Grand Union

Grand Union logo

Grand Union is an artist-led initiative that supports the development of artists and curators and aims to establish and nurture dialogue between contemporary visual artists, and local, national and international art organisations.

Established by a group of artists and curators in Birmingham, UK, Grand Union is a unique project that houses eight purpose built studios and a project space. The project space provides a platform for a diverse and exciting programme of events and exhibitions while the studios provide a professional and secure working environment.

Venue Type:

Gallery, Artist studio or collective

Opening hours

Thursday to Saturday, 12–5pm during exhibition opening hours.

Admission charges


Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

Pleasure is a Weapon, a solo exhibition by Susie Green

  • 1 September — 18 November 2017 *on now

Working in a range of media across sculpture, performance and painting, this presentation celebrates the body as a site for pleasure and politics. The exhibition will be punctuated with a public programme of performances, screenings and conversations.

The installation of sound, objects and painted works that make up Pleasure is a Weapon probes at feelings and recollections surrounding both immediate and remote sexual intimacy. Green creates an environment in which these feelings are inhabited through the ornamental and physical properties of material. Not only an exercise in re-presenting desire but also an attempt to indulge corporeal pleasures, the space of the exhibition invites a sensual encounter between artist, object and viewer.

By staging an intimate exchange between bodies and things, Pleasure is a Weapon trades in an economy of pleasure. Green’s typically economic use of materials enmeshes with her preoccupation with fetish and form. Simultaneously ephemeral and decadent, the works seemingly revel in the excesses of desire. Such excess is written through with political potential.


Splash Addict performance: Fierce Festival

  • 18 October 2017 7-7:30pm

Inspired by shared romantic, filthy sensibilities and a love of ‘90s dance music, Green performs commanding, melodic vocals over Bayliss’ synth basslines. Splash Addict is a collaboration between Susie Green & artist Simon Bayliss, inspired by shared romantic, filthy sensibilities and a love of ‘90s dance music, Green performs commanding, melodic vocals over Bayliss’ synth basslines. The duo’s first video Love Immersion features the artists dancing in swimwear, together but alone, punctuated by clips of hands smacking bare backsides.

Presented with Fierce Festival for their ‘Very Fierce Grand Opening’
Fierce Festival Hub (Quantum, 30-34 River Street, Birmingham, B5 5SA).

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children


Fierce Festival Hub
Quantum, 30-34 River Street
West Midlands
B5 5SA

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Hamish MacPherson

VOZ RARA – Improvising Politics: Out of Touch, with Hamish MacPherson

  • 28 September 2017 From 2pm

Improvising Politics is an ongoing series of playful, non-partisan workshops finding new ways to reflect on politics. Using our entire bodies – moving, sensing, writing, talking – to explore different themes (previously power, time, borders and political speech). Improvising Politics: out of touch considers what might a touch-centred approach to politics look like? Through a number of practical exercises, proposals and discussions participants will consider things like consent, care, solidarity and resistance. Neither formal dance nor formal political experience necessary. The workshop draws on somatic dance practices and is suitable for all types of experience, agility and fitness, and all ages over 16. The workshop will involve touch but we will work to explore and negotiate our own limits. Which is part of the point really.

Workshop is held at Grand Union and open to everyone, but booking (free) is essential.

This event is part of VOZ RARA curated by Grand Union Curators-in-Residence Anna Santomauro and Valerio Del Baglivo.

Suitable for

  • Any age



Film Screening: Mano Destra

  • 5 October 2017 6-8pm

A film by Swiss filmmaker Cleo Übelmann, Mano Destra (Italian for “right hand”) is an elegant study of erotic objectification which depicts one woman tying up another woman in a lengthy act of consensual bondage. All films have been selected by Charlotte Procter (Collections Manager of LUX & member of the Cinenova Working Group).

Screening: Mano Destra, (1986), Cleo Übelmann, 53 minutes.
A selection of shorts will precede the film, followed by an informal discussion.
Free, ticketed.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children
Gerard Gaskin

VOZ RARA – To Strike a Pose is to Pose a Threat: a talk with Sabel Gavaldon

  • 7 October 2017 From 3pm

To strike a pose is to pose a threat —as culture theorist Dick Hebdige wrote regarding the meaning of style in subculture. That’s why we need to trace the history of dissident gestures and the genealogy of those poses that are bold enough to confront the norm and open up space to imagine other futurities for the body. The stylized poses from a “voguing” performance belong to that kind of gesture. For those who dare to witness it, the hands of a vogue dancer tell a story whose implications and possibilities that extend far beyond the individual into a terrain of collective struggles and minority resistance.

For this talk at Grand Union, the curator Sabel Gavaldon will share his ongoing research on gesture and subcultural style. The latest iteration of this research is Elements of Vogue, a forthcoming exhibition co-curated with Manuel Segade at CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, in Madrid, which looks at the emergence of voguing as a case study in radical performance. The exhibition departs from an understanding of the body as a living political archive, in order to map out the different legacies and embodied histories that intersect in the drag ball culture that emerged decades ago from Harlem, New York. Therefore, this will not be a talk “about” voguing, but one that unfolds in multiple directions, by considering ways in which minorities use their bodies to produce dissenting forms of beauty, subjectivity, and desire.

This event is part of VOZ RARA curated by Grand Union Curators-in-Residence Anna Santomauro and Valerio Del Baglivo.

Alex Martinis Roe

VOZ RARA – Our Future Network: Workshop on Practices of Alliance, with Alex Martinis Roe

  • 2 — 4 November 2017

Over three days, participants will undertake a series of exercises led by artist Alex Martinis Roe that expand on proposals generated by her film project To Become Two to develop further propositions for feminist political practices in dialogue with participants’ own knowledge, needs, competences, desires and contexts. More specifically, these new propositions will attempt to foster political alliances, facilitating collaboration among distinct political engagements that nevertheless have compatible objectives.

Across six films To Become Two traces the stories of six different, yet connected, feminist groups from the 1970s to the present who have built communities in Europe and Australia. These include The Milan Women’s Bookstore co-operative; Psychanalyse et Politique, Paris; Women’s Studies at the University of Utrecht; a network in Sydney including people involved in the Sydney Filmmakers Co-operative, Feminist Film Workers, the Working Papers Collective and the Department of General Philosophy at Sydney University; and Duoda – Centro de investigación de Mujeres and Ca La Dona in Barcelona.

By using various methods such as participant observation, oral history interviewing, and archival research, Martinis Roe offers proposals for how to grapple with contemporary society through feminist methodologies. For the final film, Our Future Network (2016), Martinis Roe established a new network, which resulted in the development of twenty propositions for feminist collective and political practices.

At The Grand Union, the project will further evolve through the workshop led by Martinis Roe to explore these histories and what can be transferred into methods for collective working now.

The workshop will be anticipated by a public presentation of Alex Martinis’ projects on the 2nd of November.

To participate:

The workshops would suit those who have an interest in collective political practices and/or feminism, but an extensive knowledge of feminist history or theory is not necessary to participate. Participants must be able to participate for the full three days and be willing to undertake some preparation in advance of the workshop.
Please forward expressions of interest to by Sunday 22nd October 5pm.

Please include:
Confirmation to commit to all dates and availability to undertake a preparatory exercise.
Brief biography (100 words)
Short statement of motivation for participation (150 words)

This event is part of VOZ RARA curated by Grand Union Curators-in-Residence Anna Santomauro and Valerio Del Baglivo.

Jaume Ferrete Vázquez

VOZ RARA – Voz Rara Rara Rara, a workshop led by Jaume Ferrete Vázquez

  • 30 November — 2 December 2017

Voz Rara Rara Rara is an artist’s research-driven workshop on other political genealogies of voice and listening. It is directed at art workers, activists, students, academics, or any person interested, studying or working with the politics of voice and listening, particularly in relation to technology, body, gender or ‘disabilities’. During the workshop we will work with texts, audiovisual documents and materials drawn from the practices of artists, theorists and activists including Amanda Baggs, Amanda Weidman, Anne Carson, Boris Fridman Mintz, Jonathan Ree, Lawrence Abu Hamdam, Occupy Wall Street, Jérôme Bel or Yes We Fuck among others. We will explore synthetic voices, deaf cultures and sign languages, gender and the body and politics of the voice and listening. Specific case-studies such as the masculinisation of Thatcher’s voice, Bell Lab’s Voice Operator Demonstrator, and the ‘listened voice’ of the Tojolabal people within the Zapatista movement will be examined.

Workshop is open to everyone, but booking is essential.


Jaume Ferrete Vázquez

Rara Rara by Jaume Ferrete Vázquez

  • 1 December 2017 From 7pm

‘There are none so deaf’ is a performed reading of a text of the same name, to be published later this year by Q-O2 and Errant Bodies. The text takes its title from a cartoon by Gonzalo Rocha in which the voice of Zapatista Comandanta Esther, at the Mexican Congress, is represented as the plump body of a speech scroll. The cartoon is used as the starting point of a genealogy that goes through deaf culture and sign languages, synthetic voices, the phonograph and the telephone, to present another possible genealogy of the politics of voice and listening.

This event is part of VOZ RARA curated by Grand Union Curators-in-Residence Anna Santomauro and Valerio Del Baglivo.


Grand Union
Unit 19
Minerva Works
Fazeley Street
B5 5RS



All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.