Last year, the Young Curators programme at Balsall Heath’s Moseley Road Baths charged six young creatives with making new digital work inspired by the much-loved Grade II listed Edwardian baths.
Over a six-month period from May to November, the youngsters put together a podcast called Bathcasts. From conceptualising the idea, engaging with the space and the community to commissioning artists and producing a final product, the creatives owned the project which is available to listen to until the middle of January.
The six young curators are a wonderfully eclectic mix of talent, background and interests and are all Birmingham-based, some born and bred. They include Sadie who’s from South London originally and describes herself as a general do-er of bits ’n’ bobs, particularly in the realms of music, broadcasting and silly art.
Then there’s Malikah who is currently a speech and language therapy student and enjoys sports. Amira has just finished college and looks forward to doing something other than studying while Nicole works for a charity supporting refugees in the city and loves languages and painting. Habib is an Arabic teacher and service designer who loves languages, the gym and drawing and Jessica, a neurodiverse and queer practitioner focusing on performance and event design and photography.
Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and part of the Moseley Road Baths Diving In Project, Bathcasts is hosted by comedian Rachel Baker who was one of our Young, Gifted and Brummie subjects last year. The podcast interviewees are people connected to the historic baths who chat about their lives and the community building. Each interview takes place in one of the Moseley Road Baths bathtubs.
It’s an intriguing idea and you can hear the splish-sploshing in the podcast, but it works. As well as the interviews, the Young Curators commissioned original poetry and music for each episode from 10 local artists. Interviewees include Adam Wynn, Malikah and Shazia, Sadim Garvey, Ayan Aden and Fabio Henriques, all people with a connection to Moseley Road Baths.
Gaby Songui, creative producer for the Young Curators Programme, said: “Telling their own stories has been key to the Young Curators programme, with each of the curators considering their experiences in Balsall Heath, as creatives, at Moseley Road Baths and it’s been brilliant seeing this result in an innovative series of podcasts. The podcast encourages you to listen to it in the bath at home, immersing yourself in water at the same times as our interviewees.”
We listened to the Adam Wynn episode in preparation for this article and hadn’t expected it to kick off with guided meditation from Adjei Sun. We can confirm we haven’t breathed deeply or dropped our shoulders for roughly a decade. Bloomin’ lovely. Rachel Baker was a great choice for a host – she’s natural and curious – plus there was poetry by Erin Gilbey and music from Aayushi Jain.
It’s a gentle, thoughtful listen that contrasts so much with the madness of social media and the horror of the current news cycle. It’s a bit of escapism – a pocket of loveliness that the six curators should be proud of. Bravo!