Student life in Birmingham
With world-class art, unique drama, musical flair, diverse dance and performing arts, Birmingham is a great place to soak up culture.
In fact, nearly 6,000 of our students are enrolled on courses in Music, Theatre, Writing, Media, Digital Technology or Art and Design, meaning the University is also a great source of creative events.
Learn what the University has to offer
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Each month a range of events take place across Birmingham City University. Discover our forthcoming creative and cultural activities.
Around the city
Top Tips – by English student Sarah Holmes
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) houses some of the Staffordshire Hoard along with part of the largest public Pre-Raphaelite collection in the world. With Birmingham’s great rail connections, you can also get to The New Art Gallery in Walsall and The Herbert in Coventry in less than 30 minutes, and London, too, is only an hour and a half away by train! Sophie Bancroft, a recent MA Fine Art graduate, says: “Brum has the kind of arts scene that makes you want to live here even beyond your degree, from painting shows to performance events, galleries in all corners of the city and events in the coolest of bars. The arts scene in Brum is a proper community and so exciting to be part of whether as a practitioner or just a viewer.”
Here are just some of the other cultural gems on offer in and around the city:
Theatres and productions
The major theatres are the Hippodrome (home of the internationally acclaimed Birmingham Royal Ballet), the New Alexandra Theatre and Birmingham Repertory Theatre – all of which offer a mix of classics, ballet, opera, musicals and major dramatic productions.
The Midland Arts Centre, in Cannon Hill Park, stages a more eclectic range of theatrical events and films as well as workshops and exhibitions. The Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-upon-Avon is only 45 minutes from the city, and if you're under 25 you can get tickets for as little as £5.
For film buffs, Birmingham offers everything from the latest blockbusters and Bollywood films at the multiplexes to the art deco styled Electric, which is the oldest working cinema in the UK, having first opened in 1909. There is also the Odeon, the stylish Everyman cinema at the Mailbox, and the 25-screen Vue cinema at Star City, the UK's largest cinema.
Top Tips – by English student Sarah Holmes
I recently went to local arts centre mac Birmingham to watch a performance by Kate Tempest, a spoken word artist, and it was one of the best experiences I've had in Birmingham. Strong rap-esque vocals blasted triumphantly from the enigmatic performance artist over a live score. In the introduction, Kate told the audience how much she loved Birmingham, saying that unlike London, her hometown, everyone in Birmingham is so friendly.
The city has some of the finest art galleries in the country, including the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, which houses the world's leading collection of Pre-Raphaelite art; the Barber Institute of Fine Art, with an outstanding collection of renaissance and impressionist art; and the Ikon Gallery with its stunning contemporary work.
For a 'living museum', visit the Jewellery Quarter, where craftsmen and women use traditional methods to produce jewellery which is then sold direct to the public.
Have you discovered the Parkside Gallery?
Our students and staff get to indulge their love of the arts every day with one of Birmingham’s best contemporary art and design exhibition spaces on their doorstep. The Parkside Gallery, housed in the entrance of the University’s Parkside Building, showcases the work of both emerging talent and established artists and designers – with free admission to every exhibition.
In the past 12 months the Gallery, which is open to the public, has played host to the work of Ian Emes – who created animated films for Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of The Moon, Trends – an interior design based trend forecasting showcase and our very own Graduate Shows.
The Birmingham International Jazz and Blues festival is the largest jazz festival in the UK and the city's St Patrick’s Day Parade – although not strictly speaking a festival – is the largest in the UK and the third largest in the world.
Add to this the Moseley Folk Festival, Mostly Jazz Festival, Birmingham Literature Festival, Birmingham International Food Fair, Capital FM’s Fusion Festival, and there is plenty in Birmingham to get involved in.