Midlands Arts Centre

As part of their course work, Art and Design with Creative Technologies students were given the exciting opportunity to work with the Midlands Arts Centre on a live brief to design a creative workshop for the Culture Club.

Group of Art students sitting in a group session.

The client

The Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) first opened in 1962, and is a pioneering arts centre and charity, with the mission to make art an important part of people’s lives. MAC specialises in contemporary work, providing arts opportunities for all with a busy programme of theatre, independent cinema, visual arts exhibitions, creative courses and special events. MAC is a national leader in developing work with children, young people and families. At the heart of MAC is a focus on sustainability, accessibility and inclusion, working extensively to support international and local artists and develop programmes for and with the local community.

The Brief

The module started with a visit and tour of the MAC, and a module launch given by the client, Community Engagement Producer Emily Churchill Zaraa. Students were briefed to design a 1-2 hour artistic workshop for MAC’s well-attended monthly art club Culture Club.

Founded in 2019, Culture Club is MAC’s arts club for seniors, which usually meets on the first Monday of the month. It's a friendly and relaxed club for over-65s who meet to try a range of different creative activities, including arts, crafts, music and movement. The aim for Culture Club to be somewhere members feel relaxed and at home, while also having the opportunity to ‘stretch’ by trying new and unexpected things. It is important that Culture Club doesn’t feel like a traditional ‘club for older people’, and that activities do not stereotype or patronise members. The workshop needed to be interesting and accessible to a group of around 50 participants, a minority of whom have a range of access needs including hearing loss, blindness, dementia and physical mobility (including wheelchair users).

At the end of the module, students were given the opportunity to pitch their ideas to Emily, earning the opportunity for the winning workshop to be delivered later in the year. Emily says “We’re thrilled to be working with BCU Art and Design with Creative Technologies students to design a workshop for Culture Club, MAC’s arts club for over-65s. We’ve been so impressed by the creative and sensitive way students have responded to the brief and the imaginative approaches they have brought to the project. This is a great opportunity for Culture Club members to meet creative young people and to experience new and imaginative artistic activities.” 

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