So, I guess it's not just the sense of community round here that I find quite heartwarming – it's also the strong sense of industriousness, initiative-taking and just plain old 'getting things done'. The next 24 Carrots is on Saturday 19th September outside The Big Peg, from 9am until 3pm. (There's a Flickr group with lots of photos if you want an idea of what it was like. Join and add your photos if you went along!) The next Likemind Coffee Morning (and the event's 2nd birthday!) is on Friday 17th July, at Saint Caffe on St Pauls' Square, from 8am until 10ish. If you're on Twitter and in the Quarter: @MyJQ – a hyper-local what's on guide run by resident Brian Simpson @24_Carrots – for Farmers' Market updates @likemind – for coffee morning reminders MyJQ also has a Tumblr – check out this video from the last Likemind! There are probably loads more things I've missed – feel free to add stuff in the comments.
Last Thursday we popped along to Birmingham’s inaugural Chitterlings dinner at The Vaults. It’s an event that Type used to run in London, and it’s basically a smallish gathering of graphic design professionals and educators getting together over a meal to listen to, and chat with, a guest speaker – and each other. (Caroline explains it all much better over on the Type website – and they’ve got better photos too!)
First up, thanks to Euston station being shut and the subsequent travel disruption, we were treated to an impromptu talk by Francis Atterbury of Hurtwood Press who had literally just returned to the country from Stuttgart. There, he’d been collecting proofs of the new exhibition catalogue of Gilbert & George’s work, the printing of which he’s overseeing for them. It was fascinating to hear his anecdotes, and about the perfectionism and passion that goes into something that so many people take for granted. Ahhh, the joys of getting colours just right!
Next, our main speaker – Meirion Pritchard, Art Director of Wallpaper magazine – described the changing face of the magazine, from the first issue to the latest; a slightly naughty Peter Saville special. It was both interesting and reassuring to hear that everyday design conundrums also affect the designer of a global publication; hooray!
Chitterlings was a real experience – and one I hope to repeat. I don’t know if it’s just me but lots of people seem to be interested in socialising over food recently – is ‘food networking’ becoming something of a trend … or is that just pie in the sky?
I’ll be setting mine especially early on Friday night because at 4am on 4 April – aka very early on Saturday morning –– it’s time for the 4am Project.
Photo: B4AM – Reservoir Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham © Karen Strunks 2009
Photos submitted so far in the build up to the big day have come from professional and amateur photographers in Russia, Canada, USA, Australia, Malaysia, Sweden, and Brazil.
So I’ll be up by 4am on Saturday morning, snapping away. Bleary-eyed I may be – but thankfully my camera has an auto-focus!
I don’t know if you’ve heard of South By South West Interactive (oft. shortened to SXSWi)?
It’s an annual ‘emerging technologies’ conference held in Austin, Texas and is by all accounts a pretty mind-blowing event. A fair few locals have gone along to it this year, leaving some of us folk left behind feeling a bit left out of all the excitement.
So, Shona suggested via Twitter that maybe it’d be good if we had our own, local version? And we could even hook up with the folks in Texas via the power of the interwebs?!
The idea stuck and within a week, Shona and others had sorted the date for WXWM (West By West Midlands), I’d put together a little logo (‘cos that’s what I do!), a room at The Kitchen Garden Cafe was booked and the delegate list was filled. Wow!
The main thrust of the event was that anyone who wanted to do a 5 minute panel about anything to do with webby, social media type-things could present to the rest of us.
WXWM took place last Saturday and was fantastic. It was organised enough to run smoothly but not so much as to feel starchy or uptight. And the talks were all so different but, without exception, interesting and thought-provoking. I learned a huge amount, so thanks to everyone who took the time to put a panel together.
What turns out to be Birmingham’s first ever Barcamp was truly a great event and I really hope there’ll be a repeat next year, if not before. If you’re curious about what went on, the WXWM blog has video, photos and some additional background to the event.
I’m really pleased to live in a place where something like this can happen – and be such a success. Go Birmingham!