And so it begins…

22 December 2023

And so it begins…

It’s been a busy first month as City Curator with much of my time spent meeting stakeholders, connecting with new contacts, and reconnecting with lots of fantastic people in my existing network.

I’ve been prioritising developing the shape of the approach that will guide my work as City Curator, and I wanted to take this opportunity to share my initial thinking on both the vision and the emerging aims.

My vision is to bring the city centre to life through a coordinated and creative approach to programming, artistic interventions, and city dressing. I will also be supporting wider ambitions to ensure the city centre is a desirable place to live, work and do business.


I want to find ways to integrate art and culture into day-to-day city centre life. This may be through reducing ‘dead space’ and encouraging creative ‘meanwhile uses’, and improved presentation of out-of-use spaces. Encouraging curiosity and creativity amongst those who live and work in the city centre is my aim! 


Finding new ways to animate and drive footfall to the city centre is key to this. Part of my role will be to encourage existing producers to collaborate with us, with a view to scaling up and widening the scope of city centre events. But I also want to develop and commission new festivals and events that deliver on or support the objectives of the Birmingham Visitor Destination Plan:

– Increase awareness of the product in Birmingham.

– Increase the number of visitors from the UK staying in Birmingham.

– Encourage greater numbers of international visitors to visit Birmingham.

– Increase the length of visits in Birmingham.

All of this will support the continued positive evolution of the Birmingham brand.


I really look forward to being able to connect partners with shared ambitions, in order to maximise the impact of cultural work in the city. This could mean encouraging collaboration between the private sector and the public sector, for example, as well as improving cross-city-centre connectivity through enabling and encouraging BID activities and projects. I will be supporting Birmingham City Council in the delivery of the Cultural Strategy, as well as the Visitor Destination Plan. I am extremely excited to work closely with key partners who share our vision.

I’m just one person with two days a week in this post, but it’s becoming very clear to me, the more conversations that I have, that I can add just as much value to the city by helping to connect the dots and supporting collaboration, as I can through independent commissioning. 

That said, there is space for both. And in parallel to all the above, I am very excited to be researching and having some very exciting early conversations around two new city-centre festival ideas: The Birmingham Light Festival and The Birmingham Jewellery Biennial.

I’ll look forward to sharing more on these, and a number of other very exciting initiatives that I’m supporting, in future posts!

Finally, a huge thank you to everyone who has taken the time to meet with me or contact me over the last month. The richness of the conversations and our clear collective passion for this city has been completely inspiring.

Alex Nicholson-Evans

City Curator