We are so excited to be bringing back Specular Reflecular after having to close in March last year due to Covid. This time the exhibition, created by Juneau Projects, will be held in the slipper baths. The exhibition will run from 12-4pm Monday 31st May- Friday 4th June, and then 10-2pm on Saturday 5th, 12th & 19th.
Booking is essential and to keep everyone Covid-safe there will be one slot per hour where you and your group (either up to 6 people, or 2 households) get exclusive access for 20 minutes to enjoy the animation. For information on how to book please visit our facebook page.
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.
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 was funded part of Trust New Art, the National Trust’s programme of contemporary arts and is funded by Arts Council England. We have brought it back post-Covid thanks to the DCMS Cultural Recovery Fund.
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.
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…
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.
From the blog
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.
We couldn’t have done it without you
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
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.
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