Seven reasons to study English in Birmingham

We've highlighted our top seven reasons why you should study English in Birmingham: a city full of cultural heritage. From our close links with the Birmingham and Midland Institute, to being in walking distance of the grand Library of Birmingham. You'll see why this is a great city to be a student in, especially when you're studying an English course.

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1. Access to a range of cultural institutions

Our close links with the Birmingham and Midland Institute (BMI), Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG), and agencies such as Writing West Midlands give you the opportunity to take your studies into the city. Last year alone we worked with BMI, The Coffin Works and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire to host film screenings, a concert and immersive workshops to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. We have previously sponsored talks at Birmingham Literature Festival, giving students the opportunity to go to the talks for free.

2. Collaborate with your Faculty of Arts, Design and Media peers

You may have the opportunity to collaborate on projects with other students within the Birmingham Institute of Media and English, which is a great way of developing confidence and team building skills. Our students have in the past collaborated with their peers from the Schools of Fashion and Textiles and Visual Communication to create ‘Making Monsters’. This was an exhibition at the Library of Birmingham that featured original screenplays, poetry, costume design and visual images which are born from Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein. They have also previously worked with students from the Schools of Media, Visual Communication and the Conservatoire on a live brief which involved creating an artefact that was presented at Birmingham Cathedral.

5 reasons why english blog drama3. Get involved with drama productions

BA (Hons) English students have the opportunity to work on drama pieces over the duration of their course. For example, previous students have performed in groups to transfer original Greek myth transcripts into performance pieces, and have also looked at Medieval and Renaissance plays’ staging, costume, cultural influences and linguistic techniques in their Early Modern Drama module. In third year, all School of English students have the option to study our Drama Workshop module. The module gives you the chance to work in a group to stage and perform a play, extracts of more than one play, or alternative type of dramatic text, and saw our last cohort of third year students produce and stage a performance of Fleabag by Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

4. Opportunities to take part in exciting trips

Students have previously visited Strawberry Hill Castle, the Brontë Parsonage Museum, and Stratford-upon-Avon, where they’ve been given the chance to handle and research a range of archive material related to Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Students have even had the opportunity to help put on an exhibition at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon, with support from Senior Lecturer Dr. Islam Issa.

5 reasons why english blog trips5. Develop your skills through a work placement

We are committed to developing strong links with employers in Birmingham and the West Midlands. If you take part in a work placement module, you’ll develop skills and abilities in a sector specific context, while ensuring that your academic aims and objectives are met as part of your wider learning journey. Our students have been involved with everything from creating articles for festival and travel guides to working with local schools. Studying in Birmingham is a gateway to hundreds of graduate employers too! Find out more on our placement profiles page. 

6. The city is your campus 

The central positioning of the University allows you to take full advantage of Birmingham’s greatest selling points. With the Shakespearian collections in Stratford-Upon-Avon only a short train ride away, as well as the Library of Birmingham being at your fingertips, you have great access to expanding your knowledge of English and the culture of the city. As well as being an architectural stand-out piece of the city, and an access point to stunning views of the city on its top floor, the Library of Birmingham is one of the largest in the world. Did you know that laid end-to-end, the Library’s book collection alone would spread from Birmingham to Edinburgh?

7. Birmingham’s immersive festivals 

The city has a great reputation for its rich art and culture, including opportunities to promote new talent, and learn and be inspired from other creatives and lovers of literature and storytelling. Check out these annual festivals that are held here in Brum:

Birmingham’s Literature Festival - this four-day festival offers poetry, politics, performance, short stories, and education from talent curated through experts within this field. This is a great chance to experience innovative performances in the heart of Birmingham. 

Verve Poetry and Spoken Word Festival - taking place across four days in February at Birmingham Hippodrome, various award-winning poets offer bold and contemporary performances in music, spoken word, and even an open mic. This is an event open to all levels of poetry lovers and is also a great chance to learn and meet other literature fans. 

Shout Festival - a festival celebrating queer arts and culture as a project of Birmingham’s LGBTQ+ community takes place every November over the span of ten days, helping to start new conversations. They put on all kinds of activities across multiple arts venues in Birmingham including art installations, live music and dance performances, poetry readings and writing workshops.