Reflecting on the UK's Windrush Generation

25 June 2018

Programmed to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Aston Hall, Birmingham Museums Trusts current National Partners exhibition, Walls Have Ears: 400 years of Change, reflects on changes in the social, demographic and economic landscape that surrounds the historic site.

In our latest blog, Jon Sleigh, Learning Officer, Arts Council Collection at Birmingham Museums, reflects on working with local communities and using artworks from the Collection to initiate discussion around the UK’s Windrush generation through a series of walking tours, podcasts and musical responses.

Marking the exhibition ‘Walls Have Ears: 400 years of change’ Birmingham Museums Trust used Arts Council Collection works as a starting point for local activists to reflect on the UK’s Windrush generation.

In curating the hall to actively reflect the rich and diverse contemporary lives in Birmingham communities, the launch of the exhibition seemed like the perfect moment to consider what Windrush means for us in Birmingham 2018.

Working with community activists Mrs McGhie Belgrave MBE, and Linda Sutherland, Project Coordinator for Shades of Black, museum professional Charlotte Holmes created a powerful series of reflections and memories.

Inside the iconic setting of Aston Hall, they considered the Birmingham of 60 years ago all the way up to the present day. Arts Council Collection pieces became springboards for emotive and meaningful testimony. Captured in audio format, this session created a legacy of two podcasts, an audio walking tour of the exhibition and an accompanying written guide. In addition, local musician Vinter composed an original score for the exhibition, adding to the social history created through this project.

Together, the words, audio and music combine providing our region and beyond with topical and reflective content from the perspective of our guests. It’s a privilege to be part of this sharing, and use both heritage and the arts to create socially conscious learning made with members of our community.

Walls Have Ears shows at Aston Hall until 30 September 2018 and is an Arts Council Collection National Partners Exhibition.

 

Listen to the series of audio works created in response to the exhibition below.

 

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Walls Have Ears: Aston Hall Podcast Episode 1

Local activists Mrs McGhie Belgrave MBE, and Linda Sutherland, Project Coordinator for Shades of Black celebrate the exhibition Walls Have Ears and reflect on the UK’s Windrush generation.
Walls Have Ears: Aston Hall Podcast Episode 2

Local activists Mrs McGhie Belgrave MBE, and Linda Sutherland, Project Coordinator for Shades of Black celebrate the exhibition Walls Have Ears and reflect on the UK’s Windrush generation.
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The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

With nearly 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the country and beyondThis website offers unprecedented access to the Collection, and information about each work can be found on this site.