‘Community Routes’ @ Roundhouse, Birmingham
I’m really happy to say ‘Community Routes’ at Roundhouse, Birmingham is back on ! I really wasn’t sure whether it might fall by the wayside given the wider picture and the impact of the global and local crisis we’re all experiencing. When everyone involved with the project were back, it was decided that we could go forward with the project. Restorative work on the amazing building, designed by W.H.Ward was also near completion. This is a probably a good point to tell you more about the Roundhouse project as a whole, before I tell you more about the ‘Community Routes’ project itself.
Roundhouse is a pioneering collaboration between The National Trust and Canal and River Trust with support from Heritage Lottery Fund. It will become the regional base for both partners, but also has commercial space for other business and a cafe. It will be a hub for outward bound leisure activities, designed around the beautiful canal developments in inner city Birmingham. This commercial focus will support the sustainability of keeping this unique heritage property maintained and it aims to provide an ongoing, rolling programme of activities and exhibitions for the general public throughout the year.
Our project ‘Community Routes’ is a combination of self-guided heritage audio walks and the creation of new artworks for exhibition, when Roundhouse opens in the Spring 2021. The audio tours will be co-created with local communities, who’ll be telling their stories around the people, places and heritage they want to share with others. I’ll then be creating the new artworks inspired by these stories, ideas and heritage research. The exhibition will be a starting point for these ‘pay as you feel’ self-guided tours and are perfect for these times I think. They’ll be hosted on the Geotourist App and available to everyone to take part in exploring the local area and finding out lots of interesting things about it. At this point there are three audio tours connected to three different walks, with two more in the pipeline. We’re working with Friends of Edgbaston Reservoir and Bertz Associates to celebrate the rich and vibrant heritage of both the Reservoir and Tower Ballroom. With Norman Bartlam, Black Heritage Walks Network, Eatmakeplay and the Ladywood community we’re exploring the Broad St, Westside and Ladywood walk. We’re working on the third walk with West Midland Photography Collective to create a route celebrating the inner city canals and some central Birmingham sites, the focus being on sharing photograph opportunities along the way, celebrating the old and new that Birmingham does so well ! All walks aim to encourage people to #seethecitydifferently!