The hunt for a “real Birmingham family”

The judging panel to find a ‘real Birmingham family’ to be immortalised into a new civic sculpture has been announced.

L-R Polly Welsby, Ian Taylor, Jonathan Watkins

L-R Polly Welsby, Ian Taylor, Jonathan Watkins

This diverse group of local people will choose from over 300 Birmingham families who have nominated themselves as representative of a ‘real’ Birmingham family.    The bronze statue, to be created by Turner Prize-winning artist Gillian Wearing, will be set within Centenary Square near the new Library of Birmingham from 2013.

The judging panel includes former Aston Villa footballer Ian Taylor and representatives from Birmingham’s civic life including Brian Gambles, Chief Executive of the new Library of Birmingham, and will benefit from the observations of the younger generation courtesy of 19 year old Polly Welsby from Ikon’s Youth Programme.

The panel will be expected to debate precisely what a ‘real’ family means today,  with the nominated families providing insight into the diversity of races, ages, the wide range of socio-economic factors and definitions of family which abound within Birmingham.

A shortlist of families will be drawn-up in early September, with the winning family announced in late Autumn 2012.

The panel members are:

Stacey Barnfield

Executive Editor, Birmingham Mail

Brian Gambles

Chief Executive, Library of Birmingham Development Trust

Jonathan Gurling

Secretary, Interfaith Forum

Ian Taylor

Aston Villa Football Club Ambassador

Jonathan Watkins

Director, Ikon Gallery

Gillian Wearing


Polly Welsby

Ikon Youth Programme Representative

Dr. Liz Yardley

Lecturer of Sociology, Department of Social Sciences, Birmingham City University

People from across Birmingham nominated themselves to be the face of Birmingham during a year long campaign beginning in 2011. The full list of nominations can be viewed at