Flat Out: Towards sustainable community arts for Birmingham

Since 2014, University of Birmingham, Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Drum Intercultural Arts Centre (now defunct) have been working together to build a sustainable model of community arts for the city.

Also in 'School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences'

They began with 'Flat Out', an eight-month project that brought community members from Newtown and Lozells, and especially families from Inkerman House, together with dancers in the city for a series of dance and music workshops aimed at expressing what it's like to live here, and building creative skills. 


The project ended in a professional ballet that drew on the movements and themes expressed in the workshops, and that was watched by a range of people from the area, many of whom have never been to see a ballet before.  The project threw up a range of issues about community arts in the city, and the final report emphasised how important it is, for communities that are themselves often on the move, to have a stable, reliable presence of community arts that they can become part of, and through which they can build community.

Download the Flat Out Report here

In her push towards a more sustainable model, Dr Pat Noxolo of Birmingham University has been continuing to talk with Birmingham Royal Ballet, but also with other arts stakeholders in the city, and with Birmingham Housing Municipal Trust, who were enormously helpful at the start of Flat Out, and who still provide a constant presence in the community.  Using funds from Birmingham University, Pat arranged to re-stage and film the ballet, and has been using it as a catalyst for conversation about sustainable community arts in the city.

Flat Out Ballet performance

If you're interested in getting involved in that conversation, or if you have ideas about sustainable community arts, get in touch with Pat Noxolo at p.e.p.noxolo@bham.ac.uk.