Regeneration experts and artists from across Europe will descend on Birmingham in October for an international conference.

Two major events will take place to highlight best practice within regeneration schemes in an area of the city going through massive change.

Longbridge was once a powerhouse of automotive activity and the home of the Austin Motor Company factory. At its peak more than 30,000 people worked at the sprawling site.

The Tran-si-tion International Conference will feature keynote speakers discussing 'best practice within regeneration schemes, urban design, strategic planning and art within a social urban context', according to organisers.

Daan Roosegaarde
Daan Roosegaarde
 

The conference, which takes place on October 24 as part of the Longbridge Light Festival on October 25, has been developed in response to the suburb’s experiences in regeneration.

For nearly a century the area was dominated by one of the largest car factories in the world until the devastating collapse of MG Rover in 2005.

Thousands of new jobs are being created in the area through the building of the £66 million Bournville College, a Technology Park, a new town centre featuring Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer and Austin Park, named after Lord Herbert Austin of Longbridge, who founded the Austin Motor Company in 1905.

More than £1 billion is being invested with an aspiration to create 10,000 jobs and 2,000 new homes and supporting community facilities.

Principal of Bournville College Norman Cave
Principal of Bournville College Norman Cave
 

Automotive heritage remains in the area in the shape of MG, now owned by Chinese car-maker SAIC, employing around 200 people at its global design and engineering centre.

Dutch artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde will headline the Tran-si-tion conference, drawing on his experience working with evolving technological innovations.

The founder of social design lab, Studio Roosegaarde, he and his team of engineers and designers create interactive designs such as the Smart Highways project, which was awarded the Best Future Concept by the Dutch Design Awards 2012.

Roosegaarde is also responsible for the Beijing SMOG Project, a concept that uses buried coils of copper to create an electrostatic field that attracts smog particles, creating a void of clear air above it.

An artist's impression of the new M&S in Longbridge
An artist's impression of the new M&S in Longbridge
 

Other keynote speakers at the conference include Jean Fancois Zurawik, director of Fête des Lumières, one of the most successful lighting festivals in Europe, which attracts more than four million visitors a year and Helen Marriage, director at Artichoke, producers of large-scale ‘interventions’ in public space such as The Sultan’s Elephant, La Machine Liverpool EU Capital of Culture and Lumiere Durham.

Birmingham-based Glenn Howells, director and founder of Glenn Howells Architects, a leading architecture practice with more than 25 years experience in designing innovative buildings, will also speak at the conference.

He will be joined by Mike Murray, senior development surveyor at St Modwen, the firm behind the transformation of Longbridge, and Nigel Edmondson, former city design manager at Birmingham City Council, celebrated arts ambassador and the first Urban Design Professional within Birmingham City Council.

Austin Factory, Longbridge in 1938.
Austin Factory, Longbridge in 1938.

Taking place at Bournville College’s Conference Centre, and supported by Birmingham City University Tran-si-tion is targeted at those working in a number of fields within the public sector include science, innovation, large-scale events, technology, architecture, strategic planning, and built environment specialists.

The conference has been developed and produced by WERK, a Birmingham-based not-for-profit public art organisation behind Longbridge Public Art Project and Longbridge Light Festival on behalf of Bournville College.

Norman Cave, Principal at Bournville College, said: “We are proud to be at the heart of the new Longbridge development, and delighted to have enabled this exciting conference initiative.

“Both the Transition International Conference and Longbridge Light Festival support the college’s aims to support the wider community wellbeing, promote knowledge exchange and valuing the arts.”

For ticket information and prices visit www.longbridgelightfestival.co.uk