100 Days of Creativity

15 March 2024

When I started as City Curator in November, I began to research what was planned for Birmingham in 2024. After all, we had the Commonwealth Games in 2022 and Birmingham Festival in 2023 – plenty to build on as we collectively seek to change the exceptionally outdated perceptions of our city in the domestic tourism market, and indeed as we continue to programme exciting events for the people of Birmingham to experience and enjoy.

Whilst my research found there was no single strategic major event planned to put a positive spotlight on Birmingham – what I did find was an incredible breadth of extraordinary creative events and important milestones:

  • 60 years of Ikon Gallery
  • B Side Festival celebrating 40 years of hip hop in the city
  • 40 years of Birmingham Jazz Festival
  • Birmingham Weekender set to return and become bigger than ever

And so much more, from creative workshops and the return of many well-loved festivals to theatre and major concerts.

In 2024, Birmingham is absolutely not lacking things to see and do, but it really struck me that we were missing a means to draw together what is an incredibly strong summer of creative, city-wide programming, into a cohesive message that tells the world – despite the City Council’s financial position, that Birmingham is still a fantastic place to visit, live and work in.

And let’s be frank, in the wake of all the negativity and anger, it is more important than ever that we communicate to the rest of the UK (and beyond) that Birmingham is creative, innovative, resilient, and 100% still open for business.

With that in mind, let me introduce 100 Days of Creativity!

100DoC Logo AW redOnYellow72dpi 100 Days of Creativity

Taking place from 19 May – 26 August (starting with Flatpack Film Festival and ending with Birmingham Weekender), 100 Days of Creativity will be a celebration and promotion of the fantastic breadth of ways you can express and experience creativity in the city this summer.

You’ll be amazed at how many fantastic creative events are going to be taking place, some you’ll hopefully already have heard of, but I have no doubts that this initiative will introduce you to events and activities that might not have been on your radar yet, too.

We aren’t intending to commission new work or events for 100 Days of Creativity, instead we’ll be sharing and celebrating activities, events and experiences that are already planned and being delivered by a wide range of partners.

The campaign will launch on 30 April and the programme will be revealed via VisitBirmingham.com. I wanted to work with West Midlands Growth Company (Visit Birmingham) instead of creating a new website and new social profiles, because that way there is a better legacy for the city – if we can boost followers and views of the city’s main visitor destination channels then everyone can benefit from that in future, long after the 100 Days of Creativity campaign has ended.

So, in readiness for that 30 April launch date, from today, organisations large or small – be that a volunteer-led society, a Not-for-Profit Organisation, or a local creative business – are invited to join this movement!

If you are delivering an event, activity or experience that allows the public to experience or express creativity, if it encourages curiosity, if it demonstrates imaginative thinking and connects people with their own creativity; then we want to hear from you.

Submissions can be all kinds of formats:

  • Special events (for example a festival)
  • An experience that takes place every day (for example an exhibition)
  • Participatory activities (for example workshops)
  • A single event (for example a concert)
  • A short-run event (for example a theatre show)

As long as what you’re planning is open to the public and takes place in Birmingham between 19 May and 26 August 2024 then we’d love you to submit your event.

I should add at this point that we’re aiming to curate a programme that showcases the breadth of creativity in the city, but we also need to ensure the programme isn’t so large that it doesn’t resonate or feel cohesive. That does likely mean that not everything that is submitted will be included, so please bear with us as we endeavour to deliver the best possible showcase of the city.

The only other caveat for being part of 100 Days of Creativity is that you must be prepared to fully engage with the digital marketing campaign. This initiative will only work if every organiser is prepared to share the 100 Days of Creativity messaging across their online channels and is committed to cross-promotion, to amplify the creative work of others.

With that in mind, we needed a really great brand for the campaign so I joined forces with Digbeth-based design studio, Common Curiosity to bring 100 Days of Creativity to life – you can see the visual identity for this campaign on this page. Participating organisations will have access to this logo, brand guidelines and a wide range of templates and tools to help spread the word about 100 Days of Creativity.

The programme itself will be pulled together by Billy Partridge. Billy joins me as our freelance Programme Coordinator and has a breadth of experience to draw on, having previously worked on both Birmingham Festival 23 and Coventry UK City of Culture 2021.

I’m really excited to share more on 100 Days of Creativity in due course but for now, a huge thank you to our strategic partners who have helped get this campaign off the ground and who have committed to supporting this work over the coming months:

  • West Midlands Growth Company
  • Culture Central
  • Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce
  • Colmore BID
  • Southside BID
  • Central BID
  • Jewellery Quarter BID
  • Birmingham City Council

Submissions are now open. Please head to visitbirmingham.com/submit-events where you can both submit an event for inclusion in 100 Days of Creativity and make a pledge to be involved. Please note you must complete both the submission form and the pledge form to be onboard. If you have any questions please email Billy here.

Submissions close at midday on 19 April

This project is funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

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The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-shared-prosperity-fund-prospectus