Share what you love about Birmingham for the UK City of Culture Bid

9 12 2009

Whatever your thoughts – and there are a lot of opinions out there – Birmingham’s official bid to become the UK’s first City of Culture has been announced today.

Birmingham’s bid will be managed through the Birmingham Cultural Partnership (BCP) and the finalists will have until May 28 2010 to make their last attempts at the title.

With an expected £200m boost to the local economy if successful, it’s no surprise that there are 22 other cities going for the title too.

As part of the bid, Birmingham City Council and the BCP is asking people that live and work here to share their thoughts on what the City of Culture can and should mean. The new interactive website – Big Blank Canvas – asks people to share what they do in their ‘cultural life’, what they’d like to see happen as part of the city of culture in 2013, and also say what their favourite place is in the city.

So, make sure you take part and have a say in what you love about Birmingham, and equally what you want to see come out of the City of Culture Title.

FYI – The winner of the UK City of Culture is being announced by the Culture Secretary, Ben Bradshaw, next summer.





An ‘Electric’ Institution

4 12 2009

It has been another busy week in the life of Tara with lots of events going on… seemingly the start of the Christmas Party season! On Wednesday night I went to the Electric Cinema’s Centenary Celebrations and it was an absolutely amazing night.

For those of you that don’t know Tom Lawes, the owner, he’s a real character; so passionate about the cinema and what he does. He put on a fantastic night, with an amazing This-Is-Your-Life-come-Parky presentation, complete with video footage and live interviews. He even had an organist to accompany the old footage and movies.

It was so interesting to see and hear – from people who were there – how the cinema has survived the past 100 years, despite all the name changes and structural alterations. The most interesting was how the decline of the British Film Industry meant the cinema started showing XXX movies to survive.

Listening to its history and seeing how Tom has transformed it made me realise what an institution the Electric Cinema is and how Birmingham should be proud of it. We should all be celebrating the cinema and helping it survive the next 100 years…

And if you’re interested in seeing the presentation, keep your eyes peeled for the new Electric website, which is coming early next year, as I think Tom is creating a documentary about the cinema.

Anyway, I’m off to book some film screenings… sorry Orange Wednesdays, I choose the boutique cinema with waiter service any day!





A year in the life of Rewired

27 11 2009


The Rewired team with Rob Markwell (Pitch Consultants) and Michael Collie (BBC)

I can’t believe it has already been a week since we were getting dolled up in the office ready for the CIPR PRide Midlands Awards. Held at the ICC, the awards celebrate PR professionals and agencies across the Midlands region. Rewired was up for Outstanding Small Consultancy and I’d tried not to think about it too much for fear of being disappointed, but as soon as we sat at the table, my heart starting going. Luckily, my first trip on the stage was to collect a bottle of Veuve (I was one of the raffle winners!) so we popped the cork to settle the nerves.

The night was amazing and 21 awards into the show, Rewired was announced as the CIPR PRide Midlands ‘Oustanding Small Consultancy’. I won’t go into details but let’s just say the night didn’t end when the awards did and my bottle of Veuve was one of many.

It was such an amazing achievement for us as a company and a team, especially seeing as though Rewired was only been born 18 months ago.

Winning got me thinking about what an amazing year and a half it has been at Rewired. Everyone knows how much I love my job and the people I work with, but more than that I was proud of Rewired for having such a fantastic year in such a difficult economic climate.

This time last year, we had already begun working on some amazing clients; Taste of Birmingham, Hello Digital, Wolverhampton Art Gallery and The Big Picture, but since then the client list has gone from strength to strength. We’re working with some amazing organisations on some really exciting projects and clients.

We’ve maintained our niche of creative, digital and leisure companies but developed each of these client bases to include some amazing companies. As well as regional organisations like Screen West Midlands, Audiences Central and Ormiston Trust, we’re also working with innovative companies and projects like Mudlark.We’re still heavily involved in the region’s arts scene and continue working with Wolverhampton Art Gallery; currently on the amazing ‘Pop: Jann Haworth’ exhibition, which you MUST go and see.  We are also working with Punch Records on some amazing music and arts projects, and so far have brought some brilliant music to the city!

We also have also strengthened our events arm; both PR and event management. We’ve done PR for BASS Festival, Style in the City and Birmingham Book Festival. As well as the event management of Producers’ Forum ‘Celebrate the Future of Film’, Royal Television Society Awards and a number of high profile film premieres and industry events for Screen WM.

As well as Style in the City, we have also moved in to the fashion world (much to my delight), working with Retail Birmingham. Style Birmingham, the consumer brand for Retail Birmingham, had a fantastic rebrand earlier in the year (courtesy of 383 Project, who I love working with). Since then, Style Birmingham has gone from strength to strength and is fast-becoming the city’s voice for style and shopping. This project is a major part of our leisure/consumer work, which also includes work with Lasan, Birmingham’s premier Indian Restaurant, who have recently won Best Indian Restaurant on The F Word.

There are so many other clients to mention but you’ll get bored if I keep going, but it’s just amazing for me to see how much we’ve grown since last year. We’ve just been taken on by a couple of new clients, which I’m sure I will be blogging and twittering about very soon.

2010 looks to be a very exciting year so hopefully, this time next year, I’ll be writing a post about event more exciting times at Rewired HQ!





Style Birmingham Launch iPhone App

19 11 2009

Now, very fittingly, as I just published my last post I got word that I could talk offcially about the new Style Birmingham iPhone App… something that I have been waiting to talk about for ages!

Those of you that know me know I am an avid member of the Blackberry camp, and often scorn people that jump on the iPhone bandwagon. But there is no denying that the app’s available on said touchscreen are pretty impressive; my favourite being the spirit level app, I don’t need to explain myself.

And now, Style Birmingham has announced the launch of its brand new iPhone app.

The first of its kind, the Style Birmingham App is free and has a directory of the city’s 1000 shops, bars and restaurants. From major shopping centres and department stores, to unique arcades and independent boutiques, the app has everything you need for a day of retail therapy. If you’re a visitor it also has a list of the best places to stay in the city.

Perfect for the festive shopping season, the app has Google Maps and contact details for each of the stores, making your shopping trip easy and enjoyable…. leaving less time for stress and more time for shopping.

The app also gives you the latest news updates from stylebirmingham.com; including store openings, shopping events, and discounts and promotions. As well as the latest fashion news, hottest trends and expert shopping advice.

Now my only issue is that I don’t want an iPhone. Perhaps an iPod touch will do… Dear Santa…..!





The Trend of the Jack-in-the-Box Shop

18 11 2009


Image Credit

The term ‘pop-up shop’ seems to have been thrown around quite a lot recently; with fashion designers, artists and well-known brands opening temporary shops across the country. The trend for these fashionable units is a result of both the recession and throw-away fashion; what better way to stay on top of the style game than to close shops after just six months and move on to ‘the next big thing’?!

Last year London became thoroughly ‘pop-tastic’, with shops, restaurants and art galleries taking over the city’s coolest areas. There was a massive rise in portable restaurants, like the Reindeer Restaurant and Flash, and also art galleries like the Proud Gallery, which started merely as a marquee over a car park. Even retail expert Mary Portas opened a hyper pop-up, open for just one hour and selling vintage clothes, and again this year she teamed up with Grazia to open a charity shop in Westfield.

The trend has continued to grow with On|Off, Doc Martens, and heritage brand Baracuta joining the list of pop-ups. Even London Fashion Week fuelled a host of pop-ups across the Capital.

But it’s not just London benefitting from these shops, this year the trend has come to Birmingham.

Back in September, Councillor Martin Mullaney headed up the Style in the City fringe, Pop Up in the City. Using an empty unit on Corporation Street, he worked with a 14 local designers to open a market-place for shoppers during the three-day fashion and beauty festival.

Now that Christmas is here, Harvey Nichols has re-opened their Christmas pop-up gift shop on Level 3 of The Mailbox, selling the best Christmas gifts and to-die-for hampers. They are also holding a Festive Fete for shoppers on 30 November.

Jewellery festival Brilliantly Birmingham has also jumped on board the pop-up train. Teaming up with Pavilions, the temporary boutique will be open from 5-24 December and will showcase a number of designers, giving shoppers the opportunity to buy original hand-crafted jewellery and commission bespoke pieces.

But the latest and one of the most exciting of the pop-ups to arrive in the city comes courtesy of Punch Records and the Sauce Gallery. Pioneering typographer, sleeve designer and artist Swifty will be setting up shop at the Sauce Gallery in Custard Factory from Saturday 12 December 2009-10 January 2010. From originals and one-off prints, to T-shirts, skateboards and stickers, Swifty fans will have plenty to choose from. Partly inspired by Peter Blake’s ‘Toy Shop’, it will also feature Swifty’s Newsagents installation and be home to the A-Z of Swifty Show. For more info, go to www.punch-records.co.uk.

So, it looks like the pop-up trend is going strong, and I have to say that I’ll champion it all the way. An article by The Times summed pop-ups up perfectly, calling them “The epitome of our high-speed, short-attention-span culture.”

Not only do pop-ups keep the cool crowd entertained but they also gives artists and young designers a platform to showcase their work. They also makes the most of empty and under-used units. A win-win all round, I’d say!





Christmastime, mistletoe and wine… oh and shopping!

18 11 2009


Image Credit

Before you all start, yes I know I have just got back from New York but I’m not talking those holidays; I’m talking about Christmas.

This week, I have been feeling particularly festive having just got back from The Big Apple, where the ice rinks and Christmas trees are set and ready for the festive season and Macy’s infamous windows are lining 34th Street. Even better, when I arrived home from the airport, I turned on the TV and saw the Coca Cola advert, which to me always means the official start to Christmas.

Further fuelling my Christmas Spirit, the German Market is back in Birmingham and bigger than ever. Tonight I had my first trip to said market, and one of my lovely Twitter friends (@danofftheradio) told me about the Hot Chocolate with Jagermeister. Now, two of my favourite things in the world are chocolate and Jager so to put them together was always going to be a winner with me, but it really was a taste sensation!  Luckily, the German Market always encourages Birmingham’s social crowd to meet, at every available opportunity, for some Bratwurst and Gluhwein so I’ll be partaking in plenty of alcoholic chocolate!

Apart from the amazing market, one of the other brilliant things about Christmas is of course, shopping. Not that I need much encouraging – I like to use working on Style Birmingham as an excuse to shop as much as possible (research!) – but nothing beats shopping for presents! We are all too aware that this will be a difficult year with the dreaded recession, but I think that retailers are really pulling out the stops to make sure we all keep spending; after all, that’s the only way to keep the economy going.

Birmingham’s retailers are no exception and have some exciting things happening over the festive season… make sure you check them out!

Shopping Events

Debenhams is offering 25% off across all departments in their Christmas Spectacular Sale! From Wednesday 18th November – Saturday 21st November, you can stock up on presents and bag yourself some goodies too. There is also 10% off beauty and cosmetics.

On Thursday 19th November, House of Fraser is holding a ‘Prepare to Party Fragrance event’ on the ground floor. Join them in-store for top tips on looking great this Christmas; during the day Mugler will be holding fragrance workshops and from 5pm, DIOR’s visiting make-up artist will be showing everyone the hottest party looks. To RSVP, email Birmingham@hof.co.uk.

I’ve also heard on the grapevine, there’s a special two-day discount event the following Thursday and Friday.

Brilliantly Birmingham Pop-Up Shop

Opening on 5 December until Christmas Eve, Pavilions will host a special jewellery pop-up shop. The temporary boutique will give you the chance to buy original hand-crafted jewellery, meet local designers and commission bespoke pieces. There will be pieces for men and women, and for all budgets.

Festive Families

Christmas is all about the family and Pallasades is certainly spreading the Christmas Spirit. As well as hosting Birmingham’s biggest grotto, the shopping centre has also teamed up with a number of top local attractions including Sea Life Centre, Cadbury World, Thinktank, Black Country Museum and Dudley Zoo. By spending just £10 at any or a combination of stores at the centre and showing the receipt/s, shoppers can get a special discount book.

Taste Sensations

As well as the aforementioned German treats, retailers are also looking to tantalise your tastebuds. Bullring have a Ferrero Rocher Christmas Tree (yes, heaven) and Harvey Nichols has opened their pop-up gift shop in The Mailbox, which includes a range of seasonal treats. Harvey Nics will be holding a Festive Fete on 30 November in the store, where you can enjoy the finest food and wine, create bespoke hampers and get your gift-buying sorted. Tickets are complimentary and limited spaces for the Fancy Nancy session will be offered on a first come first served basis. For more information and to book your tickets contact the Harvey Nichols Foodmarket on 0121 616 6000.

He’s Behind You…

And don’t forget about Selfridges, who will be bringing Panto to the high street. During December there will be some very special panto-related treats, so make sure you’re around to enjoy them.

I have plenty more to tell you about Style Birmingham’s plans for Christmas, but I’ll leave them for another time. For now, go and enjoy some Bratwurst and get shopping!





Anyone up for some snowboarding… in Birmingham?

7 02 2009

A good example of PR…

I randomly came across this yesterday and thought that it was a good example of creating a press opportunity…

Snow+Rock enlisted the help of Kerrang! presenters Christian and OJ Borg to demonstrate how we should all be making the most out of this week’s random weather, with some Urban Snowboarding

kerrang

Photo courtesy of Kerrang!

Video courtesy of Kerrang!

Snow+Rock