Giving our city a voice

The ‘Bromford Dreams’ graffiti spirituality project.

Birmingham is a city of powerful stories, they tell us of where we have come from, and who we are and what we want for the future, but do we really give everyone the opportunity to express themselves?

With over 180 nationalities currently living in Birmingham (What on Earth is Superdiversity?) the city needs to prepare and provide forums and channels to enable the people to share their experiences and their perception of reality. These views are, and will continue to be as diverse as those that live here; so the city needs to adapt to change giving everyone the opportunity to speak out.

As the pace of change is gathering speed not everyone is heard; either they are overshadowed by those who shout the loudest, know the system or they simply speak a different language. Without robust channels or mechanisms to allow the people to air their views, they can become lost and disillusioned; their needs aren’t met and excluded from receiving the most basic of services.

Bromford Dreams’ a research project conducted by Dr Chris Shannahan BA, PGCE, BD, PhD  at University of Birmingham, used a creative and innovative way to explore the impact of social exclusion on unemployed young men who lived in one of Birmingham’s urban housing estates.

By working with Birmingham based Muslim graffiti artist Mohammed ‘aerosol’ Ali he tells how the young men expressed themselves fluidly through rap music and graffiti art; telling their stories, hopes, dreams and struggles which allowed their voices to be heard in different places showing they can really help their own community.

Why not share any other research, projects or activities that have encouraged people to express their views that have brought about change or best practice? Because of what’s happening here and now, let us use the collective memory to get everyone to contribute in to shaping the city’s future.

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