Thursday, 29 August 2013

Warwick Bar Fete: A Moveable Feast, 27 July 2013

Saturday 27 July saw the Digbeth Speaks team descend on Warwick Bar. In exchange for a cool glass of cloudy lemonade, we collected voxpops with visitors to the Summer fete.

At just gone 10am, a small group of dedicated volunteers gathered in the space we had been assigned for the day. Armed with bunting, balloons, coloured pens and signs, we set to transforming an empty unit into a beautiful stall that would entice visitors to come and talk to us. 

Kym Epton from Red Cell Films made a time lapse film of us setting up, which will be included as part of a mini film about our oral history project. 

 The Warwick Bar Moveable Feast was a free event filled with food, art and culture. Visitors were able to experience Ikon’s summer launch of the ‘Slow Boat’, an aerial acrobatics show by Rogueplay Theatre, the Edible Eastside open day, an artisan food market and a pedal powered cinema, to name a few. There was also bhangra dancing, a mini sports day and people were able to taste the finalists in the Digbeth Pie competition (we were one of the finalists!).

Throughout the day members of our team spoke to local residents, performers, artists and visitors, and asked the following three questions:
  • What have you been doing in Digbeth today?
  • How would you describe Digbeth in three words?
  • What does Digbeth mean to you?
We had a huge range of responses! Unfortunately the Heavens opened at about 5pm and put an end to the event. But by that time all the Digbeth Speaks team had had a fabulous day and gathered lots of new thoughts about Digbeth.

Holly Beaumont-Wilkes, Project Volunteer

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Introducing film 1: Digbeth Speaks does the Custard Factory's Antiques and Vintage Bazaar, 8 June

In a previous blog post we told you about the filming we did at the antiques and vintage bazaar at the Custard Factory on 8 June. Here's the finished video:

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Chinese Community Centre - Birmingham interviews, 2 August

On 2 August 2013, I conducted an interview with two ladies at the Chinese Community Centre - Birmingham (CCC-B). CCC-B is located at the heart of Digbeth. It aims to promote cultural exchange, social and personal well-being within the Chinese community. The two ladies - Ms Fung and Ms Tang - were service users of the Hong Que Day Care Service. Hong Que provides vital services for the elderlies, such as hot meals, weekly shopping trips, health talks and recreational activities.

Upon arrival, I was given a warm welcome by Kate Gordon, the Senior Care Officer who helped to arrange the interview. I was then treated to lunch with the Hong Que grannies. The delicious and nutritious meal was prepared by a team of dedicated volunteers. As I was seated at the big round table, the grannies were eager to show their hospitality by piling delicious food on my plate. It was a lovely experience, which reminded me of being with my grandparents in Hong Kong.

After lunch, some of the Hong Que ladies went to the activity room to have a game of mahjong. It was a great way to socialise, as well as to exercise their mental dexterity. 

The interviewees and I were then led to the cosy 'Dragon Room' by Kong Sing Lee, the Care Support Worker. Mr Lee accompanied Ms Fung and Ms Tang throughout the interview, offering excellent support and helping to explain the procedures. It was fascinating to hear about their experiences and we are grateful for their participation in our archive.

Tessa Mo, Project Volunteer and Visual Documentation

Monday, 5 August 2013

Sara Preisler interview

On 15 July, a humid Monday afternoon, I was fortunate enough to be able to escape the heat in the fresh and attractive surroundings of the Sara Preisler Gallery in Digbeth. I had volunteered to interview Sara Preisler, a jewellery designer who has been creating collections since 1993, and whose gallery and studio space can be found in the Custard Factory. I was joined by Holly Beaumont-Wilkes, who had kindly agreed to take notes for the interview and to photograph Sara and the gallery. 

The oral history interview was a unique experience for me. I was able to gain insight into the place Sara’s gallery occupies in relation to the surroundings of the Custard factory, the relationship she has to the artistic community in Digbeth and her involvement and support of local university graduate jewellery designers. 

We also discussed the jewellery collections she creates and the bimonthly exhibitions that are held at her gallery. It was great to get to see the space in which she creates and exhibits her jewellery and would recommend you to visit and see the exquisite jewellery that can be found in Digbeth, and the diverse community that forms the Custard Factory.

Hannah Squire, Project Volunteer