4/5 Nov 23

Explore / share / connect
Exploring what Balsall Heath’s Library could be

What was Exchange Festival?

Exchange Festival was a free 2-day event taking place on Saturday, November 4th, and Sunday, November 5th, at the Moseley Community Hub in The School of Art, Balsall Heath, Birmingham. This festival set out to explore the potential of Balsall Heath Library upon its reopening in 2025 and the connection between the library and our historic building.

Throughout the year, Moseley Road Baths worked closely with local and regional artists, facilitators, and practitioners to develop a programme with a community led approach. The Exchange Festival’s steering group, deeply rooted in the Balsall Heath community, played a crucial role in shaping, and curating the festival’s activities.  

The festival provided a platform for open dialogues with our audiences and encouraged mutual idea sharing.

It’s aim was to not only inspire residents to reimagine, connect, and actively participate but also to ensure their inclusion in shaping the future of their beloved community library.

Exchange Festival was part of the Diving In project, made possible through the National Lottery Heritage Fund. This project has given Moseley Road Baths the creative space to explore how both the Balsall Heath Library and Moseley Road Baths can continue to serve the needs of local people.

National Lottery Heritage Fund Logo

Festival programme gallery

What we have explored and delivered this year

Who's better than who?

August and September 2023

 A couple of so-called friends act out a medley of familiar children’s stories from their story box to help them understand how to get on with each other. A bird-like storyteller guides them through it all, with lots of audience interaction. 

Donald Insall workshops

Park Hill Primary school, Moseley, Birmingham
June 2023

Two Year 4 classes at Park Hill Primary School in Moseley visited Balsall Heath Library to create 3D junk models of places where they would like to read.  The school are part of an initiative ‘Drop Everything and Read’, to encourage reading as something that can be done anywhere and anytime.  There was a really broad range of ideas, including treehouses, nests and food themed reading spaces.

Queensbridge Secondary school, Moseley, Birmingham
June 2023

Year 9 girls from Queensbridge Secondary School in Moseley recently worked with Donald Insall Architects and Red Bear Landscape to design plans for the land at the back of Moseley Road Baths.  The space will become a community garden and growing space by the end of decade.  They took a tour of part of the building, explored design principles based on ‘Make Space for Girls’ and were invited to create their own creative, imaginative designs.  As well as encouraging the students to choose Design and Technology for a GCSE option, their work will influence the longer term design plans.

Ark Tindal Primary school, Balsall Heath, Birmingham
September 2023

 Pupils explore the meaning of what a Library could offer.