Discover more through The Exchange

The University’s new city centre hub is opening up an exchange of knowledge and ideas across Birmingham – both in person and online.

A place to reshape our future together

A stone's throw from where the University first began in 1875 (as Mason Science College), The Exchange brings the University of Birmingham back to the heart of the city. The Exchange will enable members of the public to work together with community organisations, businesses and policy makers to shape our cities and regions, making them better places to live, work and learn. Four rooms are named after alumni and friends who have done just that:

  • Mary Sturge, one of the first female scholars at Mason College who championed preventative medicines and women's right to vote
  • Dr Winifred Hackett (BSc Electrical Engineering, 1929), the first female Engineering graduate
  • Dr Graham Turner (BSc Botany, 1958) who left a gift in his will to benefit students and the city
  • Dr Benjamin Zephaniah (DLitt, 2008) award-winning Birmingham poet and honorary graduate

The Exchange is housed in the Grade II listed former Municipal Bank, unused for two decades, opposite the Library of Birmingham in Centenary Square.

The air we breathe: the exhibition and public programme

We all need clean air and green spaces to live and live well. Our new public programme of exhibitions, activities and events will offer a rare opportunity to engage with University research exploring the relationships between people, air quality and the environment.

The exhibition

The opening exhibition showcases three University of Birmingham research projects:

  1. The Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR): how will our forests cope as the amount of carbon dioxide in our air changes? BIFoR is flooding circles of trees with air containing more CO2 to see how they respondGreg Milner photography
  2. HydroFLEX: A miniature version of Birmingham's HydroFLEX train demonstrates how hydrogen can replace diesel on the railway. The first of its kind in the UK, its hydrogen fuel cells are potentially carbon neutral
  3. WM-Air: West Midlands Air examines the impact on public health and the economy, from our access to green spaces to how businesses can help improve our air

The public programme

Expanding on the exhibition, more than 40 pieces of research will be brought to life through lectures from leading academics, interactive activities for families and much more. The research is drawn from every College, so whatever you studied, you will find something related to your subject. An online programme means you can enjoy the public programme from anywhere in the world.

How you can use The Exchange

You can visit us in person during opening hours to see our brand new exhibition and enjoy refreshments at The Exchange café/bar. The Exchange offers a range of meeting/collaboration spaces and part of the University community alumni get a special discount rate.

As well as exhibitions highlighting the University's research, you can learn new skills such as coding through free taster courses, short paid courses and micro-credentials. Visit the Exchange website to see the latest exhibitions, courses you can book and online activities.

The Exchange offers support for leaders in the private, public and third sectors, plus a hub to support entrepreneurial skills. Apply for support with a start-up business idea.

Email us about donating to a start up scholarship to help talented young entrepreneurs harness their creativity and ambition and follow their dreams, or supporting the environment research in the exhibition or another area you are passionate about.