Children's Lives Exhibition

24 March 2012 - 10 June 2012
Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery’s Gas Hall

Part of Birmingham’s contribution to the Cultural Olympiad programme in 2012, Children's Lives examines the lives of children from the 18th century to the present day and is the first major exhibition on childhood to be held in Birmingham.

J. Crwys Richards, Two boys from Birmingham Cinderella Cub in Sutton Park, 1898, WK/B11/441© Birmingham Libraries & Archives

Children’s Lives is a partnership project between the University of Birmingham, Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery and Birmingham Archives & Heritage (BA&H). It is curated by Ian Grosvenor, Professor of Urban Educational History at the University of Birmingham, and Dr. Siân Roberts, Head of Collections Development at BA&H and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham.

The exhibition draws on over thirty years of Professor Grosvenor’s research into childhood experience. It will explore the different ways people have thought about childhood as a stage of life, the relationships of children with their families and peers, the experiences of children in school, at work, and at the hands of various welfare institutions, and the ways that children have imagined the world.

Professor Grosvenor explains “the exhibition will facilitate a dialogue between academics, heritage practitioners and wider community audiences through a shared engagement with historical research produced from local, national and international archive resources available in the city of Birmingham”.

The exhibition sees the University continuing its close working relationships with partner organisations to present work in the City. Toby Watley, Head of Programming at Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery affirms “I am delighted that Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery has had the opportunity to work so closely with Prof. Ian Grosvenor on the development of Children's Lives, the first exhibition of its kind in the UK. The close partnership with the University of Birmingham enables Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery to access current research in developing a unique and important exhibition which will attract visitors from across the country”.

Children’s Lives will reveal both how the experience of childhood has changed and how it has been understood and constructed by adults over time. It will provide a fascinating insight into Birmingham’s history, as well as a key resource for understanding the changing nature of childhood locally, nationally and internationally.

There will be a number of responses to the exhibition presented at the University of Birmingham. Please click here for details of the events.

Please visit Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery’s website.

Children’s Lives is supported financially by the Heritage Lottery Fund.