Blog Archive

22nd February 2017

18:00 to 20:00 – Cherry Reds, Birmingham

This REDEYE event is designed to take the fear out of networking and provides photographers and artists with the opportunity to talk about their work and make new connections, all in pain-free, 10-minute slots!



Ever had that overwhelming feeling of social anxiety when the word ‘networking’ is muttered? Ever avoided walking up to a person and introducing yourself as a photographer or artist? Then struggled to remember what your work is, never mind coherently talk about it?

If the answer to any of the above is ‘yes’, ‘maybe’ or ‘please stop talking about networking’, come along on 22 February 2017 for an anti-networking event at Cherry Reds Bar, Birmingham.

At Speed Networking, you won’t be thrown into a pit of humans and forced to navigate the room like a lost sheep. Instead, you’ll sit down with another friendly photographer or artist, tell each other a bit about your work and then move on to the next friendly photographer or artist to repeat the process. Easy, right? By the time you’ve made your way around the room, you’ll have talked about your work so many times you’ll be uttering your elevator pitch in your sleep.

This event is the perfect place to practise presenting your work, and to meet with other photographers and artists in the region.

This is a Redeye event in partnership with GRAIN.

This event starts at 18:00 on 22 February 2017 until 20:00. Doors open at 17:30.

This event takes place at Cherry Reds Bar, 88-92 John Bright Street, Birmingham, B1 1BN. The venue is fully accessible.

Please book your ticket using the links below. You need to be signed in to do so. Tickets are £7.50. Redeye members £3.50, concession tickets £5.00.

Who is it for?

This event is for any photographers, artists or anyone working in a connected field, looking to meet new people, practise talking about their work and gain new professional connections. It’s open to photographers and artists at every level, and is highly recommended for experienced and non-experienced networkers alike!

Please note Redeye’s terms and conditions including our refund policy.

Image: Arthur Siuksta

17 12 2016

Dimitri Haddad;

International Residency Exchange Artist

Artist Dimitri Haddad was awarded the International Residency Exchange based on a proposal he developed to consider Birmingham’s textile industry. Through research and photography he explored the innovations of the industrial revolution and the impact of globalisation.

During the residency Dimitri undertook research at the Library of Birmingham archives and within the built environment to find traces of the industrial revolution. He found that the first modern cotton spinning machine was invented by John Wyatt and Paul Lewis and was first operational in Birmingham’s Old Square. He contrasted this with the city’s retail offer, shopping centres and busy shopping and commercial spaces.


During the residency Dimitri documenting the city, particularly the shopping areas, created a series pf photographs and hand printed this imagery onto textiles inspired by the pre-industrial age. At the end of the residency period he handmade a dummy photo book incorporating a poem by poet John Dyer. The photo book, with text, take the form of a textile pattern book.

The residency was developed in collaboration with the IED, Madrid and the exchange opportunity was awarded to Dimitri Haddad and to Anneka French. This opportunity is part of a broader series of continuing professional development conceived and developed by GRAIN.




Image credits: Dimitri Haddad, 2016

GRAIN is delighted to be working in collaboration with Redeye again, this time on HOTHOUSE Birmingham.

A daylong celebration of photographic projects that have never been seen before, followed by a closing talk from Vanley Burke, the ‘Godfather of Black British photography’.

Hothouse arrives in Birmingham in November for a celebration of photographic projects, alongside a hub of photographic activity, delivered in association with GRAIN. Photographers are welcome to drop in for an hour or two, or stay for the whole event – but please register to be sure of getting a place. Visitors are welcome to bring their portfolio or photobooks for showing on the day.

Throughout the day there will be short presentations from photographers about their recent work and projects, plus ample opportunity for networking and portfolio review. During the lunch break there will also be the option to attend an informal workshop with the Arts Council England for Photographers currently looking for funding for projects.

Here is a full line up of the Photographers who will be presenting their latest projects.

10:30 – 11:30
Corinne Perry
Stewart Wall
Joanne Coates
Juliana Kasumu

12:00 – 13:00
Olli Hellmann
Evonne Bain
Melanie Letore
Jessa Fairbrother

14:00 – 15:00
Alison Baskerville
Mark Wright
Fabienne Viala & Jean-Francois Manicom 
Dimitri Haddad

The event culminates with a talk by Vanley Burke.

Vanley Burke:

Vanley Burke has been described as the ‘Godfather of Black British Photography.’ His iconic images have captured the evolving cultural landscape, social change, and stimulated debate in the United Kingdom over the past four decades. He draws strength from remaining closely connected to his community, and his personable character allows him to capture the intimate and private nature of people’s everyday lives. His body of work represents possibly the largest photographic record of the Caribbean Diaspora in Britain, and as an avid collector, Vanley continues to connect histories through his substantial archive housed at the Library of Birmingham. From local community organisations to the Victoria & Albert Museum and Whitechapel, Vanley has exhibited widely in the United Kingdom, and as far afield as New York, South Africa and China.

Vanley’s artistic enquiry is not simply limited to black and white documentary photography, as his eccentric rebellious nature lends itself to sculpture and painting, and crafting art that gives life a shape. His simple motivation has been the preservation of culture and history through creation, documentation, and discovery which often leaks into the private.


This event starts at 10:30 on 26 November until 16:30. Doors open at 10:00.


This event takes place at Glenn Howells Architects, 321 Bradford Street, Birmingham, B5 6ET. The venue is fully accessible.


This event is free but booking is essential. Please register via the link below. It is also possible to make a donation at the time of registering and this really helps us deliver more events.

Who is it for?

Whether you have a passion for new photography, want to find out about some exciting emerging photographers, or would like the opportunity to meet and network with photographers, enthusiasts and industry professionals, this event aims to have something for everyone. All participants are welcome to bring a portfolio on the day, find out more about that here.

To book tickets to this event, please sign in to your Redeye account; or become a member by joining Redeye; or simply subscribe to the Redeye website.

Image: Charlotte Jopling

To see more click here.

Screen Shot 2016-11-14 at 11.43.06

20 09 2016

GRAIN Bursary

The GRAIN Bursary is an award to a West Midlands based artist, curator or writer working in photography.  The Bursary can also support a group or collaborative approach.  The bursary offers a cash award of £1,500, mentoring and advocacy for a 12-month period.   

The bursary supports artistic development and experiment and the production or exhibition of new work, rather that the touring or display of finished work.  It offers time to explore processes and try out new ideas. The applicant must have a photographic practice.

The Bursary has been designed to support excellence in photography. The award of a Bursary is intended to provide artists and creative professionals with time to think, research, reflect and/or experiment with new ideas, to enable the research and development of new work or to support the publication, presentation or dissemination of new work. The Bursary is not a commission or production grant but a package of support focusing on research and process that can be used flexibly according to each artist’s needs.

Applicants must demonstrate that they have an established practice and a track record of working at a professional level within the area of interest. They must also evidence a high level of quality, imagination and ambition in their work. The Bursary can support practitioners at different stages in their career and a collaborative approach.

Deadline: Apply by 5pm (GMT) on 14th November 2016

Bursary Outcome: Any outcomes should be delivered within 12 months of the award.

How to Apply: Please download the full brief and application below.

For any enquires please contact

GRAIN Bursary Brief

GRAIN is pleased to announce the next event in its programme of professional development activities. Our Portfolio Development Day will be delivered at and in partnership with mac, Birmingham.

During the morning our guest expert reviewers will give short presentations and in the afternoon there will be opportunities for one to one portfolio advice and reviews.

We will be joined by Camilla Brown; curator, writer and lecturer on contemporary art, specialising in photography, Paul Herrmann; Director and founder of the photography network Redeye and Chair of the British Photographic Council, Kate Peters; award winning international photographer and Michael Sargeant, Assistant Curator at QUAD, Derby’s centre for contemporary art and FORMAT International Photography Festival, the UK’s leading biennale in photography.

The day is devised to enable emerging photographers, students and artists who work in photography to get advice and reviews from leading photography experts.

Please note there will be a maximum of 20 attendees to enable a focussed day. Please book early – tickets can be purchased via Eventbrite – please click here.

The day is a must for emerging photographers who wish to understand how to develop their work and their portfolio in order to secure new opportunities.

Tickets are priced at £20 (full price – no booking fee) or £12 (Concession price + £1.33 booking fee)

banner portfolio

The new residency opportunity, in collaboration with the IED Madrid, has been awarded to curator and writer Anneka French for her exciting proposal that looks at her relationship with photographic practice.

During the residency she aims to produce original curatorial research and new writing while expanding her professional development on an international scale.

Anneka’s research investigates the body within the physical space of the city, particularly investigating photography and performance through the lenses of curating and writing.  She is a freelance curator and writer and has worked at Tate Modern, Ikon Gallery, New Art Gallery Walsall and Wolverhampton Art Gallery.

Anneka also works as editorial manager of contemporary art magazine this is tomorrow and writes reviews and essays for a range of platforms including Apollo Magazinea-n and Photomonitor.

The residency is a special opportunity to research and devise new work that contributes to professional development, portfolio and the cultural significance of the spaces/hosts/communities.

This opportunity is part of a broader series of continued professional development opportunities conceived and developed by GRAIN in partnership with IED Madrid, supported by Arts Council England and Birmingham City University.

The Residency has been designed as an exchange. At the same time a residency will be undertaken by an artist, photographer or curator from Madrid/Barcelona in the West Midlands, UK.

‘Photograph by Mitra Saboury’


‘Responding to an Archive’ is a project in two halves offering two diverse responses to the Library of Birmingham photography collection. 

The first is ‘In Camera’, where GRAIN commissioned artist Mat Collishaw to research and respond to the Library of Birmingham photography collection.  Collishaw selected to work with a collection of orphan crime images to create a new installation.  The second is ‘Spirit is a Bone’, a GRAIN commission which invited artists duo Broomberg & Chanarin to make a new publication in response to the ‘archive’.  The work is to be published by Mack Books in late 2015. 

As part of this latest project GRAIN has initiated professional development activities to provide new opportunities for emerging practitioners.  The activity is supported by Arts Council England and Birmingham City University (BCU).

Over the last few years GRAIN has delivered professional development as part of its programme including mentoring, paid internships, curators’ bursaries, symposia, masterclasses, courses and portfolio development days.

Currently Birmingham based emerging curator and writer Oli McCall is working alongside the GRAIN team, reflecting on the project and the artists’ responses and writing and blogging about the work.  See for more information.

Recent BCU photography graduate Nicola Onions is working with GRAIN to increase her work experience in visitor engagement and experience.  Nicola participated in GRAIN’s 5plus5 international exhibition exchange during 2014 and has been selected for New Art West Midlands 2016.

Mark Wright, graduated in photography from BCU earlier this year. He is making a new series of work that takes a lyrical and poetic stance on the mundane.  Rather than this being a literal response to the ‘In Camera’ exhibition it is a development of his current practice that is influenced by the artist’s approach

Image credit: Photographer unknown, ‘Railway Guards, Chief Guard and Assistant, Moscow’, c. 1870

Albumen print from a collodion negative.  Sir Benjamin Stone Collection MS 3196 Library of Birmingham


GRAIN has run a season of professional development and professional practice events to support emerging talent, provide advice and opportunities for development, engagement and sharing of ideas.  We will be doing more next year.

In the mean time we would like to thank our partners in this area who include Birmingham City University, Redeye, Wolverhampton University, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Magnum Photos  and Coventry University.

We will have more on offer in 2014 so please keep your eye on our listings and/or join our mailing list for more information.

For more details of our next Portfolio Development Day in Coventry on Saturday 29th November click here.

For more details about our upcoming Magnum Photos Symposium click here.


Saturday 22nd November 2014, 10am – 6pm @ Library of Birmingham

The Magnum Photos Symposium is an intensive one day event designed to inspire, guide and advise emerging photographers in the development of their practice. The day is aimed at photographers who are currently working on a long term, personal photographic project.

Magnum Photos is an agency synonymous with integrity, curiosity and ‘concerned’ photography. For over sixty years, Magnum’s international photographers have chronicled the world; interpreting its environment, people and events and helping to shape documentary photography as a modern form of artistic expression.

In the tradition of Magnum’s commitment to emerging photographers, this symposium will give limited participants an opportunity to inspire and refine their personal approaches. The day will include;

  • Inspirational presentations from Magnum photographer Olivia Arthur and Sophie Wright
  • Portfolio critiques and sharing peer to peer
  • Panel discussion and informal question time

Portfolio reviews will be conducted by Magnum photographer Olivia Arthur, Magnum Print Room Director Sophie Wright and two guest reviewers in intimate groups of 6. Each participant will be offered a minimum 20 minute session in which to communicate projects and show work. By working within groups the experience will encourage confidence building skills, the ability to successfully articulate projects, and learning to both provide and receive constructive criticism from both contemporaries and mentors. There will be ample time for questions and to discuss specific aspects of photography and the industry.

Participation will be based on a competitive process.

Please apply with a short Statement (max 1 side A4) explaining why you would like to attend and with an example of images from recent projects (maximum of 5 images as low res jpegs).

Please send to:

Deadline is 14 November 2014 at 12 noon.

Applicants will be chosen on the strength of submitted proposals and the perceived benefit to the photographer’s career.

Price: £60 full price / £45 concessions

The event will take place at: Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square, Birmingham B1 2ND Saturday 22nd November 10am – 6pm

Images © Olivia Arthur

magnum long

Andrew Lacon and Stuart Whipps are interested in the relationships between the new libraries of Guangzhou and Birmingham. Both cities have recently built iconic new libraries and have an official Memorandum of Understanding.

The artists intend to interrogate the shared and divergent histories of the 2 cities, and will explore a series of complex relationships: The relationship between the materials of the former and current buildings, the similarities and differences that exist between the material housed in the two libraries, and the relationships between the people of the respective cities and their former and present libraries and collections.

The artists are currently researching and making a number of formal studies in the studio in the UK before they fly out to Guangzhou in November for an intense period of research and production. They will be making and exhibiting new work in Guangzhou Library throughout the duration of their stay.

This international Artists Exchange and Exhibition is supported by British Council, Arts Council England, Guangzhou Library and Library of Birmingham

Copyright 2016 GRAIN.