The Social Exchange 2016

The Social Exchange festival offers two young people £500 to start their entrepreneurial venture

The Social Exchange a free* festival, hosted by mac birmingham in partnership with Beatfreeks celebrates its third anniversary on Saturday 16 April from 3pm to 9pm. The day, which encourages young people aged 16-25 to use art and creativity to make change in their communities, will be packed with activities including performances, workshops and masterclasses.  This year will also see a new addition to the festivities – FEAST.  Guests will share food, ideas and stories alongside their like-minded peers, enabling them to realise their ambitions and create a fertile environment in order to activate positive change. Additionally, Unltd will be offering two young people the opportunity to receive £500 each to start a social venture.

The Social Exchange is divided into three distinct areas – the day begins with SUMMIT.  During SUMMIT attendees will enjoy 50 plus stalls from independent local businesses, alongside leading national organisations, including: 02, Bite the Ballot, Ikon Gallery, Creative Alliance and Aston Performing Arts Academy. Industry experts will also be on hand to advise and offer funding opportunities to budding social entrepreneurs. Interventions will be offered from urban arts company City of Colours, Kings Heath boutique The People Shop and contemporary craft organisation, Craftspace. This will be followed by FEAST from 6-7pm, ending with LIVE in mac birmingham’s Theatre from 7pm to 9pm.  LIVE, charged at £3 is a multi-disciplinary collision of creativity. Audiences will enjoy performances including dance, music, spoken word and live visuals. Acts include a DJ set from DMC world champion 2014, Mr Switch, theatre company, 20 Stories High will perform a clip from their new show: African Beach Party and Manos Pa’Arriba will perform old school Cumbia with a smattering of Balkan sounds.

Dan Whitehouse, Next Generation Producer at mac birmingham said: ‘Last year’s festival attracted over 500, enthusiastic and inspiring young people. This year the activities and opportunities have been increased further, enabling new and exciting ways for up and coming social entrepreneurs to kick-start their ideas and realise their ambitions. The Social Exchange is a real opportunity for those in attendance to be bold, while being supported and encouraged by their peers, and industry professionals.’

Anisa Haghdadi, CEO of Beatfreeks, added: ‘We are so excited for a third year of Social Exchange, bringing together creative people and organisations together for a day-long celebration of social innovators. This years’ inclusion of FEAST is a welcome addition to the programme, convening bright minds and conversations over food.’

To see the programme in full visit

*All activities are free except LIVE, which will be charged at £3 per person.

For press enquiries, contact Marcia Springer, Senior Marketing and Communications Officer at mac birmingham at or call 0121 446 3237.

Notes to Editors

About Beatfreeks
Founded in January 2013 and officially incorporated as an organisation in June 2013, Beatfreeks has grown at an incredible pace.  An award winning social enterprise, firmly rooted in Birmingham with an expanding national reach, Beatfreeks aims to pioneer new ways of engaging, empowering and developing people and spaces through a blend of arts and media, social action, leadership and enterprise – coining the word - Artivism. Beatfreeks have achieved some pretty awesome stuff, from working with BBC 1Xtra on a special edition of their regular music event ‘Soul Sessions’ which saw artists get national airplay, through to working with a group of young people passionate about tackling mental health, who set up their own official social enterprise – Ripple CIC within 12 weeks.

Beatfreeks is a philosophy, a mindset and a reflection of a new generation of creative, freethinking social reformers. Beatfreeks pride themselves in bringing the creative to the professional and the professional to the creative.

About mac birmingham
Opened in 1962, mac birmingham is a hub of creativity and learning in the Midlands. With four performance auditoria, rehearsal and media studios, a cinema, and a visual art gallery, mac birmingham presents a broad range of contemporary work from both emerging and established artists across genres. mac birmingham is the most visited arts centre in the Midlands, ranked the ‘Top Free Attraction West Midlands 2013’ in a recent survey carried out by Visit England and positioned 14th nationally in the same category.

About Arts Council England
Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2015 and 2018, we plan to invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.


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