The My Route Exhibition Trail will feature striking images of the Stratford Road and its residents by internationally-respected photographer Vanley Burke, combined with sound installations by pioneering artist Brian Duffy, best known for his work with the Modified Toy Orchestra.
The large-scale photographs will be located on buildings along a three mile length of Stratford Road, accompanied by sound installations at street-level.
Together they will paint a picture of what it is to live and work on the Stratford Road, giving an insight into the rich history of the area.
The exhibition is the culmination of My Route, an 18-month heritage project led by Sampad and supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Curator Tasawar Bashir is working with Sampad to select images and sounds related to the immediate surroundings of each outdoor installation, together creating a vivid insight into life on Stratford Road from the 1940s to the present day.
Tasawar says, “This exhibition is the highlight of 18-months of research into what it has meant to live on Birmingham’s Stratford Road. This area has been home to so many different types of people and has seen so many changes. The idea is for people to explore the road and the exhibition, finding out new snippets of history as they reach each installation along Stratford Road. It will be an immersive experience and I hope will help people to appreciate the amazing riches of this part of the city.”
A dedicated team of volunteers and researchers have interviewed local residents and carried out extensive archival research to unearth the area’s hidden histories. The stories that have emerged describe the profound changes seen in the area over the past 70 years.
Stratford Road experienced significant bomb damage in World War Two and Sampad’s researchers have captured some of the personal stories of native Birmingham residents from this period. The area went on to host numerous changing communities, including Irish, Indian, Pakistani and Somali migrants. With each new group of people came different cultures and ways of living.
Several satellite presentations will accompany the main exhibition trail, hosted by community venues in Sparkbrook, Sparkhill and Hall Green. Here, visitors can learn more about a particular building or event and gain access to buildings that are normally shut to the public.
A new learning resource accompanies the My Route Exhibition Trail, a large, interactive digital map. Produced by data and infographic design expert Caroline Beavon and digital media studio Substrakt, the touch-screen table allows users to unlock the history of the area by tapping into collections of photographs, video and soundbites. It will initially be installed at the Muath Trust at the Bordesley Centre and will then move to Hall Green Library.
Full details of the installations and associated walking tours will be released prior to the exhibition.