Archives For Library of Birmingham

'Old books' photo (c) 2011, Moyan Brenn - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/It was recently reported that the Bible will be made available in almost all language groups by the year 2022 (Ted Bergman from the Summer Institute of Linguistics). Upon reading this, the mention of the year 2022 immediately piqued my interest on account of the fact that I am participating in this project about the year 2022. Given that this project centres around the libraryof Birmingham and libraries are about books, I thought it would be appropriate to take a moment to consider the Bible, the book that is widely regarded as ‘the book of all books,’ honing in on some of its literary styles and techniques that have shaped English language and culture today.

The Bible is mysterious in the sense that it has stood the test of time, it continues to be the best selling least read book year after year despite numerous historical attempts to destroy it. Religious controversy aside, the variety of literary means and methods make the bible interesting from an artistic standpoint as you can find various styles of poetry, drama not to mention stories of every genre under the sun.

The Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic and Hebrew in particular is known to be a very powerful, dramatic and emotive language. When the King James Version of the bible was translated into English it did some interesting things for the development of the English language. It is no secret that the bible bore influence on many of William Shakespeare plays and of course Shakespeare is widely regarded to have shaped English Language and Literature.

Just to illustrate my point with a few examples, in English when describing a conversation, we would say simply say something like “And he said…” but the same thing expression in the Hebrew language would say something like “And he opened his mouth and spake, saying…” To give you another example, in English we would say something like “He got up to put on his coat and left.” In the Hebrew it would say something like “He arose, girded his loins and went forth.” Get my point? It all sounds much more dramatic and reading it keeps you on tenterhooks.

As we consider arts and culture in Birmingham and its progression in 10 years time, I think it’s important that we reflect on the foundations on which our creative expression is often built. In 2022, The Library of Birmingham will be that place where we can take the where it will be standard practice for visitors to draw on our heritage to help us make better decisions about our lives and our futures. When we consider where are coming from we will always gain insight into where we are going.

Advertisements

mr gambles

Today Siobhan and I were lucky enough to secure an interview with Brian Gambles (Project Manager and chief executive at The Library of Birmingham Trust.) Being the man in charge, Mr Gambles was understandably very busy as the preparations leading up to the big opening in September continue!

The interview was held in the new Library on the seventh floor. Walking through the building I couldn’t help but notice an enormous sense of anticipation contained between its glass walls.  This feeling was confirmed by Brian Gambles himself who was obviously eager for the Library to open its doors.  He talked about the new concept behind the Library and what sets it apart from all the others as well as discussing the building’s fascinating artefacts and how they will be brought to life through the discovery season and trail. We also learned Mr Gambles’ thoughts about the future of the Library and how it will affect arts and culture in Birmingham.

Listening to the answers and opinions of somebody behind such a new concept really triggered my excitement for what the future of Birmingham may hold.

The full interview will be uploaded as a pod cast very soon!

blog pic

Beautiful Illustration by the fabulous Reiss Hesson

 

 

Date: 9th July 2013 – Second day of the summer school.

All of a sudden the unveiling of the library is looming closely over us, what felt like months and months away has whittled its way down to only 55 days. And this calls for our team to get under away with articles and designing for our Brochure. In our eyes this is the first day of ‘proper work’ for us all. We have gone through and completed our preparation of talks and culture sector meet ups, which gave us our foundation, but this is now the real thing!

So today went a bit like this:

10.00 AM – Arrive for a soft start

(Which then entailed us sitting in the sun for 20 minutes gossiping about the secret insight to the library tour)

10.30 AM – Morning meeting and Briefing

(Back to reality of our project and studio time, we had a detailed overview of the day before kindly given to us by Dan, this involved the articles corresponding to the writers and then the plan for the day. Then we received a beautiful typed up table of the team members corresponding to their articles and word counts that they will be writing. Furthermore, we met our very own professional graphic designer who will be assisting us for the course of the summer school and the brochure. Keith has been extremely helpful in assisting us with our query’s involving word counts but the most important thing that he has brought to the table was his prospective layout designs, as these are only drafts it is still unsure as to what the final will look like, but I can assure you that they are admirable. He also gave his opinions and ideas on the style of the brochure and the type sizing and fonts itself.)

11.00 AM – Work time!

(The team split of into two groups; creative/journalists to work on the tasks for today. The Journalist got stuck down with their articles as tomorrow they have a deadline to hand in a first draft. This involved the research behind the piece and additional confrontation with Kerry and Amy and then heads went down in Word to create their glorious read.

The creative’s had a chat with Keith as to what will be needed for him as of next time we meet and ideas that we could work on. His feedback was that we could incorporate our own illustrations to go with the journalist’s articles as well as drafting out ideas for the front cover. After they got that knowledge it was a group discussion about what illustrations will be needed for each article and pinpointing individuals to correspond to that. Next the agenda was the front cover, this is a big deal as it will dictate who is going to essentially pick up the brochure. This called for one thing – a mood board! Some of the ideas generated as to how we approach the design was; bold colours, hand rendered designs, reference to the library, the library pattern, discovery theme and appealing to senses. Then Ta-Da we all got to work.

1.00 PM  – Lunch time!

An enhancing 45 minutes of siting in the sunshine and having a few odd footballs landing in our circle.

1.45 PM -  Back to work!

Arriving back from our refreshing break, we immediately got our thinking heads on and got back to work. From the Journalists perspective this involved more drafting of a chosen article and editing, and from the creative perspective it involved drafting illustrations and front cover ideas. The afternoon went well and we completed the tasks given.

3.30 PM – Debriefing!

Collectively we gathered around the table and evaluated our working day, it was apparent that we all managed to get through a lot of work. Then Dan gave a quick speech on what was needed for tomorrow!

4.00 PM – Home time!

And we’re off.

The summer school of production for our Discovery Season Festival Brochure kicked off with a bang today. A massive bang. A large gold box full of books kind of bang. Feeling very important, with our notebooks, cameras and name badges, the Birmingham 2022 team headed off to the Library of Birmingham this morning for a preview of the brilliance that is to come.

IMG_2630

Caitlin Griffiths of Capsule kindly showed us around the building, and boy is Birmingham in for a treat. All still a bit hush hush for now with the exciting things that are happening on the inside, but what’s the harm in talking about the outside?

My biggest joy of driving into work right now is the moment when you twirl around Spaghetti Junction, off the M6 and you have that first view of Birmingham soil, and its skyline. Now with the newest addition being the Library, I am looking forward to it becoming as iconic as the other buildings around Brum such as the Bull and Selfridges. Soon enough the Library will be that image that people think of when they think of Birmingham.

For a building that resembles a large square box, it is actually a lot taller than you would think, and the views are absolutely amazing. As in, like really breathtaking. I had never seen Birmingham look so good. As we were standing out on the terrace today, sunning ourselves on the wooden bench areas, amongst the flowers and the panoramic city views, I felt like I had paid to be at the top of the Empire State Building, but getting more value for money. Obviously there are no rushes of people (yet) but the terraces are an attraction in itself. Yes plural. One at the front, and one at the back. Just so you can view every inch of Brumminess.

We did spend some time in the Library, looking at what goes where, and talking about the art pieces that are going to be featured. So far it is all looking and sounding every bit of wonderful and I cannot wait for the doors to open on the 3rd September.

This also panics me a little, we have to go off and write about everything we saw today. Only for a few people. Only 70,000 copies are being printed. Just a few.
This afternoon consisted of a bit of a plan and deciding who is writing/designing/drawing what for the brochure. And who is talking/interviewing/chasing who. So we are all prepared(ish) and ready to go. Bring on the Production Summer School.

IMG_2628

IMG_2629

IMG_2631

Words and Photography By Abbey Duckett.

In my last blog post I mentioned how I miss the pen. Sliding a finger along screens and electronic gadgets seems to have replaced the old pen to paper, yet I have found a little gem in Birmingham that celebrates the good old fashioned pen.

IMG_2530

Tom Hunter has been commissioned by GRAIN Library of Birmingham to produce an exhibition that showcases his photography of Birmingham. The project is called FINDINGS and features photographs of 50 places across Birmingham’s Colmore Business District and the Jewellery Quarter.

One of his photographs features THE PEN MUSEUM

THE PEN MUSEUM is a former pen factory turned museum where you can learn the history of pen making. Steel being a famous industry of Birmingham; the museum promotes the legacy of the steel pen trade.
The museum is situated in the Jewellery Quarter in an architecturally appealing Grade II Listed Building, partly why I assume Hunter chose to photograph it.
The volunteer lead museum boasts a large collection of objects and activities relating to the Steel pen trades and the history of writing, including machinery, museum trails and a Victorian School room. There is even the opportunity for visitors to make their own nib.
The museum is the only one of its kind in the UK and is free to explore so do try to check it out.

http://www.thepenroom.co.uk

The Pen Museum

The Pen Museum

You can have a look at the Pen Museum photograph on Church Street Square, in the Colmore Business District.

FINDINGS also features many other buildings around Birmingham; from St Chads Cathedral, to Jekyll and Hyde bar, to Yorks Bakery Cafe. What’s more it is displayed in an out of the ordinary fashion: temporary partitions or ‘units’ have been placed around St Paul’s Square and Church Street Square presenting the images, giving the passerby the opportunity to freely explore the photographs.

And if they weren’t awe-inspiring enough; all of the photographs were produced using a pinhole camera. I don’t know much about photography myself, and for the like-wise out there: pinhole cameras are a simple square wooden box without a lens or a shutter. The box has a small hole in it that allows the light in to capture the image on a film held inside. Going back to the early days of photography, yet the results are anything but dated.

Hunter has said that his photographs are ‘monuments to this industrial past’ and show a journey through Birmingham’s industrial heritage. I personally love that this exhibition represents the working life of Birmingham; then and now. It highlights the local businesses, the varied cultures of Birmingham, and even shows the speckled mix of old and new architecture amidst the city.

You are invited to make your own journey of discovery; it’s only around until the 19th July so catch it before it goes.

FIndings exhibition at St Paul's Square

FIndings exhibition at St Paul’s Square

For more information, visit the Findings website:
http://www.findingsbirmingham.co.uk/findingsviewpoint

Or find the exhibition at:

Church Street Square
Colmore Business District
Birmingham
B3 2NP

St Paul’s Square
Birmingham
B3 1QZ

Written By Abbey Duckett.