The Big Give

19-26 March 2024

We’re taking part in The Big Give!

Will you help us raise £2500, which will be matched by The Big Give Arts Impact Fund, giving us a potential £5000 to open pathways to creative careers for young people facing disadvantage?

Donate between 19th to 26th March to double the difference and help us to raise 500 fivers!

We want to provide creative experiences for young people who will work alongside artists in their studios to get first hand insight into creative careers. Learning new skills with career guidance builds confidence and a strong foundation of knowledge to inform career choices.

You can donate on the Big Give website. 500 fivers will get us to £2500 but we are grateful for all donations, big or small. Thank you for your support!

Join us at our Big Give Arts for Impact campaign fundraiser and make your own mini woven work of art.
Saturday 23rd March, 1.00pm – 6.00pm (last entry 5.30pm). Mailbox (level 2), Birmingham. Drop-in.

The young people we work with will be unaware of creative career options that exist for them, feel that creative careers are not an option for them because of their background, or will have been discouraged from pursuing a creative career.

Thank you to these artists for supporting our campaign:

Kevin Grey is a silver & metalsmith, creating sculptural pieces that embody emotional responses to change, relocation, longing. Art was a favourite subject at school but at 16 the option to stay on or go to art school was not proposed an option. ‘The only artist I knew was my art teacher, where I came from no one talked about pursuing a creative career or studying more, it was expected I would leave and get a job.’ Relocating from Newcastle to Birmingham Kevin trained as a sheet metalworker, first as a YTS. Twenty five years later he returned to education at the School of Jewellery and established his workshop in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.  His work is now in collections through-out the world and he has just been shortlisted for the Loewe Craft Prize.

A picture of an older black woman wearing a silver necklace and text that reads: ‘I wish I had been able to pursue my jewellery making career earlier in life; opportunities to try something without risk can make a big difference.’

Norma Banton is a jeweller, and the founder of Masterpeace Academy (c. 2021). Together with an amazing team of jewellers, she works to create access into the jewellery trade for young people who face systemic barriers to doing so. Norma started out as a fashion model and then went on to studying and teaching business and marketing. After a difficult period in her life, she took a short evening course in Jewellery making with a friend and found it healing and therapeutic. Within a year, she opened her first workshop before setting up Masterpeace Academy, through which she hopes to give local youth some opportunities that she wishes she had, such as access to affordable professional training, mentoring and support.

Chris Day works in glass creating powerful visual statements about race, the slave trade and current experience of black lives.  His journey to this place has not been straightforward; despite a desire to go to art school he left school at 16.  Faced with the prospect of sitting maths and english exams to enter he knew his dyslexia would be his barrier to entry.  He pinpoints this moment as one at which some support could have made the difference to his creative career; without he continued through a YTS scheme to pursue as many creative opportunities he could, first in Debenhams display department and then through print and graphics.  After 20 years of working as a heating engineer and with the support of his family he finally entered art school at the age of 40. ‘Because I struggled with reading and writing being there opened up the library of images I had in my head; suddenly I could access what I had been denied.’ In the hot shop he started to explore the language of plumbing and heating and then felt able to explore in his work his life experience as a black man, finding that art became a safe space to open up to others, start conversations and establish dialogues.  He is now represented by Vessel Gallery with work in private and public collections across the world.

The Big Give logo.

Where Next?

Made in the Middle: Applications

Deadline 22 April 2024.

A view of an exhibition in a gallery. In the foreground is an embellished knitted jumper on a frame. Behind are ceramic vessels and on the wall are bright woven wall hangings.

The Big Give

Help us raise £2500 to double the difference.

A young woman sits at a workbench working on a silver chain with pliers.

Made in the Middle 30: online exhibition

Browse the Made in the Middle online exhibition. Great for schools and anyone doing an arts award.

A screen shot of the home page of showing the logo and a large necklace.

Made In The Middle: Series

Made in the Middle is the Midland’s principal exhibition of contemporary craft.

A small rustic vessel made using all parts of the willow.


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