Heritage and Culture

Music notesThe University provides the opportunity to engage uniquely and significantly with culture and social heritage. Together, we can build on this.

The Bramall Music Building

Help us to inspire the next Elgar

The Department of Music at Birmingham is one of the country’s leading music departments, with a rich heritage and strengths in composition and early music among other areas. Improved teaching and learning facilities are urgently needed to ensure the department continues to attract and train the best students and make an important contribution to the study, composition and performance of music in the UK and worldwide.

The Bramall Music Building, housed within the final dome of the Aston Webb Building, will provide a 450-seat auditorium for music, opera, drama and lectures, as well as state-of-the-art rehearsal and practice rooms and recording facilities.

Thanks to the generosity of alumni, friends, supporters and charitable trusts and foundations, the £5 million fundraising target has already been exceeded. Fundraising is continuing for an organ to be built as an integral part of the project with a seat campaign, in which alumni and friends can name a seat in the auditorium for £1,000.

See the Bramall Music Building taking shape:

Did you know?

Sir Edward Elgar, our first Professor of Music, disliked lecturing and caused controversy with his outspoken remarks. His wife’s diary reveals his hurried last-minute preparations for his lectures and the ailments (possibly psychosomatic) that accompanied them. Fortunately, he loved composing.

For further information, contact Matt Mangan +44 (0)121 414 8640.

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Heritage Learning Hub

Help us hold the mummy’s hand

Two million people are employed in creative jobs and the sector has grown at twice the rate of the economy as a whole. However, much diversity of experience is hidden within museums and archives or isolated within specific disciplines.

We must unlock our hidden heritage by bringing together existing disparate areas of knowledge, improving accessibility to different audiences and informing future government policy.

The University will create the Heritage Learning Hub, a new digital space that will bring together its existing research in a world-class facility. At the heart of the hub will be a 3D multimedia hall, showcasing interactive heritage projects to visitors including academics, students and the public. Visitors will be able to digitally experience ‘touching’ priceless artefacts such as a centuries-old mummy’s hand.

To manage the Hub, two new staffing positions will be created, supported by a team of ten PhD researchers to train a steady stream of students in various fields of heritage studies. Cutting-edge digital equipment including an interactive 3D touch table is also needed to enable the Hub to achieve its goals.

Did you know?

The heritage sector contributes some £60 billion per year to the UK economy.

For further information, contact: Nick Blinco +44 (0)121 415 8089.

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Special Collections – a completed project

Thanks to your generous gifts, a dedicated, purpose-built facility has been created in the redeveloped Muirhead Tower, consolidating the collections and creating exhibition, storage and learning spaces.

Sue Worrall, Head of Special Collections and Project Champion "The new Special Collections facility has only been made possible thanks to the generous gifts of our donors and we are extremely grateful for their continuing support."

The University’s Special Collections and Archives have been built up over 120 years and include irreplaceable items such as rare first editions and historical papers. Priceless and unique materials within the collections include the Mingana Collection of illuminated Middle Eastern manuscripts, the Noel Coward Collection, extensive papers relating to the Chamberlain family, and medieval manuscripts from as far back as the 13th century.

The new facility means that historically important and irreplaceable collections will be preserved for future generations. We also have improved facilities for allowing the collections to be used and studied, together with better conservation for fragile items.

The collections will grow and develop, ensuring their continued value and attraction to academics, students and others.

To arrange to visit Special Collections, contact +44 (0)121 414 5839.

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