Grand Union is leading a £3.25m project to bring a Grade II listed building on Fazeley Street, Digbeth, Birmingham, back into use.
Working with Homes England, we will transform the derelict Junction Works building into a new contemporary art gallery and artist studios.
Grand Union’s current home, Minerva Works, is due to be demolished as part of the masterplan to develop the Digbeth and Warwick Bar area. A vibrant artistic community has developed and flourished in Digbeth over the last decade but now, with the imminent arrival of HS2 and subsequent development, artists and arts organisations are finding their future in the area is in doubt.
Grand Union believes that a strong artistic community is an essential part of an integrated city, and that public spaces dedicated to culture are crucial for both residents and visitors. In order to ensure that the cultural offer in Digbeth is retained and embedded in its future, we are working to secure a new home at Junction Works, in the centre of Digbeth.
Junction Works is a derelict Grade II listed building on Fazeley Street, a stone’s throw from Grand Union’s current home. Once an important canal office on the junction of the Grand Union and Digbeth Branch canals, the building fell into disrepair and is now derelict.
Grand Union proposes to repurpose Junction Works into a high quality centre for contemporary visual art, with a gallery, public spaces and artist studios. Working closely with Homes England – the owner of Junction Works – we hope to both save this important historic building whilst simultaneously securing our future in Digbeth.
Junction Works will be home to a high quality and accessible public exhibition and event space. The new galleries will both enable artists to work to a greater level of ambition and scale, and will allow us to bring in more national and international artists to Birmingham. The refurbishment will include high quality lighting and flooring, supporting professional presentation and audience experience.
Junction Works will also provide a much-needed facility for other arts organisations in the Digbeth area. Some have already moved out due to increasing rents, so having a centre for contemporary arts in the heart of Digbeth gives us the chance to preserve the ecology of our artist community – in turn benefiting audiences and the wider city.
Junction Works will also be a resource for the local community and a focus for groups and individuals who want to be part of the cultural life of Birmingham.
Grand Union is currently the only organisation in Birmingham to offer both a public gallery space and high quality artist studios. We host 14 studios, which are used by 19 professional artists and designers. The Junction Works development will nearly double our studio provision, with 549sq metres of high quality, affordable and accessible production space.
We plan to make our studios warm, efficient, light and accessible; a vital resource for Birmingham-based arts practitioners who are creating innovative work for national and international projects.
In addition, Junction Works will be a centre for curatorial practice. Grand Union is the only organisation outside of London to have the learning and development of curators at its heart, and Junction Works will allow us to improve and grow this vital area of our work.