Store to Tour: Birmingham Museums Trust

8 February 2019

The fourth and final part in the Arts Council Collection’s 'Store to Tour' short film series is now online. The latest film focuses on an inspiring new community partnership between Birmingham Museums Trust and homelessness charity Shelter, developed alongside current National Partners exhibition, Women Power Protest.

Marking a century since the first women won the right to vote, the Women Power Protest exhibition brings together modern and contemporary artworks from the Arts Council Collection and Birmingham’s own collection to celebrate female artists who have explored protest, social commentary and identity in their work.

Birmingham Museums Trust has been working with Shelter for over a year to develop opportunities for local service users to visit the museum and engage with its exhibition programme by creating ‘safe spaces’ for conversation and contemplation. In the latest Store to Tour film, we hear from Birmingham Museums Trust Learning Officer, Jon Sleigh and Taiba Rafakat from Shelter, Birmingham on the work they have been doing alongside current National Partners exhibition, Women Power Protest.

As part of a series of coffee mornings held before the exhibition opened, Shelter invited local service users to discuss artworks being considered for inclusion, discussing the ideas and themes behind them as well as talking about their experiences of homelessness and domestic abuse. ‘There’s a lot of empowerment that goes on in these sessions.’ says Rafakat, ‘…because we’ve got different clients who are at different stages of their recovery so they’re able to give other service users a comforting word or a shoulder to lean on.’



Among the artworks the group looked at was Mona Hatoum’s Arts Council Collection work, Plotting Table (1998) which features an illuminated map of the world created by a series of holes drilled into the surface of a wooden table.

Hatoum’s work resonated stongly with the group, who were able to relate its symbolism with the situation they found themselves, as Rafakat explains: ‘We weren’t just women from Birmingham, we were women from all around the world’.

The film sees Rafakat, who has personal experience of homelessness through domestic violence, visiting the exhibition for the first time to see Plotting Table installed in the flesh and reflect on the successes of the project. ‘It’s actually quite a profound moment... it represents our journey, light at the end of the tunnel for myself and our service users.’

The Arts Council Collection : Store to Tour: Birmingham Museums Trust

About Store to Tour

Store to Tour is a series of short films produced to celebrate our National Partners Programme, showcasing exhibitions at each of the four partner museums and galleries: the Walker Art Gallery, National Museums LiverpoolYorkshire Sculpture Park; the Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne; and the Birmingham Museums Trust.

The series of films, produced in collaboration with partner venues each takes a different work from the Arts Council Collection as a starting point to explore key partner exhibitions bringing in local voices from beyond the institutions to offer fresh perspectives on the works in focus, as they journey from store to tour.


Women Power Protest shows at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery until 31 March 2019.

Watch the full film here.


The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

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