About The Exchange

In September 2021, the University of Birmingham will open The Exchange. Located in Centenary Square, The Exchange will use the University's research, teaching and local, national and international networks to create a place of curiosity, celebration, collaboration and change. In doing so, we will bring together communities to shape the ideas and solutions that will make our cities and regions better places to live, work and learn.

Conceptual illustration showing a view of The Exchange from Centenary Square

Location

The Exchange is located in Centenary Square, Birmingham's 'civic heart' that is home to many of our city's most iconic locations such as the Library of Birmingham, the International Convention Centre, Symphony Hall and the REP theatre. The Exchange is next door to the new HSBC headquarters and a stone's throw away from PwC, Baskerville House, the Council House and the Town Hall. Centenary Square is part of an exciting new development that will revolutionise transportation and public spaces in the area, making it one of the UK's most attractive locations for work and leisure.

The Exchange is located at 3 Centenary Square in a grade II listed building that was originally founded as the Birmingham Municipal Bank. Learn more about the building and redevelopment or book The Exchange for an event.

Our Aims

Our goal is transformational. We aim to create a place of opportunity to help people, businesses and organisations rethink how cities can be shaped by the people who live and work in them.

We will achieve our goal by:

  1. Opening up research. Public exhibitions alongside public and community engagement programmes will enable people from the city and wider region to get involved in the University’s work to solve the complex challenges of the 21 century.
  2. Sharing data tools and fostering collaboration. The University is a rich source of data and intelligence about the city, the West Midlands and its economy. Providing access to this information at The Exchange will facilitate data sharing and partnerships that will help grow the regional economy and improve people’s quality of life. 
  3. New models of education delivery. The Exchange will provide free taster courses, short paid courses and micro-credentials, aimed at widening participation, professional development and/or building regional skills. A particular focus on leadership will encompass the private, public and third sectors and grow the capacity of community leaders. The Exchange will also provide a hub to support the development of entrepreneurial skills, helping to create the next generation of businesses.
  4. New models of service delivery. The Exchange is a unique venue that has been redeveloped to create a welcoming and accessible visitor and user experience. Our aim is for The Exchange to be an inclusive space that attracts a range of different audiences and stakeholders to learn with and from each other.

Why now?

There is no better time to do this. With the anticipated arrival of HS2, the relocation of an increasing number of former London-based offices and headquarters to the city, combined with the Commonwealth Games in 2022, Birmingham has an unsurpassed opportunity to enhance its identity as the UK’s second city. United by a culturally diverse population of c.1.3 million people, Birmingham has a leadership role to play in demonstrating how people can work together in a post-COVID society to make communities safer, stronger and more successful in the 21st century.

The University of Birmingham has always embraced the role that universities should play in contributing to regional growth and opportunities. It was founded as the UK’s first civic university, a university that would work in partnership with the city’s commerce and industry and deliver benefits for citizens that extend well beyond higher education. This remains core to our purpose and will be enhanced through The Exchange.

Events and Activities

The Exchange will host a range of activities and events, including:

  • Exhibitions based on the University's cutting-edge research
  • Public lectures, guest speaker events and discovery days
  • Workshops and educational activities for children and families
  • Guided tours of The Exchange
  • Advice and guidance sessions for community members and local businesses
  • Courses and teaching
  • Support for students and graduates who want to start a business

More information will be made available via the Events and Activities page in advance of the opening of The Exchange in September 2021.