Games Exchange, Ampersand Projects

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Over two days in late July, Ampersand Projects held 'The Games Exchange' a pop-up in Bearwood Indoor Market.

Developed by artist Betab Zena, The Games Exchange was a space for people to meet and share games with each other. It opened up a lot of conversations, bringing people together in the community who otherwise would not have come into contact with one-another -and it was very much intergenerational.

I was commissioned to hand paint the signs for the pop-up, Ampersand Projects and the artist Betab were inspired by the signpainting found in the market.

The signpainter who works in Bearwood Indoor Market is called Richard, and he's 86 years old, and 'does it for beer money'. If you know who he is, I'd love to take him for a pint - or follow him signpainting!

The website for GoodGame is: www.ampersandprojects.org/goodgame

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Paper Love for Kin Home

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I've been getting more sign-painting practice in with a few commissions including, the above for Kin in Harborne. 

The more I do sign-painting the better I get, because I can identify what not to do next time. I like the translucent effect on the green, it's good to be able to see the brush strokes.

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Activist Selly Oak

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I was commissioned by the School of History and Cultures at University of Birmingham for Activist Selly Oak, a new project exploring the rich history of activism within the Selly Oak area of Birmingham (I live here!).

The project aims to bring together local and student communities to uncover histories of activism that took place in Selly Oak during the twentieth century. The area has a diverse history of charitable, voluntary and political activism, community action, peace campaigns, and campaigning by political parties.

I made the lettering with home-made protest signs in mind - as if I was using gaffa tape to form words. I neatened these up for legibility but it was important for this logotype not a polished font. Areas I was exploring were home-printing, zines, and other lo-fi printing / photocopying.

This project is incredibly relevant to my interests, I'm pursuing post-graduate education in the use of design for social change and I am fascinated with hand-made lettering and signage. I look forward to seeing how the archive develops over the project.

Getting involved with Activist Selly Oak - If you would like to contribute stories, materials or images that relate to activism in Selly Oak, particularly from 1950 – 1990, contact Patrick Dandy, Project Coordinator at p.dandy@bham.ac.uk@ActivistSelly // www.activistsellyoak.wordpress.com

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Green Lungs signpainting, Ampersand Projects

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I was commissioned to do a piece of sign-painting by Ampersand Projects for the exhibition part of their project Green Lungs at MAC (Midlands Arts Centre). 

This was my first paid sign-painting commission on site. I didn't realise until I was two steps up a step ladder that I'm not good with heights - but I got there! It was good to get out of my comfort zone of painting in my living room and try out painting in front of a client up on a wall. I look forward to doing more, and getting better each time. Thanks for the trust Kate! 

Building on the successful pilot project Green Lungs in 2016, Ampersand Projects developed a new programme for 2018 which commissioned two artists to co-produce new work with refugees and asylum seekers in green spaces in Birmingham during Spring and Summer. The project aimed to improve health and wellbeing by promoting long-term access to these spaces. The project included a series of creative participatory workshops at Cannon Hill Park, MAC and Wildlife Trust Centre of the Earth in Winson Green and two exhibitions at MAC (Midlands Arts Centre) of participant work, documentation and newly commissioned artist works.

The exhibition is on at MAC until the end of August. For more about Ampersand Projects and their project Green Lungs, visit their website. 

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Sandwell Stories - Multistory

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"Sandwell Stories, a new bi-monthly podcast produced by Multistory will share stories of people we meet on the streets, at home and in the workplace - capturing their views, ideas, stories and opinions. Each podcast will be played on #BlackCountryMatters on Black Country Radio (@WeAreBCR),  they'll also be available on Multistory's website. First podcast: Sunday 27 May at 2pm"

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For the identity design, the story behind the logo stems from Black Country typography. I looked at interesting signage, colours and shapes from the area; looking at metalworks through to garages and cornershops. I knew that the predominant graphic for the project would be a small podcast cover; so it needed to stand out and be readable on phone screens / iTunes charts. I also needed to balance the Multistory branding - and show off Emma Case's fantastic photography! 

Commissioned by Becky Sexton, Multistory. Photography: Emma Case.

You can listen to the podcast via Multistory's website.

Green Lens - Northfield Ecocentre & Ampersand Projects

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"Green Lens is a new photography and video competition open to 16-25 year olds across Birmingham. Organised by ecobirmingham in collaboration with Ampersand Projects, the project invites young people to have their voice heard regarding green issues that are important to our collective futures. The winning entries will be exhibited in the prestigious gallery at MAC. Green Lens was developed in collaboration with a panel of young photographers from Birmingham City University and University of Coventry."

Commissioned by Ampersand Projects & ecobirmingham.

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Good Game - Ampersand Projects

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Recent identity design work for Ampersand Projects. 

"GoodGame is a new project that explores the positive impact games can have on our lives, communities and the places where we live. Artists Anna Horton Cremin, Betab Zena and Gizzago are working with communities in Smethwick and Bearwood to explore the identity of their area alongside people who live and work there."

I explored ideas around isometric game design, 90s nostalgia, and gender-neutral colour and aesthetics. This was a really brilliant design project to be involved in, as it involves communities and their sense of place, which is really important to me. We didn't want the design to alienate people who might not normally engage with a participatory arts or cultural event.  

Commission by Matt Andrews, Ampersand Projects. 

BIG GAME - University of Birmingham

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Recent design work for Birmingham Research Institute for History and Cultures (BRIHC) at the University of Birmingham, for their bi-annual speaker series, where they invite world class researchers to present their work.

The subject matter ranges from iconoclasm/graffiti (as political influencing and as social influencing tools) through to the significance of 1968 both locally and globally - and other topics - the design and illustrations needed to reflect the variety of content, whilst being playful, eye-catching and engaging. 

There is an individual poster and illustration for each event in the series, brought together in a hand of cards. 

Game concept, and commission by Josh Allen, College of Arts & Law. 

Cotteridge Park Rocks - Friends of Cotteridge Park

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Design work for Friends of Cotteridge Park - Jan 2018 - present.

"Are they “Meteorites”? There are a number of large rocks within the park and their history often excites many local residents and visitors. They are not meteorites but glacial boulders. These boulders traveled all the way from north Wales and are a feature of the drift geology of this region." 

In 2017 FoCP received a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, part of which, is being used to find out more about the history and the geology of the rocks.

Commissioned by Emma Woolf MBE. 

 

O P E N W I D E - School of Dentistry

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Design work for University of Birmingham - School of Dentistry. June 2017 - present

This is a pioneering project by Dr Melissa Grant, Senior Lecturer in Biological Sciences, School of Dentistry, Institute of Clinical Sciences. 

"The Open Wide project at the Birmingham Dental Hospital and School of Dentistry, University of Birmingham is an exhibition space featuring the research and work of the staff and students. Curated from artistic work in response to clinical and scientific developments."

Commissioned by Melissa Grant.