Ikon showcases photographic documentation of migrant communities in Birmingham, taken by renowned photographer Vanley Burke, in collaboration with Migrant Voice and University of Birmingham.
The exhibition features seventeen portraits of members of Migrant Voice, a migrant-led national organisation with a hub in Birmingham. For Vanley Burke, it was important to portray participants in their natural environments, including their homes, community centres and parks, across the inner-city. Each image tells a story of migration, either recent or long past, with subjects accompanied or alone. Displayed together, the photographs present a portrait of Birmingham as a superdiverse city, with residents from many parts of the world.
Through interviews, photographic documentation, exhibition co-curation and the creation of school resources, this six-month collaborative research project has considered the role of artists, educators and activists in challenging assumptions about migration and breaking down institutional and intercommunal barriers. Ikon has, in collaboration with Dr Reza Gholami, University of Birmingham, used the materials to create a set of schools’ packs (Key Stages, 1, 2 and 3) for teachers and students to openly discuss sensitive issues and directly address conflict. Designed by artist educator Haseebah Ali, they include critical questions – on subjects of race, language, culture and religion – and creative exercises, allowing learners to express their identities. The schools’ packs will be available to download for free from Ikon’s website in late March.
A Gift to Birmingham was commissioned as part of the ‘Non-formal Intercommunal Education in Birmingham (NICE-B)’ project, led by Dr Reza Gholami, Deputy Director of the Centre for Research in Race and Education, University of Birmingham.
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