100 (and ten) Swimmers

The 100 Swimmers credit Attilio FiumarellaA big #BrumSpirit shout out to all the swimmers from across the city who took part in a one-off photo event as part of 100 Swimmers to  highlighting the plight of one of the Birmingham’s most important community buildings, Moseley Road Baths.

The 100 Swimmers, by photographer Attilio Fiumarella, was the completing instalment of the community photographic project entitled The Swimmers, which we were fortunate to exhibit  as part of Muzikstan Midsummer Festival in partnership with Some Cities.

The 100 Swimmers project, which took place Sunday July 20th and saw over  100 swimmers, photography fans, city heritage enthusiasts and community supporters fill the empty Gala Pool at Moseley Road Baths in Balsall Heath in reaction to the news that Birmingham City Council intends to close the historic building permanently in 2015. We have a huge amount of love for this project, not only have we been champions of the exhibition, but also the nature of the story itself showcases a great example of what #BrumSpirit means to us.

The project caused quite the stir  and became the third highest English story on the BBC News website…featured on the Daily Mail and even into the Scottish press – A big #BrumSpirit to that.  

Some Cities are calling out to everyone involved,  whether you participated, spread the love online or only saw the story in the press to get back together again to see Attilio’s photograph of the event. The image will be unveiled this Thursday July 31st, from 6.30pm, at The Old Print Works, over the road from the baths, and will have  Attilio on hand to unveil his image and discuss his thoughts  behind the shoot.  As will Stephen Burke, who like Attulio, was a recipient of the Some Cities bursary. 

Also be sure to check out the Italian-born, Birmingham-based photographer Attilio Fiumarella, and also why not contribute your own images to the Some Cities social project? The remarkable digital collection taken in and around Birmingham currently sits at over 100,000 images and can be of a wealth of subject matter. If your interested in sharing your view of Birmingham, images can be sent directly to Some Cities by email [Birmingham@some-cities.com] or via Twitter, tagged with #BrumSpirit and #somecities #brumfotos, and will form part of an ongoing extensive and authentic archive of life in the city.

 

Q & A With Sophie Handy

We caught up with Sophie Handy, the founder of Crafty Business, and Muzikstan torchbearer  ahead of this Saturdays Mid Summer Muzikstan edition.sophie handy

Name: Sophie Handy

Occupation: Community Artist, Organiser at Muzikstan.

From: Shropshire

Live: Birmingham

Q) Tell us about Muzikstan, what’s your involvement? 

We were living at The Old Print Works when Zirak started Muzikstan in the Directors Lounge in March 2012, he was organizing some amazing acts literally in our living room. He started talking about doing a festival in the August and encouraged us to get involved and we have been ever since. The festival was a huge success and a turning point as the growing crowd were no longer going to fit in the lounge.

When Zirak left Birmingham in the November we took the torch and been rolling with it ever since. Muzikstan is a collective of musicians and music lovers alike and with a love for live music so prominent in Birmingham- it has been a pleasure to host such an eclectic range of gigs.

Q) What can people expect from Muzikstan?

After two years of biweekly live music nights we have been focusing our energies on bigger events, continuing to bring people together through a mutual appreciation of great music. More of the same- plus I think it’s about time we got the big orange tent out again!

Q) What made you decide on the lineup/outline of the day?

 

The lineup for this event was a collection of decisions as we are working with Brum Spirit, Birmingham Promoters and Celebrating Sanctuary Birmingham (CSB). We have done a couple of events with CSB before and love the acts they support so making our selection was easy- Kadialy Kouyate sounds amazing and we are delighted he and his band can join us. The Dirty Old Folkers are local champions and likewise we were really chuffed to see them confirmed. Muzikstan has always been about that mixture of cultures and sounds and this really is a treat for us. Mama Matrix played at our Christmas party in 2012 and Daz and Anne are ace, the Voices Together Community Choir seems to resonate the vibe of collaboration and making music accessible so again- top result thanks to Brum Spirit. The Mistakings are fresh and soulful and I think will go down a storm, I just caught the last chord of Tom Peel at Lunar Festival, but judging by the expressions on everyone’s faces, I think we could be up for a few smiles.

Q) Why The Old Print Works?

This is where it all began and we love making it look like home! The space is better than a blank canvas- it has a great vibe and easily takes on every colour we can throw at it. It has the openness of a warehouse so you can get a good crowd in with lots of room to dance and it still feels intimate.

Q) What is the best part about working in Birmingham?

The music scene in Birmingham is phenomenal. There is so much talent about we are very very lucky.

Q) The worst?

There’s so much to do, I don’t have time to leave!

Q) What is your favourite place in Birmingham?

Round the fire at Muzikstan!

Q) What one thing would you change about the city? 

If everyone had shoes like Dorothy then we wouldn’t need cars!

Q) Favourite Brummie saying?

Not sure I’ve been here long enough…

Q) What is Brum Spirit? What does it mean to you?

I think Brum Spirit is the amalgamation of good energies that occur when people are having an excellent time together, whether it’s at a gig, in your friend’s back garden, wherever- the reason it has a name is because in Birmingham this happens a lot. There are so many good people about- the vibe is always hearty.

Q) What has happened recently that gave you Brum Spirit?

Watching the lead singer from Polyphonic Spree stop mid-set at Lunar Festival to give a special thank you to the man from the “Meat Shack” burger van for giving him his last burger- having just lovingly prepared it for himself!

Q) Tell us about your creative goals for the next year, what do you have bubbling away? 

To get Crafty Business established- I’d like to support local artists including myself, to sustain a regular program of arts and crafts workshops which are accessible to local people. Providing the opportunity for people to be creative, try new things and inspire each other.  I’d also like to paint a mural at The Old Print Works, make some wacky lighting sculptures and I’d like have a go at some stained glass work.  Last but not least, do more jam sessions!

Q&A With Dan Burwood

We were lucky enough to catch up with the very talented Dan Burwood, who co-runs Some Cities – the city-wide photography social project and  The Darkroom, based in The Old Print Works – take a little look at all the great things Some Cities will be bringing to Muzikstan this Saturday!

Dan

Name: Dan Burwood

Occupation: Photographer / Some Cities Director / Teacher

From: Swansea/ Aylesbury

Live: Brum / on the canal in a boat

Tell us about Muzikstan?

It’s a movement of music transcending borders and boundries / one of the first cultural events to make good and consistent use of the Old Print Works space. It’s a great, friendly night out.

Q) What’s your involvement in Muzikstan? 

I’m running photography workshops and making Instant-ish portraits

Q) What can people expect from Muzikstan?

A wide range of good vibes, interesting and creative activities, varied grass roots music and great people of all ages.

Q) What made you decide on the lineup/outline of the day?

I have a studio/ project space at the OPW; The Instant-ish photography workshop I run is a great intro into analogue photography, it’s fun and a bit of a spectacle to boot. You can turn around an analogue portrait in ten minutes, using a 1940s camera and 100 year old technology.

Q) Why The Old Print Works?

The Darkroom found a natural home here; there were darkrooms here before for the processes used to make the decals and transfers Butchers Printed Products designed and printed for the trades of the city and beyond. I’ve repurposed some of the kit and one of the original spaces to create a community photography resource specialising in analogue process, one of the few left in the UK.

Q) What is the best part about working in Birmingham?

The accents of the people who live here; the diversity and the unexpected discoveries. The cultural heritage: Balsall Heath was an important centre for Surrealism; Steel Pulse and Black Sabbath.. what more could you ask for?

Q) The worst?

The constant – if diminishing – need for certain spokespeople for the city to apologise for it and compare it to other places. All this world city shit. It just is itself alright get the fuck over it!

Q) What is your favourite place in Birmingham?

Dad’s lane allotments / Icknield Port canal loop on a misty November evening / The Lamp Tavern

Q) What one thing would you change about the city?

Add a proper river

Q) Favourite Brummie saying?

Everything anyone says

Q) What is Brum Spirit? What does it mean to you?

It’s the roots, the counterculture, the number 11…

Q) What has happened recently that gave you Brum Spirit?

Photographing The Feast Project’s inaugural awards ceremony in the Council House

Q) Tell us about your creative goals for the next year, what do you have bubbling away?

Big plans for long form photographic commissions, international exchanges and residencies through the Some Cities site, and collaborations with various institutions…