Specular Reflecular is now closed
Due to team shortages we are not able to run Specular Reflecular up until 28 March, as was advertised and have taken the decision to cancel it with immediate effect.
We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Juneau Projects and are sure we’ll be able to bring this back later in the year. In the meantime … you can view the whole animation below.
Artists Juneau Projects have worked with hundreds of local people to create a beautiful hand-painted animation that celebrates Moseley Road Baths and the community that surrounds it. People of all backgrounds and ages attended workshops and made individual frames for the animation by painting over live-action footage of local swimmers. Each frame reflects the memories, personality and style of its local creator. Combined, they create an ever-changing collage of colours, light and water; which also reflects the vibrancy and eclectic nature of Balsall Heath.
This fantastic animation is part of an immersive art installation in the Gala Pool. Viewers are invited to relax on specially created wave furniture and soak up the atmosphere of this unique heritage space, while watching the light from the projected film and newly uncovered windows refracted through multi-coloured translucent decorations.
Specular Reflecular is part of Trust New Art, the National Trust’s programme of contemporary arts and is funded by Arts Council England.
Moseley Road Baths & the Gala Pool
Moseley Road Baths is a much loved, internationally important historic masterpiece. Since opening in 1907, the Baths have been at the heart of Balsall Heath life – generations of local people have learned to swim here. The Baths are of international heritage significance. One of the oldest of only six Grade II* listed Baths in the country, the building contains some unique fixtures and fittings, including the only complete set of 46 private wash rooms (slipper baths) and steam drying racks in the country. The First Class or ‘Gala’ Pool has many of its original features including private poolside changing cubicles, spectator gallery and elaborate ironwork. In 2003, the Gala Pool was closed for swimming due to safety concerns and the space fell into disrepair.
Thanks to investment from Historic England and Birmingham City Council the restoration of the Gala Pool roof is now complete, allowing public access into the pool hall once again. Further major repair work is needed to the balconies and the Moseley Road Baths coalition will begin to test and develop an – initially – small range of activities in the Gala Pool space.
a future for the Baths
Moseley Road Baths was for many years under threat of closure. Faced with the potential loss of a cherished community facility, local people campaigned to keep their pool open.
In 2016 a group of organisations came together to form a ‘coalition of the willing’, led by the National Trust, to work alongside Birmingham City Council (who own the building) to reimagine a new future of the Baths with swimming at its heart. Working together, all organisations have contributed over £2m of time, expertise and funding: Historic England kicked off the first phase of work with a major grant to restore the Gala Pool roof, with match funding from Birmingham City Council; the World Monuments Fund is supporting works to the façade of the building; the National Trust is leading the master-planning process; and most importantly of all, Moseley Road Baths CIO is running a swimming offer in Pool 2 aimed at meeting the needs of the local community – all with significant support from a committed group of local volunteers.
Keeping swimming going is just one part of the challenge: a multi-million-pound capital repair programme is needed to repair the building and safeguard its future. Watch this space…
Trust New Art
Since 2009, Trust New Art has been connecting people to National Trust places through contemporary arts. So far we’ve worked with over 300 artists to create new work inspired by our places.
The Story So Far…
We will publish regular updates about Specular Reflecular here, with contributions from artists, participants and people involved in the project. In the meantime you can read the latest news from Moseley Road Baths CIO.
Specular Reflecular was an art exhibition launched on 4 March 2020 in the striking Gala Pool hall, at Moseley Road Baths, in Birmingham. It was a creative celebration of the buildings past, present and future. Unfortunately, like other public exhibitions and...
From left to right, Sadim Garvey MRB, Indy Indy Hunjan Trust New Art and Lucy Reid The National Trust Specular Reflecular Launch party The National Trust is just one of the many partners that have worked very hard to keep Moseley Road Baths open. This weeks blog post...
Kat Pearson - Trustee Moseley Road Baths CIO Let’s leap straight in shall we! This week’s blog post is a special one indeed, Moseley Road Baths CIO is a charity and the board of trustees go above and beyond to ensure Moseley Road Baths not only continues to operate...
Thank you to the organisations who have hosted workshops and made this project possible; Moseley Road Baths including the swimming groups, staff and volunteers, Trustees, Friends and the CIO; the Chat and Splash group; Balsall Heath Library; the mac; Clifton Primary School and Parents Group; Percy Shurmer Academy; Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College; the GAP; Balsall Heath Children Action Team Support; Bahu Trust; and Artefact. Special thanks to Moseley Shoals.
And to all of our partners
About the Artists
Juneau Projects are Philip Duckworth and Ben Sadler, an artist duo based in Birmingham. Formed in 2001, they have a proven track record of delivering small, medium and large scale public art projects and commissions both nationally and internationally. Their practice has participation at its core. They have experience of working in Balsall Heath. Their recent work incorporates an interest in heritage and how this can be shared in new ways with a contemporary audience.