In a recent blog post we introduced a project called Faith in Birmingham to create a new gallery exploring the range of faiths practiced in the city.
Last week we held our first meeting of the Faith in Birmingham: Working Group, specially established to help shape and inform the direction of the gallery. The group is made up of local individuals who practice one of the six faiths that the gallery will cover it its first year; Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism. They have very generously given us their time to join us on this journey and will meet monthly until February.
In the first meeting we quizzed our group with all the questions and ideas we had been saving up for months to ask them! Our questions focused on three areas; objects, themes and design.
We wanted some initial ideas of which objects they felt would best represent their religion, either historical, contemporary or personal. We also invited the members to bring their own objects along to share stories about.
We were also interested to know more about how the objects should be arranged in the gallery. Should we group objects together by religion or by a theme that unites them through their use, for example prayer? Interestingly the group were more drawn to themes that were more spiritual in nature, such as compassion, love and hope, and conveying that many of these are shared across faiths.
Lastly we looked at design; what colours could we use, should there be music playing and what should the atmosphere be like? Faith practice can be calm and contemplative but also vibrant and active; the group challenged us to communicate both in the gallery.
This first meeting was just the start of the conversation and we look forward to working closely with the group as the project progresses.
Images: Luke Unsworth