Flatpack Festival
Film for all the senses

Read on for an overview of this year’s archive programme. If you’d like to book tickets & passes, want to take a look at the full festival schedule, or you’re ready to start exploring our virtual platform, Eventive is where the action is. Head to our welcome page now, or go directly to specific events via the ‘Book now’ links below.

Mind The Gaps

25 May | 18.00-19.30 | Free
Film and TV archives only give us part of the picture. This is an opportunity to hear from two people who are adept at navigating these collections, and drawing out the untold stories which can fall through the gaps.

Nirmal Puwar is Reader in Sociology, at Goldsmiths, University of London and the author of 'Space Invaders: race, gender and bodies out of place' (2004). Puwar's formative Coventry cinema experiences formed the basis of a collaborative series of short films and exhibition at the Herbert Art Gallery, and more recently she co-led 'Noise of the Past', a public intervention on remembrance and the postcolonial, innovating a call-and-response method, with Kuldip Powar, Sanjay Sharma, Francis Silkstone and Nitin Sawhney. At Flatpack she'll be discussing cine material from the private collection of the late Raj Malhotra, activist and Coventry's first non-white councillor, who travelled by bicycle to the city from the Punjab in the 1970s.

Billy Dosanjh is an artist and filmmaker with a particular interest in race, identity and the working class South Asian diasporas of the Black Country where he grew up. Screened at Flatpack 2011, his graduation short A Miracle in West Brom won the Satyajit Ray award. Dosanjh is currently producing a FLAMIN commission and developing his debut feature, and will be talking about his new initiative Reimagining Industrial Migrations.

Let Us Play

27 May | 18.00-19.30 | Free
For the last two years General Public have been delving into the secret history of Birmingham's adventure playground movement, focussing on three 'ghost' playgrounds that emerged in the postwar period in Balsall Heath, Sparkbrook and Handsworth. This event includes a chance to see never-screened archive footage of the city at play, and to hear from a number of former playworkers and people who went to the playgrounds as children. We'll get a snapshot of the play movement within Birmingham from the 1970s to the present day, and explore the impact of these playgrounds on the lives of those who played and worked on them. How can access to imaginative play environments foster a lifelong relationship with creativity? And what is the 'state of play' in Birmingham today?

Participants include: Dave Swingle who was involved in multiple adventure playgrounds in Birmingham in the 1970s and 80s (including Malvern St Balsall Heath, Handsworth, Boulton Road Small Heath); Ali Wood, Chair of Trustees at Meriden Adventure Playground in Chelmsley Wood; and Haki Kapasi, who was involved in Playtrain & undertook pioneering research into Asian children's play.

See also: An outdoor exhibition of the 'Let Us Play' project will be on at Balsall Heath City Farm (next to the site of the old Malvern St Playground) from 25 June - 25 July before touring to Meriden Adventure Playground, Chelmsley Wood for the summer holidays. The project newspaper featuring oral histories and archive material will also be available to pick up from the exhibition.

For more information, or to get in touch with your own experiences of adventure playgrounds in Birmingham, please visit: generalpublic.org.uk/project/let-us-play

Image credit: Dave Swingle

Time Machine Double-bill

30 May | 14.00-16.00 | Free
Although many libraries and collections have been closed for the past year, heritage never sleeps... This event is a chance to enjoy the fruits of two Midlands archive projects.

2pm: Adventures with Archives: Hidden Treasures

During the 2020 and 2021 lockdowns young and emerging creatives have been working with Shropshire-based MediaActive Projects' Adventures with Archives programme, exploring new approaches to archive film exhibition. Their process has involved curating and repurposing archive footage for contemporary audiences by creating new soundtracks, new narratives and new experiences. Working alongside archivists, curators, musicians, writers and filmmakers, they creatively responded to a wealth of archive film, including content from the Midlands’ regional film archive MACE, the British Council Film Collection and project partner Flicks in the Sticks. Curated by Max Allwood.

To find out more about Adventures with Archives contact richard@mediaactive.org

3pm: 2 Visions 2 Legacies

Work-in-progress screening of a new short film combining archives, animation and newly recorded interviews, part of a heritage project around the Jewellery Quarter's two iconic cemeteries at Key Hill and Warstone Lane. Drawing on a diverse range of narratives and voices, 2 Visions 2 Legacies investigates the lives of Joseph Chamberlain, the British politician and mayor of Birmingham, and Warrulan, a young Aboriginal Australian who came to Britain in 1844. The film draws out the ways in which both figures were connected with the Jewellery Quarter and wider legacies across Birmingham and the world. Followed by a Q&A session with the filmmaker Scott Johnston and the project co-curators. Further information: https://th.jewelleryquarter.net/2visions2legacies/

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