Over the last 5 years we have collectively crafted a 6000 sq. ft collaborative space designed to make it easier to do the work that matters, acting as a physical and social habitat for projects, practices, organisations, events and ideas.
Beyond our signature damn fine coffee, yellow cushions – lovingly handmade as part of our opening festival back in 2015 – and illustrated window vinyl that continues to turn the heads of Digbeth grafters and ravers alike as they pass by, Impact Hub Birmingham has always been about a network of amazing citizens, makers, doers, entrepreneurs, activists and dreamers committed to building a better Birmingham and a better world, and the physical space has been just one part of that – fundamentally, a home of the mission.
At our third birthday party in July  we re-launched Mission Birmingham to reflect the growth and reality we see, live by and work towards every day, and brought specific mission strands to the fore – Creative Resistance, #RadicalChildcare and DemoDev – to highlight the work we are more focused than ever on pursuing with curiosity, experimentation and passion.
We also shared that the lease for our current space in the historic Walker Building is set to end in December 2019 and we will not be choosing to renew it, meaning we now have less than 12 months remaining in our current iteration here at Impact Hub Birmingham. This is for a number of reasons which we’ll talk about in more detail at a forthcoming Town Hall meeting for members and the wider Impact Hub Birmingham community. Rising rent and changing development conditions naturally play a role, as do new, exciting opportunities arising elsewhere, but predominantly Impact Hub Birmingham was always designed as a 5 year R&D project exploring the Town Hall model, and we are now ready to change, move forward, grow and put into practice all that we’ve learnt.
With this in mind, we are preparing to launch a bold new project. We are firmly on a mission to help build a fairer, more equal and just city through people, place and open movements, and we’re excited to outline an ambitious new scale of vision for how we move forward and put that mission more deeply into practice, together – Civic Square: building the neighbourhood of the future.
Through ongoing conversations around the future of cities, we’ve been exploring for a long time what civic infrastructure for the future, places built and owned by people actively working on it them, and truly participatory culture, mean and can look like. We’ve learnt a lot about how you need to work in cities like Birmingham, with its many and varied particular challenges and opportunities, and we’re excited to embark on a city-wide citizen-led design process to shape how this bold next step manifests. This plan may look more finished, formed or set in motion, but this is currently a draft in order to share a more tangible vision of what this could be and work with the right property, land, developments and finance partners at the early stages of securing a future site, before the collective work begins to shape and develop out its reality.
This will begin really soon, and we are currently gearing up to share more and ignite the process of building this together. Naturally this means key changes will be occurring for us in the next 12 months. There will be plenty of chances to meet and explore and shape what’s to follow, starting with a Town Hall meeting for our community on Wednesday 14th November 2018, 5pm – 8pm to practically plan and vision together. This is for you if you were part of our crowdfunder, want to support us, or are part of the community that this will effect.
Whilst we prepare to move towards a compelling and ambitious next stage together, we want this final year in our current space to be the most exciting period of time in the hub story so far, living our values as richly and as generously as we can, and actively welcoming as many people to prototype new ideas, make new connections, and refresh or re-energise their personal missions and dreams for the city. All of this will be essential collective learning, relationship building and energy harnessing for what’s to come next, as well as making the here and now a complex, multi-layered, colourful chapter full of experimentation, freshness, ritual and joy.
Best Year Ever
For this reason, over the next 12 months we will be championing a Best Year Ever mindset to promote and put into practice just that. We’re kicking this off with a lit Autumn season of programming and please do get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org with any ideas you may already have burning, whether or not you’ve connected with or visited the hub before.
As always a huge thank you to everyone who has championed and supported our work and continues to do so in so many different ways. Impact Hub Birmingham is not and has never aimed to be a single solution, but a platform to convene, build momentum and gather the collective intelligence and energy of those who believe a better tomorrow is possible, and we look forward to all that lies ahead.