We shape Birmingham - Roger Burman transcript

Title: Roger Burman
Duration: 2.56 mins


My name is Roger Burman, I’m Chairman of Performances Birmingham which is the company that runs the Town Hall and Symphony Hall and in my spare time I run a small electronics business in the Black Country.

Performances Birmingham is extremely important for the whole city because it represents a great cultural opportunity. I think it’s absolutely right that all the citizens of Birmingham should have the chance to experience fantastic music in Symphony Hall but also in Town Hall they will get the benefit of discussion groups, of comedy, of light entertainment and more recently a lot of children’s entertainment as well, so I think we’re very important.

When I was an undergraduate at the University of Birmingham I had the big advantage in studying electronics and therefore a science based activity but we spent quite a lot of time also on the humanities. Lecturers from the Humanities Departments came and we debated the relationship between the science and the humanities. This gave me an enormous breadth of knowledge and information. Latterly I came back as a member of the administration, I was a member of Council and as Chairman of that Council, Pro-chancellor, that gave me the opportunity to learn how the university fitted into the West Midlands and the greater community and how it all worked, how it operated and that was very very fascinating.

I chose to stay in the West Midlands for the most mundane of reasons; I was born a Brummie, I was born yards away from the university and I went there. My father was Pro-chancellor before me as well as it so happens and I stayed there, I stayed in Birmingham afterwards because our family business was here and I was always intending to go into that so it was inevitable.

I think when you’ve been brought up and educated in a particular city like Birmingham it is actually important that you eventually try and give back to the community some of the advantage that has been given to you in the time that you’ve been there and fairly soon after I got involved with my electronics business I joined the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and this gave me an enormous opportunity to develop and give back and help them to create and help Birmingham.


I would always say to anybody who wants to come and study, the University of Birmingham’s a fantastic place so certainly go there. When you go there, the first thing to do is to enjoy it because if you don’t enjoy it you’ll never work hard. It’s the same with any job, you need to enjoy it to give of your best so go there, enjoy it, study hard, work hard, play hard and come out with a really good degree.