New Futures for Birmingham`s Historic Buildings

All in a day’s work: confessions of a BCT Development Officer: Part III

Posted February 7th, 2013 by Suzanne Carter with No Comments

pen museum typewriter

I’ve blogged before (Part I) and (Part II) about how much I enjoy my job with BCT; for its variety, access to heritage and the opportunity to meet so many interesting people!

Well, this week has been no exception. I have spent three jam-packed days at The Coffin Works, introducing new people to our wonderful piece of industrial heritage and working with our amazing BCT volunteers to develop new areas  of work. So, in true confessions diary style, here is another two-parter (just too much to tell you in one blog!)

Day One

Monday 4th January

10:00 am I met with new volunteer Jane Baker for the first time. Jane is a photo journalist and has offered to help document the work of the Trust and support us on projects; capturing places and people through images and audio.

11:30 am Malcolm McMillan arrives also interested in volunteering his photography skills. Malcolm is going to be capturing the refurbishment at The Coffin Works which starts in April through fixed point photography, so we can all see the rooms changing on a monthly basis. He has already sent me a Dropbox full of fantastic shots!

photo credit M. McMillan 11:45 am  Tom Hunter, an internationally acclaimed photographer and artist based in London begins a two hour shoot of the Coffin Works which is one of the location venues for ‘Findings’ a new photography commission developed in partnership with the Library of Birmingham, Colmore Business District and the Jewellery Quarter Business District.It will result in a high profile photography exhibition in the public realm planned for April – July 2013. They were on their 5th day of a 15 day shoot across many locations. I bumped into Tom again on his day 9 in Graham Street – he was looking forward to a day off on Sunday!

12:30 pm Visit from a young music video director, David Tomlin, looking for a venue to shoot an Indie music video. While he really liked the spaces, especially in the south range and Polishing Shop, he is going to have a think. They need to find somewhere with electric – especially if they are using a bath tub with warm water as part of the narrative! Watch this space. It’s so fantastic for us to have such an amazing building, that inspires creativity and a mix of potential uses.

1:30 pm Went to The Shakespeare to warm up a bit and catch up with Kris who has been volunteering with us for years. Kris has been helping develop our schools work and been busy researching. Her experience as an Education Volunteer at the Backs to Backs is really useful for us as we start engaging with schools ourselves, but more about this on day 3 of this ‘Confessions’.

Volunteers Michael Reddy and Barbara Nomikos2:00 pm Handed over the keys to The Coffin Works to BCT volunteer Michael Reddy who is a Blue Badge guide of  Birmingham Ghost Walk fame. Michael was leading  his colleagues from The Heart of England Tourist Guides Association around the building. As fundraising continues for the project and we are slightly behind starting the work, we welcome groups for a pre-restoration tour by appointment!

3.30 pm I met up with a former colleague Fred Richings, Dudley Borough Council’s Principal Arts Officer for a quick look around the building before we went to the School of Jewellery for the launch of the Making Moves II Craftspace Touring exhibition. I’m hoping that we can work with the adult and community learners who go to Dudley Artspace on a creative arts and crafts initiative at some point.

I have to confess, despite the cold and damp, it has been great spending the whole day at The Coffin Works; seeing the enjoyment of people experiencing the building for the first time.

Read more about days 2 and 3 of this week’s exciting activity and the work being developed with our volunteers in Part IV.


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