Home of Metal’s exhibitions and events join the dots between music, social history, visual art and fan cultures to produce a new perspective on Heavy Metal. One that is celebratory, eschews notions of high/low art and joins audiences and performers together. Home of Metal is devoted to the music that was born in and around Birmingham. Music that turned up the volume, down-tuned guitars, and introduced a whole new meaning to the word ‘heavy’.
“It’s an honour to be a part of the Home of Metal. I am just a guy from Birmingham who’s been blessed to have had such dedicated fans throughout my career. Like I’ve always said ‘I am nothing without them.” Ozzy Osbourne
After years of dreaming, planning, championing and charming, Capsule has managed something quite extraordinary, led by Artistic Director Lisa Meyer. Music fans as well as gifted curators and producers, Capsule threw down the gauntlet to the region. Where were the shrines to Heavy Metal? Loved the world over, Heavy Metal in its many forms had its roots in Birmingham, but you wouldn’t know to visit it. Nary a plaque, tour or tourist tea towel marked one of the city’s most impactful cultural exports. While Manchester and Liverpool proudly celebrate their music history, Birmingham had yet to really own its Metal heritage. Capsule work with artists from around the world, so many were thrilled to visit the place where Metal began, and we knew there was huge demand for Metal tourism as part of the international music offer. Taking on this challenge was new territory, and a step-change in ambition, but we worked with internationally acclaimed bands, artists and dedicated fans to tell a distinct story of Birmingham that is about place, identity and potential and that put the city on the map for music culture, tourism and heritage.
“I’m really proud to be a Brummie and to call Birmingham my home, that’s why I’m supporting the Home of Metal events and message. Your surroundings and experiences influence your music so it’s important for people to know where that music came from.”
Tony Iommi, Black Sabbath
Since 2007, Home of Metal has delivered a range of ambitious projects that tell distinct aspects of the Metal story to connect with different audiences. These events and projects have taken place around the globe and have proven our ability to deliver extraordinary events and engage with large national and international audiences.
Our ‘Metal’ symposium in 2007 at The New Art Gallery Walsall resulted in a fascinating article in the New Statesman and kickstarted an exciting discussion about Birmingham and the Black Country as the birthplace of a music genre whose fan devotion is matched only by hip-hop.
The result of this exploratory work is the Home of Metal digital archive; a fan-sourced digital museum of Metal memorabilia, recordings, photographs and stories spanning five decades of music history.
After nurturing the mission and direction of the project, the ambition of Home of Metal grew;
– In 2011, we transformed museums and galleries into interactive explorations of Metal music, history and aesthetics. A three-month programme of exhibitions, workshops and screenings took place in galleries, museums and community spaces.
– During 2017 and 2018 Home of Metal exhibitions were shown in ten different countries. Fan portrait projects in each country celebrated the diversity of Metal fans and shone a light on the international reach of Metal from Brazil to Tokyo and from Lebanon to Spain.
– During 2019 the blockbuster exhibiton ‘Black Sabbath: 50 Years’ at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery launched, along with a three-month programme of exhibitions and events across six venues.
Home of Metal has taken a distinct counter-culture and placed it in the museum, the gallery, the university and public space. Our approach has brought new audiences to cultural institutions, it has galvanised communities and achieved huge international audiences.
Home of Metal is behind some of the UK’s most ambitious and successful cultural projects, as well as major international work. Some of Home of Metal’s key achievements:
– Working directly with the four original members of Black Sabbath for the 2019 ‘Black Sabbath: 50 Years’ at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. This unique access allowed us to weave their different stories into the exhibition and display personal items in public for the first time.
– ‘Black Sabbath: 50 Years’ at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery in 2019 attracted over 24,000 paying visitors from 52 different countries.
– ‘Black Sabbath: 50 Years’ at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery received coverage across major TV, radio and press outlets including the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Guardian and NME, and showcased Home of Metal to a global media audience of over 1.7 billion people.
– In 2011, over 200,000 people attended Home of Metal events over a three-month period. 35% of all visitors to the exhibitions were visiting a museum/gallery for the first time.
– In 2019, visitor numbers to the three-month programme expanded to 350,000, and the estimated economic impact was £3.2 million.
– A major feature of the 2019 event was curated photography installations of Metal fans from Botswana, Brazil, Egypt, Japan, Indonesia, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Spain and the US, demonstrating the diversity of the fanbase.
– A Home of Metal exhibition hosted at Subliminal Projects in Los Angeles, California featured work from leading contemporary artists, including Shepard Fairey aka Obey Giant, Lucy McLauchlan, Wolfbat, Bonethrower and Ben Venom.
– Home of Metal has showcased the fascinating relationship between contemporary art and Metal music, working with Turner Prize nominee Mark Titchner and presenting the first UK solo show by Ben Venom. We also commissioned a large-scale installation by Monster Chetwynd in collaboration with Eastside Projects and a new artwork by Napalm Death founder Nicholas Bullen and French artist Damian Deroubaix. The exhibition at New Art Gallery Walsall with Alan Kane featured work by Jeremey Deller, David Shrigley, Sarah Lucas and Mike Nelson to name but a few.
We are working towards the world’s first Metal museum and the UK’s first single-genre music museum. The space will offer a diverse, experiential, place-making programme of exhibitions, activities, events and education that celebrate the joy of this powerful music. Home of Metal will be a museum-plus, a museum with attitude, a museum for the future. At its core will be a year-round programme of interactive exhibitions that will attract visitors from around the globe. But the exhibitions will only be the start. Home of Metal will also deliver a programme of workshops, masterclasses, seminars and practical sessions, live music, artist residencies and pop-up retail.
Metal’s global story today:
We know the Metal story cannot be contained to one city. Our work across the world has shown us that Metal’s fanbase and culture is moving and changing. We will continue to work globally, connecting the dots between Metal music and fans from disparate places and cultures.
Every city should tell its own story:
Metal is more popular than ever today and has the most loyal fanbase internationally. It’s time this was recognised. Following the past success and popularity of Home of Metal as a temporary exhibition and cultural celebration, and contextualised against the growing importance and acknowledgement of music heritage assets, a permanent Metal music museum, and global touring programme is Home of Metal’s next chapter.
Birmingham deserves a permanent Heavy Metal visitor attraction; a space for fans from all over the world to play homage to Heavy Metal. This is our ambition.