Blast! Creative Network is a group of artists and creatives which evolved out of the Multistory Blast! Festival 2019 and is growing steadily. The BCN programme offers local emergent artists a space for knowledge sharing and support, with free talks, workshops, and social events taking place monthly. We invite art practitioners, curators and community groups to speak to members about a range of subjects designed to develop their practice and skills.
We also offer members the opportunity to test out new ideas and platform their work through our Online Residency space on our website, as well as on our social media channels. We accept proposals for individual as well as collaborative projects between more than one member of the group.
The programme is open to emergent artists and creatives based in Sandwell and the Black Country, from all practices, backgrounds and ages. Participants from Birmingham may also be considered if they live within one mile of our office in West Bromwich (B70 8DY). Events usually take place at West Bromwich Town Hall but due to current COVID-19 restrictions all future events will take place on Zoom until further notice.
To join, or if you are already a member and want to apply for an Online Residency, download and fill out the forms below and return them to email@example.com
Upcoming talks AND workshops:
14 April 2021, 6-7.30pm
In their talk, Joanne Coates, Kelly O’Brien and Kirsty Mackay of The Other photography collective will explore issues of meritocracy and examine the visual discourses of photography, in particular the middle-class gaze and poverty porn, to outline an ethical practice of conscious image making.
14 March 2021, 6-7.30pm
Across her multiple roles, Elizabeth Wewiora actively seeks out to instigate collaborative projects that support and promote social change and wellbeing. Often her work takes place outside of the gallery, working on residency projects, across health, social housing, justice, learning, heritage and environmental settings. For example she is a long-term artist collaborator with Many Hands Craft Collective (an over60s group based at Victoria Square, Northwards Housing in Ancoats, Manchester). Together they explore arts and craft as an activist tool for the creative agency of older communities. Between 2016-2018 they collaborated with Liz on a Masters by Research project exploring the role of photography as a socially engaged practice.
26 February 2021, 6-8pm
This collaborative event brings together emergent artists from the Blast! Creative Network (Sandwell and the Black Country, UK), and from Exposure Festival’s Emerging Photographers’ Show Case (Alberta, Canada) in a supportive peer review. This is an informal space where artists will have the opportunity to share from their practice in short presentations, and share ideas with an international network of potential collaborators. Bring along your portfolio, a new body of work or a project you are currently working on and gain advice and constructive feedback from the group.
The Sustainable Darkroom
10 February 2021, 6-7.30pm
Hannah Fletcher’s work intertwines organic matter such as soils, algae, mushrooms and roots into analogue photographic mediums and surfaces. Simultaneously, exploring environmentally and ecologically-focused issues. Working in an investigative, pseudo scientific and environmentally conscious manner, Hannah combines scientific techniques with photographic processes, creating a dialogue between the poetic and political. Recently, she has initiated and is running The Sustainable Darkroom Project; an artist run research, training and mutual learning programme to equip cultural practitioners with new skills and knowledge to develop a more environmentally friendly analogue photographic practice.
4 February 2021, 5-7pm
Following feedback from Blast! Creative Network members, we’ve organised a second fundraising workshop specifically designed to help you with applying to the Arts Council England’s Developing your Creative Practice fund, the deadline for which is coming up at 12pm (midday), 18 February 2021. Producer Jenny Moore will walk you through the important considerations when applying for this funding pot. This is an informal workshop, so bring along any questions you may have about your application.
20 January 2021, 6-7.30pm
Jagdish Patel will talk about his research-based collaborative art practice with communities in the Midlands, including his work with issues around anti-racism and well-being. Over the past decade, he has been working as a socially engaged visual artist, educator and writer, and he is currently working on a research project examining the inter-relationship between anti-racism, socially engaged art and archives at Coventry University. He will be joined by Nottingham-based photographer Benjamin Elliott, who will give a short presentation about his journey through photography, and launching forums for disabled artists and comedians during lockdown.
UK Black Female Photographers Group
9 December 2020, 6-7.30pm
Jemella Binns and Denise Maxwell from the UK Black Female Photographers Group will share from their individual careers and artistic practices and on the importance of building networks of solidarity within an industry that is often exclusionary. They will map out what led them to where they are now as established photographers, including taking a photography degree as well as an untraditional route and changing career paths in your 30s. They’ll also be focusing on tips for overcoming pitfalls, building networks and a client base when establishing a photography career.
25 November 2020, 5-7pm
A fundraising workshop led by Producer Jenny Moore, specifically designed to help you with applying to the Arts Council England project grants fund. Jenny will share from her expertise in fundraising for large scale arts programmes as well as for independent projects, walking you through important considerations for when you are developing your idea, all the way through to writing your application.
11 November 2020, 6-7.30pm
In this talk, Danni Ebanks-Ingram will be exploring the creative intersectionalities that run throughout various roles in the workplace: this will include navigating the freelance world and varied arts organisations and how to utilise your creative skills with the ever changing restrictions within this current COVID 19 world. Additionally, Danni will be giving an overview of their career and how they have implemented their creativity within varied spaces.
27 October 2020, 6.30-8pm
This talk explores varied approaches to photography and is aimed at creatives based in Sandwell and the Black Country who would like to develop their career in the photographic industry. Artists and photographers Yas Lime, Kate Jackson and Paul Samuel White, will share from their practice, give insight into how they started out in their field of work, and tips for early career photographers.