Erdington Library’s community room was packed for our project launch on 28th Jan, where we showed our project films, and presented a copy of our Guide to Life to the library.
Dr Chris Upton, local historian, told us some fascinating local stories of Erdington and Kingstanding, and Rachel MacGregor showed us some Treasures of the Archive now on display at the new Library of Birmingham.
And of course there was project cake!
In this Culture on Your Doorstep project, we’ve been exploring Kingstanding and Erdington, past and present, with local residents and community groups. On a fascinating visit to the new Library of Birmingham, we chose some images to bring back from the city’s archive, and we have been making our own new work in response.
We’ve been gathering and recording memories, writing about the archive images, and asking lots of questions about life as it’s lived here today, including:
What does food mean to you?
What languages do you speak?
Who is the king, and where is he standing?
What is your philosophy of life?
How do you keep in touch with your people?
Here’s a snippet of writing about one of the archive photos we chose…
‘It’s maybe five years since the end of the war, the Great War. One or two of the older men, they’d have been too old to fight. But the younger men would have been fighting age. What had they gone through? They all look able-bodied, as far as you can see. But then injured men couldn’t do labouring work. They worked hard in those days.
You can imagine the photographer asking them all to line up outdoors to have their photo taken. D’you think he bought them all a pint? It would have been a rare thing in those days, to have your photograph taken.
That one at the bottom right has a nice face. Reminds me of my brother. Looks a bit of a cheeky Charlie.’
by Trevor and Marilyn
We’ll be showing the archive pictures, and some of our work, at Erdington Library at 2-4pm on Monday 25th November. Drop in and see us if you can!
In the meantime, we’re busy making animation sequences and organising all the material into a hardback book according to the Dewey Decimal library classification system. We will be presenting copies for people to borrow at the local community libraries and the Library of Birmingham in January.
Watch this space!