barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

Barber Home

Each week the Barber team will be sharing ideas with you to explore in your own home.


These reflections have all been generated in response to our collection and our galleries as part of a new campaign, Barber Home.

This programme will enable the Barber to remain ‘open’ as a place for people to engage with creativity and learning and it is also an exciting opportunity for us to work collaboratively with artists and partners during a time of physical closure.

Look out for Barber Home coming every Thursday.


Coming up: 2 July, 6pm – LYNNEBEC Embrace the Strange – Movement Workshop

Join Barber Home and LYNNEBEC for a surreal Dada-esque movement workshop. Inspired by Jean (Hans) Arp’s ‘Man Seen by a Flower’ (1958) the workshop will offer a space to explore our own physicality in the current nonsensical landscape.

Responding to Arp’s working processes, LYNNEBEC will embrace the strange and celebrate chaos by using chance and risk as a choreographing technique. We invite you to join this nurturing space for our bodies, to become comfortable with the idea of change and randomness and encourage growth within ourselves; explore further with our workshop information and resources.

This is a free online workshop hosted via Zoom.

To book your space and receive joining details, please email at least one hour before the event is due to start.

This event has been tailored for adult participants only (18+).


LYNNEBEC (Jessica Barber & Catherine Butler) are a multidisciplinary performance duo based in Birmingham.

They create site-specific, highly interactive, ensemble-led projects for outdoor or found performance spaces. Their work is a hybrid of physical theatre, dance, circus and visual arts, and focuses on live audience interaction in performance.


25 June – Zine-making with Sarah Taylor Silverwood

This week at Barber Home we’re thinking about families… and families come in all shapes and sizes! Inspired by Adriaen van Ostade’s drawing ‘The Child and The Doll’, join artist Sarah Taylor Silverwood to make a zine and reflect on time spent with your family, whoever and wherever they may be.

Anyone can make a zine – children, families and grown-ups!

Download the activity book and zine template and share your own family-focused zine with us on social media using #BarberHome2020.


18 June – Photography Workshop with Kate Green, 2.30pm – 4pm, free

Inspired by our online exhibition Sights of Wonder, Birmingham photographer Kate Green hosts a relaxed and informal photography workshop via Zoom. Join us to explore Francis Bedford’s 1862 photographs and find out how to take better photos with your camera or smartphone, working with light and composition techniques. Kate will also be talking about photography for wellbeing and sharing ways of getting creative during lockdown using ‘doorstep photography’.

This free online workshop is open to anyone interested in photography but the level of learning is aimed at beginners.

* To book your space and receive joining details, please email at least one hour before the event is due to start. *

Please find more information here.



11 June – St Ives Scrap Sculptures (family workshop)

In this week’s Barber Home, join artist Benny Semp and become a St Ives sculptor using our downloadable activity pack. Learn about the materials and techniques used by artists Barbara Hepworth and Naum Gabo and turn your household scrap materials into amazing Cornish-inspired sculptures!

This family activity pack links to key stage 1 and 2 art and science curriculum, to support you in your stay-at-home school. Remember to share your sculpted creations inspired by Cornwall as Crucible with us using #BarberHome2020 on social media.



4 June – Queer watch party with CineQ (adult themes)

Barber Home and CineQ collaborated for an evening of independent queer film, celebrating queerness from our own homes.

With many Pride events cancelled and usual safe spaces closed off, nurturing a community of support is more important than ever. Across the world trans and non-binary rights are being eroded, so whilst we’ll be celebrating the whole queer family, we’ll be focusing especially on non-binary and trans stories.

Responding to the Barber’s ‘Reclining Nymph’, painted in 1519 by Domenico Beccafumi, this watch party will queer the notion of ‘home’. We’ll think about queer bodies as a ‘home’, explore the ‘home-ness’ of queer identities and consider our queer spaces as ‘home’.

Let’s come together and use the power of art, film and community to build collective love in defiance of fear and ignorance.

The watch party was hosted by CineQ, a festival that showcases the best in local and international queer film, with a focus on stories for and by QTIPOC.

  • Read about CineQ’s work, Beccafumi’s ‘Reclining Nymph’, and find the watch list here.

*This event contains themes of an adult nature and language which some might find offensive.



28 May – Family Creepy Crawlies Q&A with entomologist Liam Crowley.

Calling all insect explorers – ever wanted to know more about bugs?

Inspired by the amazing specimens in our 394-year-old print by Wenceslaus Hollar, Barber Home asked Liam Crowley, an entomologist from the University of Birmingham, to answer all your questions about our creepy crawly friends in a live Q&A session.

If you missed it, watch Liam’s stream now to learn about categories and lifecycles and view some of his collection of preserved specimens.

As home is the new school, our Barber Home family resources link to the key stage 1 and 2 curriculum to support you in the kitchen table classroom.



21 May – Wendy Tournay – response to ‘Gold Teapot with Stand’.

Filmed in lockdown, ceramicist Wendy Tournay welcomes us into her Birmingham studio for this week’s edition of Barber Home. Responding to the Barber’s decorative Gold Teapot with Stand, made in 1785, Wendy shares with us the meditative slip-casting process used to create her own teapot and also explains casting, fettling and finishing. Wendy also gives an insight into her specialised freelance practice which includes design and making alongside teaching.



14 May – Laura Onions – response to Daubigny’s etching, ‘Interior of an Inn’.

In this week’s Barber Home, artist Laura Onions shares a series of drawings, produced in lockdown, responding to Charles-François Daubigny’s 1861 etching, ‘Interior of an Inn’.

Particularly taken with Daubigny’s play with light and shadow, Laura has used pared down materials to explore the domestic landscape of her own home. The drawings make visible moments of familiarity and comfort, but also show the strangeness and insecurity we may currently find from these spaces.

View the drawings, read a Q&A and create your own responses:



7 May – Ruth Turnbull – Concertina Creepy Crawlies (family workshop).

This week artist Ruth Turnbull joins Barber Home to investigate creepy crawlies. Inspired by Wenceslaus Hollar’s 17th century prints, learn about insects and create your own folded sketchbooks and mobiles in our downloadable activity.

As home is now the new school, all of our Barber Home family resources link to the key stage 1 and 2 curriculum to support you in the kitchen table classroom. This week explore history, science and art. Why not share your creations with us on social media using #BarberHome2020?



30 April – Infinite Opera.

In March we had the pleasure of hosting an event, Nocturnes: Ethereal Science / Constructing Beauty, in our Cornwall as Crucible exhibition. For this we commissioned Infinite Opera to make a response to the Barber’s recently acquired Constructivist sculpture, Linear Construction in Space No. 1 (1942 – 43), by the Russian artist Naum Gabo. It was a beautiful evening in which we celebrated music and art in the galleries.

Barber Home asked Infinite Opera to look back on their performance and share with us their thoughts on how they composed, researched and reflected on this event.

Sounds of Nocturnes

Hear an original composition created for Barber Lates

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From the Director

The Barber during the COVID-19 closure period

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Covid–19 (Coronavirus)

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Nocturnes: Ethereal Science / Constructing Beauty

Tuesday 3 March, 6 – 8.30pm

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