Longbridge Light Festival 2016, The Shadow Factory by Claire Farrell

Longbridge Light Festival 2016, The Shadow Factory

2016's Longbridge Light Festival attracted an audience of 6,000 people, attending the one night event to explore temporary and permanent artworks illuminating the outdoor spaces and unusual venues across Longbridge Town Centre. 

The festival included a community parade with over 150 people taking part, pop up theatre, performances by young people, community groups and participatory workshops and activities for all ages, as well as a market full of award-winning street food and crafts stalls! 

Artists based in Birmingham, London, Liverpool, America, Spain and Germany created and presented a series of light and art installations across the town centre in response to Longbridge and the festival theme 'Shadow Factory'. This theme was a historical reference to the nationwide Shadow Factory Scheme developed to aid production for the Second World War. Part of the Longbridge Car Factory was said to have been painted to resemble terraced houses and streetscapes from the air by local artists, and the scheme was led by Lord Austin, founder of the Austin Motor Company.

Platform Image: Stone and Flint (c) Juneau Projects by Claire Farrell


Part of the Midland Metro extension in Birmingham. Snow Hill – via Bull Street and Corporation Street to Stephenson Street, Birmingham 2016

Centro, in partnership with WERK, sought expressions of interest from West Midlands based artists to create public artwork for four large cabinets situated near tram stops, in locations along the new Metro Birmingham City Centre Extension.

Juneau Projects were selected by Centro & WERK for the commission. The artists have made work looking at the very early history of the Birmingham area, taking influence from the stone age, bronze age and Anglo-Saxon period. The work is interactive, allowing visitors to see a series of animations that bring the paintings to life when viewed through an augmented reality app on a phone or tablet.

From earliest evidence of human activity in the stone age, through the bronze age and the Anglo Saxon era, objects were made by the people who inhabited the land that the city of Birmingham now occupies. Juneau Projects are interested in the human impulse to make things that improve our lives and surroundings, whether they are artworks or tools or a combination of both. The hand painted animations that appear via augmented reality on the platform cabinets will depict scenes of artefacts being made in the three time periods, from stone tools and bronze objects to Anglo-Saxon artefacts like those found in the Staffordshire Hoard.

The artists feel that the relationship between the very earliest goods and artefacts, made during these three time periods have a relationship with Birmingham's industrial heritage and celebrate the ingenuity and creativity of the region, both in the past and today.

Juneau Projects are Ben Sadler and Philip Duckworth. They have worked together since 2001 and are based in Birmingham. Their work involves the use of a variety of media including painting, sculpture, music, animation and installation, often in collaborative and site specific ways. The artists have exhibited nationally and internationally with institutions such as PS1, New York; Eichigo-Tsumari Triennale, Japan; Tate Britain, London; and British Art Show 6.

For more information about the artists please visit http://www.juneauprojects.co.uk/

WERK and Centro would like to thank everyone for submitting proposals for Platform 3, it was a difficult decision for the panel and we hope to create more opportunities for artists in the future.

WERK shortlisted five artists for the panel below:

Geoff Inskip CEO, Centro

Paul Griffiths Director, Centro

James Aspinall Director, Centro

Stuart Evans Metro Project Director, Centro

Chris Haworth, Metro Project Manager

Andrew Wayro, Planning & Regeneration Birmingham City Council

Councillor Kath Hartley

Councillor Roger Horton

Susan Bridges Public Relations, Centro

WERK would like to thank Ross Whatmore (Zahoot) for being part of and supporting the shortlisting process, and we are looking forward to working with Zahoot Design & Print again!

Exchange.ie. Leipzig 2015 by Claire Farrell

Exchange@2015.le is an artist exchange programme between three European sister cities of Leipzig HALLE14, Birmingham | WERK and Glenn Howells Architects, and Lyon | École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Lyon. Created by Leipzig based arts organisation HALLE 14 - Zentrum für zeitgenössische Kunst to celebrate the 1000 year birthday of the city of Leipzig.

Leipzig based artist Sven Bergelt was selected to spend 3 months in Birmingham hosted by Glenn Howells Architects, Birmingham based artist Ian Richards was selected to spend 3 months in Leipzig.

Exchange@2015.le resulted in a group show 'Manifestations of a Far Nearness' at the Spinnerei Gallery in Leipzig.

Read a review of Sven Bergelt's work by Anneka French here
Read a review of Ian Richards work by Cathy Wade here

Funded by Leipzig Municipality, Glenn Howells Architects, Argent, Zahoot Print and WERK.

Longbridge Public Art Project 2012-2017 by Claire Farrell

Longbridge Public Art Project (LPAP)

Longbridge, Birmingham, 2012-2017

How do you make sense of a place that has been transformed beyond almost all recognition in physical, economic, social and emotional terms?

And what if it is still transforming before your eyes? How might a place move forward towards its future while holding sight of its past?

These are the questions that the Longbridge Public Art Project (LPAP), conceived by Claire Farrell Director & Curator of WERK, has been exploring since it began in September 2012 with incredible support from regeneration specialists St. Modwen. Following the closure and demolition of the Longbridge car plant (1905-2005) and after a long fallow period, Longbridge is in the midst of a massive (468-acre) and unique suburban regeneration scheme. The creation of a town centre for the very first time, the re-location of Bournville College and the construction of large-scale retail units are bringing jobs and footfall to the area – but this is a place in flux, coming to terms with an entirely new identity.

No single artist can hope to encapsulate one hundred years of history, let alone Longbridge’s current changes. WERK’s approach, therefore, has been to set up an artist in residence framework within LPAP – openings for artists to embed themselves within the community over a much longer period of time than other public art projects might typically allow. As one of these artists, Stuart Whipps, notes – all art is public art; all art should be public artwork. Placing the public of Longbridge at the heart of the programme, and extended time for research and making work in Longbridge, allows each artist to get much closer to the core of the place and its population – its concerns, challenges and opportunities.

Sculpture, collage, photography, drawing, and more performative walks and interventions have been presented for the past two years in public spaces, gallery exhibitions and as part of the Longbridge Light Festival. Workshops, talks, events and discussions allow for participation and the expansion of ideas. Collaborations between the WERK team, artists, community groups and Longbridge residents, including several key former plant employees who are involved with LPAP’s work on many levels, have been nurtured. It is in this exchange that the huge value of Longbridge’s heritage is being uncovered. LPAP is influencing Longbridge’s future narrative too. In some cases this has taken the form of artistic solutions to practical problems such as illuminating public walkways but as Longbridge is a place to which people have strong political and emotional connections, sensitivity is required at every step. This is living history.

Text by Anneka French

Longbridge Public Art Project (LPAP) by WERK is a research in practice, socially engaged art project.

The project aims to support the transition of Longbridge, a unique area steeped in history and one of the largest current regeneration schemes in the UK. LPAP through a place-making and partnership approach aims to enhance the social, cultural and physical landscape of the area incrementally over time supported through an artist-in-residence and engagement programme.

The project utilises established venues, non-traditional spaces and public space for activities within its ongoing cultural programme enabled through asset mapping and partnership working. The programme creates opportunities that bring practitioners together, enable new partnerships and audience development through activities, talks, workshops, happenings, walks, psycho geography, residencies, supper clubs and diverse events. In addition to this the programme creates a foundation for the long term artists-in-residents to open up their process and share their work. The festival is a manifestation of the project and ongoing programme; it is a wonderful opportunity to bring people together in a positive way, in public space, in this new, old, place.

For more information please visit www.lpap.co.uk

LPAP 2013 - 2014

WERK created Tran-si-tion International Conference as part of the 2014 Longbridge Light Festival inviting regional, national and international key note speakers to highlight best practice within regeneration schemes, urban design, strategic planning, placemaking and art within a social urban context.

The conference was developed by WERK in response to the transitional complexity that Longbridge has experienced and is currently facing as it regenerates. For nearly a century, the area was dominated physically, socially, economically and visually by one of the largest car factories in the world until its devastating collapse in 2005.

The Longbridge story is echoed across the world, with numerous cities and communities facing challenging economic and sector shifts, redevelopments, regeneration and master planning. Tran-si-tion provided an exciting showcase of innovative keynote speakers sharing their vision, approach and experience within an array of diverse urban projects through strategic planning, urban design, architecture, policy, technology innovation, large scale artistic interventions, placemaking, lighting and regeneration.

See a review of Tran-si-tion International Conference by Rebekah Bainbridge here.

Tran-si-tion keynote speakers:
Daan Roosegaarde | Studio Roosegaarde (Rotterdam)
Helen Marriage | Artichoke (London)
Glenn Howells | Glenn Howells Architects (Birmingham)
Mike Murray | St Modwen (Birmingham)
Jean-Francois Zurawik | Fete des Lumieres (Lyon)
Michael Artz | HALLE14 (Leipzig)
Nigel Edmondson | Birmingham City Council (Birmingham)

Funded by Arts Council West Midlands, Birmingham City University, Bournville College, St. Modwen and Birmingham City Council.

Longbridge Light Festival 2014 by Claire Farrell

Longbridge Light Festival

Longbridge, Birmingham, 2014

Longbridge Light Festival (LLF) was created as part of Longbridge Public Art Project by WERK.

5,500 visitors attended the inagurual festival in 2014

'...the atmosphere and positivity that could be felt in Longbridge town centre was amazing. Visitors were fully immersed in a journey of exploration across the site; an exploration of technology, interaction, imagination, regeneration and community, whilst never forgetting the physical, social and cultural history of the factory that once stood there. The perfect welcome back to Longbridge.' - Read a full review of Longbridge Light Festival by Rebekah Bainbridge here.

Over 25 West Midlands, UK and International artists participated in Longbridge Light Festival and the wider programme including Tran-si-tion International Conference. Tran-si-tion provided a platform for some of the leading UK and International keynote speakers to highlight best practice within regeneration schemes, urban design, strategic planning, technology innovation, placemaking and art within a social urban context.

General Public (artists Chris Poolman & Elizabeth Rowe) were commissioned by WERK to develop the artistic proposition & curate the inaugural Longbridge Light Festival 2014. The Festival theme, ‘Back to the Future’, used the metaphor of science fiction to explore the process of regeneration currently occurring in Longbridge. Over 6000 people attended the event on Saturday 25th October 2014.

Also included on the website is a shortened curatorial statement written by General Public prior to the festival. This introduces some themes and ideas that underpinned the commissioning process and festival theme.

The light festival also featured an international programme curated by WERK and work from LPAP (Longbridge Public Art Project) artist’s in residence.

General Public commissioned Derek Horton to write an essay to position Longbridge historically and his semi-autobiographical essay ‘White Heat, Brown Fields and Manufactured Dreams‘ provides a context for the light festival and wider Longbridge Public Art Project initiated by WERK.

LLF will return again in October 2016!

For more information please visit www.LongbridgeLightFestival.co.uk

Funded and supported by Arts Council West Midlands, Birmingham City University, Bournville College, St. Modwen, Birmingham City Council, Ballyhoo, Phil Jones Associates, London Midland and Network Rail.

The Salon 2013 by Claire Farrell

The Salon

Highcross, Leicester, 2013

Working in partnership with Hammersons and the University to occupy a former hair salon over a six month period by creating opportunities for cross disciplinary students to work with professional artists to create a ‘studio’ environment, collaborative practice, informal mentoring, crits, research and development within the context of creating site-specific work for a public exhibition.

The fine art, graphic, curatorial and drama students created site-specific work and events in response to the building using and repurposing found objects in the salon. Artist’s Hannah Hull and Ian Richards mentored the students during this period including group critiques and co curating the final group shows open to the public.

De Montfort students & local Leicester artists participating: Chloe Hall, Damon Smith, Ellie Powell, Emma Hardy, Emma Powell, Joanne Bailey, Khush Nubian, Leah Alexander, Leila Houston, Luke Phillips, Maureen Anderson, Paul Wright, Richard Howford, Rikke Digerud, Ruth Singer, Sarah Glover aka Kate Glove, Sarah Holt, Sheena Allen, Tom Morgan, Tugce Karapinar, William Wright and Yasmine Rix.

With thanks to visiting artists Matt Watkins (Birmingham), Paul Wright (Paris) for participating in the final show.

Photographer & Filmmaker Craig Bush.

The artist’s final work was exhibited to the public from the 18th - 26th October 2013.

Highcross, Leicester (Hammersons) commissioned WERK to create a project to celebrate the shopping centre’s 5th Birthday and support Leicester’s cultural identity.

48Sheet 2012 by Claire Farrell


Birmingham, 2012

The billboard is dead. Long live the billboard.

In April 2012, WERK utilised one hundred advertising billboards as platforms for art to exhibit work by 30 artists. The project transformed the city of Birmingham into an urban gallery.

48Sheet created a four week large-scale artistic intervention across the city of Birmingham with the intention to disrupt everyday commutes and journeys across the city and parts of the region.

Artists responded and challenged the repetitive rhythm of a traditional advertising campaign to create a network of unique and distinctive responses that raised the levels of consciousness that questioned our everyday consumption of advertising.

Advertising free clusters of billboards were utilised, including many carefully selected triptych and pentaptych's. The clusters were mapped to create several cycling and walking routes to encourage people to navigate, explore, discover and rediscover their city from a different perspective.

Special thanks to 48Sheet Advisory Board members for supporting the commissioning, selecion and curatorial process of the project:

Professor Chris O'Neil | Executive Dean of Birmingham Institute of Art & Design
Jonathan Watkins | Director Ikon
Claire Farrell | Curator WERK
Glenn Howells | Director Glenn Howells Architects
Professor Jiehong Jiang | Director of Centre for Chinese Visual Arts (BIAD)
Nigel Edmondson | City Design Manager Birmingham City Council
Sophia Tarr | Art Producer & Consultant

48 Sheet Artists:
Made in Company | Shanghai
Raqs Media Collective | Delhi
Mary Mazziotti | Pittsburgh
Ben Long | London
Steve Rosenthal | London
Stephen Brandes | Cork
Elizabeth Rowe | Birmingham
Redhawk Logistica | Birmingham
Heavy Object | Birmingham
Tom Tebby | Birmingham
Candice Smith | Birmingham
Maurice Doherty | Berlin
Shail Belani | Mumbai
Lucy Mclauchlan | Birmingham
Matt Watkins | Birmingham
Lawrence Roper | Birmingham
Dan Burwood | Birmingham
Glenn Anderson | Birmingham
Harry Blackett & Robin Kirkham | Birmingham
Steve Parsons | Birmingham
Helen Sweeting | Birmingham
Faith Person | Birmingham
Mark Murphy & Craig Earp | Birmingham
Jim O'Raw | Birmingham
Gerard Hanson | Oxford
Baptist Coehlo | Mumbai

In partnership with JCDecaux, Glenn Howells Architects and Ikon Gallery.

Grant funded by Arts Council West Midlands

Tamperine 2012 by Claire Farrell


Birmingham, 2012

Tamperine project by Birmingham-based music charity Sound It Out (SIO charity) was a ‘virtual’ fundraising idea to raise money for the charity. SIO approached numerous celebrities to support the charity by signing or illustrating tambourines to auction on ebay. More than 45 celebrities spanning the film, TV and sporting arenas had supported the Tamperine project.

SIO commissioned Claire Farrell, WERK to develop, and produce and curate a tambourine exhibition in May 2012. WERK invited Birmingham based artists to support the project by creating tambourine art.

Claire Farrell (WERK) suspended 97 tambourines from the ceiling; varying height and distance to allude en masse floatation, allow gentle movement, sound, and to enable people to move in between the tambourines viewing them from different perspectives.

We would like to thank the following artists for their kind support and for creating some incredible work: Craig Earp, Lawrence Roper, Lee Crutchley, Lucy McLauchlan, Lewes Herriot, Si Peplow, Ben Javens, Newtasty, Stef Grindley, Cathy Wade, Faith Pearson, Tom Tebby, Ian Richards, Redhawk Logistica (Rob Hewitt), Steve Parsons, Candice Smith, Pye Parr, Jason Dennis, Nathan Jordan.

In partnership with The Mailbox and Sound It Out.

English Accent Irish Soul 2012 by Claire Farrell

English Accent Irish Soul

Digbeth, Birminghm, 2012

WERK supported the Irish Welfare (Birmingham) with the creative development of an Anglo Irish visual and oral history project in 2012, culminating in an exhibition co curated by Claire Farrell (WERK) and Ian Richards.

'The project was a fantastic opportunity to explore Irish history in the city during the last 50 years through the personal experience of many people. It has been a hugely participative and enjoyable project, led by Michelle Aucott from Irish in Birmingham, that's involved superb and committed volunteers, artists, teachers and most especially those who have shared their personal histories and memrobolia with us. The project outcomes will help influence future learning and greatly extended the achive material of the Irish in Birmingham held by Birmingham City Council' - Hugh Tibbits CEO of Irish in Birmingham

The final exhibition also featured work by Birmingham based photographic artist Helen Sweeting, Gary Wood and 'pop & crisps' installation by Claire Farrell.

In partnership with The Irish Welfare funded by the Heritage Lottery.

Whistle Chandelier 2012 by Claire Farrell

Whistle Chandelier

Birmingham, 2012

The whistle chandelier concept and installation by Claire Farrell, WERK exhibited as part of Birmingham Made Me EXPO in June 2012.

The chandelier of approximately 450 policeman and ACME Thunderer whistles took 48 hours to install. Individual whistles were tied by hand to form clusters and concentric layers to create the chandelier. The installation won an award for Most Creative Exhibit.

“The Whistle Chandelier is rather like the Olympic Torch. It is about producing something remarkable in the form of an installation, providing ‘ordinary objects’ with a respect and status that elevates them to the exceptional.” - William McGrath, Chief Executive, AGA Rangemaster plc.

Pilot 2010 by Claire Farrell


Birmingham, 2010

48Sheet Pilot artists. Ian Richards. Lucy McLauchlan. Harry Blackett. Robin Kirkham. Elizabeth Rowe.

48Sheet pilot explored giving artists the opportunity to present their work on equal terms with the advertising messages that dominate our cities. The pilot project was a pre cursor for the potential of a larger scale project planned for 2012.

48Sheet was an experimental intervention created and produced by WERK, sponsored by the Arts Council England. The pilot project utilised advertising billboards as a medium artistic expression from 2 – 14 September 2010.

48Sheet definition is a reference to the size of a traditional outdoor advertising billboard – it featured site specific work of five Birmingham-based artists across four billboards located in Digbeth, and tested a variety of art forms and artistic process against different cityscape backdrops.

The four billboards were chosen for their specific locations and close proximity to each other to encourage viewers to take a walking tour around a ‘cluster’ of billboards platforms for art.

The first billboard featured 3-dimensional lettering of graphic designer Ian Richards. Surrounded by a cluster of standard advertising billboards ‘What You Looking At’ asked the viewer to question what they see in their everyday environment. Ian collaborated with local signage company Central Signs using their patented G57 product within his concept; a fully recycled plastic composite traditionally used for signage advertising.

Elizabeth Rowe’s ‘Going Underground’ part of a body of work made by drawing onto newspaper and magazine images. By obscuring the original meaning she invites the viewer to examine the image in more detail. To an original image taken from National Geographic Elizabeth added vivid colours and intricate hand drawn designs to provide a sense of escape into a fantasy world, in contrast to the billboard’s grey, urban surroundings. Elizabeth Rowe works in miniature collages and for this piece has photographed and digitally manipulated an original work to produce it to scale.

The third billboard was a site specific installation by artist Lucy McLauchlan’s responding to the site and her surroundings on the day of installation. Using a mix both 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional processes, the live art installation involved the artist collecting objects in the heart of Digbeth’s industrial quarter and re purposing them into an art installation. The abstract piece was created over the course of two days. Lucy’s installation was recorded as a time-lapse film by Birmingham based filmmaker Mat Beckett.

The last in the four, the work of Harry Blackett and Robin Kirkham entitled ‘Campanile’, the Italian for a free-standing bell tower (the tallest in the world is the Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower of the University of Birmingham). Consisting of a double graphic of ringing bells set against a bright background, the work aimed to open multiple meanings to stop passers-by.

Grant funded by Arts Council West Midlands.

Todo es Posible 2010 by Claire Farrell

Todo es Posible

Beautify The City

Birmingham, 2010

Artist. Lucy McLauchlan

Birds ‘perch’ on the Brutalist-style Birmingham Central Library – a huge inverted concrete ziggurat built in 1974, designed by Architect John Madin.

An intervention by WERK supported in kind by The Central Library and Birmingham City Council; with many thanks to Brian Gambles, Nigel Edmondson and Sue Round and her team.

Artist Lucy McLauchlan is from Birmingham and works all over the world exhibiting her work in galleries and the public realm. Lucy has recently been published in ‘Beyond the Street – the 100 leading figures in Urban Art”.

Sponsors and partners: Central Signs and Birmingham City Council.

Found in Ladywood 2010 by Claire Farrell

Found in Ladywood

Ladywood, Birmingham, 2010

'We've just witnessed History'

A project by WERK in partnership with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Artists - The Leo String Quartet (City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra) and Composer Duncan Chapman.

Written and produced by Claire Farrell WERK, Found in Ladywood was a site specific performance based community intervention and engagement project.

The project culminated in a contemporary urban performance within a working engine room of a fire station in Ladywood, a suburb of Birmingham on the 9th October 2010.

The Leo String Quartet (City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra) took their renowned classical repertoire out of traditional settings and into a working engine room of Ladywood Fire Station for an autumnal performance of Shostakovich Quartet No 8 and original site specific urban composition.

The score was created by Composer and Music Animateur Duncan Chapman and inspired by a series of walks with residents to record the sounds of their environment. The Composer notated the music working with Ladywood residents in a series of artistic workshops, which included collaboration with the Leo Quartet to produce the piece for the engine room performance.

Claire Farrell, WERK was inspired to write the project for the community by both the CBSO’s ethos to engage new audiences, and ‘Lost in Ladywood’ a 2007 project by artist Simon Whitehead, commissioned by MADE. WERK aimed to engage and reach community members in Ladywood within all aspects of the project; within the creative process, to provide opportunities for residents to learn new skills by being part of the event team to produce a classical performance on their doorstep. The event was produced on a small budget, utilising resources that were accessible to the community with the aspiration that events could continue in the area post performance.

The engine room in Ladywood Fire Station had never been used in this way before; it provided a venue offer in terms of a unique performance space, providing great acoustics and a key location within the heart of the community.

Community event skills workshops

The journey leading up to the performance involved members of the community working with Claire Farrell, WERK within a series of workshops to give the group the opportunity to learn a variety of skills and to become the event team for the project. WERK in collaboration with the community event team transformed the engine room of the fire station with simple lighting into a performance space with risers and rows of chairs sourced in kind to line the back of the engine room for the 9th October 2010 event.

WERK and the community group planned and delivered the event through participation in all aspects of planning leading up to including the performance day. The simplicity of the performance space transformation was intentionally site responsive, and also an opportunity to demonstrate to the community event team and audience members that a Fire Station in the heart of their community could be used as a performance space.

Post Found in Ladywood members of the same community event team formed for this project produced their own musical event at the fire station and continue to do so today. The latest performance event in the fire station took place in April 2015, five years on.

Sponsored by Birmingham City Council Working Neighbourhood Fund, with special thanks to the West Midlands Fire Service and Birmingham Solihull Mental Health Trust Foundation for supporting the project.

Moseley Road Hoardings 2010 by Claire Farrell

Moseley Road Hoardings

Birmingham, 2010

WERK commissioned artist Lucy McLauchlan to create a temporary intervention on hoardings surrounding a large-scale brownfield on Moseley Road, Birmingham.

The project intention was to transform the hoardings and uplift the area. The area was run down, a reflection of the many halted developments scattered across the city as a result of the economic downturn. The artists’ infamous bird murals depict ‘community’ to counterbalance the wasteland the site envelops.

Volunteers, WERK and service users of IWIC (engaging socially isolated Irish people across Birmingham) participated within the preparation of the hoardings, cleaning the area and cheerfully painting them on a very cold day.

Sponsored by Birmingham Joinery, and supported by Irish Welfare Information Centre & Birmingham Irish Community Forum With special thanks to Micky Rice, Michelle Aucott and Jake Genockey.

Digbeth Public Art Project 2008-2009 by Claire Farrell

Digbeth Public Art Project

Digbeth, Birmingham, 2008-2010

Digbeth Public Art Project (DPAP) was conceived and produced by Claire Farrell, WERK as part of the redevelopment of Birmingham Coach Station with the aim to support the regeneration of the area and enhance the sense of arrival to one of the cities major gateways (1.6 million visitors a year). The project engaged the local people within the artist's research and development phase through a series of unique participatory events held at various venues across Digbeth. The resulting site specific work 'Boundary' (Rob Colbourne & Stuart Mugridge) and 'A Hundred Thousand Welcomes' (Dave Sherry) evolved from a grounded engagement process with the local community.

The realisation of the three-artwork commissions was the result of an in-depth, two-year long research project in response to ongoing dialogue and a series of events with local people and the historical and cultural traditions of the area.

Every year the Birmingham Coach Station sees 1.6 million passengers enter the city through its gates. The DPAP installations provide the area with a strong visual identity, creating a lasting impression of the city of innovative and progressive. The collaborative artworks are testament to the creative and enterprising nature of the area, improving the aesthetic reputation of Birmingham by investing in the city's art and culture.

Festival of Extreme Building 2006-2007 by Claire Farrell

Festival of Extreme Building

Birmingham, 2006-2007

WERK co curated and produced ‘The Festival of Xtreme Building’ (FXB) on behalf of Sozo Collective.

FXB was an experimental arts and architecture project that took place, occupied and transformed urban wasteland in Eastside, Birmingham in 2007.

Artist. 100 artists participated in FXB

FXB occupied a piece of wasteland in Birmingham city center’s Eastside district. Numerous artists and architects were commissioned to work together and produce experimental structures to be exhibit in public space. The festival evolved over a 4 month period into an organic open air gallery of unusual structures. FXB commissioned over 10 temporary structures, 22 events and exhibitions of multiple art forms including performance art. FXB installations and events occupied several sites and venues across the West Midlands, from Highgate brewery in Walsall, a public square in Brindley Place and Thinktank HQ Millennium Point.

FXB events and installations were designed to engage the general public with the built environment, providing opportunities to explore art, design and architecture.


FXB featured examples of the latest advances in building design and sculpture – the ‘Micro Compact Home’ (or m-ch) designed by Richard Horden of Horden Cherry Lee Architects (London) was habitable for the first time in the UK. Inspired by frequent flights on the business class, the m-ch applied the rules of aviation design and demonstrated how state of the art technology can be integrated into a lightweight transportable dwelling to produce an efficient, compact and desirable living space.

During FXB the m-ch installation reached 120 million people regionally, nationally and internationally through BBC World News, BBC 24 and through various other media.

FXB also featured structures the ‘T House’ by artist Colin Pearce and Architect Ranbir Lal a modular building made from one unit- a 3-4-5 triangle – where a Summer Solstice event was held during the festival and ‘The Viewfinder’ by William Schofield of Glenn Howells Architects an installation where the public could view their surroundings through a series of peep holes. One of FXB’s international commissions was ‘timepipe’ by Austrian artist Norman Brunner whose inflatable pipe installation provided an ‘interactive shopping experience’, a ‘Tribute to Mohammed Rafi Commission’ was created by artist Tasawar Bashir who created a shrine to celebrate the late Mohammed Rafi’s music.

Other installations included a ‘Mud House’ by Dave Pollard in partnership with Ramboll Whitbybird and Associated Architects a zero-carbon building produced for under £300 and made predominantly from soil; artist Peter Hadfield’s installation ‘Paper House’, a structure made entirely from recycled junk mail that had been posted through the Birmingham artist’s letterbox.

Art collective Pudelskern Space Agency from Austria, made up of artists/architects Nina, Horst and Georg, also bought their innovative work ‘Calla’ chair concept to FXB. Pudelskern are interested in public space and how the public use it.

Events & exhibitions.

Some of the events featured at FXB included a workshop with architect Will Alsop and Matthew Bolton College Fashion students to design a ‘fashion house’. BBC Blast –a 3-D modelling workshop led by artist Leroy Henry. And as part of Architecture week 2007 FXB welcomed the ‘The Natural House’ project in sustainable building introducing the Clay Build Technique (CBT) to the UK. Five artists were commissioned to create new works exploring the materials used in clay building and/or the themes of sustainability and community.

The commissions took place in five locations, Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton, Shropshire and Warwickshire.

The project coincided with the arrival of the ‘X Nation’ who occupied the site during the festival. Before their arrival a mysterious ‘X’ projection appeared on the famous rotunda building, sponsored in kind by Urban Splash. The opening of FXB saw the arrival of a mysterious army uniformly dressed in black boiler suits throughout Birmingham, known as the ‘X Nation’.

The Event
FXB opened in spectacular style with Kindle Theatre leading a grand procession of a wonderfully diverse selection of Birmingham’s performing arts talent as ‘X – Nation’ arriving to the site; the procession animated the site with music and dance led by Bollywood ‘Dance Masters’ Hina & Co.

The project received the highest figure of media coverage for an arts project in Birmingham to date, generating £750,000 worth of regional, national and international coverage. Marketing Birmingham commissioned internationally renowned PR agency McCann Erikson on behalf of Birmingham City Council to liaise with BBC 24, World News, GMTV, Guardian, Observer. Richard and Judy even requested to visit the site but were beaten to the post by journalist Gareth Rubin from the BBC who spent the night in the micro compact home and reported is experience to the nation.

Birmingham City Council, Advantage West Midlands, The Birmingham Alliance, Travel West Midlands, Arts Council England, Bank’s, Lawlors, Armoury Group, Interlux Rohm, E-on Energy Services, Urban Splash, A&B, Made, Business Link, Artsites Birmingham, Sampad, Vivid, Architecture Week 2007, Fierce Ten, Scott Wilson, ISIS Waterside Regeneration, Legrand, Isg, Solus Ceramics Limited, Carillion, Severn Trent Water, Highgate, Chord, Muji, Matthew Boulton College, Adp, ERDF.

T5 2012 by Claire Farrell


Heathrow, London, 2012

WERK were commissioned by National Express to create a concept for a permanent enhancement to Heathrow Terminal 5.

Artist. Heavy Object.

The UK’s busiest bus and coach station, located at the heart of the world’s busiest international airport, in 2004 Birmingham based D5 Architects were commissioned by National Express to take charge of the structure which most notably features a 1100 m² air inflated, translucent roof. The inflatable roof structure, designed in conjunction with well known balloonist Per Lindstrand, enabled the creation of a column free, triple storey internal space that will contribute to a safe, open and comfortable environment for its users. The self supporting canopy is also transparent, allowing the space to be naturally lit during daylight hours.

WERK commissioned artist and designer Ian Richards to develop an installation concept for the interior of the terminal following a number of site visits with the intention to create a sense of arrival in a space with five exits.

Filmmaker Craig Bush was commissioned to document the process.

In partnership with National Express.

Banded About 2008-2009 by Claire Farrell

Banded About

Birmingham, 2008-2009

'We've joined the Brass with the Sitar'

Artist. Associate artists from Birmingham Music Hub

Birmingham Music Hub were awarded a high profile national music partnership award in 2009. The Department for Children Schools and Families (now DFE) supported five Music Partnership Projects (MPP) in 2009-2010. Claire Farrell, WERK produced Banded About on behalf of the CBSO and Birmingham Music Hub. Other national awards went to music partnerships across the UK including the Barbican and London Symphony Orchestra. The Hub comprises Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Birmingham Jazz, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Sound it Out Community Music and Town Hall Symphony Hall, supported by Birmingham Music Service and Ex-Cathedra.

‘Banded About’ was an ambitious music education project created by the Hub with each partner working with a cluster of 3 primary schools and 1 secondary school. The project’s objectives were to deliver in and out of school workshops to children and young people aged between 9 and 13, to teach and enhance pupil’s skills within the context of creative music ensembles. The project also aimed to provide live music experiences and sharing performance days at the prestigious CBSO Centre and Town Hall Birmingham for the participants. Simultaneously, the project provided learning opportunities for teachers and professional musicians, sharing best practice.

Live Music.

The project objectives included the opportunity to provide live music performances by the Hub partners, over 3,000 children and young people from the 20 schools experienced live music performances throughout the project sharing days and CBSO Roadshow ensemble visits to schools sponsored by HSBC. The project’s flexible, organic approach nurtured additional added value in the form of ‘internal’ cluster sharing days across the Hub partner clusters. Sound it Out’s Perry Beeches Secondary School participated within the Arts Award scheme to achieve an accredited bronze art award. THSH cluster formed the successful cross-cluster ensemble workshop that took place at Bishop Vesey Secondary School once a week involving primary and secondary pupils and led by noted jazz musicians Soweto Kinch and David Grey in collaboration with Birmingham Music Service teachers. The same pupils performed as an ensemble at the Hockley Flyover show in May 2010 sharing the same stage as Mercury Music Prize winners Ms Dynamite and Speech Debelle and reggae queen Janet Kay.

In addition to the main focus of engaging young people and children in creative music making, Banded About provided continued professional development (CPD) support for teachers and musicians throughout the project. Three CPD days took place at the CBSO Centre with over 45 teachers and musicians taking part in workshops led by professional music animators. The musicians have shared best practice, enhancing their professional development. A CPD strand include a ‘practitioners ensemble’ desgined to share best practice through improvisation and various creative techniques. The ensemble was formed with professional musicians and teachers from different disciplines including world music, jazz, African drumming, contemporary and classical orchestral music.

Final Concerts.

On 9 July 2010, Town Hall Birmingham opened its doors to hundreds of excited children and young people, along with a host of teachers, professional musicians and music lovers, to fill the hall with sound and raise the roof in two special concerts to celebrate Banded About.

Sponsors. Department of Education. Arts Council England. Birmingham City Council

Swarf & All 2013 by Claire Farrell

Swarf & All by Claire Farrell

Birmingham Made Me, Birmingham, 2013

The installation was inspired by, and pays tribute to the craftsmen and women of Morgan; the people and process of industry and manufacturing. The work encouraged people to look beyond the finished form, and to think about the process; swarf and all.

Claire Farrell created the BMM transparent letters following a short 3 week residency Morgan Cars (Malvern, Herefordshire) in collaboration with Bowden & Dolphin Signs (Saltley) with the intention to reveal and re-present the design, materials and componements within the manufacturing process.

Featured Swarf & All publication by Claire Farrell and Sarah Nokes (WERK)