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Ghost Streets of Balsall Heath

Friday 10-Sunday 12 July, 11am-6pm
The Old Printworks, 506 Moseley Road, Balsall Heath B12 9AH
Free entry

Unearthed last year during the 50th anniversary celebrations for Birmingham University’s cultural studies department, the photographs of Janet Mendelsohn are an amazing time-capsule. Throughout 1967 and 1968 she shot many reels of film on the streets and bomb-sites of Balsall Heath and Highgate, capturing a community on the brink of demolition.

By way of warm-up for an exhibition at Ikon Gallery in 2016, for one weekend at the Old Printworks we are showing a selection of Mendelsohn’s images alongside other documentation of the area at a time of huge change, including work by Mike Jee and Phyllis Nicklin. This temporary exhibition also features archive outtakes from a 1965 ATV report, a 1980s project which gave kids from Tindal Street School an opportunity to photograph their neighbourhood, and a map where you can add your own stories and images.

Launch night: Thursday 9 July, 6-9pm
A first chance to see the photos, with food and music (courtesy of DJ Ruthless Toothless) upstairs in the Printworks. Downstairs, Ort will host a series of discussions involving Kieran Connell, Brian Homer and Andrew and Dan from Some Cities, as well as a selection of archive footage.

Drop-in day: Saturday 11 July, 11am-4pm
Free screenings and talks all day in the Ort Gallery, including:

11:30: The Geography of Immigrant Housing (24 mins)
1973 Open University film looking at Birmingham’s housing policy, with a particular focus on Sparkbrook.

12:15: A Touch of Eastern Promise (30 mins)
Half-hour drama from Pebble Mill by first-time scriptwriter Tara Prem, about a starry-eyed shop boy who meets his Bollywood idol. The street scenes were shot in Wolverhampton, but the cinema is the Imperial (later the Cave) on the Moseley Road.

1:00: Balsall Heath on film (32 mins)
Selection of local new stories from ATV in the 1960s and 1970s, courtesy of the Media Archive for Central England.

2:00: Dylan Waldron Q&A
A recent graduate from art school, Dylan Waldron (RBSA) spent the latter part of the 1970s living in Strensham Hill and painting detailed studies of some of the buildings around Edward Road – many of them soon to be flattened. Now based in Leicestershire, Dylan will be here to talk us through some slides of his Balsall Heath work.

2:45: A Touch of Eastern Promise (30 mins)
Repeat screening – see above.

3:20: Balsall Heath on film (32 mins)
See above.

Throughout the day you can also bring in your own images of Balsall Heath, and create a self-portrait with help from Some Cities.

For more info, see the project page and this Brumpic article.


July 9, 2015
July 12, 2015
Event Category:
Event Tags:
Balsall Heath, exhibition, Janet Mendelsohn, street photography
This event was part of One-offs


The Old Printworks
506 Moseley Road, Balsall Heath
Birmingham, B12 9AH
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