When we think of the city of Birmingham nowadays, chances are many of us immediately get the image of ‘Peaky Blinders’ in our heads. It’s definitely one of the most successful series to be set in the British city and has created quite the tourist influx. However, Birmingham doesn’t really look like the image we get when looking at ‘Peaky Blinders’ any more. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, its outlook has drastically changed and – let’s be honest – probably for the best. Even though we all swoon over Thomas Shelby, his living conditions aren’t per se why we’re all over him.
So, let’s talk about real-life Birmingham for a bit. Nowadays, it’s the largest city in the West Midlands and it has been around for centuries. However, it’s only in the eighteenth century, during the Midlands Enlightenment and during the Industrial Revolution, that it really began to blossom. Industries of all kinds have been the city’s point of interest for a long time and therefore, Birmingham has known quite a bit of immigration. Something the new On Our Way-project wants to highlight.
On Our Way
Those of you living in the city might have already spotted it. Along the number 74 route between Dudley and Birmingham, eight bus stops have recently received a makeover. Whereas usually, a bus stop isn’t necessarily the most inspiring or attracting thing in the world, these eight installations try to prove otherwise. They have all been transformed into kaleidoscopic artworks, in order to illustrate and celebrate the area’s diverse communities and history. Unsurprisingly, On Our Way is in fact a community project – meaning the locals themselves are trying to highlight the place’s rich cultural history.
It’s a project which aims to celebrate the local residents who make up North Birmingham and their stories of what makes a community, a community.Nilupa Yasmin, Artist Curator of the project
Without the community angle, most people who have contributed to the project wouldn’t have been able to do so. We’re talking school children, library staff and other locals. They turned the area’s different cultural legacies, from the post-WWII migrant entrepreneurs to its civil rights heroes, into kaleidoscopic works of art. All different in style but with a very recognisable common artwork. The reason why this project saw the light of day precisely now is because it fits in the Birmingham 2022 Festival, highlighting the city’s rich culture over a six-month time frame. So if you’re visiting Birmingham anytime soon, a visit to the eight different bus stops should be in your schedule, if you ask us.