BCU Graduate Residency Studios

2017 – 2022


BCU residency space during an open studios event in 2017.

Grand Union in collaboration with Birmingham City University (BCU) has been running a co-working studio space for artistic research and production in our studios at Minerva Works, Digbeth, since August 2017. The co-working studio compliments Grand Union’s existing provision of 12 artists’ studios and ceramics co-operative Modern Clay.

Each year, 4 recent graduates from BCU arts faculties are selected from an open call to receive free 24 hour access to a shared studio space along with mentoring across the year with Grand Union Directors, exhibiting artists, curators in residence and established Grand Union studio holders.

It is important to provide access to studio and production facilities to young and emerging artists in the city, to encourage new making, nurture talent and to support graduate retention in Birmingham. This also diversifies Grand Unions studio membership, creates networking opportunities between early practitioners and established artists whilst stimulating experimentation and cross-fertilisation of ideas and good practice across disciplines of Art, Design & Media, in one shared space.

Current studio holders

The 2019 – 2020 BCU residency studio holders are:

Dan Cippico (Conservatoire)

Dan Cippico is a multi-disciplinary composer and performer based in Birmingham, UK. His unique practice bridges mediums such as performance, improvisation, ensemble writing, songwriting, experimental electronic music and mixed media. With his time in GU Studios, Dan is currently working on a BBC commission in conjunction with Rural Media to deliver an audio work for radio broadcast, so is learning new digital technologies to do so.

Dan Cippico performing at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Image: Tom Earl.

Adam Neal (Art & Design)

Adam is using this time in the studio space to work on his research in the Whitworth Wallis Residency, documenting ‘working class’ items in the BMAG Collection. He is also, with mentorship from GU staff, developing a new body of photographic work about his relationship with his father and his automotive business.

Adam Neal, Decorating Data, 2020.

Mengxia Liu (Illustration)

Mengxiu is working on a series of large scale illustrative watercolour drawings of life in Birmingham – she has worked on the Bullring Market, Impact Hub and already through this residency programme has upcoming a series of commissions for Grand Union and for Bruntwood Property Developers. She is utilising new technology for this drawing, working in different mediums for commercial sales.

Mengxia Liu, Brum Zine Fest Illustration, 2019.


Infinite Opera performance during exhibition ‘drye eyes’ by Lauren Gault, 2019.

Many studio holders from the BCU programme have remained in the West Midlands region, some gaining important commercial and public commissions. Studio holders have forged connections and professional collaborations with other artists, institutions and charities as well as exhibiting their work widely. We have been delighted to host the following artists and practitioners in the BCU residency space:

An abstractly painted piece of canvas is propped against a white wall with small green piece of wood.
Betsy Bradley, “Tropicana Dreams”, 2019.