Friction Arts ‘We Made Birmingham’ – An Opportunity for Young Community Journalists

Friction Arts is looking to support three aspiring young journalists to be part of an exciting community journalism project in Digbeth, capturing the voices of people telling us their We Made Birmingham stories, which will feature in digital displays across the city to celebrate the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

We will support you to undertake a short five session course in community journalism training that will equip you to be part of our We Made Birmingham team – recording and sharing stories of heritage, community activism and migration from residents of the Digbeth area.


Pictures from Friction Arts 2021 How Were You? community interviews

Training

All training sessions will be held at:

BVSC Centre, 138 Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 6DR.

The first two sessions are on Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday 23rd February, and will run for three hours each, with the choice of a morning slot (10:00am – 1:00pm) or an afternoon slot (1:00pm – 4:00pm).

There will be three additional Saturday training sessions held before Easter. These five x three hour sessions will include:

  • theory behind conducting an excellent interview
  • pre-production processes
  • technical set up of the equipment,
  • camera techniques
  • a session led by a working journalist

The Project

During May and June, you will work at least three half days (times and days to be flexibly arranged) as part of a team of three community journalists and a professional caricaturist, using your training to capture the voices of people as they tell us their We Made Birmingham stories. These interviews will then be edited to become Augmented Reality connected to the twenty portraits as part of a touring exhibition to different sites during Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth.

Friction Arts and our commitment to you

Friction Arts is passionate about heritage, interviewing, oral histories and gathering awkward as well as historic stories. We have a long history, of over thirty years working creatively across Birmingham with experience in oral history (training, interviews, editing and distributing) across different digital formats including Augmented Reality, video, recordings, montage and animation.

Not only will we support you with training, travel and refreshment expenses, you will be part of a live community journalism project with Friction Arts, a well established community arts organisation, who will help you to evaluate the experience and then support you in potential opportunities for the future.

Please contact Marcus to find out more: Marcus@frictionarts.com / Tel: 07784302283

Closing date: Midday 21st February 2022

Mixed Heritage Women Sharing their Extraordinary Stories of Identity – Callout for interviewees

Friction Arts have launched a new project called ‘Stir’ and have put a callout for contributors to this new project that shares the joys and complexities of the identities of women of mixed heritage.

What is Stir?

Stir is a platform created by Friction Arts, for women of mixed heritage, to share the joys and complexities of their identities and the journeys that shaped them. As part of a wider community journalism project in Digbeth, Friction Arts is capturing the voices of people telling us their stories of heritage, community activism and migration, which will feature in Birmingham Public Library’s archive. Friction Arts will also be working in collaboration with an award winning female portrait artist to create a series of extraordinary Stir visual portraits reflecting these extraordinary women and their lives.

How will Stir work?

During March Lead Artist Sarah Kaur will lead a series of one to one interviews inviting Stir participants to share how they experience their multiple ethnicities, and how these experiences shaped their identities. These interviews will last around 1 hr and can take place in the home, or at our studio ‘The Edge’.

Stir participants will also be offered the opportunity to take part in a group Zoom meeting to share their ideas for the series of portraits that will accompany the stories – contributing thinking around themes, sets and costumes.

In early April, a small group of Stir participants will meet at our Studio at the Edge to have their portrait realised by an award winning female portrait artist, to create a series of extraordinary visual portraits sensitively reflecting the complexities of mixed heritage identity.

About Friction Arts

Friction Arts has a history of over thirty years working creatively across Birmingham with experience in oral history across different digital formats including Augmented Reality, video, recordings, montage and animation. We are passionate about heritage, interviewing, oral histories and gathering awkward as well as historic stories.

How to get involved in Stir

If you are a woman of mixed heritage with a story rooted in identity to share, we’d really love to hear from you. Please contact Sarah@FrictionArts.com by midday, 27th February 2022 to arrange an informal chat about getting involved with Stir.

ICF x Ort Gallery Partnership

Ort Gallery have announced a new partnership with two emerging curators.

We are excited to announce that we have partnered with the International Curators Forum (ICF)  to appoint 2 emerging curators to work with us and selected artists on a new project called ‘Emergence(y)’ during 2022. Following the turbulent year of 2020 and the ongoing covid crisis, the curators will explore the themes of Emergence, Care and/or Warmth. They will bring their own research interests and working methodology with them and they will also decide how they want to work together or what they want to create, whether that be an exhibition, an event, something online, a partnership with another gallery, or any other format of their choosing. 
 

Orphée Kashala is a Birmingham based curator. His curatorial practice promotes care, inclusion, empathy, equality and understanding by telling stories that explore and challenge our collective perception of the human experience.

Since 2020, Orphée has taken on the role of Creative Producer at Maokwo(a Belgrade Theatre springboard organisation based in Coventry) as part of the young leadership programme for emerging young artists from migrant backgrounds. Currently, Maokwo have partnered with the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, where Orphée is co-curating an exhibition exploring key national collections, co-organising artists’ lead workshops, developing project ideas and curatorial skills, whilst also co-creating a new provision for artists in Coventry. In September 2021, he curated his first exhibition titled “Survivor’s Guilt” for the Coventry Migrant Centre, as part of Coventry City of Culture; which was an exploration of the bittersweet memories and lived realities of African migrants living in the UK via photography, videography, installation and poetry.

Sarah Francis is a Leeds based Artist Curator who focuses on bringing under-recognised artists and narratives to the public, using empathy and warmth to build self-confidence in creatives left behind by the mainstream system. Fascinated by complex possibilities lying dormant in ‘familiar’ environments, setting a challenging dialogue between cultural identity and the inner worlds which we as artists manifest within our work. This conceptual framework draws parallels between artists from differing socio-cultural worlds, whose work follows similar lines in metaphysical realms. Francis’ interpretation of the curator is that of a caretaker of other worlds, working in collaboration as the tour guide and storyteller, bringing these converging manifestations to our physical spaces.

Francis’ artwork centres around her neurodiverse and queer identity, building her own language and worlds to explore and understand ‘how I made me’; a reference to an early body of work that investigated her inner trauma and re-articulation of her current self. Her work has been shortlisted for the Saatchi Gallery’s Art of Giving Prize, selected by Richard Billingham for Curator’s Choice Noise Young Talent 2009, and recognised in Aesthetica’s 100 Best Contemporary Artists in Europe. In addition to her work, Sarah Francis is the Founder and Director of Aire Place Studios, Leeds.

Connect & Create – Birmingham’s Arts & Health Network event #4

Venue: Midlands Arts Centre, MAC, Cannon Hill Park Birmingham, B12 9QH

When: 10am-4pm, Monday 28th Feb 2022 

Who is it for? 

Anyone working in the health and social care sector in Birmingham looking to enhance their knowledge of arts activities which deliver social care outcomes. 

Connect with: artists; activities; conversations; ideas; people; spaces; taster sessions; venue tours 

Create new: contacts; skills; experiences; knowledge; networks; friendships; ideas; passions; partnerships.

Further details to follow in 2022. 

For more information email: Artsandhealth@birmingham.gov.uk 

Calling Community Connectors!

OPUS (Outdoor Places, Unusual Spaces) are wanting to engage with Community Connectors as part of plans to develop festival sites across Birmingham as part of the Commonwealth Games. A fee of £2,000 is available.

We’re creating front rooms to enjoy the Commonwealth Games across Birmingham. If you’d like to help make this happen, we’re looking for community-based organisations to collaborate with to develop the Birmingham 2022 Neighbourhood Festival Sites.

OPUS poster Community Connectors

We have a particular interest in speaking to groups from these areas / who work in these areas:

  • Castle Vale
  • Edgbaston
  • Handsworth
  • Sparkhill
  • Ward End
  • Yardley

To find out more information, join us at our briefing session on Zoom on Thursday 9th December 2022 at 2pm. Please register via Eventbrite HERE: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/b2022-neighbourhood-festival-sites-community-connectors-briefing-session-registration-217530468487

For more information `about the opportunity and to submit your expression of interest, visit www.opusartsevents.co.uk or e-mail Diandra@opuseartsevents.co.uk.

The Birmingham Allotment Project – New General Public Project!

The Birmingham Allotment Project is an exciting new project by General Public exploring the heritage of allotments in Birmingham from the 1960s to the present day.

Working closely with Birmingham and District Allotment Confederation, allotment associations and plot-holders city-wide, the project will present an alternative social history of Birmingham via its allotment culture. Birmingham has 113 allotment sites, more than any other local authority, and this project aims to inspire, engage and encourage people to learn about allotments, their history and their place in the city today. The project includes:

  • A major exhibition at the Library of Birmingham from October to December 2023.
  • Working closely with six local schools to train young people in making oral histories.
  • Volunteering opportunities: training in how to make oral histories and the chance to help shape the project.
  • Recording memories and stories: 45 oral histories with plot holders and members of allotment associations.
  • Creation of a website, publication and Birmingham allotment archive.
  • An education pack.
  • A touring exhibition visiting allotment sites.

GET INVOLVED

Please get in touch if you are interested in being included in the project!

Your contributions could feature in:

  • A project book and website.
  • An exhibition at the Library of Birmingham in 2023.
  • The project archive.

Birmingham 2022 Festival: GENERATIONS Photography Project

Birmingham 2022 Festival, working with GRAIN Projects and Multistory, presents GENERATIONS, taking place in Birmingham and the Black Country, in celebration of the city and region’s communities during the time of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The first project of its kind in Birmingham and the Black Country invites four and five generation families to take part and be photographed for exhibition during the Birmingham 2022 Festival, a six month celebration which will spotlight creativity and culture in the West Midlands as part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. 

GENERATIONS celebrates families, individuals, diversity and the people of Birmingham and the West Midlands in large-scale photographic portraiture.  Based on the format of the family portrait the artist will use a large format camera to work collaboratively with families of four and five generations from across the region.    The photographs will be displayed largescale, will capture details and provoke questions about our life and times.

Artist Julian Germain is seeking to work with four and five generation families from across Birmingham and the Black Country.  If you are interested in your family taking part and being photographed for GENERATIONS contact the team at hello@grainphotographyhub.co.uk   

The group portraits present people at different stages of life; new-borns, infants, children, teens and their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and great great-grandparents. Fundamental questions are raised that relate to us all; life, death, time and the effects of time, where do we come from and where will we go? 

The project will be exhibited largescale in prominent spaces in the public realm, including on billboards, poster and exhibition sites in the region throughout the Birmingham 2022 Festival.

Running from March to September 2022 as part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the Birmingham 2022 Festival will feature hundreds of creative commissions across the region including art, photography, dance, theatre, digital art and more. Find out more and register for the latest updates at birmingham2022.com/festival.

GENERATIONS is generously supported by Arts Council England and National Heritage Lottery Fund.

My City, My Home – book release

MY CITY, MY HOME a brand-new book featuring a collection of writings by women and girls in Birmingham (UK), Bangladesh and Pakistan, has been launched at a special event at Midlands Arts Centre hosted by writer and author Kavita Bhanot.

Published in English, Urdu and Bangla, MY CITY, MY HOME is a ground-breaking publication featuring 184 poems, short-stories and other prose from writers, and those new to writing, reflecting on the identity and the role of women in 21st century society. 

The book was made possible through a specially commissioned, international writing competition launched by Sampad South Asian Arts & Heritage in September 2020, a year which marked the company’s 30th anniversary. 

Birmingham-based Sampad, one of the UK’s leading arts development agencies, worked alongside Project Associates in Pakistan and Bangladesh connecting online with diverse groups of women and girls in their countries and supporting them through workshops to participate.

As the world is reeling under the impact of a pandemic ‘MY CITY, MY  HOME’ illuminates the possibilities of uniting women across nations to express poignantly that they do have the power of words that can make a difference in our societies, now and in the future.

Piali Ray OBE, Artistic Director at Sampad said “The theme MY CITY, MY HOME’ has strong personal resonance with me in the same way that it connected with many women who responded to our call for this writing competition. 

It was greatly rewarding to receive 280 entries from the many unheard voices of women who shared their emotions, ambitions, joys, dreams, disappointments, resentment and pain. Their words resonate with each other towards a place of strength, identity and belonging. We connect in their personal journeys and treasured memories and it is a delight to be able to share them.”

Out of the 184 entries selected by judges, three overall winners were chosen for their particular writing skills and themes and are featured in the book each representing their own location:

  • English language: Ilika Chakravarty Mandal, Birmingham, UK, ‘Yellow Sweater’
  • Bangla Language: Shahana Yasmin, Dhaka, Bangladesh, ‘Ek kichhui korena meyer golpo’ 
  • Urdu language: Nadia Umer, Lahore, Pakistan. ‘Shehar Kay Dil’

Commenting on her work Bangladesh overall winner Shahana Yasmin said: “In Dhaka, the city I live in, you can see mothers of school children waiting outside the school for 5 to 6 hours every day. This city does not have any public toilets for women. These mothers cannot go to the toilet for a long time and develop urinary diseases. Their husbands don’t find them attractive so they have relationships with other women. I wanted to write about the plight of these mothers. ‘MY CITY, MY HOME’ inspired me to write this.”

Ilika Chakravarty Mandal, Birmingham (UK) overall winner added: “Having moved across cities and continents through study, marriage, work and motherhood, I have often questioned myself: What is home? Where is home? ‘MY CITY, MY HOME’ was a topic to which my persona instantly connected. So much so, that I picked up my pen after almost thirty years to use the dying art of letter writing in a personal note for my ageing mum, who now seemed even more geographically distanced in a post-COVID world. To see my story published and shared is simply fabulous and I am inspired to try writing more regularly.”

‘MY CITY, MY HOME’ is part of Transforming Narratives, a groundbreaking project that supports creative and cultural practitioners and organisations in Birmingham to engage in exchange with artists and organisations in cities in Pakistan and Bangladesh. 

Sophina Jagot, Project Director Transforming Narratives commented: Transforming Narratives offers a range of platforms for new artistic voices, exchanging narratives around contemporary lived experience across Birmingham (UK), Pakistan and Bangladesh and MY CITY, MY HOME certainly delivers on that ambition. 

We are delighted to be working with Sampad to share the words of women across these three countries, in some instances sharing their words for the first time, and to feel a connection with all their experiences and ambitions.”

MY CITY, MY HOME, published by Sampad South Asian Arts & Heritage, is available via marketing@sampad.org.uk

Amongst those attending the launch were: Piali Ray OBE (Artistic Director, Sampad), Nushin Hussain (Project Coordinator,Transforming Narratives), Dawn Carr (Health and Well-Being Officer & SIMRA at Legacy West Midlands), Sarah Kennedy (Senior Relationship Manager, Arts Council England), Deborah Kermode (CEO/Artistic Director, Midlands Arts Centre).

Sampad would like to thank all those involved with the making of this publication.

Sampad acknowledges support from the British Council, Arts Council England, Transforming Narratives andBirmingham City Council.

Arts and Health activities survey for Artists and Arts organisations

Art Works are currently collating information about ‘Arts and Health’ activities across the area to assist Hall Green Neighbourhood Network Scheme with planning and commissioning activities for residents.

We understand that many activities will be on pause or in planning stages at the moment. Please answer these questions based on your ‘normal’ or planned activities without Covid-19 restrictions.

We would be grateful if you could complete the form by 12 noon, Friday 19th March. If the embedded form below is not working, please use this link.

How not to exclude Artist parents

Artist Joanne Masding has pulled together some important and useful guidelines ‘How not to exclude Artist parents’.

This is welcome not just for Artists with children, but for those with other caring responsibilities. Unless we can ensure equity in access we are excluding important voices from arts and culture.

You can view the full guidelines over on her Instagram feed.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CMAw_ISFR5W/

Who cares? At what price? The hidden costs of socially engaged arts labour and the moral failure of cultural policy.

An interesting paper by Professor Eleonora Belfiore on how Artists involved in community based work should/could be supported.

We really welcome an open discussion about how Artists in our area can be supported to do their best work and engage with local residents in a meaningful way. Often that means that Artists themselves need to be supported with plenty of opportunities for development and nurture. Professor Belfiore’s paper is a really welcome contribution to this discussion.

If you wish to direct people to papers, articles, websites, organisations, courses or conferences then please share generously – we’re very happy to publish contributions here!

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1367549420982863

Request for schools, colleges and exhibition venues within Hall Green

Hall Green Families, as part of Accord Housing, have been awarded NHS England funding to recruit young people to co-design covid, winter & mental health messages.

Our young people are age 11 to 18 who live, study and work in Hall Green locality, which includes Sparkbrook, Sparkhill, Moseley, Kings Heath, Balsall Heath and Hall Green. We work in subgroups, which enable us to make the most of our time, resources and skills.

We are looking for schools and colleges to collaborate with. Ideally this will be within your school curriculum as part of, not limited to, art, ICT or design.

The aim is for your learners to produce something  that can be exhibited or interacted with, hopefully in the public, to showcase their work and achievements. We want young people to set the agenda, hence why we haven’t outlined what will be created.

We will work together to map out the right questions for your young people, as everyone as different needs.

We would love for this exhibition to highlight the voice of young people and their Covid experiences in 2020.

We are also looking for venues within Hall Green to exhibit the final work.

If your school would like to be involved, or if you are interested in showcasing the project, please contact Project Manager Simarjeet.Kaur@accordgroup.org.uk.

Ort Gallery Wellbeing Messages

Wellbeing Messages written by local primary school children are being sent to the elderly in the Balsall Heath and Sparkbrook community spreading festive joy and support during the ongoing hardships caused by the pandemic.

Ort Gallery worked with artist Sabba Khan, whose work is an exploration of first world city life as a second generation Azad Kashmiri Muslim migrant. She explores themes of belonging, memory and identity underpinned by philosophical and psychotherapy concepts that explore the nature of self within and outside of the collective.

Sabba created 6 postcards in co-design with local women that are being shared with our community as part of the recovery period mid/post-lockdown. The idea is to spread a positive message and remind people that they are not alone. Moreover they also encourage people to look after their mental health.

The elderly in the community are receiving the messages through foodbank parcels and through the delivery service of hot means by the Muath Trust who reach up to 90 elderly people each week.

Pupils from two local primary schools – Ark Tindal Academy and Nelson Mandela Primary wrote personalised messages to the elderly in the community to spread festive joy this December and to send hope and solidarity to those in the community cut off from family and friends. The project will support the elderly to write back to their young penpals.

The Wellbeing Messages project was supported by The Community Fund.