Those Were The Decades

A series of special events is planned to reflect on the five decades of Ikon’s history. Those Were The Decades will examine the social, political and cultural context of Ikon’s work, with five days of talks, debates and film screenings.

Those Were The Decades begins on Saturday 29 March with 1960s: The rise of counterculture.

Dr Kieran Connell, Research Fellow at University of Birmingham, begins the day with an illustrated talk looking at the influence of student protests vis-à-vis popular culture of the late 1960s, with particular reference to the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (which also celebrates its 50th year in 2014).

Ikon’s beginnings in the 1960s are the subject of a panel discussion chaired by current Director Jonathan Watkins, alongside our first exhibiting artist John Salt; founder artist, Jesse Bruton; and former Birmingham Post arts editor and Arts Lab pioneer, Terry Grimley.

Visitors can join local historian Dr Chris Upton as he explores material from the Library of Birmingham archives for evidence of Birmingham’s counterculture in the 1960s, followed by a screening of Motorcity Music Years: Second City Sinners (1993) featuring the Brumbeat groups that rivalled Liverpool’s Merseybeat in the mid-60s.

The day culminates in an evening dedicated to the late 1960s counterculture, produced with Flatpack Film Festival. Audiences can enjoy a special screening of film classic Medium Cool (1969) by Haskell Wexler, the first feature screened at the newly-formed Birmingham Arts Lab. Few films capture the spirit and music of the 60s as potently, tracing a news cameraman’s free-wheeling journey through 1968 Chicago, coinciding with the turbulent Democratic Convention.

A further four events are planned as part of Those Were The Decades, with guests including author Jonathan Coe, artists Ian Emes, Cornelia Parker and Marlene Smith and Professor Johnny Golding from the Centre for Fine Art Research at Birmingham Institute of Art and Design. Each day will culminate in a film screening curated by Flatpack Film Festival illustrating the changing face of filmmaking across five decades.

Those Were The Decades forms part of Ikon 50, the series of exhibitions and public events celebrating Ikon’s 50th anniversary. Established in 1964 by a group of artists looking for a new, accessible place to share artistic ideas, Ikon has grown to develop a worldwide reputation with an internationalist outlook. Ikon moved to its current Brindleyplace venue in 1998, converting the former Victorian school into a contemporary gallery space now welcoming over 130,000 visitors a year.

1960s: The rise of counterculture

Saturday 29 March

Heritage Learning Space, Level 4, Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2ND

Programme:

To Sir With Love: 1968, popular culture and the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies – Illustrated Talk

11am–12pm

Dr Kieran Connell, Research Fellow, University of Birmingham, explores the influence of student protests vis-à-vis popular cultures of the late 1960s, with particular reference to the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (which also celebrates its 50th year in 2014).

Ikon in the 1960s

12.15–1.30pm

A panel discussion, chaired by current Director Jonathan Watkins, alongside our first exhibiting artist John Salt; founder artist Jesse Bruton; and former Birmingham Post arts editor and Arts Lab pioneer Terry Grimley.

Exploring the archives with Dr Chris Upton

2.30–3.30pm

Join local historian Dr Chris Upton as he explores material from the Library archives for evidence of Birmingham’s counterculture in the 1960s.

4–5.30pm

Option A: Film Screening

A screening of Motorcity Music Years: Second City Sinners (1993) featuring the music of the Brumbeat groups that rivalled Liverpool’s Merseybeat in the mid-‘60s.

or

Option B: Tour of Ikon Gallery – a short introduction to Ikon and its current exhibitions.

6–8pm

The Alternative ‘60s – sound and vision

Studio Theatre, Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2ND

An evening dedicated to the counterculture of the late 1960s, produced with Flatpack Film Festival. Programme includes a special screening of film classic Medium Cool (1969) by Haskell Wexler.

Booking is essential. Day Passes are £15 and £12 concessions. Evening Event only tickets are £7.50 and £5.50 concessions. Season Tickets available for all five days (20% discount): £60 and £48 concessions.

Book online at www.ikon-gallery.org or call Ikon Shop on 0121 248 0711.

Future Those Were The Decades events:

Saturday 14 June

1970s: Politics and Protest

Saturday 12 July

1980s: Anything Goes

Saturday 11 October

1990s: The March of Globalisation

Saturday 29 November

2000s: The Age of Turbulence

Those Were The Decades is organised in collaboration with Flatpack Film Festival, The Library of Birmingham, University of Birmingham and Writing West Midlands.

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