Alumna to host exhibition on Digbeth’s changing landscape


A talented alumna is to display a collection of her work at her first exhibition in Birmingham.

Abbie Severn, who graduated from BCU with a BA (Hons) in Illustration in 2018, has been working on the project titled ‘The Digbeth Collection’ for over two years.

The upcoming exhibition will show a wide collection of illustrations that Abbie has worked on around the changing landscape of Birmingham’s most creative community.

She said: “Digbeth has changed so much since I moved to Birmingham in 2015, and it was the first place that I really explored within the city. There are so many plans for the area that will change it even more in the coming years, so I wanted to document what Digbeth is right now.

“There is no other place like Digbeth. It is rugged, gritty and it’s not perfect like the city centre, but it has so much character and creativity, and there’s just so much going on. So I wanted to document the community that is housed in this creative space before there are big changes to the area.”

‘The Digbeth Collection’ will include drawings of key areas within Digbeth including the Viaduct, The Custard Factory, The Old Crown, Floodgate Street, Heath Mill Lane, Oxford Street, Liverpool Street, and so much more.

But illustration wasn’t always on the cards for Abbie: “I’ve always drawn things around me, but I never thought I’d become an illustrator. Before arriving at BCU, I did an Art and Design foundation course and I always planned to go into graphics, but after visiting BCU and seeing the facilities, Illustration felt like a natural step for me.

“At University, my final project was documenting the coast back home in Pembrokeshire, South Wales. So I feel like my practice revolves around documenting the environment and the places around me.”

Abbie is currently working as a Medical Secretary for the NHS, but is keen to eventually take her illustration full-time. She said: “I have illustrated pieces for various DJs in the region, as well as album artwork, company logos, animation, wedding stationary and private commissions.

“I’m hoping to be able to go freelance in the future and I’d love to be able to get my own studio space and take on more commission work.

“I work really long hours at my day job, but come home and continue working on my illustration work on evenings and weekends. My advice to current students is to put the hours in and work hard.”

The Digbeth Collection’ will be on display for the public to enjoy at The Factory Works within the Custard Factory in Digbeth on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 June. The exhibition is free to attend and booking isn’t required. Abbie also shares her work on her Instagram page: Abbie7illustration.

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