Sadly, the exhibition was disappointing, but what we discovered at the building was fascinating. I expected artists to be invigilating the show, and to discover a ‘Freeze’ type ‘abandoned warehouse turned into a gallery’ type scenario. Instead, we were welcomed into the building by two ‘official squatters’ who were occupying the building as The Birmingham Social Centre. I love visiting buildings like this and it was really exciting having a guided tour by one of the Social Centre members. One of the big problems with the show really was that the work on display just couldn’t compete with the strength of the building. Many of the old fittings and features in the space looked like strange sculptures, and were much more interesting than the art.
Anyway, here are a few photos taken by Chris of the place, which demonstrate this point, and below are some details about the Birmingham Social Centre. It’s and inspiring and refreshing to come an organization like this in these challenging times. I think a lot of things like this are springing up across the country in opposition to the sinister right-wing, market-driven idealogy of this horrible government.
We both really enjoyed these photographs above by Martin Pritchard.
I wasn't sure, as one so often is these days, if these objects above, were a sculpture or installation. Sadly, I suspect not...
What we aim to do?
The Whit Marley Building has been left empty for a number of years. Much has been striped out an the building is slowly detoriating. Buildings like this are part of Birmingham’s heritage, we want to take care of it while it is unused and put it to use as a community centre.
We are currently doing up the building and creating meeting spaces which we want to let groups use for free. Some of us are university students, some of us are teachers and we aim to provide free A level and GCSE tuition in most subjects once the building has been done up. We are aiming to run a “Free Shop” in which people will be able to drop off unused items for others to take for free.
Why are we doing this?
We want to make a point about waste, Birmingham has the most abandoned buildings in the country and sadly the highest rates of homelessness. We live in a society that is intensely wasteful we are doing this because we want something that is visibly the opposite.
We all have strong politicial convictions; we live in times and a country where the whims of media barons are given more attention by governments than ordinary people. Viable and profitable pensions are being raided to give money to the rich, education is again being made a preserve of the few… we want change and if you think like us come join us.
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