Creative Lives On Air are delighted to be working in partnership with BBC Radio WM. Trevor Pitt has joined us to support community engagement shining a light on grassroot creative activity across the region. 

Handcrafted Community Christmas Tree

Full of inspiration for the festive celebrations, eight community groups in the West Midlands contributed to the Christmas tree at BBC WM's office, in Birmingham's Mailbox. The groups have hand made decorations using all sorts of amazing crafting techniques –like needlework, ceramics, knitting, wood carving. 

Creative Lives Producer, Trevor Pitt met various creative people from local communities in the regions. Here's the episode list:

  • Episode 1: interview with the ladies from the knit & natter group in Stechford to learn more about their group and creative process. Listen via BBC Sounds. 

  • Episode 2: interview with to JoJo Wood who runs Pathcarvers and has been wood carving decorations for the tree. Listen via BBC Sounds. 

  • Episodes 3: interview with Hannah Greenwood who runs Daily Thread, a community textile space in Balsall Heath and finds out more from members of group, Kirsty And Jutta. Listen via BBC Sounds.

  • Episode 4: hear from the volunteers who run the ‘Wednesday Tea and Social’ at the Sons of Rest building in Handsworth Park. Thanks to Kalpana, Eleanor, Rose, Jaspal and everyone who created decorations for the Radio WM ‘Handcrafted Community Christmas Tree’ with stitch artist Tina Francis. Listen via BBC Sounds. 

  • Episode 5: Trevor went to the Chad Vale Primary School Art Club and met some of the children and Tereza Buskova who is the artist in the residence at the school and runs the workshops. Listen via BBC Sounds. 

  • Episode 6: interview with members of Sedgeley Townswomen’s Guild’. Thanks to Karen, Kerry, Edna, Margaret and everyone who created decorations for the Radio WM ‘Handcrafted Community Christmas Tree’. Listen via BBC Sounds

  • Episode 8: Trevor Pitt talks to Lisa Maidment and volunteers at Crafting for Communities. Listen via BBC Sounds. 

Storytelling inspired by African & Caribbean heritage

As part of Black History Month Birmingham-based cultural organisation Nakuona (poet Sue Brown & Dr Judith Bruce-Golding) launched their ‘Duppy Stories’ web resource at a special event at The Old Rep in Birmingham. The website includes new duppy stories they commissioned from writers & story tellers from African & Caribbean heritage.

Duppy Stories explores the origins of traditional African and Caribbean stories, African spirituality and their impact on contemporary storytelling, and their relevance in today's society. Trevor went to talk to the creative people behind this project. 

Have a listen!

We're trying to bring our creativity and our culture and our ways of expressing through this project and in a safe space.

Picture of hands holding a stitching piece

Let's Create Art

As one of the strategic partner organisation in Engage's 'Let's Create Art', we visited one of their fun workshops entitled Meet Mokosh. In this audio piece, we hear more about this UK-wide project designed to bring people and art together from artists Tereza Buscova and Tina Frances who led the activity. Listen below!

"Mokosh is a very powerful symbol because she has been protecting women for centuries. Not only women, but their children, their homes. Mokosh has been stitched into ceremonial clothes to bring magical properties into people's lives: to protect women and children but also to celebrate craft."

Think differently about homelessness

To mark the World Homelessness Day (on 10 October), Trevor went to explore the photographic exhibition outside Snow Hill Station by socially engaged artist Anthony Luvera. In this audio piece you'll hear interviews with the artist and one of the participants, Angel, who talked about making her self-portrait. Listen via BBC Sounds [2h20min into the show]

Anthony's four-year project, which started in 2018, has seen him work with over 50 people who have experienced homelessness to create 21 assisted self-portraits that went on display in Birmingham’s Snow Hill Square between 14 September and 8 October 2022.

Pandemic stories captured through sound and video

In October, Trevor spoke artist and filmmaker, Louis Price, who created a sound and video installation in direct response to stories collected from residents of Solihull about their experiences of the Pandemic. Listen via BBC Sounds.

Sneak peek: Preparations for Birmingham Pride Parade

Ahead of Birmingham Pride, Creative Lives On Air Producer, Trevor Pitt, created a strand in which he talk to artists and members of the LGBTQ+ community about the amazing projects that they are working on for the Pride weekend.

  • Interview with Marty Smith aka Miss Marty about how it all began and a special project they are working on to celebrate 25 years. Listen via BBC Sounds [from 2h14min into Kath Stanczszyn's show]

  • Interview with artist Sean Burns and participant Jose Arroyo about a 16mm film that Sean made about 2 council flats in the centre of Birmingham called affectionately by the LGBTQ+ community as Dorothy Towers. Listen via BBC Sounds [1h54min into Rakeem Omar's show]

  • Interview with carnival artist Garry Jones and a participant Rachel Greaves who talk about the costumes they are making for Pride Parade. Listen via BBC Sounds [1h55min into Rakeem Omar's show]

  • Hear about ‘Mobilise' dance group leading the Birmingham Pride parade - artist and drag performer Adam Carver of Fatt Projects tells more about the projects that involves 80 members of the #LGBTQ+ community. Listen via BBC Sounds.

Photo source: BBC Sounds

4600 Gifts for Commonwealth Games athletes

As part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival, local charity Craftspace was commissioned to make gifts for the international athletes. The result is a truly magnificent project involving craft enthusiasts in Birmingham who showed admiration for the Commonwealth Games athletes by creating thousands of unique gifts.

Hear more about it in a series of radio features produced by our new Creative Lives On Air colleague at BBC WM, available to listen to via BBC Sounds.

  • Part 1: Conversation with Maureen Levermore and her daughter aired during the Breakfast Show on Monday 18 July.

Listen here [from 1h24m into the show]. 

Our favourite quote:

We were putting our love, our care and our enthusiasm into making these gifts.

  • Part 2: Tia Parmar, a recent graduate who was a facilitator on the project, talks beautifully about her relationship with the project. Interview aired on Tuesday 19 July. 

Listen here [from 2h20m into the show]. 

  •  Part 3: Interview with Ricky Priest, aired on Tuesday 20 July. 

Listen here [from 1h39m into the show]. 

  • Part 5: Interview with Lew Wilson who recently returned to Birmingham and the project helped him to reconnect with the local area and rekindle his practice as a ceramic artist, aired on 22 July.

Listen here [from 1h25m into the show]. 

It's something that unifies my hand skills and my mind because it’s all about connectivity with art. So I came along and enjoyed it.

Discover more inspiring stories and news about everyday creativity on air via Creative Lives On Air: Highlights.

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