Public Art - Collaborations in Place-based Creative Practice

Collaborations in Place-based Creative Practice: Birmingham’s Public Art Strategy 2015 – 19 was launched in November 2015.

The strategy outlines a new vision for art in Birmingham’s public realm. It considers the definition of public art in its widest sense, retelling the story of a century of rich and varied public art practices in Birmingham that have laid the bedrock for a strong future of creativity for decades to come. Collaborations in Place-based Creative Practice: Birmingham’s Public Art Strategy 2015 – 19 imagines what could come next and how we could collaborate to make it happen.                                                                                                                                          

The purpose of this strategy is to:

• set out a clear vision for public art in Birmingham 

• advocate the role of public art for Birmingham’s economy and communities 

• where appropriate, ensure public art programmes are included in new developments, and in particular, major developments 

• encourage partnership working with a range of private and public stakeholders to diversify and strengthen sustainable funding for public art in Birmingham 

• ensure the management and maintenance of our public art is appropriate and of a high quality 

• engage artists, residents and other partners with the developments in their city through public art programmes 

• improve conditions for adequately funded new art commissioning and collaborative place-based creative practice for temporary and permanent art 

• provide policies and guidance in regard to development and implementation of public art in Birmingham, ensuring public art enquiries and new schemes are taken through the Public Art Gateway Group                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Birmingham’s vision: Public art should be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike, and further add to Birmingham’s reputation as a top cultural destination, bringing people together to celebrate our heritage and be part of our future.

It should be valued, relevant, ambitious, inclusive, innovating, provoking, transformative, challenging, artistically-strong, stimulating, inspiring, risk-taking, bold, surprising and unifying.                                                                            

This vision will be achieved through six objectives, each with an action plan: 

1. Commissioning practices for public art to improve the practice of commissioning and developing public art in Birmingham

2. Funding new public art to improve the funding base for commissioning public art

3. Facilitating changes to Birmingham’s public art portfolio to improve the functioning and awareness of Birmingham City Council’s internal Public Art Gateway Group

4. Supporting artists and a collaborative public art ecology to improve the information, advice and support available to local artists engaged in public realm working

5. Maintaining public art to improve the management of the existing portfolio of public art in Birmingham. 

6. Promoting public art to improve awareness of and education about public art in Birmingham 

This strategy supports the development of public art projects and initiatives that contribute to the following outcomes: 

• Strengthen Birmingham’s communities and place-shaping 

• Enable Birmingham residents (including young people) to experience creativity, and have the opportunity to develop as creators, participants, audiences and leaders in the cultural field

• Improve Birmingham’s reputation as a desirable location where people and businesses want to be 

• Enhance Birmingham’s cultural offer for residents and visitors 

• Enhance the quality of the public realm including parks, streets and public open spaces

• Recognise and create key events personalities and moments in Birmingham                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

“Birmingham is a place with many differences and we need many different artworks to truly reflect who and what we are.” - Gavin Wade, Director, Eastside Projects                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

The strategy’s production has been overseen by the Public Art Strategy Steering Group, chaired by Councillor Holbrook, Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Skills, Learning & Culture and Councillor Ian Ward, Deputy Leader. It has involved a wide range of individuals and organisations with different backgrounds and specialisms, across sectors such as the local authority, museums, heritage and conservation, universities, architecture, arts, developers, other businesses, schools, health, community, housing, environment, planning, urban design and transport and infrastructure.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

“Collaboration in place-based practice and sharing of resources will be needed to ensure we have good quality public art, whether it is temporary, permanent, new or existing.” - Councillor Ian Ward, Deputy Leader, Birmingham City Council                                                                                                                                                                                                                

“RIBA is delighted to support Birmingham’s Public Art Strategy and we look forward to working alongside our partners to develop some really meaningful and interesting projects in the future.” - Matthew Dobson, Regional Director, RIBA West Midlands                                                                                                                                                                                           

The launch of this strategy will mark the strengthening of existing relationships and the beginning of new ones to take this strategy forward for Birmingham.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Download Collaborations in Place-based Creative Practice: Birmingham’s Public Art Strategy 2015 – 19

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For more information about Public Art in Birmingham, the Public Art Gateway Group and related policies, please contact the Cultural Development Service at Birmingham City Council: arts.team@birmingham.gov.uk / 0121 303 2434