Community Routes Commission

by Claire Cotterill

Three artworks created by Claire as part of the Community Routes project.

– Revealing the Reservoir
– Little-Known Ladywood
– Brum Through a Lens

New commissions always open up a captivating world of people, places and stories and Community Routes – a project I am extremely proud to be involved with – is no exception. 

Community Routes is a collection of artworks specifically created to capture the essence the walks created during the project. These walks were co-created with local people and partners, and inspired me to view our beautiful city through new eyes, I hope they do the same for you too.

An important part of the creative process was to ensure the involvement of the local community in the midst of the pandemic. We achieved this by producing collage kits, enabling community members to participate in the project and enjoy some creative relief during lockdown. You can see them on display alongside my work.

The response to the collage kits was overwhelming and we were thrilled with the range and quality of artwork submitted.

We were also able to enjoy the walks with community members who shared their knowledge and love for the places we visited and it was these meetings that inspired the artwork you see here today.

It seemed obvious then, that collage should be the chosen medium to create the artworks. Using digital, creative media with an analogue approach, I then integrated the community contributions including collage, historical and contemporary heritage photography.

The artworks aim to capture the essence of these places and the changes they go through with the passage of time. Celebrating the old and new, uncovering new elements of the city and embracing the feelings they evoke.

From the beautiful, inner city sanctum and natural environment of the Rezza, to the lively  streets of Birmingham, the artworks celebrate some of Birmingham’s significant characters in history as well as its striking architecture and public art. We hope the walks and artwork inspire and inform you to see your city differently!

Claire Cotterill is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Birmingham.

Credit and Acknowledgements for use of Imagery/Claire Cotterill

I’d like to thank the following people for their permission
to use imagery  within the artwork and for sharing their knowledge to inspire, in no particular order…

All Collage Kit participants, in particular, Carol Booth-Davis, Eva Bennett, Vivienne Hew(Wilson), Elizabeth Naylor, Corinne Bateman, Zhara Simms, Jan/Xandraart, Ruth Carless, Martyn Hood, Imandeep Kaur, Nuray Önoglu.

Birmingham City Library Archives, Birmingham Mail, Canal and River Trust Archive at Ellsemere Port, Norman Bartlam, Mac Joseph, Matthew, Jez Collins/Birmingham Music Archives, Temper, Paul Maxfield, Gillian Wearing, John.H.Hearfield, Peter Phillips, Jas Sani, Mike Olley, West Midlands Photography Collective, Sarah Allen, Jim Benwell, Birmingham Collage Collective (in particular Tom Tebby, Fiona Cullinan, Adam Wynn) Iris Bertz/Berz Associates, Friends of Edgbaston Reservoir,  Artscoop Central, Alan Birch, Midlands Sailing Club, Dawn Carr, Black Heritage Walks Network, Garry Stewartm, EatMakePlay.