Vivid Projects presents a snapshot into four decades of alternative Birmingham culture. The month-long season of exhibition, provocations and events investigates the impact of University of Birmingham’s Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS).
Looking Out From The CCCS makes connections between 70s Birmingham culture and the present day, by way of alternative publications and community action print, film workshops and style magazines, and contemporary artists working with social media and data.
A series of weekly events will critically engage with the exhibition and explore the key themes in a contemporary context. Artists, writers, social networkers, cultural provocateurs, new young feminists, archivists and more will be unpicking the astonishing cultural legacy of the CCCS.
The exhibition launches Friday 06 June, 6-10pm with a SUPERSTYLING! party for Digbeth First Friday. You can access the full schedule of events here.
As the 50th anniversary of the founding of CCCS approached, Mahasiddhi, formerly known as Roy Peters, embarked on a journey to photograph some of his contemporaries from his time at the Centre between 1975 and 1979. The result is this series of intimate, reflective yet lighthearted portraits of just some of the movers and shakers who passed through the doors of CCCS.
With support from Roger Shannon throughout, and before his death, Michael Green, the photographer visited his old friends and colleagues in their homes or places of work, met them at cafes, and even outside a football ground. The attitude adopted was a collaborative one where the photographer allowed the sitters to squeeze something of themselves – whatever they wanted to give – through the lens.
However, as much as the portraits celebrate the individuality of each sitter, echoes of the CCCS can be perceived in all. Indeed, Mahasiddhi’s approach to photography is still strongly influenced by his experiences at the Centre. The photographer is as much a ‘product’ of the Centre as are his subjects. Since being ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order in 2010, when he was given the name Mahasiddhi, the photographer’s approach has been additonally influenced by Buddhist philosophy and practice.
Back in the CCCS forms a fitting tribute to the Centre, which not only impacted on the landscape of contemporary academic thought, but also on the lives and minds on numerous individuals.
From girls’ magazines and soap operas to pop music, advertisements and fashions, the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies pioneered the academic study of popular culture. This exhibition – part of a programme of events to mark the 50th anniversary of the Centre’s establishment – showcases material from the newly-established archive of Centre material. It offers an insight into the changing subjects of the Centre’s research from 1964 up until its controversial closure in 2002.
‘Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies 50 Years On’
University of Birmingham, 24-25 June
From girls’ magazines and soap operas to pop music, advertisements and fashions, the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies pioneered the academic study of popular culture. To mark the 50th anniversary of its establishment, this exhibition examines the legacies of the institutional origin of cultural studies. Featuring the work of artists including Trevor Appleson, David Batchelor, Mahtab Hussain, Sarah Maple, Sarah Silverwood and Nick Waplington, the exhibition explores how – in spite of its closure in 2002 – the Centre’s work continues to be relevant today.