Sunday, 6 July 2014

The Digbeth Speaks Project ran until the end of 2013, and we want to say a huge thank you to all involved.

Please click here to find an archive of the project on the Connecting Histories website:

Digbeth Speaks was run by members of the Friends of Birmingham Archives and Heritage. Find out more, get in touch and join FOBAH here: 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Digbeth Speaks Exhibition: visitor information and events


3-13 October. Mon-Sat 11am-5pm, Sun 1pm-4pm. Lakeside Gallery, Custard Factory, Gibb Street.


Drop-in family workshop, Sunday 6 October 1.30pm-3.30pm. Free.
Making time capsules: in this workshop, the children will be able to explore the idea of a digital time capsule using their own experiences of Digbeth to create drawings and stories. They will use a range of materials to create their own newspaper articles and giant speech bubbles, alongside getting creative on our giant chalk board wall! The workshop is run by Katy Pegg.

Workshop, Wednesday 9 October, 1.30pm. Free
Social History: in the archives: this event looks at the role of archives in social history. Using two very different sets of archive material – relating to Handsworth in the 1980s and the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, a research department that pioneered the study of popular culture – Dr Kieran Connell, a historian at the University of Birmingham, will lead discussion about what archives are, how they develop and the role they play in history-writing.

For more information, email Carly on


We look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Recruiting for Exhibition Volunteers (deadline extended until Mon 23 Sept)

What does Digbeth mean to you?

Digbeth Speaks is an oral history project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and led by young members of the Friends of Birmingham Archives and Heritage. The project has created an audio and visual time capsule of Digbeth and its communities during 2013 for an archive that will be housed in Birmingham Archives and Heritage at the New Library of Birmingham.

The Digbeth Speaks exhibition will be a celebration of the diverse stories that have been recorded over the course of the project. The exhibition will contain a selection of audios (oral history interviews and vox pops) that will be accessed at listening stations, alongside photographs and text panels interpreting what we have found. Interactive elements will allow visitors to make their own contribution to the time capsule.

We are delighted to offer this exciting opportunity for individuals to gain valuable experience working on our end of project exhibition. The main role of volunteers will be gallery invigilation; volunteers will be responsible for overseeing the exhibition during opening hours, welcoming visitors and providing information about the project. Additional duties may include: marketing, setting-up and assisting with the exhibition opening event, assisting with the installation and deinstallation of the exhibition. Some heavy lifting may be required.

The exhibition begins on 3rd October and finishes on 13th October. Opening hours are to be confirmed and there will be an opening event on 3rd October, 6pm - 8.30pm. Please indicate on the application form your availability for these dates; hours are flexible but we require individuals to commit to a minimum of 12 hours over the 10 days. A contribution towards expenses will be provided.

Essential Skills:

The successful candidates must:
- Be self-motivated with excellent organisational skills
- Have excellent interpersonal skills and confidence in communicating with members of the public
- Be a team player
- Have a flexible approach to the role
- It is also desirable that you would have a passion for working with the arts or heritage sector.

How do I apply?

Please email Curator Jenny Lance for an application form at by 5pm on Monday 23rd September. Please mark VOLUNTEER in the subject line of the email.

For more information about Digbeth Speaks and the Custard Factory go to:

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Warwick Bar Fete: A Moveable Feast, 27 July 2013

Saturday 27 July saw the Digbeth Speaks team descend on Warwick Bar. In exchange for a cool glass of cloudy lemonade, we collected voxpops with visitors to the Summer fete.

At just gone 10am, a small group of dedicated volunteers gathered in the space we had been assigned for the day. Armed with bunting, balloons, coloured pens and signs, we set to transforming an empty unit into a beautiful stall that would entice visitors to come and talk to us. 

Kym Epton from Red Cell Films made a time lapse film of us setting up, which will be included as part of a mini film about our oral history project. 

 The Warwick Bar Moveable Feast was a free event filled with food, art and culture. Visitors were able to experience Ikon’s summer launch of the ‘Slow Boat’, an aerial acrobatics show by Rogueplay Theatre, the Edible Eastside open day, an artisan food market and a pedal powered cinema, to name a few. There was also bhangra dancing, a mini sports day and people were able to taste the finalists in the Digbeth Pie competition (we were one of the finalists!).

Throughout the day members of our team spoke to local residents, performers, artists and visitors, and asked the following three questions:
  • What have you been doing in Digbeth today?
  • How would you describe Digbeth in three words?
  • What does Digbeth mean to you?
We had a huge range of responses! Unfortunately the Heavens opened at about 5pm and put an end to the event. But by that time all the Digbeth Speaks team had had a fabulous day and gathered lots of new thoughts about Digbeth.

Holly Beaumont-Wilkes, Project Volunteer

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Introducing film 1: Digbeth Speaks does the Custard Factory's Antiques and Vintage Bazaar, 8 June

In a previous blog post we told you about the filming we did at the antiques and vintage bazaar at the Custard Factory on 8 June. Here's the finished video:

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Chinese Community Centre - Birmingham interviews, 2 August

On 2 August 2013, I conducted an interview with two ladies at the Chinese Community Centre - Birmingham (CCC-B). CCC-B is located at the heart of Digbeth. It aims to promote cultural exchange, social and personal well-being within the Chinese community. The two ladies - Ms Fung and Ms Tang - were service users of the Hong Que Day Care Service. Hong Que provides vital services for the elderlies, such as hot meals, weekly shopping trips, health talks and recreational activities.

Upon arrival, I was given a warm welcome by Kate Gordon, the Senior Care Officer who helped to arrange the interview. I was then treated to lunch with the Hong Que grannies. The delicious and nutritious meal was prepared by a team of dedicated volunteers. As I was seated at the big round table, the grannies were eager to show their hospitality by piling delicious food on my plate. It was a lovely experience, which reminded me of being with my grandparents in Hong Kong.

After lunch, some of the Hong Que ladies went to the activity room to have a game of mahjong. It was a great way to socialise, as well as to exercise their mental dexterity. 

The interviewees and I were then led to the cosy 'Dragon Room' by Kong Sing Lee, the Care Support Worker. Mr Lee accompanied Ms Fung and Ms Tang throughout the interview, offering excellent support and helping to explain the procedures. It was fascinating to hear about their experiences and we are grateful for their participation in our archive.

Tessa Mo, Project Volunteer and Visual Documentation