News and Events

From great music to captivating speakers, there's something for everyone on the BCU events calendar.

Past Events

The Aesthetics of Diversity: A Symposium

Wednesday 22 Nov 2023, 9.45am - 3.30pm, STEAMhouse

The Centre for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the Arts (CEDIA) hosted its annual symposium at STEAMhouse, with the theme: The Aesthetics of Diversity.

The event focused on artistic practice through an intensive programme co-curated by CEDIA member and cultural consultant Lara Ratnaraja and Director of CEDIA Dr Karen Patel.

Kicking off the event, Karen and Lara outlined the context and need for it, as the Eurocentric and Western aesthetic criteria continue to perpetuate inequalities in the art world.

This introduction was followed by panelists: BCU postgraduate researcher and artist Roo Dhissou and REFRAME project alumnus Papa Nii Akushey Quaye; who started a conversation about artistic practice and negotiating artistic spaces. Discussion revolved around how artists, curators and creative directors from ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds navigate their practice and create work.

The purpose of the next panel was to talk about decolonisation in artistic commissioning, with contributions from Director of Craftspace Deirdre Figueiredo, writer, curator and Curatorial Project Manager for Future Collect Rohini Malik Okon and Jaivant Patel of Jaivant Patel Company.

Finally, Lead Curator for the South Asia Gallery at Manchester Museum Nusrat Ahmed delivered her keynote speech, delving into the process of curating the South Asia Gallery in co-creation with South Asian diasporic communities.

Nusrat Ahmed speaking at the CEDiA Aesthetics of Diversity event

Equity and Equality: The myth of inclusion in the cultural sector

Thursday 13 October 2022, 1pm - 5.30pm, STEAMhouse

This was CEDIA’s first in-person event, organised in collaboration with Lead with AD:Vantage and Creative Alliance and it took place at the wonderful new STEAMHouse building. Our keynote speakers were Sandeep Mahal MBE and Justine Themen from the Royal Shakespeare Company. Panel speakers included BCU students past and present, and speakers from Birmingham Hippodrome and Deaf Explorer. The focus of the event was inclusive leadership, and how the creative sector can move beyond having conversations about inequality to taking action.

Creative Alliance Playlist

CEDIA Launch Week

12-16 July 2021

The Centre officially launched online in July 2021 with a series of events organised by CEDIA members.

Provocations: A Voice For The Voiceless

15 July 2021

A CEDIA programme, in partnership with Georgiou&Tolley of cross-cultural provocations, featuring audio-visual statements and manifestos from a range of international and regional artists.

Set within wider social, professional and educational contexts, the ambition of this event is to raise awareness and promote a better understanding of equality, diversity and inclusion issues from a global and local perspective.

‘Zines Aren’t Dead’: DiY Approaches To Inclusion/Exclusion and Diversity

15 July 2021

In this online panel, BA (Hons) Music Industries course director’s Dr Matt Grimes and Dr Iain Taylor, talk with 3rd year Music Industries and Media and Communications students Simone Barton and Jess Hammond. Partly inspired by their interaction with the third-year workshop module ‘DiY Music Cultures’, Simone and Jess share their experiences of, and reasons for, producing and self publishing ‘zines that highlight and tackle issues around inclusion/exclusion and diversity in contemporary music scenes and subcultures.

Imagination and Representation – Working at the Fringes of the Creative Sector

14 July 2021

Join Indy Hunjan, Corinne Fowler, Skinder Hundal and Karen Patel on 14 July who will be discussing working at the fringes of the creative sector as part of CEDIA launch week.

In this participatory event, we will discuss the ways in which people are delivering their work at the ‘fringes’ of the creative sector in the West Midlands region, outside of the conventional structures and institutions. We ask, what are the challenges of working at the fringes? How are these challenges negotiated and managed? The themes of imagination and representation will guide our discussion, and with the help of the audience, come away with actions or provocations for CEDIA to take forward.

Speakers include: Professor Corinne Fowler, author of Colonial Countryside;  Indy Hunjan, Kala Phool and Skinder Hundal, Director of Arts at British Council.  Chaired by Dr Karen Patel, Research Fellow at Birmingham City University.

In Conversation With the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity

14 July 2021

The Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity launched last year on March 25.

We are an independent new body working to achieve accurate representation of all sections of society across contemporary UK media.

The Centre’s ethos is based on valuing collaboration across the sector and our approach is to provide independent, data-driven, and authoritative analysis combined with first-hand insights relating to representation across the media industry.

Launching during the pandemic presented some challenges, but we have managed, in a relatively short space of time to have some impact by conducting and commissioning research, working as a consultancy and launching a new journal.

On the 14 July at 11:30 we'd like to invite you to join us in an informal conversation between key members of the Centre, reflecting on the past year and the developments the Centre hopes to see, following which we will open up for questions and discussion.

Culture is Bad for You!

13 July 2021

‘Cultural occupations shape which stories get told and which do not. Which stories get told is a result of how cultural production is organised’ (Brook, O’Brien and Taylor, 2020: 14).

This informal discussion session will be led by students from BCU’s Media and Communications degree who will host a conversation with Dr Dave O’Brien (University of Edinburgh - @DrDaveOBrien) on the findings of his co-authored book Culture is Bad For You: Inequality in the Creative and Cultural Industries (Brook, O’Brien and Taylor, 2020).

Deaf Artists Puts the World to Rights

12 July 2021

A panel for CEDIA curated by Deaf Explorer CIC.

Over 150 years ago deaf people were not disabled because they had sign language. Deaf people were well educated, had jobs and fully participated in society. The 1880 Milan conference banned sign language in education, medicalising deaf people, and causing language deprivation.

Deaf people identify as a linguistic minority and rarely identify with the word disability. Deaf Explorer’s ethos is to promote and make sign language visible. Deaf artists are not just one homogeneous Deaf culture they always intersect with other kinds of cultural identity. This intersectionality widens audiences and improves engagement with education, the arts, museums, film and the creative industries.

Deaf Explorer is a leading arts development organisation supporting equality for deaf artists. This panel has been curated in partnership with CEDIA, which represents different art forms, and intersectional identities making new contemporary work in theatre, dance and visual arts.