Flatpack Festival
Film for all the senses

Wonderland: Research Volunteers Wanted!

Ian Francis
Tuesday 14th September, 2021 Posted by Ian Francis

Regular viewers will know that we have always had a bit of a thing for Birmingham's cinema history here at Flatpack. From early cinema and Odeon bus-tours to South Asian picturehouses and the Arts Lab, we've been digging up the city's celluoid stories since we launched the festival back in 2006.

Now, fifteen years in, we're embarking on a new project to investigate and map this amazing film landscape - the 100+ buildings where the magic happened, and the way that film has helped to shape the streets, livelihoods and dreams of Brummies over the past century or so. In order to do this story justice we're going to need some help, and so we are excited to be launching a call for Wonderland volunteers to be part of our research team.

What will the research cover?

We are really open to people's ideas as to where they want to go with their research, but it's probably worth listing a few areas which we're likely to cover...

  • The birth of the Odeon chain in 1930s Birmingham
  • The role that film played for the city's South Asian communities in the 60s and 70s
  • The early 'wild west' days of film-going at fairgrounds and public halls
  • Tracing the hundred-year history of the Electric, the UK's oldest working cinema
  • ...And a spotlight on other key venues including the Futurist, the Beaufort, the Piccadilly and the Odeon Kingstanding

What will the role involve?

This part of the project will run from October through to June, culminating in a programme of exhibitions and events as part of the 2022 Cultural Programme. Volunteers will be asked to take part in regular online meet-ups, and commit to giving a certain amount of their time over the course of these nine months.

In return, volunteers will have a brilliant opportunity to meet people, develop new skills in research and audience engagement, and contribute to an exciting city-wide project which will preserve our film heritage for generations to come.

We have a flexible policy around covering expenses for each day that you volunteer.

How do I apply?

If you'd like to know more, please check out this information sheet:

Wonderland Volunteers Information Sheet (docx)
Wonderland Volunteers Information Sheet (pdf)

...And if you'd like to apply, please fill out this short form:

Wonderland Volunteers Form

The deadline for applications is midday on Sunday 3 October 2021. If you have any questions about the project, please get in touch with us at wonderland@flatpackfestival.org.uk.

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