks and Screenings.  

Post-Industrial Revolution is developed in collaboration with the Lombard Method (UK) and Wyspa Institute of Art (Poland). The Project is conceived by Birmingham based curators Roma Piotrowska and Kate Pennington – Wilson in partnership with Polish Expats Association (PEA).  PEA is a not for profit organisation. 
Post – Industrial Revolution is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and Birmingham City Council. 

Monday, 3 January 2011

The future of Digbeth

Both Gdańsk and  Birmingham have  large post-industrial areas near  city centers. In Gdansk it's the Shipyard, in Birmingham - Digbeth.  Both cities plan to extend existing city centres developing those areas.  Questions such aswhat do we do with all these warehouses and factories? Should we break them down or leave?Should we save the old urban structure, or start from the scratch?  are current  in both cities. 

What will be the future of Digbeth?  'The Big City Plan' (arguably the most ambitious and far-reaching development project in the UK)  aims to enhance the character of late 18th and 19th century transport engineering and to preserve the industrial character of the district (read more here). In October 2009 Ikon Eastside hosted a panel discussion about Digbeth and Eastside's future development.  They were also showing some archive footage from Media Archive for Central EnglandClick  here  to listen to a recording, view pictures and watch the footage.