Balsall Heath Biennale

Art School

Balsall Heath Academy of Contemporary Art

Taking its name from the many ad hoc English tuition academies popping up overnight around the local area, the Balsall Heath Academy of Contemporary Art (BHACA) offered an 11-week course in contemporary art with a syllabus designed in response to the idiosyncrasies of Balsall Heath. This included: Fischli/Weiss and parking space savers; sculpting a pair of trainers from plastic bags, tape and cardboard; alternative currencies and Balsall Heath ‘credit’; the Neighbourhood Plan and public sculpture; dumped mattresses and the readymade; ‘unadopted’ spaces’ & Wastelands Twinning. Additional sessions were run by artists Rafal Zar, Robert Grose and Beth Bramich.  Sessions were held weekly at The Old Printworks and we also organised a series of 1 to 1 sessions with individual students.

Please see for the full syllabus and documentation of the project (including lectures & talks).

Syllabus Examples

Week 5. Context is everything

Idea: Explore how everyday objects can be art-works. We will look at the work of Jessica Stockholder, Hew Locke and Donald Judd in relation to objects – mattresses, furniture etc – that are normally dumped around Balsall Heath.

Week 6. Fischli/Weiss and parking space savers in Balsall Heath

Idea: Continuing to focus on the theme of context from the previous week, we will watch The Way Things Go by Fischli/Weiss. We will then develop a series of sculptural ‘parking space savers’ or other interventions at street level.