TEN4 magazine

4TALENT AWARDS PARTY by ten4magazine
December 12, 2007, 4:16 pm
Filed under: 4Talent, Community, Events, News, Uncategorized



Why can’t Birmingham do it like Manchester? by ten4magazine
July 1, 2007, 6:53 pm
Filed under: Events, Friends of TEN4, Uncategorized


Last week I was invited up to Manchester for the launch of the International Festival, and the opening of Monkey, Jamie Hewlett and Damon Albarn’s ‘populist Chinese opera’. 

You can find plenty of reviews of Monkey (and indeed the festival itself), so I won’t bother dwelling too much on that, other than to say that if you get the chance to see Monkey, you should, as it will probably be unlike anything else you’ve seen before. 

I went back up for the Kanye West gig (generating sales of two hotel stays, four train journeys, two taxi rides, four meals, lots of drinks, and a croissant for the local economy incidentally) and I wanted to pose a question that was bugging me the whole time I was there. Why can’t Birmingham do it like Manchester?  

By this, I mean put on a festival that

a)       gains national and international media attention for the city

b)       has a real presence within the city

c)       raises the bar in what a regional city can achieve 

Birmingham has a large number of excellent established niche festivals, including (but not exclusively) Fierce (performance art), Plus (design), Rhubarb Rhubarb (photography), Supersonic (electronic music), Birmingham Jazz Festival, Brilliantly Birmingham (jewellery), New Art Birmingham (contemporary art), Gigbeth (music), Flatpack (film), BASS (music), New Generation Arts and Style Birmingham (fashion). It also has numerous smaller festivals popping up. And Artsfest 

A pretty hefty list, and in many ways far preferable to one major festival in terms of catering for a diverse range of taste in a considerable amount of depth.  I think the problem however comes when each of these niche festivals is evaluated against the three sub-questions I posed above. Evaluating the Manchester International Festival, here is what I’d say: 

a) Gains national and international media attention for the city           

MIF cannily set up media partnerships with both the BBC and The Guardian. Aside from obvious bits of news coverage, this helped generate an edition of the BBC One show Imagine (Damon and Jamie’s Excellent Adventure), front page placement of the festival on bbc.co.uk (with copy such as ‘I can’t remember when I was so excited about a Festival, but there is one heck of buzz around the place’ in the spin-off blogs), loads of radio coverage (including the Today programme) and reams of copy.  

A Guardian Guide dedicated to the festival was produced (bear in mind the Guardian is predominantly read in the South East), and the sort of spin-off coverage this helps generate is phenomenal (just as one example see Miranda Sawyer’s piece in The Observer, Manchester is the beating cultural heart of Britain. Coverage then extended outside The Guardian offices into the likes of the Telegraph and so on. 

b) Has a real presence within the city This was my journey to the MIF launch party:

1                     Came up on the specially commissioned Monkey train

2                     Arrived at the station to see the info point (a permanent feature at Manchester Piccadilly) staffed by around 6 enthusiastic helpers, all dressed in MIF t-shirts, dishing out copies of the Guardian Guide, directions and high quality promo material.

3                     Left the station to walk for 15 minutes across the city in the rain, past lamppost after lamppost draped in MIF banners.

4                     Was splashed by a bus with a huge Monkey advert on its side.

5                     Passed shops which had changed their window displays to promote the festival.

6                     Arrived at the specially commissioned festival pavilion. Negotiated my way past rude burly bouncers who seemed to think they were guarding Studio 54…

7                     Walked up the red carpet and into the Monkey premiere past around 30 photographers plus TV news crews (and an obligatory Big Issue seller). I’d say that was pretty good presence in the city. 

Image by sooperT

c) Raises the bar in what a regional city can achieve

See points a and b. 

I guess the problem I have is that I just can’t see this sort of penetration on both the national and local consciousness coming from a Birmingham festival.  I should point out that I think Birmingham’s festivals themselves are doing an excellent job at getting noticed, for example Fierce, which The Guardian increasingly salivates over, thanks to an exciting programme and great stunts. Rhubarb Rhubarb recently hosted the White Tent slap bang in the middle of the Bull Ring, whilst Plus installed an amazing piece of work at Moor Street Station, (but I’d like to see it in New Street). 

Photos by Karl Randay   

However, the nature of these niche festivals means that although they may not be directly competing with each other (and I know many people actively work across several of them), it is very difficult to promote a single, noisy voice that says “look at us, look at Birmingham, look at this festival, look at our cultural offering”, and generates the sorts of headlines Manchester usually gets. 

I guess some will question why we would want to. To that I’d say: encouraging inward investment, preventing the brain drain and loss of talent (typically to London, perhaps now elsewhere), the attraction of new visitors to the city and the wealth they bring, and improvement of reputation. 

I’m not sure what the solution is – perhaps it is a Festival Ambassador, paid for by the city council, the regional development agency, or Marketing Birmingham, who has real vision, offering what Alex Poots (MIF Director) or Peter Saville (Creative Director) can.  Perhaps it is bringing together several festivals over a two month period to become the Birmingham International Festival. Perhaps it is long term commitment from the development and funding agencies or the council to create this combined voice. Perhaps we all just need to think bigger. 

Or perhaps we shouldn’t want to do it like Manchester at all… 

I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts. 


Concrete to Canvas 2 by ten4magazine
June 20, 2007, 9:38 am
Filed under: 4Talent, Community, Friends of TEN4, Magazine, News, Uncategorized

We’ve also caught up with Jo Waterhouse, publisher of Concrete to Canvas: Skateboarders’ Art, and winner of Creative Class 2006/07… she has just finished labouring over the second book which is due to hit the shelves in October, keep your eyes peeled.


New Competition by ten4magazine
June 13, 2007, 11:45 am
Filed under: Competitions, Design, Friends of TEN4, Opportunities, Uncategorized


We have got another cracking competition for you:

The Birth of Graffiti  by Jon Naar celebrates the roots of the now global phenomenon of Graffiti and bears testament to Graffiti’s heyday in New York.  TEN4 have one copy of the book to give away. 

To be in with a chance of winning email win@ten4magazine.com by 1st August.  Remember to include your address and contact details.



Inkthis show by ten4magazine
May 23, 2007, 3:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

We went to the launch of the Ten4-sponsored Inkthis exhibition in London recently, which was superb. The exhibition has finished but check out those showing on the www.inkthis.co.uk website. Congrats to all involved.

Plus International Design Festival by ten4magazine
February 9, 2007, 12:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Birmingham, 17-21 October 2007

We are delighted to announce the launch of Plus 07, a unique design-led festival showcasing all that is innovative, pioneering, and novel in the world of international design. The festival will provide a platform for contemporary professional designers; serve as an arena for experimental work; and a meeting point for the international creative community. Plus also offers a forum for informed academic debate on design.
The ‘07 Plus International Design Festival comprises an exposition; conference; exhibitions; workshops; business forums, seminars, walking tours; and many other events. Calls for entries are now being sought for 4 aspects of the Festival:

Plus is seeking to show national and international work by some of the most influential design agencies, freelancers, rising stars and students working in the areas of print, web, video and animation.

Plus welcomes ideas for talks around the theme of Moving Type. Speakers are sought from the areas of: typo/graphic design; letter making; multimedia; animation; computer games; television; cinema; the arts and creative industries in general; printing; publishing and advertising.

Experimental Exhibitions
If you use graphic or typographic elements in you work – either by profession, passion or accident! – then would would love to hear from you. Exhibitors are sought from across the creative and craft-based industries: typo/graphic design; letter making; calligraphy; multimedia; animation; computer games; television; cinema; photography; illustration; graffiti writers; fashion; music; artists; ceramicist; jewellery makers; stone carvers; silversmiths; glass engravers. Applications are welcomed from individuals, institutions and co-operatives; collaborative work between designers, artists and craftspeople is encouraged.

Workshop leaders are sought from across the creative and craft-based industries: typo/graphic design; letter making; calligraphy; multimedia; animation; computer games; television; cinema; photography; illustration; graffiti writers; fashion; music; artists; ceramicist; jewellery makers; stone carvers; silversmiths; glass engravers.
For more information and a downloadable information pack please visit: www.youplusus.net
Or telephone Caroline Archer, 01923 800425

Fancy working for 55DSL? by ten4magazine
February 9, 2007, 12:47 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Well you’re in luck because right now they’re accepting applications for this years Junior Lucky Bastards’ (JLBs). So if you’re tired of your current job, or you simply don’t have a job or fancy a change then why not apply.The job is simple. You get to travel the world looking for cool stuff. When you find it, you film it, blog it and photograph it for the 55DSL website, you get a small wage and they cover the costs. What’s not to like?

Everyone can apply through www.55dsl.com starting from February 2007, sending texts, videos, images and audio, but not a flat CV.   They are looking for all kind of creative executions that show the applicants’ creative ability to deal with everyday life, therefore a text can be a poem or a short tale, images can be pictures or drawings or artworks and audios can be songs, or music saved on a MP3.

The deadline for submissions is 30 April 2007