We’re here to make ‘art where you live’

Since opening in 2004, we have created socially engaged artworks, projects and programmes, from our base in Birmingham. We take pride in our approach of making ‘art where you live’ at our home at The Edge in Deritend/Highgate, in our city, our region and across the world.

Friction Arts is an Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisation. It also receives funding from arts funders, local authorities and the public sector, the private sector, the National Lottery and from trusts and charities. Friction was formed as a non-profit organisation with the aim of ‘creating a world where creativity and equality are flourishing’.

Our philosophy

We do not work in one artform, nor do we take one approach. We think of ourselves as responsive to the people who we work with, the project, and need. How do we do it? We rely on our tried and tested process based on four questions. This is our philosophy:

  • Who am I? Why am I making this artwork/project? What’s the interest, the driver behind it
  • Who are we together? How do our (partners, other artists, stakeholders, participants) agendas coincide?
  • What are we going to do? What do we want the outcome to be, what do we want the result of our cooperation to be?
  • How are we going to do it? This is the point at which we choose the artform or approach we are taking, and it really could be anything – if we don’t have the skills in-house we will find skilled people we can work with.

No two Friction Arts’ projects are the same. Our work is bespoke to ensure that it is always relevant to this place, these people, and at this time.

Our History

Friction grew out of Funding Pending Live Arts, which was founded by our current creative directors Lee Griffiths and Sandra Hall in 1992. Beginning with running multi-artform events to performing abstract live art performances to huge audiences at festivals and raves, our work increasingly led to us making projects connecting with communities and communities of interest for the purposes of cultural and social change.

For 30 years, Friction Arts has produced an ambitious programme of creative work, often in partnership or collaboration with artists from all kinds of disciplines; currently it includes Birmingham’s only free visual art club for young people delivered by professional artists, a ground-breaking multicultural music programme in schools and community settings, our Culture Club for young people, A Word From the Wise – our programme celebrating the work of elders and older artists, currently through our ‘Home’ project, Walking Over Coals, our artist development programme for emerging, emerged and submerging artists and an ever-evolving series of site-specific performances and interventions in a variety of settings like our between-lockdown performance ‘Quiet Carnival’.

Our Home

We moved to The Edge in 2007. It was originally a boiled sweet warehouse, but it now enables creative minds to produce visual art, performance, and music.

The Edge isn’t a white box arts space, its bare brick walls and objects collected from decades of work remind us that we straddle the arts world and the wider community. We’ve taken the opportunity of lockdown to make improvements to the building, including installing new entrances, new double-glazing throughout the building, a new roof and lots of other improvements to make it an even more cosy space to be in.

We hire out The Edge as a rehearsal space, for meetings, and for performances. . If you would like to hire The Edge, email us at info@frictionarts.com and see it’s own page on this website for more info.

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