Arts for Change (Citizens' Gallery)

Arts for Change promotional pictureBVSC believes in the power of the arts to transform lives and to change society for the better.

The Arts for Change Citizens’ Gallery champions the role of the arts in the voluntary and community sector.

The work on show either explores a social theme or has been produced by amateur artists as a form of empowerment and self-expression.

If you are interested in exhibiting work in our Citizens' Gallery, please contact us on or 0121 678 8817 to find out more.

Recent Exhibitions

Make your Mark

Young people accessing Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services at Birmingham Children's Hospital designed and participated in the Make Your Mark project, producing this delightfully diverse and captivating exhibition. This inspiring collection of illustrations, paper garments, character filled wire imps and felting is a selection of the artwork produced during the project, funded by Children In Need and run by Playtrain and KIDS. We were delighted to have representatives from Children in Need, two of the artists who worked on the project and several of the participants at the exhibition launch at the end of January.  The exhibition is on untl mid-March.

For more information please contact Emma Kirk at KIDS - 07760 339339

Previous exhibitions

Beyond Art - Summer 2012

The Beyond Art exhibition will be taking place at BVSC Citizens Gallery from Wednesday 4 July until Thursday 30 August.

First you see the disability, then you get to know the person, and you may then see the talent. Organised by the Community Options Service at Birmingham City Council, the Beyond Art Exhibition is aiming to turn this around. First you see the talent, then you get to know the person, and you may see the disability.

The Beyond Art Exhibition will be exhibiting different pieces of art from community art groups, day centres, colleges, adult education and many other groups and individuals from across Birmingham.

The inspiring artwork on display has been produced by people who have learning or physical disabilities, mental health difficulties, autism, visual and hearing impairments and people who are 65 and over. As this exhibition has been produced as part of Birmingham City Council’s celebration of Carers Week it also features artwork produced by carers recognising the incredibly valuable work they do.

Together, we are aiming to approach disability in a different way – a way that allows the talent to be the first thing you see.

Our plans for the future include working with schools in and around Birmingham, and looking at holding art exhibitions within schools and community centres to further promote disability awareness.

I am more than Epilepsy - Spring 2012

“People with epilepsy are just like everybody else. This exhibition has been designed to raise awareness of the realities of living with the condition and start to break down the stigma that is sometimes associated with it”. Tom Robinson and his sister Laura, both Epilepsy Action Volunteers, have teamed up to design a photo exhibition called ‘I am more than Epilepsy’ to encourage members of the public to see the individuals behind the condition.

Tom was diagnosed with epilepsy when he was five and has witnessed firsthand how ignorance about the condition has perpetuated misunderstandings about what people with epilepsy can do. Now twenty four, he is a keen photographer and has developed this project to document the lives and experiences of seven local people with epilepsy. The photos and accompanying captions highlight the importance of family, relationships and effective information and advice but also note some of the social or employment challenges experienced, which underline the need for a change in perceptions.

The exhibition will be available to view from 2nd April – 30th May in the BVSC Atrium space. On the 24th May, from 6.30pm – 8.30pm, there will also be an opportunity to find out more about the exhibition, meet Tom and some of the participants and talk to other local people with epilepsy.

This event will take place during National Epilepsy Week 2012, which this year focuses on the theme of achievement. Epilepsy Action is the largest member-led epilepsy organisation in the UK and last year directly helped 1.1 million people. Its Epilepsy Helpline provides confidential advice and information on many aspects of epilepsy and can be accessed by calling freephone 0808 800 5050 or emailing Further information can be found at

Our Queer Lives - Nov 2011 - Jan 2012

'Our Queer Lives' has grown from a group of Queer women photographers based in Birmingham who formed a group in July 2010 called Eye to Eye with the aim of collaborating on photography projects. 

A successful Awards for All application led to collaborations with L:Bow Room, Wolverhampton and Sandwell LGBT Group.  All three groups have been involved in a series of workshops run throughout Summer 2011 in local venues led by artist, academic and teacher, Mo McManus-White.  The workshops were structured to deliver content-driven photographic work in three distinct stages - introduction and development; experimentation and reflection; submission of work and project evaluation. 

A team whose members were Vivienne Harrison, Sophie Rush and Mo McManus-White curated the exhibition series and the entire Our Queer Lives project was principally coordinated and administered by Vivienne Harrison.  The photographers exhibiting were; Mary Collins, Jo Gooding, Vivienne Harrison, Wendy Hurst, Jodie Lawrence, Victoria Phoenix, Sophie Rush, Marie Turner, Judi Watson-Jones and Julie Werrett.

Celtic Art - Jul 2011 - Sept 2011

Celtic Art can trace its origins to Central and Easter Europe going back more than 2500 years.  It was the growth of trade and the movement of people that saw it spread westwards to reach both Ireland and Scotland.

Despite its efforts, the Roman Empire did not conquer the entire continent and Celtic Art in Ireland and in Scotland remained intact.  The wild, mountainous rock strewn fields of West of Eire and the Scottish Highlands free of Roman plunder and subjugation remained true to its heritage.  These areas are still the seats of the Gaelic language and culture today.

Although knotwork is widely regarded as the main Celtic pattern form, it came after spirals, zoomorphic (animal figures) , key and step patterns.  A continuous thread twisted into a figure of eight emphasises the relationship of the knot with infinity, and it’s most popular significance in Celtic art today.  Look carefully at the animal figures.  They may have a further meaning, as Celtic deities were reputed to be “shape shifters” and could assume animal form.

Celtic Art Class

This art exhibition focussed upon the work of Lora Rhodes, Carol Sheehy, Iris O’Brien, Dorothy McCord, Clon and Sybil Wheeler, Eleanor Fitzgerald, Stephen Green and his learning assistant Dawn Siviter.  The class takes place at the Sandwell Irish Community Association and Richard Flatley designs and teaches the course (

The Organisation

Sandwell Irish Community Association aims to work primarily with the Irish community, raising awareness of health issues, arts and culture and works in partnership with other ethnic groups to promote cohesion within the borough of Sandwell.


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