Lottery funding enables city history project to go ahead.

The lives of people from Digbeth and Highgate in Birmingham celebrated in a new interactive exhibition by Friction Arts.

Entitled Echoes and part of an on-going programme of work supported by just under £170,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the immersive exhibition is based on stories and memories provided by individuals who’ve worked and lived in the two neighbourhoods close to the city centre since the 1960s.

Taking over the entire ground-floor of The Edge, Echoes gives a physical setting to just some of the collected stories, taking the performance and activity spaces of Friction’s HQ and transforming them into places of work and play – from a grandmothers’ front room and an industrial site, to a cafe and pub.

Each space is filled with layers of association: a derelict factory space may represent the decline of key industries in the city, loss of skills, and unemployment, but also the camaraderie of workers, and how such places later became playgrounds for local children, or no-go areas.

Offering a snapshot of mid-20th century life, the meticulously crafted spaces also feature audio recordings of anecdotes and yarns, recollections of personal triumphs and tragedies by those whose lives are tied to the districts: landlords, home-workers, factory workers, bouncers, community leaders – all everyday people leading everyday, remarkable lives.

A spokesperson for Friction Arts said: “The areas of Digbeth and Highgate in Birmingham have been part of the fabric of the city for a long, long time. Each area is distinct, different and unique, with their own communities of residents and workers and each inextricably linked. But a place is nothing without its people, the stories they tell and the histories they create together.

“This exhibition reflects the stories we’ve been collecting over our years in the area. You’ll see (and sometimes hear) the tales we’ve been told, about work, about play and about the intersection between the two.”

Echoes is open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday until Saturday 16th November 2013, at The Edge, 79-81 Cheapside, Birmingham. Admission is free but places must be pre-booked in advance via:


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