The seventh edition of the Still Walking Festival presents a programme of ten guided tours and walking events in and around Birmingham, featuring Pokémon Go players, media gangsters, sport and the city, searches for public art – lost and found, an urban safari, an alchemical walk, an immersive tour of Birmingham Airport, and mobile technology to animate and enhance audience participation.
Pokémon Go Home // Tim Hodgson
Sat 10 Sept |10am – 5pm | Free – no booking necessary. List of Venues online.
A free post-EU referendum Pokémon Hunt. Twenty culturally specific organisations, societies and places of worship located around central and inner Birmingham have opened their doors for seven hours of end-to-end Pokémon lures at their own Pokéstops from 10am-5pm. Visit ’em all and see what else you can find!
Circling Around (Without Taking Off) // Bruno de Wachter
Sat 10 Sept + Sunday 11 Sept |10am – 5pm + 12pm | Free but booking is essential
Meet: Birmingham New Street Station, under the main dome. Lunch provided on
Over the course of a day, Bruno de Wachter will lead this immersive group walk around Birmingham International Airport, exploring the surrounding streets, terrain and atmospheres to see how the airport’s existence variously affects the landscape. Our movements and observations will be influenced by a set of rules provided by the artist. guests should ensure they can commit to returning on Sunday to a city centre location to inform the creation of an annotated map, based on observations, photographs and discussion.
The Art Walk – via Kardomah to King Kong // Darryl Georgiou + Jeremy Hunt
Sun 11 Sept |3pm | 75mins | THIS EVENT HAS NOW SOLD OUT
Meet: outside St Martin-in-the Bull Ring, Edgbaston St B5 5BB.
An urban art walk In search of surreal ghosts and lost cultural grandeur will explore the ever changing artistic chameleon of central Birmingham to tell forgotten tales of the city’s artists and find traces of their art and sculpture. We will search for the Bull that once was the symbol of Birmingham – pinpoint the plinth where a purple King Kong outraged civic pride in the 1970s – locate the Kardomah Café, creative home to the Birmingham Surrealist Group – detour to the Georgian streets and birthplace of Sir Edward Burne-Jones and view his stained windows at St Phillips Cathedral – visit Victoria Square, and the vanished fountain of Dhruva Mistry – discover the sculptural quarter of Centenary Square, and the site of Raymond Mason’sForward from 1991 until destroyed in 2003 – to reflect on the spirits past of Birmingham’s glyptotheque, existing now as echoes in a story or gone up in smoke, and pay homage to Gillian Wearing’s A Real Birmingham Family 2014.
Urban Safari // Ally Standing
Sat 17 Sept |1pm | 90mins | £5
Meet: The Floozie in the Jacuzzi, Victoria Square B1 1BD
With the advent of the augmented reality game Pokémon Go, it seems everyone is hunting strange creatures. In the city centre this activity is especially prevalent – St. Philip’s Place is a particularly favoured location for Pokémon hunters in Birmingham. However, Pokémon are not the only kind of magical creature to inhabit this particular area.
Late Victorian architecture, of which we have some stunning city-centre examples, is notorious for its animal ornamentation. Bring your binoculars and join Ally Standing on a family-friendly safari of Colmore Business District and other city centre locations, and discover the lions of New Street, the seahorses of Victoria Square, the headless cranes of Colmore Row, and many other bizarre and wondrous creatures which inhabit the streets around us.
Solem Expectans – An Alchemical Walk // Ana Cordeiro Reis
Sun 18 Sept | 3pm | 150 mins | £5
Meet: Pelican Works, on the corner of Great Hampton Street and Hockley Street B3 1UE
Ana leads a journey of fabulous discovery through the streets of the Jewellery Quarter, city centre and Digbeth, interpreting symbols, their multiplicity of forms and meanings, and how they interconnect to form an alchemical blueprint within the city of Birmingham. Be prepared for an epic afternoon’s walk, in search of the Philosopher’s stone. Ana will also connect the locations and themes to an alchemical story set in Birmingham that she is currently writing.
‘From Jewellery Quarter to Digbeth, we find different spots and landmarks where history left its traces but also its hidden meanings. Those hidden meanings we lift and analyse at the light of Alchemical language and, why not, a poetic approach, which permits to bring an extra sense (or the fifth essence?) to our journey. To bring the Soul of the city back to its life and glory’.
Looking For Kline // Darryl Georgiou
Wed 21 Sept | 6pm | 90 mins / £5
Meet: Birmingham Open Media, 1 Dudley St B5 4EG
Cult 70s drama Gangsters is a treasure trove of forgotten Birmingham locations. Artist Darryl Georgiou first encountered the show through his dad’s chip shop – a meeting place for many of the cast and crew – and today he will be following in the footsteps of the ‘White Devil’ to trace the geography of this lurid oddity. Event includes artworks and incidents in association with Flatpack as part of Birmingham on Film, a season of screenings and events exploring the changing face of the city through archive film and television. See www.flatpackfestival.org.uk for more details.
Unpacking Cader Idris // Ally Standing
Thu 22 Sept |10 30am – 3pm | THIS EVENT HAS NOW SOLD OUT
Meet: outside The Woodman, New Canal Street B5 5LG
The Cader Idris Horizon Line by David Patten – a large-scale relief of coloured steel shapes intended to evoke the mountainous landscape of both Wales and accompanying text plaque with a quote from historian William Hutton – was, for the best part of three decades, installed on the side of John Madin’s recently-demolished Central Library building. Initially made by Patten as part of the Ikon show of 1989 Cader Idris and the City of a Thousand Trades which marked the centenary of the city, the work was installed on the library in 1990, during the period of urban regeneration which saw the installation of many public artworks in and around Birmingham’s civic centre.
Madin’s opinion-dividing brutalist construction was closed in 2013, and 3 years later, demolition is almost complete. The Cader Idris Horizon Line was deinstalled in 2015, and has since then been temporarily stored in Birmingham Museum Trust’s Collections Centre.
What happens to public artworks when they have ‘run their course’? Is there a way to give a public artwork a dignified send-off? And, most importantly, could this be a catalyst for further consideration of and discussion around the purpose and function of public art?
The first part of the event will involve the physical unpacking of the sculpture from its temporary casket, in the yard of Birmingham Museums Trust’s Collections Centre – an eerie limbo in which can be seen several formerly-public sculptures and artworks. The second part of the event is an informal consultation process which will take place in The Woodman pub.
From Dale End to Dirty End // Steve Wright
Fri 23 Sept |6pm | 75 mins |£5
Meet: the Bronze Bull sculpture, Rotunda Square B2 4PA
Despite Birmingham’s city centre development there is much to be gleaned from existing buildings and streets. For the ‘no longer with us’, your imagination will provide the pictures as you learn about some of the buildings that influenced Birmingham over 500 years and the people and events that also played their part.
We’ll take a gentle stroll from Dale End to Deritend forensically uncovering clues to our city’s past and learning how to see it in a different way.
From A to B: Anhalter Bahnhof to Booth Street // Darryl Georgiou + Rebekah Tolley
Sat 24 Sept | 4.45pm | 45 mins | £20
Meet: Handsworth’s Booth Street tram station, near B21 0HY
A virtual and physical walk within the mind’s eye, which explores historical memory within the context of “how places feel”. From A to B, a ghost train between two cities; experience an immersive journey, a lyrical and historical audio narrative between Handsworth’s Booth Street station and Berlin’s Anhalter Bahnhof.
The walk utilises mobile technology to animate and enhance audience participation, enhancing a collective and individual consciousness in the unfolding of resonant spaces. Manifested through memory, a walk through the re-imagined, the anonymous; forgotten people and places.
Lost and Found: Sport and the City // Alan Bain
Sun 25 Sept | 2pm | 150 mins | £5
Meet: outside the Kings Head pub, Hagley Road B17 8BJ
Alan Bain leads this three mile walk round Bearwood, visiting a cluster of disused sports grounds in the area. In the economic culture of local government spending cut backs, the maintenance of sports grounds is often the first to be dropped. A temporary measure becomes long term neglect, with the grounds going from high profile sporting arenas to forgotten, overgrown wastelands. Alan will also highlight efforts to revitalise sport elsewhere. The walk visits several of these spaces then follows the Harborne Walkway to playing fields scheduled for redevelopment and concludes at the Kings head.
Full programme and information: Still Walking Festival, Birmingham. September 10 – 25 2016