Staying Cool is celebrating 15 years at Rotunda this year with a year-long programme of events to showcase Birmingham’s wealth of creative talent in arts, literature, food and drink
Working with fellow indies from across the city, Creative Heights II is a not-for-profit programme providing a sky-high platform for talented artists, local designers and fab food & drink providers. Residents and visitors to Birmingham alike will have the opportunity to visit Rotunda, take part in painting, drawing and photography sessions, listen to literature talks or see new art against the stunning backdrop of the Brum cityscape.
Creative Heights is all about celebrating local, not only in the events we’re hosting, but the charities we’re supporting throughout the programme. Our event hosts have chosen a range of charities to benefit from ticket sales proceeds including:
Sip & Sketch: Christmas Edition
Sunday 10th December 2023. 3-5pm
Sip, sketch and socialise at the most magical time of the year! Local artist Flic Blades has teamed up with our fabulous Rotunda team, to bring you this special festive edition of Sip & Sketch.
To kick off our arty workshop for grown ups (18+), you’ll be greeted with a glass of fizz on arrival to start those creative engines. Then, whilst sipping away, Flic will guide you through festive drawing games and holiday themed creative activities. All art supplies are provided but you’re welcome to bring your own if you prefer.
You’ll be supported throughout the afternoon session by your host Flic, a Birmingham based artist with a passion for white wine and doodling.
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Ultraopticon with Stan’s Cafe
Friday 19th & Saturday 20th January 2024
An attempt to watch the whole world for a day by Stan’s Cafe – a Birmingham-based theatre company. From high in The Rotunda, looking out with telescopes and digital devices, our sentinels scan an ever turning world. They are surveying everything. Their reports mix with found sounds and glitches, everything is processed and webcast to you in an hypnotic 24 hour stream from the Ultraopticon.
Tickets coming soon. Sign up to our newsletter below for updates.
Ruth Millington: This workshop will make you an artist!
Sunday 25th February 2024. 3-6pm
Join Ruth Millington, author of This Book Will Make You An Artist, for an afternoon of art.
A children’s workshop recommended for ages 5-11 years, you will explore drawings, paintings, sculptures and collages by famous artists, including Frida Kahlo, Pablo Picasso, Hilma af Klint and Vincent van Gogh. Then, have a go at making your own masterpiece inspired by their styles and techniques. This workshop will make you an artist!
Children of all ages and abilities are welcome but due to limited space we’d ask that only one adult accompany each child attending; children must be accompanied at all times. Materials will be provided.
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The Stacey Barnfield Retrospective
Thursday 7th March 2024
Stacey Barnfield’s Draw My City project captures brilliant Birmingham in watercolour and ink, shining a light on the city’s architectural landmarks and lesser-known buildings. Featuring Snobs, Mr Egg and, of course, Rotunda, the drawings have been seen by thousands of people at Grand Central at New Street – next door to Staying Cool – and in this event he talks about which buildings have been the most popular and why everybody should carry a sketchbook on their travels. There will be sketching treats for guests!
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Introducing our ‘Rotunda Pale’ ale
When it comes to raising a glass to celebrate its 15 years in Birmingham, we are doing it in style by turning our iconic Rotunda home into a limited-edition beer. Brewed with the finest British pale floor malt and hopped with Citra and Amarillo, the Rotunda Pale has a thirst quenching freshness.
Our ‘Rotunda Pale’ collaboration with Birmingham Brewing Company forms part of our Creative Heights II celebration of city architecture, art, food and drink.
The beer has been flying off the shelves since being launched and the most recent batch is officially sold out, so keep your eye on the Birmingham Brewing Co website for signs of a potential restock!
Attendance places will be limited, so register your interest below to be the first to hear about new events and updates:
Flatpack Festival: QUEER LIVING: WANNA GET IN MY DRAWERS?
Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st May 2023
Programmed by Beth Steventon-Crinks, this unique event offers an immersive look at Queer living, chosen family and the stories that can be found on a bedside table, Beth invites you into the intimate space of a Queer bedroom.
Originally inspired by two Instagram accounts, @queernightstands and @queerbedsidetables, Wanna Get In My Drawers will fill a Staying Cool apartment with bedside tables from Queer people across the city and asks you to consider what we want from Queer living in the future. The installation sets the scene for Juliet Bashore’s 1991 documentary The Battle of Tuntenhaus, a film about the residents of Tuntenhaus squat in East Berlin – known as “House of Queers” – and their fight against eviction by the West German police.
Shoot the sunset: summer photography session
Thursday 29th June 2023. 7-9.30pm
This June, we’re offering a small group of local photographers the opportunity to shoot the Brum sunset from our 20th floor Rotunda penthouse and enjoy a beer on us! With 100% of ticket sales going to local charity LoveBrum, the session will provide the opportunity for hobbyists and professionals alike to take in the views, snap some unique shots and network over a limited edition Rotunda Pale ale – our limited-edition collaboration with Birmingham Brewing Company. Please be aware, spaces will be limited and tickets will go fast!
Vines with a View with The Wilderness
Thursday 20th July 2023. 6-9pm
Join The Wilderness‘s Alex Claridge and superstar sommelier Sonal Clare for a wine tasting like no other at Rotunda. For one night only, the lads are taking over and offering the chance to taste wines from The Wilderness cellar at mates rates. Ticket prices include tasting measures (100ml) of four superlative wines chosen by Sonal and inspired by Staying Cool’s iconic Rotunda penthouse – find the perfect wine for the bedroom, for food pairing, for lounging, and for enjoying al fresco. Guests can also get their hands on bottles to drink in or takeaway, all available at discounted prices. Expect a casual wine tasting set to a soundtrack curated by Sonal, with the opportunity to chat with Mr Claridge, Mr Clare and The Wilderness crew. £5 from each ticket will be donated to SIFA Fireside, plus 10% of drinks sales on the night.
Bring your Rotundas to Rotunda
Sunday 6th August 2023
Let’s get creative! This competition is open to all age groups. We are seeking your interpretation of Rotunda in your choice of media. It could be a one foot model, it could be a drawing, a photo, a Lego version, Jenga version. Whatever it is, we want to see it.
Bring your Rotundas to Rotunda and be in with a chance of winning a framed Rotunda artwork! And if you can’t physically bring your Rotunda to Rotunda, book in a Zoom slot to show it to us. Best model wins a night in the penthouse, a set of images by the fabulous Stacey Barnfield and the kudos of winning (of course!).
Tour Rotunda for Heritage Week
Sunday 10th September 2023. 3-7pm
Rotunda is one of Birmingham’s landmark locations and a post-war architectural icon, with a fascinating history of highs and lows. Saved from demolition and now listed as protected, join Birmingham heritage experts for a talk about Rotunda’s design, history and fascinating facts about our wonderful home as well as a tour of the place.
Shoot the Sunset: Photography Open House
Sunday 1st October 2023. 5-8pm
Staying Cool’s skyscraping setting has been the perfect place for Birmingham’s photographers to flex their creative muscles, capturing sunrises, sunsets and everything in between. This is your chance to come along with the camera and capture something different. Our open house photography sessions are open to hobbyists and a alike.
Ruth Millington: A Dinosaur on Broad Street and other stories of Birmingham’s Surrealists
Thursday 19th October 2023
Join local art historian Ruth Millington to discover Birmingham’s sites of surrealism, from Balsall Heath to the Trocadero. Learn about the city’s surrealists, including Emmy Bridgwater, Conroy Maddox and Desmond Morris who were opposed to London’s artists, forged direct links with Paris and staged surrealist stunts, including planting a dinosaur on Broad Street.
Evolving Skylines: Photography Workshop with Verity Milligan
Sunday 29th October 2023. 3-6pm
Birmingham photographer Verity Milligan invites you to join her in a unique workshop experience atop the iconic Rotunda. In this exclusive session, you’ll gain insider access to one of Birmingham’s most coveted vantage points. Guided by Verity’s expert eye, you’ll explore the skyline of Birmingham from this impressive perspective, Verity will share with you her creative insights and technical expertise to help you discover the perfect balance between capturing the grandeur of the city and the intimate details that often go unnoticed.
Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or just beginning your journey, this workshop offers the opportunity to expand your skills and creative potential. Staring in the late afternoon, you’ll witness the city move from sunset to dusk, capturing the ‘blue hour’ when the city really comes alive. This workshop promises to be an immersive experience that will hopefully leave you inspired, with a newfound set of skills and a stunning collection of imagery that encapsulates the evolving beauty of the Birmingham skyline.
Ticket includes entry to the retrospective that follows at
Evolving Skylines: The Birmingham Skyline from Rotunda’s Perspective (2014-2023)
Sunday 29th October 2023. 6-8pm
This is a celebration of Birmingham’s past, a testament to its present, and a glimpse into its future through the photography of Verity Milligan as she captures the spirit of a city constantly evolving, forever leaving its mark on the horizon.
Embark on a captivating visual journey through the ever-changing tapestry of Birmingham’s skyline in the retrospective photography exhibition, exploring smaller details to grand vistas of a city in flux. Feast your eyes on a captivating collection of photographs taken by Verity Milligan that chronicle the city’s architectural evolution over the past decade and marvel at the juxtapositions and ever-changing nature of Birmingham’s skyline.
Murder, She Cooked
Sunday 3rd December 2023. 2-5pm
Wouldn’t you love to be a guest at Jessica Fletcher’s dining table but in the heart of Birmingham city centre? Or to sample one of her homemade cookies as you sit and discuss a horrible crime at her kitchen table? Well, here’s the next best thing. Recipes from the homes of Dame Angela Lansbury and many of her wonderful co-stars are here for you to enjoy as you settle down to listen as the author of Murder She Cooked, Jenny Hammerton takes you behind the scenes. You’ll be surprised what you don’t know! All attendees will take away their very own copy of the book to try out some fab dishes at home.