Organisers want to tell a story with everything they do, and destination choice is not just about location and access, it’s about how both the venue and the host city can support this story. Few cities understand this more than Birmingham. Not only because the city sits within the UK’s ‘events belt’, one of the richest areas of event management companies, venues and industry suppliers, in the country, but also because of its rich heritage of storytelling.
And this isn’t just a nod to J.R.R Tolkien and the epic Lord of the Rings books (and later films) that were born out of the region; fast forward on from the launch of these books, and into the 70s and 80s, where modern-day television has its routes. For the older amongst us, we remember Pebble Mill and independent television, all of which started in the Midlands and grew into what we now know to see as national television brands, including ITV.
Fast forward again and a Brummie by the name of Steve Knight is changing the way television looks, not just in the UK, but around the world. Although not an immediately publicly recognised name, his work is. Most notably he was the producer, writer and director involved in the creation of Peaky Blinders, which has gained global prestige and is based on aspects of the creator’s life. Before that he was the mind behind Who Wants to be a Millionaire another global franchise. As well as being one of the biggest names in television production, Steve is also an unabashed Brummie and he’s part of an ambitious plan to build a media district in the city; Steve Knights business is called Mercian Studios, but the area is being quickly being branded by locals as Brummiwood.
Brummiewood will be an £18m complex based in the city’s historic Creative Quarter and is a joint partnership with the city to create a multi-media ‘cluster’ with a campus comprising of 50,000 sq ft of space for businesses working in TV and media production. There, broadcasters will be able to work alongside producers at a site that ultimately aims to create a centre for film, TV, games and virtual production that will pave the way for new and immersive media content.
As well as injecting energy, investment and talent into the media industry, the development is exciting many within the city’s meetings and events community. Because, if an event organiser is looking to tell a story, this onscreen heritage marks just one more reason for them to choose Birmingham. Equally, for businesses in new, or traditional, media, Birmingham has both the historic roots and the modern-day aspirations to create the perfect backdrop for their events.
As for The Eastside Rooms. This is just one more of dozens of projects popping up in and around the recently launched venue. The series Peaky Blinders was set just a few minutes’ walk away in the trendy Digbeth area and the media district itself will also be walkable from The Eastside Rooms, meaning organisers can take the best of both worlds; a modern-day venue and a modern-day media district.
Event destinations sell expertise as well as heritage; be it education, industry knowledge or even sporting heritage, and all can be found in Birmingham. But for now, a look to Brummiewood is just one more reason why event organiser should be looking to tell their stories, once again, in Birmingham.