The Secret Life of Birds first date 6th November 2011

Visitor Centre off Eachelhurst Road, opposite Pype Hayes Park, Walmley Ash, Birmingham B24 0NY Buses 108, 168, 914 (& 28, 67/A, 71A, 116, 638)














With funding from BCC, Secret City Arts will be nesting on The Arts Bus for five dates over the next few months.

Come and join us for our first date

11am – 3pm Sunday 6th Nov
Plantsbrook Nature Reserve
Visitor Centre off Eachelhurst Road,
opposite Pype Hayes Park, Walmley Ash, Birmingham B24 0NY

Buses 108, 168, 914 (& 28, 67/A, 71A, 116, 638)

where we will be

Making paper birds to add to our ever-growing flock

Recording your memories of birds in the city

Making bird feeders or nesting boxes


Imagining a bird’s-eye view of our city

Also check out our related bird inspired pages with links and ideas of how you can get involved or create your own bird inspired craft projects.

Lost Village

The Lost Village of Aldersley Juction

The lost hotel

All that remains of the lost hotel

So much inspiration! So little time! We spent a week with children at the Wildside Activity Centre in Wolverhampton exploring the Lost Village of Aldersley – once a bustling canal junction with a hotel and tollhouse, now a quiet backwater.

The old hotel at Aldersley Junction

On our project page Lost Village of Aldersley you can read our poems, see the wonderful story animation the children made with Claire, and find out more about drama work with Pyn.

Here’s a snippet…

Tick tock, dandelion clock by Shannon, Lucy and Fi

Tick tock, tick tock,
Dandelion clock.
Through the portal leaping back into the past.
Old woman becomes young again as time flies backwards into time,
Tree back to shoot, back to seed,
Swan back to ugly duckling, back to egg,
Giant city shrinks back to village,
Road back to muddy track.

Tick tock, tick tock,
Dandelion clock,
Tick tock, tick tock.

Writing by Fiona

Click here for more poems

Living Stories

There were many wonderful reminscences, responses and stories exploring the walls and water of Brindley Place and the canals.

Here are just a couple to give you an idea. More will appear as time goes on and some are being transcribed in readiness for the booklet. I am currently working with music producer Marc Reck to create a collage of voices and sound from the collected recordings as further  interpretation of the project.

Living on a Canal Boat by secretcityarts

Memories of Childhood by the Canals by secretcityarts

Walls and Water…

Making animation

Walls and Water was a huge success – over three hundred people came and took part, contributing to a collective animation and recording their stories, memories, and responses to the canals and the built environment in Brindleyplace. Lots of people contributed to a couple of collective poems,  Still Water, Still Here and Highways past and present.

Recording stories

The city in microcosm: We got a glimpse of the wildly diverse stories that people are walking around the  city with – here’s a flavour of what people wrote on ribbons, and tied on to the bridge for others to read:

We’re scout leaders walking a 20-mile circuit. Next Fazeley Canal up to Spaghetti. Eight hours, I reckon   ◊   We are from Mexico, Italy, Uruguay, Portugal, India, Brazil ◊   We’ve just been to the Hindu temple ◊   The same wind that freezes me, freezes my daughter Jasmine in Ohio, and warms my daughter Gala in Grand Cayman…    ◊   We are going to see the Saxon gold which is 1400 years old!   ◊   In memoriam Margaret Winter, adored mother, due to see Anton and Erin for her 81st birthday. Wish you were here, Mom. We love you   ◊   I fish in the canal. I’ve caught roach, perch, bream, up to 2-3lbs     ◊   Good Fortune by Hong Kong Polytechnic University   ◊   Merci á mes enfants de m’accompagner en ces moments difficiles   ◊   Just mooching, ambling along   ◊   Love Birmingham. Love every human    ◊ writing on ribbons

Walls and Water:Secret City Arts @ Brindleyplace

Come and join Secret City Arts in Brindleyplace in Birmingham City Centre to take another look at the environment there in the past, present (and future…) and create written and oral work and animation in response to it. We’ll be at two venues, one parked in a marquee outside the Ikon and the other snug inside Symphony Hall foyer on Friday 11th (1-6pm), Saturday 12th (11am-4pm) and Sunday 13th Feb (11am-4pm). Come and write poetry, record your thoughts and stories and make animated films (based on the work of animation legend Len Lye showing at the Ikon).

Hope to see you there!!