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The Midlands has a wealth of art galleries and museums hosting a range of fantastic exhibitions - both permanent and temporary. Here's a selection of what's showing across the region.

ACTS OF CREATION: ON ART AND MOTHERHOOD

A Hayward Gallery Touring exhibition that ‘plunges into the joys and heartaches, mess, myths and mishaps of motherhood’, Act Of Creation features more than 100 artworks - ‘from the feminist avant-garde to the present day’. The exhibition explores the lived experience of being a mum, offering a ‘complex account’ that engages with contemporary concerns about gender, caregiving and reproductive rights. 

Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), Birmingham, Saturday 22 June - Sunday 29 September

Acts of Creation: On Art and Motherhood


ABBEY ROAD MUSIC PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS

Symphony Hall’s collaboration with the iconic Abbey Road Studios continues this month. 
Abbey Road is, of course, the London-located purpose-built recording studio made famous by its association with The Beatles. 

For the past three years, the studio has run the Music Photography Awards. The initiative is designed to champion emerging and undiscovered young photographers, and to celebrate ‘the unforgettable, unique and unsung musical moments’ from the previous 12 months. 

As part of the collaboration, Symphony Hall is hosting a month-long exhibition of work by the 2023 Music Photography Awards nominees and winners.

Across nine categories, including ‘Live’, ‘Icon’, ‘Undiscovered’ and ‘Hip Hop 50’, the exhibition offers a unique opportunity to view the photographs in a distinctive setting. 

A series of masterclasses and panel talks - led by local, established music photographers and Music Photography Awards alumni - also runs across the month, in addition to special performances by emerging Birmingham-based musicians.  

Symphony Hall, Birmingham, until Friday 14 June

Abbey Road Music Photography AwardsImage: Harry Styles by Anthony Pham ('Music Moment of the Year' award winner, 2023)


COLLECTING COVENTRY

Seventy-five years of collecting is being celebrated in this brand-new and long-running exhibition.
Featuring a selection of objects dating from the founding of the Herbert Art Gallery in 1949 through to the present day, the show is being presented across four of the Herbert’s rooms. 

Featured objects and curiosities include a 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite, a Covid testing kit, LS Lowry’s famous painting of Ebbw Vale and a number of items being displayed for the very first time.

Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry, until Sunday 27 April 2025

Collecting Coventry


SUMMER EXHIBITION

Coventry’s Warwick Arts Centre is hosting three concurrent exhibitions this month and next.                       

Bologna-based Rwandan artist Francis Offman’s Economics Of Painting showcases canvases that tell stories of friendship, conversation and travel, while Swiss creative Nicole Bachmann’s There Are Tides In The Body is a new film commission. Set across two locations in Kent and Spon End in Coventry, the film considers the body as a site of knowledge by using movement and voice to ‘embody vocabulary’ and create new meaning.  Completing the trio of exhibitions, Activate/Assemble/Amplify contemplates the creative future of Coventry’s children and young people. Sharing artworks and performances made throughout the year as part of youth and schools projects, the exhibition explores the participants’ vision for themselves and their city.

Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, until Sunday 23 June

Summer Exhibition


JASKIRT DHALIWAL-BOORA

This collaboration between Ikon and local mental-health consortium Living Well features photographs taken by Birmingham-born artist Jaskirt Dhaliwal-Boora. 

Jaskirt has been working with local communities, taking photographic portraits against the backdrop of the city’s green spaces, and exploring the benefits of nature in terms of people’s health. 

After its stay at Ikon, the exhibition heads to the city’s Selly Oak district, where it will be showcased at the Living Well Consortium and Birmingham Mind venue Grounded - a community-focused wellbeing cafe & hub.

Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, Wednesday 12 - Sunday 23 June 

Jaskirt Dhaliwal-Boora


JOHN BLUNDALL (1937 - 2014)

Perhaps most famous for having created the puppet of Parker, Lady Penelope’s chauffeur in the Gerry Anderson TV series Thunderbirds, Birmingham-born John Blundall was also the founder & artistic director of the Cannon Hill Puppet Theatre company, which was housed in the city’s Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) between 1968 and 1992. 

This fascinating new exhibition offers a glimpse into Johns’s life and work, showcasing a range of puppets from a selection of his productions.

Bantock House Museum, Wolverhampton, until Sunday 30 June

John Blundall (1937 - 2014)


FOOTBALL: DESIGNING THE BEAUTIFUL GAME

From the master planning of the world’s most significant football stadiums, to the innovative materials used in modern-day football boots, this international touring exhibition takes a look at the ways in which design has been used to push ‘the beautiful game’ to its technical and emotional limits.

Alongside the exhibition, the gallery is screening Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait. Produced by contemporary artists Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno, the film follows French football star Zinédine Zidane in real time over the course of a single match during 2005. 

The film will be screened from Saturday 29 June to Sunday 20 October. Pre-booking is advised.

Wolverhampton Art Gallery, until Sunday 1 September

Football: Designing The Beautiful Game


LANDSCAPE AND IMAGINATION: FROM GARDENS TO LAND ART

Works by celebrated artists including JMW Turner, Nicolas Poussin and Anya Gallaccio feature in this brand-new exhibition at Compton Verney, a show which explores the question of how art might work together with nature to reverse the decline of the UK’s green spaces. 

An accompanying selection of playful interactive activities in the exhibition galleries will provide families with the opportunity to imagine their own colourful and fantastical landscapes.

Image: JMW Turner, c1827-8, The Lake, Petworth, Sunset

Compton Verney, Warwickshire, until Sunday 16 June 

Landscape And Imagination: From Gardens To Land Art


NEW NARRATIVES IN PHOTOGRAPHY

A desire to explore narratives of community, public space and diaspora is the motivation behind the work of the four artists whose photos are showcased in this exhibition. 

The featured creatives - Asad Ali, Hira Noor, Ume Laila and Waleed Zafar - are all based in Pakistan and use photography in new and innovative ways. 

The exhibition is being presented as part of an international-residency collaboration between two arts organisations, both of which are photography-led: Grain Projects (which is located here in the West Midlands) and Tasweerghar (from Lahore in Pakistan).

Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), Birmingham, until Monday 27 May

New Narratives in Photography


QUILT ART: MATERIAL EVIDENCE

The ‘adventurous spirit and rich heritage’ of women who make art through stitching is celebrated in this new exhibition, which features work by current and former members of pan-European group Quilt Art.

Inspired by the life and work of the late Mary Fogg - a founder member of the group and a pioneer in the field of textile art - the show sees each featured artist take a unique approach to Mary’s legacy, presenting cutting-edge work which aims ‘to transcend people’s ideas of what quilting can do’. 

The exhibition is accompanied by a book featuring the included artworks and giving an insight into the working processes of each artist. 

Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), Birmingham, until Monday 27 May

Quilt Art: Material Evidence


CARBONIFEROUS MONSTERS: 100 MILLION YEARS BEFORE THE DINOSAURS

This sure-to-be-popular exhibition is being promoted as ‘a must-see for prehistoric monster fans of all ages’. Visitors to the show will get to meet a host of bizarre and ferocious monsters, some of which had even larger teeth than the Tyrannosaurus Rex! 

The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent, until Sunday 2 June

Carboniferous Monsters: 100 Million Years Before The Dinosaurs


THE WORLD THAT BELONGS TO US

Autobiography and activism come together in this multimedia exhibition showcasing painting, photography, film, animation, wall drawing and site-specific installation. 
Featuring work by intergenerational artists from the South Asian diasporas of the UK, US and Canada, the show aims to stimulate conversations around a wide range of subjects, from community and belonging, to migrant and diasporic storytelling and queer & feminist world-building. 

New Art Gallery, Walsall, until Sunday 9 June

The World That Belongs To Us


AFTER THE END OF HISTORY: BRITISH WORKING CLASS PHOTOGRAPHY 1989 - 2024

The challenges, beauty and diversity of contemporary working-class life - as depicted by working-class artists using the medium of photography - are explored in this fascinating exhibition, curated by acclaimed photographer, writer & broadcaster Johny Pitts. 

A Hayward Gallery Touring show, the collection features work from 1989 onwards and marks the 35th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall (which happened on 9 November of that year).

Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry, until Sunday 16 June

After The End Of History:  Contemporary Working-Class Photography 1989 - 2024


CONTEMPORARY PÂTE DE VERRE: THE MATERIAL OF TIME

This unique exhibition of internationally acclaimed Pâte de Verre glass artists is the result of a collaboration between Stourbridge Glass Museum and the Contemporary Pâte de Verre Association. The Association works to support new investigations into Pâte de Verre and what the 5,000-year-old glass technique can do ‘in sculpture and new narratives for our rapidly changing world’.

The show is based on the same-named 2022 book The Material Of Time by Dr Max Stewart and Tone Orvik. 

Stourbridge Glass Museum, until Sunday 23 June

Contemporary Pâte de Verre: The Material Of Time


DAME LAURA KNIGHT

The first female artist ever to be welcomed into the Royal Academy, Dame Laura Knight felt a profound love for Worcestershire and the Malvern Hills. Indeed, her emotional connection to the area provided her with a great deal of artistic inspiration during the later years of her life. 

Curated by Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum, this brand-new exhibition, titled I Paint Today, pays homage not only to the artist herself but also to her relationship with the local countryside. 

The show features works from the Worcester City collection alongside loans from regional and national collections, including Tate. 

Worcester City Art Gallery, until Sunday 30 June

Dame Laura Knight


VICTORIAN RADICALS

Birmingham’s impressive collection of Pre-Raphaelite art here goes on display in the city for the first time in more than five years. 

Taking the subtitle ‘From The Pre-Raphaelites To The Arts & Crafts Movement’, Victorian Radicals features vibrant paintings and exquisite drawings presented alongside jewellery, glass, textiles and metalwork. The show provides visitors with the chance to discover the story of the Pre-Raphaelites - Britain’s first modern art movement - and learn about their influence on artists and makers well into the 20th century.

Image: Hope Comforting Love in Bondage, 190. Artist: Sidney Harold Meteyard

The Gas Hall, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, until Wednesday 10 July

Victorian Radicals


A SPIRIT INSIDE

With its themes ranging from mythology and internal contemplation to external and political expression, A Spirit Inside comprises a selection of works produced by women and non-binary artists across a period of 100-plus years.

The featured pieces have been drawn from the Women’s Art Collection - Europe’s biggest collection of work by female artists - and The Ingram Collection, one of the UK’s best collections of modern and contemporary British art. 

Artists whose work is featured in the show include Leonora Carrington, Winifred Nicholson, Bridget Riley, Man Fung Yi and Permindar Kaur.

Compton Verney, Warwickshire, until Sunday 1 September

A Spirit Inside


DION KITSON: RUE BRITANNIA

A major solo exhibition, Dion Kitson’s Rue Britannia sees the artist remodelling everyday objects to isolate and elevate ubiquitously ‘ordinary’ sights, such as a burst football or discarded plastic bottle.

The exhibition also includes Council House Of Kitson - a new installation featuring a pebble-dashed façade and footage documenting Dion’s father.

Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, until Sunday 8 September

Dion Kitson:  Rue Britannia


HIDDEN VOICES

Fitting in nicely (just as you’d expect!) with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s (SBT) multi-year Women Who Made Shakespeare theme, Hidden Voices focuses on the important females in the life of the bard, exploring their impact as mothers, wives, widows, businesswomen and managers of a busy household at New Place, the site of the grandest house in Jacobean Stratford-upon-Avon. 

The exhibition also seeks to dispel many of the myths which have persisted across the centuries: that William didn’t love wife Anne, because he left her the ‘second best bed’; that daughter Susanna was his favourite; that younger daughter Judith was illiterate; and that because Shakespeare’s mother Mary was a farmer’s daughter, she was less upwardly mobile. 

Numerous objects from SBT’s collection are featured in the exhibition, including artefacts from the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, until Sunday 3 November

Hidden Voices


PAYING RESPECTS: MONEY AND MORTALITY           

Having been struck in tribute to emperors, monarchs and leaders - and also used in many of the rituals and routines that mark the passage from life to the afterlife - coins of historical significance are invariably accompanied by some fascinating stories. 

That’s certainly true of the examples on show in this ongoing Barber display. The exhibition draws from a superlative collection that features caches of Byzantine, Trapezuntine and Sasanian currency, as well as significant holdings of Roman and medieval coins. 

Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham, until spring 2024


DIPPY IN COVENTRY: THE NATION'S FAVOURITE DINOSAUR

The Natural History Museum’s iconic Diplodocus cast - life-size, made of plaster-of-paris, and affectionately referred to as Dippy - has taken up residence in Coventry for an initial period of three years. 

Diplodocus carnegii, to give it its official name, lived during the Late Jurassic period, somewhere between 155 and 145 million years ago. Huge, plant-eating dinosaurs with long, whip-like tails, they grew to about 25 metres in length and are believed to have weighed around 15 tonnes, making them three tonnes heavier than a London double-decker bus. 

Dippy first arrived in London in 1905 and recently visited Birmingham as part of an eight-city tour that attracted a record-breaking two million visitors.

Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry, until Tues 21 February 2026

Dippy In Coventry - The Nation’s Favourite Dinosaur