Museums at Night – GAME OVER at The Coffin Works

This is an event I have been looking forward to for months! Museums at Night is a UK wide festival, which aims to attract new visitors to museums through special evening events. The festival now happens twice a year, for 2015 the dates are May 13th-16th and October 30th-31st. I love the idea, and from my involvement with the GAME OVER exhibition, I knew they had something very special planned at The Coffin Works!

On Thursday and Friday I was in York for the Cemetery Research Group colloquium – which was wonderful as usual! I had to travel back on Friday night so that I could work on the Saturday morning – finished work at 4.15 and headed straight to the Coffin Works for the event which started at 6pm. I was hoping to stay until the end at 10pm, but I was so exhausted from travelling that I left a little early.

When I arrived at the museum I was really happy to see that it was already getting busy, with lots of people milling around the courtyard to enjoy the refreshments and good weather. I decided to explore the museum first, and tried to take photos of all of the beautiful artworks which were part of the ‘museum take-over’ – putting artworks among the objects on display. The Coffin Works is such a beautifully eclectic museum anyway – with incredible original artifacts on every surface – as if the factory was still in operation, that the artworks blended wonderfully into their surroundings.

Not many of my photos came out well unfortunately because camera phones don’t do well in low light – but here are a few which I liked.

Triumph Angel by Rose Hale

Triumph Angel by Rose Hale

Curious Mementos by Wendy Ann Titmus

Curious Mementos by Wendy Ann Titmus


Until the Lions by Lucy Dore


P.S. by

P.S. by Sarah Fortes Mayer. This artwork was part performance – the artist lay in the coffin for the duration of the evening, and part audience participation – we were encouraged to take away a lavender bag as a memento of the exhibition

Aphasia by Ian Andrews

Aphasia by Ian Andrews, Installation with film projected onto a shroud.

After exploring the museum, I headed down to the courtyard to check out the hearse and coffin with amazing images of Birmingham landmarks on it.

Hearse with Birmingham coffin. W. H. Painter funeral directors were one of the main sponsors of the exhibition.

Hearse with Birmingham coffin.
William H. Painter funeral directors were one of the main sponsors of the exhibition.

Then it was time for the fashion show! The outfits were designed and modeled by students from Birmingham Metropolitan College. I managed to get myself a good seat I think.

Runway for the fashion show

Runway for the fashion show

I thought the runway was an inspired choice!

I was able to take a video of the whole fashion show, which I was planning to upload here. However when the organizer sent the official photos today, he reminded us that most of the models are not yet 18, so I will only post the official photos here because I don’t have written permission from the models or their legal guardians.






I really enjoyed the show – I loved a lot of the small details in the ensembles – including a grunge style denim number with 27 on the back – I presume a reference to the 27 Club of which Kurt Cobain is sadly a member.

After the fashion show I had another quick look around the museum, but I was too worn-out to stay until 10pm, which was a shame. I was having a wonderful time and met lots of old friends surrounded by fascinating artworks. Luckily the exhibition is continuing until the 24th July – although it will be back in the usual exhibition space. For those who wish to know more about the artworks and artists, check out this Birmingham Post article, the Transient-Art website here, and the Exhibition blog here.

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