Art that connects people

Friction Arts have been making ‘art where you live’ for over 27 years. Friction listen to people, work with them and then translate their thoughts and ideas into high quality contemporary artworks which communicate to the wider world whilst remaining true to the voices of the people they originate with. These artworks may be performances, installations, interventions, publications or whatever is appropriate to the context of the project. Friction firmly believe in the transformative nature of the arts, with communities and individuals, and are committed to expanding the reach of the arts into places they have not been before.

Friction is based at The Edge, a former industrial unit on the border of Digbeth and Highgate in central Birmingham, which we own (well, technically our bank does). We are linked to our local community through friends, personal history and professional connections to local groups. We aim to deliver work that is relevant to the people in our immediate area and which responds to the rich cultures that exist here.

We also celebrate the unique character of Birmingham, Britain’s flagship hyper-diverse city, Britain’s youngest city, and the cradle of British industry. Our work is always open to people from across the city and is designed to have a universal appeal, even if it aims to involve participants from a particular community or area.

Friction is an artist led organisation, with a focus on constant research and development to generate new ideas. We aim to understand the wider trends in society that are reflected in the place we work, how those are understood all over the globe and the different responses people take to them outside our immediate area. We undertake work internationally so that we can discover fresh perspectives on domestic challenges, and perhaps uncover new and exciting solutions. It can also be an opportunity to undertake experimental work in very different contexts. This year we’ve worked in Bulgaria, Australia and Indonesia, and spoken at a bunch of events and conferences in various bits of Europe. 

Friction is led by Artists Sandra Hall and Lee Griffiths, of whom you’ll struggle to find any pictures or info on here. Lee particularly is quite a private individual, while Sandra tends to get out a bit more. It’s about the work, you see, not us. We’re supported by a great board of practitioners and former academics, a core team providing admin support and a wide pool of freelance artists we partner, collaborate and cooperate with.