The right for everyone to express themselves creatively and share their ideas, opinions and talents – what is currently coined ‘Cultural Democracy’ – is something that I strive for in all of my projects. ‘My Doorstep, My Culture’, an Art Works project I’ve been co-ordinating, aimed to do just that.
‘My Doorstep, My Culture’ was an exciting programme of creative workshops across three community organisations, led by local Artist ILdikó Nagy and culminating in a group exhibition at Moseley Road Baths. We worked with Amal Creative – a group of Yemeni women who meet in Balsall Heath, Kinmos – an organisation for people with lived experience of poor mental heath and Smart Women CIC – a women’s group who are based on Stoney Lane in Sparkbrook.
Each group started by viewing a selection of images depicting different artforms and artworks, including some of ILdikó’s own projects which include the huge woven willow hare in Moseley Park and a recent recycled plastic sculpture in Coventry (examples of her work can be seen on Instagram at @_usefool_). These prompted stimulating conversations about each group’s interests and hobbies, with some people even pulling out their own craft projects. It was clear from the outset that there were keen artists within each group.
Quite quickly, this developed into a co-designed programme of creative activities for each group. Participants were eager to express themselves creatively and committed to working collaboratively to create something reflecting their talents and perspectives and cultural identity.
The exhibition was launched to an invited audience of participants, their families and friends on Saturday 22nd February in the glorious setting of Moseley Road Bath’s empty Gala Pool. Over 30 people attended the launch where groups viewed each others’ work for the first time and reflected on their achievements with food and drink.
More information on the project can be found on the Art Works website. I am currently Co-ordinator for Art Works, the Local Arts Forum for Hall Green Constituency.
Funded through Birmingham City Council’s ‘Culture on our Doorstep’ fund.