Mixing Things Up – Polly Adams-Felton and Caroline Hetherington on what the new Barber Association has to offer

This academic year, term kicked off with a programme of events by hosted the newly-formed Barber Association, created specifically to strengthen links between the Institute and students in Art History and Music through social and cultural events. We inaugurated the Association with pizza, beer, wine and more pizza at the Barber Mixer on 28 September.

Barber Mixer 5
Students enjoying a drink at the mixer

With a brilliant string quartet keeping us entertained with some unexpected arrangements (think S Club 7, Abba and MGMT), and a pose-as-your-favourite-painting fancy dress photo booth, it was a great chance for students from across the university to meet and socialise with each other and members of staff. It was the first event for the current cohort of Art History undergrads to socialise as a department, to meet the new postgrads and to finally get to know the mysterious music students with whom we share our building! There were some brilliant entries to the photo booth completion and a very worthy winner.

Barber Mixer 4
Getting dressed up in the photobooth
The winners – two of our new UGs get into the spirit!

The next event for Association members was a portraiture drawing workshop – a chance for some artwork to be created in the gallery, in front of the paintings with the guidance of Tom Jones, a Birmingham based artist. This workshop was full to capacity and saw the creation of some beautiful drawings. We also had some wonderful cakes and tea and coffee and a natter afterwards – almost as good as the session itself!

Taking inspiration from the gallery at the Portrait Workshop

This is just the start of a year of exciting and interesting events aimed at bringing everyone with an interest in the Barber Institute together. Other benefits of joining include sneak peeks behind the scenes, visits to regional and national galleries, and getting more involved in Barber favourites like choosing ‘Object of the Month’. We’re looking forward to a Q+A with exhibiting artist John Monks on the 14th November. John Monks is one of Britain’s leading and most successful contemporary painters, collected by, among others, Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood. The Barber Association has secured an exclusive opportunity for members to meet John Monks at a special Q&A session before the exhibition opens, when they will be able to ask the artist about his work and his career, his inspirations and influences and the contemporary art scene.

John Monks
John Monks, Yellow Chair

This event will only be open to Barber Association members (obviously this includes all First Year History of Art and Music students, as well as new Masters and PhD students, who are automatically members). We also have a Speed Workshop on 4th December (read about the last one here), and Galleries Night and Art Bus on 11th December followed by a trip out for dinner and to the pub, and (most importantly) a steady supply of tea and cake. Barber Association members are also now entitled to a 10% discount on Barber merchandise in the shop – an excellent place to do some Christmas shopping!

The Barber Association is about building a dialogue between the team behind the running of the gallery and the students who study there. We are working hard to build up the events and have an amazing year full of opportunities. If you would like to become a member of this exciting association, you can join at the Barber Institute cask desk or by calling 01214147333. You can also keep an eye on Barber Association events by checking the tab on The Golovine and liking their Facebook page.


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