Futuremakers, Birmingham (UK), 2017

Birmingham City University

Futuremakers was a summer-long exhibition and arts programme located at the Midland’s Art Centre (mac). It invited a family-orientated audience to engage in creative acts of play, make, build alongside selected makers-in-residence to display their collective work in a gallery environment.

A series of workshops and play-kits were designed by students and staff over the course of the programme, alongside the makers’ own creations to allow an open, accessible form of building ad-hoc structures whilst implicitly learning about fundamental design processes.

Each week, the workshops were informed by a story that respond to the Centre’s setting in Cannon Hill – a picturesque Victorian public park. For example, these were boulders, water, or shadows. The stories directed the participating students, members of the public and makers to generate new work and display it in a specially designed exhibition display that grew over time, filling the walls with a multitude of ideas for the wider community to reflect on.

The project took inspiration from historic examples like the Junk playgrounds, fun palaces and 1970’s arts labs, to present the work in a final ‘Big Review’, a one-day event where all the work was moved into a theatre space for a final collective performance involving playing and making with the public.

Client: Midlands Art Centre (mac)

Collaborators (makers-in-residence):  Dual Works, Simon & Tom Bloor

Tutors: Alessandro Columbano, Trevor Pitts, Emily Warner

Students: Zohra Abbas, Ayesha Kaur, Jas Bassi and public participants

Research Question: How can play be used to promote key design principles to a non-cognate audience, whilst offering an opportunity to learn how established artists and designers demonstrate their own form of play in a public setting?

Links: https://macbirmingham.co.uk/exhibition/futuremakers




Architecture, Client-funded, Months, 11-50, +, Art & Design, Temporary, Graduates, Commissioned, Birmingham City Univ., Collaboration, Birmingham, Students with tutor