Tag Archives: Connecting Histories

Something Old, Something New: Birmingham Images

Many of you may be aware of Digital Ladywood, Digital Handsworth and Digital Balsall Heath – three websites that provided images and resources relating to the history of their respective areas. As with any digital platform, however, the servers were in need of upgrading and it was an ideal opportunity to combine all three into Birmingham Images which is a really easy to use site bringing all these fabulous resources into a single place.

It is broadly the same as the old sites, being able to access resources via Theme Explorer which now has easy quick links for people, places, subjects and time periods. We found the Map Explorer function particularly fantastic, being able to overlay modern maps with Ordnance Survey maps from the 1900s and 1940s.

Birmingham Images: Theme Explorer subject areas

Birmingham Images: Theme Explorer subject areas

Although it is a stand alone site, the links to it can be found on The Iron Room (note the tab at the top of the page). Over the coming months, we hope to add more content to our blog site with guides to collections and sources available within our department. These new pages will also appear as tabs across the top of the page so watch this space. (Or rather the space above!)

The Suburban Birmingham website which was a fantastic resource for studying the history of Birmingham’s south-western suburbs has a new home on the Connecting Histories website, which has also undergone a smart upgrade.

Suburban Birmingham on Connecting Histories

Suburban Birmingham on Connecting Histories

Inevitably you might find the odd link that doesn’t work, but overall thank you to the man from the Council that worked hard to keep the sites going, I’m sure you’ll agree they are a fantastic resource which came out of a lot of hard work and collaboration.

Vanley Burke: Capturing the past and celebrating the present


Vanley Burke will be talking about his collecting, his ideas and philosophies, and the Vanley Burke Archive, which is deposited at Birmingham Archives and Heritage.

Date Tuesday 16th October 2012

Location: Library Theatre, Central Library, Birmingham, B3 3HQ

Time 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Audience Open to all.  Free admission.
Please contact Izzy Mohammed for further details on 0121 464 1607

Internationally renowned photographer Vanley Burke has been documenting the world around him since 1967.  His photographs of the African Caribbean community in his home in Handsworth are a unique record of the community from the inside.  His photographs show the people of Handsworth at work and play.  These images are complemented by posters, fliers and other community-produced literature forming an in-depth picture of the place in which he lives and works.

A catalogue of Vanley’s collections can be found on our Connecting Histories website and more images and information about Handsworth’s vibrant past and present are available through our Digital Handsworth website.

Vanley also has an exhibition By The Rivers of Birminam at the Midlands Art Centre and an upcoming exhibition at Birmingham Central Library.

History of Our Outreach and Community Engagement

Material from Outreach projects

Photograph from a Connecting Histories community exhibition and a collage created by the Kingstanding Youth Inclusion Programme

An Introduction:

The social and cultural transformation of the city offers a great deal of opportunities. Some of these opportunities are easily observable in the daily lived lives and experiences of the different groups, and the many ways in which groups of all kinds interact. This is indeed a strength and makes Birmingham the progressive city it is today.

Importantly, this transformation leaves us with a number of challenges to think about. These issues affect or concern many of us, right from local and grassroots level through to society at large. The challenge for us as a service is how we respond to an ever-changing world. How we might consider our place in the picture of a growing and even diversifying city – a city in which there is still much work to do in terms of social inclusion. We know that no matter what the time, decade or moment, there will always be such challenges to overcome.

Birmingham Archives & Heritage has been engaging with these issues with a view to understanding how the service can play its part in the progressive development and empowerment of different groups in the city, to work to engender practical responses to social justice issues, and ultimately, become more reflective of the world in which it is immediately located.

The need to be more reflective has a very real and direct relevance to issues of integration (which may be understood as social exclusion and inclusion), cross-community awareness, understanding and even participation (often cited as community or social cohesion). Put another way, we might say that what we see in our collections – as they stand – helps us to understand the degree to which we have progressed as a society and as a city towards better, broader representation.

Continue reading