Jul 21, 2014 Created by: Kate Manion
Posted in: Studio News
Birmingham Day

On Wednesday 25th June Lucan and I were invited to the Palace of Westminster for to represent The Custard Factory and Fazeley Studios at #Birminghamday – an all day event organised by Gisela Stuart MP, supported by The Birmingham Post and Birmingham Law Society. The event was to showcase Birmingham’s creative industries, raising awareness of all the great things that are happening in the city and look at what’s coming in the future.

We were among some great businesses and organisations from Birmingham such Yamination Studios, Maverick TV, Punch Communications, Whisk, BCU, the Producers’ Forum. There were some inspiring talks from Soshi Games and the BBC (who revealed that Brummies everywhere will be gripped by the next seies of Peaky Blinders where Birmingham takes on London).

There were also laughs a plenty from Adil Ray (aka Citizen Khan) Comedian and producer Adil Ray, who writes and stars in sit-com Citizen Khan, which is based in Birmingham (although) filmed in Salford. Adil’s speech was filled with pride in Birmingham and  its unique environment that lead to the creation of citizen Khan, telling guests: “I’m immensely proud to be born and bred in Brum.

It’s such an amazing city for me. Without Birmingham, Citizen Khan would not have happened and I would not have been able to have that voice.

For us personally, one of the most exciting announcements of the day was BBC Birmingham’s Tommy Nagra revealing that the new digital innovation unit (Guerilla Group), which will be based in Fazeley Studios, is officially to be led by Will Saunders who currently manages the online team for BBC Comedy. The announcement shows that momentum is really building up for the digital innovation unit, which is hoping to launch in September. We’ll have another blog post coming up very soon on Will and his team.

Ultimately, the day was a great chance to promote Birmingham to London. Some of our conversations involved a debate with Hilary Benn on the devolution of powers to the region and talking all things culture with Arts Council Chairman Sir Peter Bazalgette and engagement with local Mps.

However, one of the best things about the day was seeing how people from Birmingham got behind it, both those that were there shouting about the city and those that were following and supporting on social media.

Often when we get together within the city we talk about what still needs to happen and what we need to do better, which is extremely important in a globally competitive environment where we like all world-class cities need to continually up our game. But maybe too often we forget to reflect on all the great things that are happening and to celebrate how far our city has come in the past decade – and it really has tansformed!

Being in another city helped us to pull together and speak with real pride and a united voice in a way we need to do more often. It’s not necessarily about ‘swagger’ that’s not really the Birmingham way. But the kind of pride that shone through Adil’s speech and through all the people present when they were talking to ‘outsiders’ about the city, is something that we could harness to transform perceptions of the city.


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