Tag: Art

The Dance Tour Comes to an End

After visiting twenty two venues over 12 months covering 132 miles the artwork Dance has finished it’s tour of Birmingham (and occasionally over the border).

During that time it has been exhibited in:

Fourteen Churches, Three Synagogues, One Mandir, One Islamic Centre, One Cathedral, One FE College and one Art Gallery

It’s travelled from Rubery to Sutton Coldfield, from Smethwick to Acock’s Green and many places in between and been seen by several thousand people.

In all it’s travels Dance has clocked up an amazing 132 miles across Birmingham and the region.

The painting Dance has been supported by the ‘Maps of Conversationland’ which allowed people to engage with the topics of the Birmingham Conversations through pictures, poetry and questions.

The full list of venues Dance was exhibited in is:
Central Synagogue
Singers Hill Synagogue
St Mary’s Acock’s Green
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
St Mary’s Moseley
St Andrew’s Handsworth
St Peter’s Hall Green
St Michael’s Hall Green
St Chad’s Rubery
St Peter’s Maney
Holy Cross Bilsley
Walford Road Hindu Temple Tysley
Progressive Synagogue 5 ways
As Sufa Trust Aston
St Barnabas Erdington
All Saints Kings Heath
Holy Trinity Smethwick
Fircroft College
St Nicolas Kings Norton
St Philip’s Cathedral
St Germains Edgbaston
Christchurch Sparkbrook

There is a also a video which explains the process behind the creation of Dance and the Maps of Conversationland

Faith in the Public Sphere

The third ‘Birmingham Conversations’ took place recently on the theme of ‘Faith in the Public Sphere’ and explored the issue of how faith communities engage in all areas of public life.

The Conversations were attended by Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Humanists, Muslims and Sikhs as well as people involved in local politics, business and education.

The group met once a month for six months which enabled friendships to grow and for trust to be built up so that difficult or controversial topics could be considered.

Under the heading of ‘Faith in the Public Sphere’ we discussed what it would mean for faith communities, and by extension all communities, to flourish in the public sphere. Can everyone flourish or does the flourishing of one community necessitate the diminishing or restricting of another?

We then went on to consider how what this flourishing might look like at work, in places of education, in political life, in the media and in the street during festivals or demonstrations.

A Policy Report of the findings was written by Dr Andrew Davies from the University of Birmingham which includes specific recommendations and can be downloaded here faith-in-the-public-sphere-policy-recommendations

A Summary of the conversations was produced which includes questions for discussion and is written with members of the public in mind to enable different groups to join in the conversation. A copy of the summary can be downloaded here. map-of-birmingham-conversationland

We invited two local artists, Jake Lever and Mandy Ross, to be artists in residence and reflect on what they heard during the conversations. As well as creatively facilitating conversations they produced artworks at the end as a response to the conversations.

The responses were:
A video of the Conversations which you can view below

A ‘Map of Conversationland’ by Mandy Ross which gives a poetic and artistic response

map-of-conversationland

A painting ‘Dance’ by Jake Lever

Art Work

The painting is 375cm wide and 200cm high and comes in it’s own free standing display system. This is available for groups in the Birmingham area to host at no cost. It can be booked for a minimum of two weeks and comes with 100 copies of ‘A Map of Conversationland’. To enquire about hosting ‘Dance’ e-mail Debbie Browning at debbieb@cofebirmingham.com.

 

The Video in response to the Conversations

The Birmingham Conversations from Birmingham Conversations on Vimeo.

 

 

 

Birmingham Conversation: Faith and The Arts

Can art be a positive influence on interfaith dialogue?
How can art create new spaces for conversations between people of different faiths?
How can an understanding of faith and inter-faith dialogue impact the arts?
How do we talk about art or religion that causes offense to others?

These were just some of the questions discussed by a group of people involved in the arts and members of different faith communities.

Following the successful Birmingham Conversations, a second series of conversations was run in the autumn of 2015 to consider the connection or conflict between faith and art. The aim of the conversations was to explore:

‘How artists and people of different faiths can work together to create the conditions for communities to come together in new ways and share conversations that could not otherwise take place.’
The purpose of these conversations was to:
• build mutual understanding and respect for the opportunities and challenges of contemporary artistic work that relates to themes of faith and spirituality;
• increase confidence amongst participants to engage with arts and faith projects
• build new links between like-minded individuals, groups, networks and initiatives and nurture the community of interest in Birmingham and UK around arts and faith;
• develop ideas for high quality arts projects, happenings and events that bring people together in new ways in the city and make a positive contribution to quality of life and cohesion in Birmingham.

As with the first conversations, we were not looking for complete consensus on issues that are raised, but wanted to provide a space for creative, imaginative conversation around these themes.

The conversations took place over three months and was generously hosted by Anthony Collins Solicitors. A full report of the conversations can be downloaded here: Arts and Faith Conversation 2016

The Winners Are Announced

The winners of the Near Neighbours Photography exhibition were announced and awarded their prizes on Saturday 16th November 2013. At a lively and fun evening at Birmingham Cathedral hosted by Nikki Tapper from BBC  RadioWM, the winners were awarded their prizes by The Right Revd David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham. The audience was entertained with drumming from the Christian and Muslim women’s drumming group which had been supported by Near Neighbours.

 

The Winners were:

In the Faith Category 1st Prize Paul Hillcox with ‘Autumn Light’ 2nd Prize Andrew Brazier with ‘In faith we Ying and Yang on land and sky’ 3rd Prize Kirat Singh with ‘Interfaith Friends’

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Friendship Category 1st Mary Simones-Jones with ‘Margaret and her friend’ 2nd Amrick Singh Ubhi with ‘It is an honour and a pleasure to meet you’ 3rd Leina Zaigirdar with ‘Heartfusion’

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Community Category 1st, 2nd & 3rd were won by Ines Elsa Dalal with ‘Muslim Family and a Sikh family collide’ ‘St Paul’s Community Trust 10th  Anniversary Open Day’ ‘Olympic torch relay aftermath’

 

 

 

 

 

 

The overall winner was Paul Hillcox with ‘Faith Reflected’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All the entries can be viewed on the Near Neighbours Flickr site

Competion Winners on Display

The Near Neighbours in Birmingham photo competition was opened with a  private viewing for invited guests to St. Philip’s Cathedral. The 60 guests all spoke very highly of the photos which are being displayed in the Cathedral alongside the Faithful Friends Exhibition. The evening included speeches by The Rt Revd David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham and Mohammed Ali the well known Graffiti artist.

The competition winners will be on display in the Cathedral until the 23rd November and all the entries are available for the public to see when they visit.

The competition invited amateur photographers from Birmingham to submit pictures on the themes of:
Faith
Friendship
Community

There was a winner, runner up and third place in each category plus a selection of ‘Judges’ Favourites’ which did win prizes but which were highly commended by the judging panel.

There was also an overall winner drawn from all the pictures. This was won by Paul Hillcox for a wonderful close up study of an eye with a church window reflected in it. Paul said of his picture:
“The image was an inspired moment after our church service during the summer . I was trying out a new lens and just wanted to try something a little different and was attracted by the light from our church windows reflected in my wife’s eye. My wife, Veronica, has a very deep faith and I was quite moved by the image when I viewed it on my laptop. I have never tried this type of photo before and I am delighted that others find the same deeper meaning in the photograph.”

You can view all of the entries on the Near Neighbours Flickr Site

FAITHFUL PHOTOGRAPHERS NEEDED

Near Neighbours is calling for photographers with a faithful focus to train their lenses on the friendships that have been built across the city between people from different religious traditions.

We are looking for pictures that capture one of three themes:
Friendship
Faith
Community

A selection of the photographs will be displayed in St Philip’s Cathedral from 16-24th  November which coincides with Interfaith Week. The winning entrants will be awarded Adobe software packages to help them develop their images and create more professional pictures.

Judges viewing the pictures will include:
The Dean of Birmingham, the Very Revd Catherine Ogle
Internationally renowned graffiti artist, Mohammed Ali
Professional photographer at Outroslide Photography, Dharmendra Patel
The Bishop’s Director of Interfaith Relations, Dr Andrew Smith.

Birmingham’s Near Neighbours Co-ordinator, Jessica Foster said: “We have funded some 130 projects in the city which aim to turn neighbours into friends and build lasting relationships between people of different faiths.

“We would love to see images of all sorts of relationships and activities that show how people in Birmingham work together, play together, eat together, share together and laugh together, building stronger communities and growing in understanding.”

Photographs should be submitted to Jess@nearneighbours.com and will be displayed on the Near Neighbours Brum Flickr site. A selection will be displayed in Birmingham Cathedral from 14th  til the 23rd November 2013. The competition is open to any amateur photographer based in the West Midlands.

Follow the competition at #nnbrumpics

Learning to Lead in the Big City

‘Tomorrow members of the public are coming for a guided tour of London, your task between now and then is to research, plan and then lead a tour for them’.

How would you feel if that was said to you? well that was just one of the challenges the Catalyst group faced on their residential trip to London. They had less than 24 hours to plan a trip in a city few of them new well for people they had never met. It demanded that they drew on all the leadership training they had received through the Catalyst programme so far, and was a real challenge.

The four day trip also included a visit to the House of Lords to discuss being a faith leader in the public and political sphere. They were guided by the Rt Revd Bishop David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham and one of the Lords Spiritual who sits in the House of Lords. He gave a fascinating tour of the house explaining its workings and history and chaired a discussion for them to grapple with how to be a leader of faith in a society where faith isn’t always taken seriously or considered relevant to political or moral debate.

Having the chance to spend time together, socialise and eat together brought the group much closer and led to some really deep and profound conversations on topics such as women in leadership, salvation and gay marriage. Our evening reflections included the opportunity to reflect on pieces of art from different faith traditions, on the final day we visited Tate Modern and looked at art inspired both by a spirituality and by no faith or spirituality at all.

It was a fantastic time which drew us together as a group, challenged us all and developed leadership skills amongst this key group of emerging leaders in Birmingham.

Oh, and how were the guided tours? Brilliant.

Sunrise in Sparkhill 3

As people arrived at the park they couldn’t fail to notice an impressive new mural that had been painted on the back wall of the old Sparkhill Swimming Pool. The picture was the work of local artist Mohammed Ali from Soul City Arts. The mural was designed to reflect the Olympics, faith and the swimming pool.

Mohammed worked with young people from The Feast in planning and painting the mural and incorporated their thoughts and skills into the final picture. The work was able to go ahead through a Near Neighbours grant and is a great example of the impact those small gants can make amongst people and for an area.

The work on the mural took place in the days and weeks leading up to the 1st July and, despite torrential rain and thunderstorms, was finished just in time for everyone at Sunrise in Sparkhill to see it.

Much has been talked about the legacy of the Olympics and Sunrise in Sparkhill will certainly leave a legacy in Birmingham. This beautiful mural will be around for many years for people in the area to enjoy. Not only that but many friendships were made through the running of the event and will also be a legacy from this exciting and innovative event.

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