CBC in the Press

DESI PUBS press coverage

BBC Midlands Today


BBC Get Creative – Time please! Join a Desi pub crawl

East meets West in Desi pubs, where the classic English pub with its ales, darts and dominos meets Punjabi food and Bhangra music. Join Get Creative champions Creative Black Country on a unique Desi Pub crawl.

Central News
Central News did a broadcast to cover the launch of the newly installed pub signs in October which included interviews with the Desi Pub landlords, regulars and artists.

Inapub Trade Jounal
Front Cover and double page spread

Birmingham Mail – Punjabi pub signs to be put up at Desi pubs in Black Country
Birmingham and the Black Country have been blessed by an explosion of Desi pubs – offering authentically Punjabi food in a Great British boozer. Now seven of the Desi pubs in the region are getting their own distinct sign – in Punjabi.

Great Barr Observer – Unique Indian-inspired signs to be unveiled to celebrate booming Punjabi Pub Trade in West Brom
A PROJECT celebrating the rise of the Punjabi pub trade in the Birmingham and the Black Country is set to go live later this month – when specially-made signs are to be hung outside.

The Economist – Pakoras and pints: Raising a glass to Britain’s Indian pubs
N THE 1960s, the Ivy Bush public house in Smethwick, West Midlands enforced a colour bar. An ad hoc system, it barred Asian and Caribbean men—most of whom had migrated to the town to work in its flourishing foundries—from the premises. Today, the Ivy Bush is owned and run by Lakhbir Singh Gill, who took over the pub 23 years ago, and it is one of many “desi” pubs in the region (“desi” is a vernacular term meaning “of South Asia”).

Desi Blitz – Cyrus Todiwala talks Desi Pubs in the Black Country
Paying homage to the rich Asian heritage of the Midlands, Cyrus Todiwala reflects on the significance of Desi Pubs with Creative Black Country.

Arts Council England – A story of East meets West Midlands
The world’s first Punjabi pub signs designed by artist Hardeep Pandhal have been unveiled at Desi Pubs in the Black Country. The signs can be seen along with a new series of artworks telling stories about migration, survival, love and food.

Black Country Pub – Desi pubs: ower precious Punjabi jewels
Yow dow av to go deep, or far, for Desi in the Black Country. No, not at all. Yow only av to scratch the surface to find one of the many delightful Desi pubs that are scattered, like precious Punjabi jewels, across ower industrial heartland.

Paul Fulford Blog – You’ve never seen pub signs like this before
The world’s first Punjabi pub signs will be hung at seven Desi pubs across the Black Country this month.
The signs are part of a project to commemorate the visit to Smethwick 50 years ago by American civil rights campaigner Malcolm X.

Red Bull Amaphiko – The phenomenon of Britain’s Desi Pubs
Last week an art project celebrating British-Indian pubs in the West Midlands unveiled pub-based artworks including old-fashioned swinging signage and stained glass windows.

Burnt Roti – Desi Pubs at Alchemy 2016
The Desi Pubs installation at Alchemy 2016 (Southbank Centre) is an outcome of a project started in 2015 by Creative Black Country in collaboration with the owners, landlords and punters of The Red Lion, The Fourways, The Prince of Wales, Island Inn, the Sportsman, the Red Cow, and the Ivy Bush pubs located across the erstwhile industrial heartland known as the Black Country of the UK’s West Midlands.

Express Foodie – The Desi Pubs of Great Britain
In the 1950s, after the Second World War, Britain decided to open its borders to immigrants, mostly from its former colonies. The Royal Commission on Population had decided that immigrants of “good stock” would be welcomed “without reserve”. And so a large number of people from the Caribbean, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) sailed to Britain in search of a new life in the West. Britain needed cheap labour to rebuild its economy, which, after the Second World War, lay in tatters.

Yahoo News: Desi Pubs are a Thing in the UK
India 101: Desi Pubs are a Thing in the UK

Behind the bar, you’ll find Bhangra, Punjabi food, and Mr. Singh. The pub: an institution that’s as British as the Queen and as ubiquitous as bad weather. In the UK, the pub is the cornerstone of a community, a place where everyone knows the landlord’s name and becomes intimate with each other’s personal business.

Caught By the River Blog – Shadows & Reflections
My best day out this year involved a trip to Smethwick in the West Midlands. I went on a Desi pub crawl organised by Creative Black Country – ‘Desi’ referring to the Indian diaspora – with writer friend Rahul Verma. These pubs are owned by men, mostly of Punjabi heritage whose fathers, uncles and brothers had answered the call for workers at the West Midlands smelting factories in the 1950s and ‘60s. There’s a strong drinking culture in the Punjab and the workers wanted to go for a pint after work, but they were refused entry to many pubs on the basis of their skin colour. Avtar Singh Jouhl from the Indian Workers Association reached out to Malcolm X who came to Smethwick to show solidarity with the workers, nine days before he was assassinated in February 1965. Half a century later and there’s a rich culture of British Asian pubs in the area and six of them have this epic history commemorated in stained glass windows, photographic portraits and a mosaic. Daytrips are great. This one was excellent, not least because it felt like a good way to reclaim one of our great social spaces from the bloated hands of UKIP ‘blokes’.

IMAGINE THAT press coverage

Polaroids & Polar Bears Blog – The M5 Mile – A circus of Creativity
Saturday saw a neglected and forgotten strip of land under the M5 motorway transformed into a buzzing hive of creativity as part of MADE’s M5 Mile project. The project, funded by Creative Black Country, saw six local artists undertake a day long commission with a simple brief to respond to the site.

Black Country Pub – Black Country Bride… of Frankenstein
It’s not every Saturday evening that you find yourself rejecting the warmth of your usual Black Country pub, to traipse up Dudley Zoo‘s bonk to the castle in order to get frit and probably quite cold. But, that is indeed what I did yesterday evening for Dudley Castle After Dark: The Bride of Frankenstein.

Native Monster – PJs, bats and bees set summer scene in Sandwell
Imagine That! will include an outdoor pyjama party, giant buzzing bees, a travelling garden that never dies and a mobile ‘Ant’. Events get under way this Saturday as children are invited to bring their parents and dress up in onesies for an evening under the stars at the Big Wild Pyjama Party with RSPB.

Express & Star – Sandwell Arts Festival buzz around town

Pottery bees, royals on stilts, a garden of ceramic flowers, digital graffiti and dancing around telephone boxes – it was an orgy of fun at a town’s arts festival.

ITV – Weekend picks: Arts Festival
West Bromwich town centre will come alive this weekend with performances, cinema, photography and giant Bumble bees. Creative Black Country, in partnership with Sandwell Council and West Bromwich BID, have put together a programme of events for the Sandwell Arts Festival to transform the town. As part of the project, more than 500 people from community groups across the region have helped the artistic team to make a stunning ceramic garden of over 1,000 flowers.

Native Monster – Swarm of insects invade college ahead of Sandwell Arts Festival
Artist Jon Williams, of Eastnor Pottery, Malvern, has been commissioned by Creative Black Country to make 24 giant ceramic bees to accompany a stunning ceramic garden. With the help of Anne Scrimshaw, at Sandwell College’s Fab Lab, the ceramic bees have been given digital technology so that they buzz with their own unique sound.

Shropshire Star – See how this ceramic garden is brightening up one corner of the Black Country
The flowers have gone on display at Tipton Library and were made with the help of people with disabilities. People who attend the Creative Arts disability day centre, based in Oldbury, were invited to help create the flowers, while other community groups and schoolchildren also helped with the project.

Express and Star – Video and gallery: Bride of Frankenstein screening at Dudley Castle is a scream
It was an eerie night at Dudley Castle for hundreds who enjoyed a spooktacular evening watching the Bride of Frankenstein in the venue’s historic courtyard.

Stourbridge News – Dudley Castle turns cinema for a 1930s classic
DUDLEY Castle was transformed into an open-air cinema for one night only last weekend. More than 600 people visited the famous castle courtyard on Saturday evening to watch The Bride of Frankenstein. The 1935 film, directed by Dudley’s James Whale, was preceded by a short horror film made by students from Dudley College.


Polaroids & Polar Bears Blog – Dudley Castle After Dark – The Bride of Frankenstein

Dudley Zoological Gardens will be transformed into an open-air cinema for the first time ever this August as the famous landmark teams up with Flatpack for a special screening of the spine-chilling horror, The Bride of Frankenstein (PG) on Saturday 6 August. The 1935 classic is directed by local boy James Whale, who was born and raised in Dudley, and remains today one of the most famous figures to emerge from the town.

Dudley News – Dudley Castle to a screen the classic spine-chilling horror The Bride of Frankenstein
DUDLEY Castle will be transformed into an open-air cinema for the first time next weekend. The 1935 horror classic The Bride of Frankenstein, directed by Dudley’s James Whale, will hit the big screen on Saturday August 6. Featuring spooky sounds, projections on the ramparts, hot food and a licensed bar, film fans are warned to expect the unexpected.

Express & Star – The Tipton Grand Tour
We were very lucky to be able to take part in the installation of the ceramic garden in Tipton Library. A morning full of sticking the flowers into artificial grass to create the display alongside a number of other very willing volunteers.

BBC Midlands Today
Imagine That!  was also featured live on BBC Midlands Today with a broadcast from Shefali Oza at the Tipton Library Ceramic Garden launch and a second broadcast (recorded) with Satnam Rana at Sandwell Central Sixth Arts Cafe for the launch of Sandwell Arts Festival.

100 MASTERS Press Coverage

Radio BBC WM – 14th March, 2017
Live interview on the Sunny & Shay show with Liam Smyth (CBC Creative Producer), and 100 Masters nominees Parv Kaur and Drew Roper.

Area Culture Guide
Page feature of the campaign.

GENERAL press coverage

Arts Professional – The Subtle art of community engagement