Creative Black Country

Making the most of...the Black Country
Desi Pubs project. Amrick at Fourways.
Desi Pubs project. Amrick at Fourways.
Photo: Jagdish Patel
100 Masters event
100 Masters event
Photo: Dee Patel
Funny Things festival, Wolverhampton
Funny Things festival, Wolverhampton
Photo: Dee Patel
Imagine That, Sandwell RSPB
Imagine That, Sandwell RSPB
Photo: Liam Smyth
Sandwell Arts Festival
Sandwell Arts Festival
Photo: Lee Allen
100 Masters event
100 Masters event
Photo: Dee Patel

Where: Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton
Who: Black Country Living Museum, Black Country Touring, Dudley Council for Voluntary Service, Multistory, Black Country Together CIC comprising: Sandwell Voluntary Council, Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council, One Walsall

Creative Black Country (CBC) aims to make the most of local talent working with people to discover, explore and grow an exciting and meaningful programme of arts activity in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

Collaboration
Establishing meaningful relationships with local organisations

CBC is a partnership between Dudley Council for Voluntary Service, Sandwell Voluntary Council, Wolverhampton Voluntary Service Council, One Walsall, Multistory, Black Country Touring and the Black Country Living Museum who collectively aim to encourage more people to experience the arts in the local area. We work with local businesses, education establishments, the media, libraries and local creatives to develop ideas and realise them.

Our focus is to celebrate the Black Country while keeping people at the heart of each project. Our team collaborates with partners, community groups, producers, artists, creatives, digital experts and people who have a good story to tell to co-produce events and projects that are related to, and important to their communities.

The key strands of Creative Black Country’s work are:

Creative Communities
Enabling more people to have creative experiences in their community 

Local communities are invited to work with a team to discover their creative potential through our Creative Communities programme. We offer support from our Voluntary Service Council partners and independent arts advisors to co-design activity that their community want to experience. Over twenty groups ranging from young reporters, women’s groups, and allotment gardeners have produced events across the region including film screenings, street festivals and community choirs.

Landmarks
Enriching the region with great creative platforms for local talent to thrive 
With our partners and communities we design and produce large-scale projects that aim to profile creative talent, authentic narratives and core values of the region. In 2016 the nation fell in love with ‘Desi Pubs’ a Black Country story about Asian landlords and their pubs. Commissioned artworks including handcrafted pub signs that have now become favourite local landmarks.

Wolverhampton venues hosted the first festival of comedy in 2017 called ‘Funny Things’ attracting new visitors into the city with over 120 events including headline acts and local performers. Funny Things had another successful outing in 2019. We launched ‘100 Masters’ a campaign highlighting contemporary makers, experts and innovators which has received an unprecedented online following reaching over 20 million people worldwide. 

Our work has reached partners in India with 'Girl Gaze'. This photographic exploration of The Punjab and diaspora communities in the West Midlands through the voices of young girls and women, had launches both in Chandigarh and the Black Country with our partners Multistory. We launched Finding Our Funny Roots in 2019 - a project that aims to find out what is so unique about Black Country humour funded via National Heritage Lottery Fund. For 2020 Creative Black Country joins the global Actors of Urban Change project. One of 10 internationals teams to be selected we’ll be collaborating with Wolverhampton University and Wolverhampton City Council to deliver a brand new youth engagement project that promotes innovation, collaboration and social action. Our ‘Youth Lab’ concept will take a S.T.E.A.M approach to learning and embedding youthfulness in Wolverhampton’s city building strategy.