Hello again, after a break for maternity I am back in the world of work and have been working on a commission for Stirchley Baths. Picking up from where we left off about 3 years ago: Place Prospectors, as well as delivering the ‘Sink or Swim’ event, also proposed a series of art projects, events and commissions for Stirchley baths. Ranging from installations in the borehole, to a new ceremonial key, pub quizzes, gift sets, outdoor space engagement and a tailor made welcome mat for the baths foyer. It is the latter proposal that I have been working on. The raison d’être for the project was the discovery early on in our Stirchley Prospects research of an advert for non stop dancing at Stirchley baths with Den Jones and his orchestra.
The fact that they covered over the pool and held dances there is a well known part of Stirchley’s folklore. When we looked around the then derelict baths, we saw a mat well in the baths foyer and thought it was crying out for a bespoke mat imparting a little of the baths heritage.
Since being commissioned I have had the pleasure of working with Eileen & John Horlick from Stirchley Tea Dance to trace dance steps from the 1940’s. Amongst the waltzes, tangos and jives, the chosen steps for the mat are from a ballroom waltz. The design is nearing completion and will be fabricated in coir. There will be an official opening to launch the ‘dancing mat’ as it is now called.
Sink or Swim, the much anticipated event to profile the Stirchley Baths project took place last Saturday – 8th June. Described by many as a triumph we are very happy to say that with the commitment of local people we did literally turn Sink into Swim.
The Stirchley Shakers – cheerleaders extraordinaire, especially formed for the event – led chants of Stirchley You what? You what? Show us what you’ve got! Which indeed Stirchley did. As the Shakers also said ‘We’re so proud of you, we’re so proud of you!’.
Many found the event a surprise and a joy and left with their countdown baths calendar and custom thumbs up/down weight. We’d like to thank the 200+ people who attended and the 134 people who weighed in their commitment and signed the Sink or Swim ledger.
News on the baths project progress will be posted on the baths blog – stirchleybaths.org and we will be posting a series of banners on the old baths entrance to accompany the countdown to HLF funding bid news in September.
We’d like to thank Wards Greengrocers and Travis Perkins for their continued support of our work, and the friends of Stirchley Park for welcoming the event to the park. Especially all the volunteers who made the event possible.
Here are a few photos of the event.
Jayne with Jesus – the first to weigh in his commitment to a new community building.
Reaching for a balloon from ‘SINK’
Inserting balloons to make ‘SWIM’
The custom made weights that held all the balloons down – made from local resident Tabitha’s hand.
The ledger – signed by all who turned SINK into SWIM
The Stirchley Shakers in action
Popping ‘SWIM’ at the end.
We are absolutely delighted to announce that the Love Seat, commissioned by Place Prospectors for Love Stirchley 2013 was opened last Saturday in Stirchley Park by Matt Kersall of Kerwood Design & Build and his wife Kate (pictured). The seat has been kindly received by the friends of Stirchley Park. We all look forward to the Love continuing! The Love Seat is the second permanent artwork Place Prospectors have commissioned for Stirchley Park – the first being Sleeping Child, a grafitti artwork painted by Title. Look out for more Park news on the new Park notice board. The friends always welcome new members.
As you may have noticed this site has changed from being mostly about Love Stirchley the festival we put on in February to publicly celebrate Love, Art & Commerce, to covering all the events and projects that Place Prospectors deliver.
Place Prospectors is community interest company , which means we undertake our activities on a not for profit basis. We aim to benefit communities who wish to engage with plans for regeneration and development in the places where they live, work or learn. Through the provision of a number of activities we deliver opportunties for communities to identify, celebrate and make plans to strengthen community assets and characteristics for long term social, cultural and economic benefit to the community. For the last two years we have worked to deliver projects in Stirchley which have included Stirchley Prospects and Love Stirchley More 2013. In addition we undertake projects elsewhere and you can see these on our other website www.prospectors.org.uk
We plan for our two websites to become one in the not so distant future, more to follow on that.
Over the next few months we will be working to develop future projects, which include fundraising, developing our website and documenting the work we have undertaken in the past. We will also be evaluating the work that we have done and updating our Articles of Association in order that our objects (what we do and how) more clearly reflect the activities that we undertake – in particular a stronger reference to art projects and creative services which is central to our work.
Sink or Swim is coming along nicely with contributions from a wide range of people already.
The Stirchley Shakers our especially formed cheerleading team have developed tailor made chants and routines to lead the day. They will be something special.
Our custom made weights moulded from local resident and school pupil Tabitha Needham’s hand are becoming numerous and very beautiful – everyone who comes along to turn sink into swim will receive one.
Our finale will no longer be a release but a popping of balloons. Should be a lot of fun!
Scheduled to follow on from our other highlight of the day – SINK or SWIM on June 8th we have the official opening of the Love Seat at 1.30pm.
The Love Seat is located near the bournbrook in a corner of the park. We’d be glad to see you all there.
May the Love Continue!
We are very proud to announce the Love Seat has been installed in Stirchley Park today.
The Love Seat was commissioned for Love Stirchley More by Place Prospectors back in February 2013 and many festival goers and residents wrote their love messages or thoughts on love onto the seat. We hope many more messages may appear on it in the future.
We’d like to thank The Friends of Stirchley Park, Birmingham City Council and Kerwood Design and Build who have installed the seat for free. Also Travis Perkins for supplying the cement.