28 Jul 2020

Lockdown Conversations

For the last ten weeks, we’ve been asking people living or working in Birmingham to share their experiences of Life on Lockdown with us, through photos, videos, artworks, poems or writing.

We’ve been amazed by what we’ve received on Twitter, Instagram and by email, and it’s been fascinating watching the changes in lockdown reflected in what we’ve been sent. We’ve seen the highs and lows of lockdown, from the positivity of rainbows and the sense of community that has developed for a lot of people; to the strange sight of empty streets, photos showing how much family and friends were missed, to hearing from a local Big Issue vendor who captured how his life had changed.

An empty New Street Station, by Michael, who used to sell the Big Issue in the station before lockdown

While lockdown continues to ease, and more people may be out and about on buses, in shops, restaurants and offices, the thought of ‘what next’ is still on everyone’s minds, and so we’re not ending the project here. We’re still really keen to capture more experiences to help us tell this story for the future. Our Museums’ ability to tell stories of life now, to people in the future, depends on us capturing those stories while they happen and before they’re lost. With life changing so rapidly, and in such unusual ways over the last few months, we would love to hear more from you. 

If you’d like to share your story, do get in touch and we can help you do that – whether you want to send us an audio or video recording, share your artwork, write your experiences, or take a photo, we’d love to hear from you. If you want to write, but aren’t sure where to start, we can post out a template with some prompts on for you to write on and return to us – just let us know.

For the next stage of the project, we’re also on the lookout for people to take part in Lockdown Conversations – recorded Zoom chats, with a group of selected people, to talk about some key topics. We’ve found two themes that have come out of the last few months of lockdown have been around foodbanks and faith.

Jaspreet volunteering with the Sikh Soup Kitchen

For many people, foodbanks have grown in importance during lockdown. Whether it’s local streets holding weekly collections for foodbanks; individuals volunteering to deliver food parcels and hot meals to neighbours or strangers shielding for health reasons; or the increasing numbers of people turning to foodbanks for support at a time of furlough and redundancy, this is an important Birmingham story we want to capture.

Alongside that, we know that Birmingham is a city of many faiths, and with places of worship closing at the start of lockdown, for thousands of people the experience of worship and faith has changed immeasurably. From online services, to the ways faith has sustained you or been challenged by the pandemic, we want to hear these stories.

We’ll be holding four recorded conversations during August, two on each topic, based around the Birmingham Conversations model of encouraging people to come together, to encourage dialogue and sharing. If you have an experience that links to either the stories of faith, or of foodbanks, and would like to take part, we would like to hear from you.

Spaces are limited, to give everyone a chance to speak and to be heard, so we may not be able to accommodate everyone, but please do get in touch and let us know what your link to the topic is.

You can contact us on Stories@BirminghamMuseums.org.uk or via Twitter @BMTEngage, and you can see all the contributions received so far at www.flickr.com/photos/188701730@N02

Why not share your own story, and be part of history?