Art that connects people

Friction Arts have been making ‘art where you live’ for over 23 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. 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.

Our major programmes over the next couple of years will be focusing on markets, particularly Birmingham’s  Wholesale Market and the Sunday bootsale that is hosted there – both vital to the culture of the city and under threat due to development of the city centre. But we also recognise the importance of markets generally, as social spaces and foci for community activity, as well as a place to get bargains, and we hope to develop an ambitious international programme of artworks in, with and about markets across the world.

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, Finland and the Netherlands.