A revolutionary arts event returns to Birmingham this month, bringing musicians, singers and visual artists of international repute to the city to respond to live discussion, as it happens.

The Hubb Debates, which turn the traditional debate format on its head, aim to engage and interact with audiences from a cross spectrum of social and political thought.

The second season of the Hubb Debates will be taking place at their new venue in the Sparkhill area of BirminghamThe Hubb
The second season of the Hubb Debates will be taking place at their new venue in the Sparkhill area of Birmingham

Created and curated by local artist Mohammed Ali MBE – famous for his uncompromising politically pointed mural work, and recipient of the prestigious South Bank Arts Award – the hard hitting open debates, now entering a second season, each explore a crucial contemporary social or political issue.

Describing his motivation in the creation of Hubb Debates, Ali said:

“Where are those spaces for us to gather and deal with thorny issues? Our cities just don’t have enough spaces where we can have challenging and open conversations.”

Entitled ‘Integration Vs. Separatism,’ the upcoming event – presented by Soul City Arts and supported by Near Neighbours – features improvised musical performances from Birmingham Hip-Hop legend Juice Aleem, a veteran of several international tours with godfathers of electronica Coldcut.

The chosen topic for the evening will explore some of US civil rights icon Malcolm X’s approaches to community activism and their relevance in modern Britain.

The discussion will be chaired by Hisham Aidi, an award-winning American author, hip-hop scholar and lecturer from Columbia University in New York.

The Hubb was created by Birmingham-based global street artist Mohammed Ali MBERory Barber
The Hubb was created by Birmingham-based global street artist Mohammed Ali MBE

The Hubb Debates form part of a recent revival of the venue and its creative ethos. Although the original Hubb (named after an Arabic word for ‘love’) opened in 2010 and ran for three years from its ‘Big Blue’ Sparkbrook base, it eventually closed in 2013 as the Birmingham City Council re-acquired the premises for development.

Among the artists, authors and performers to appear at the original venue were Handsworth poet Benjamin Zephaniah, TV presenter Lauren Booth, Canadian singer-songwriter Dawud Wharnsby, Detroit comedian Omar Regan, calligrapher Haji Noor Deen and former MTV presenter Kristiane Backer.

The Hubb Debates returns with a discussion around exploring some of Malcolm X's approaches to community activismHandout
The Hubb Debates returns with a discussion around exploring some of Malcolm X’s approaches to community activism

The first event in this new series takes place at 6pm on Saturday 13th May. The new Birmingham Hubb Arts Space is located in the Bordesley Centre in Stratford Road, Sparkhill.

The debate is open to everyone – Entry is £6 on the door. Entry includes hot food and drinks. Tickets are also available on Eventbrite here.

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