Grandbabs is a collaborative exhibition between young and older citizens of Birmingham. The art and film exhibit created by young people from Birmingham aims to inspire intergenerational discussion with senior members of the city. Conversations between generations have fallen and interactions with older citizens can often be low in society. Ten young creatives volunteered their time to visit two care homes and a retirement village to interview residents about their lives and living in Birmingham to exhibit at Grandbabs.

This project has been of great benefit to everyone involved, several of the young
people have been through challenging times in their home lives and in the areas in which they live. In creating commissions and listening to stories from seniors this has helped with their mental health - giving them direction and discipline whilst adding meaningful productivity into their lives.

The seniors discussed a range of issues from their childhood, technology, mental
health, climate change as well as the current political and economic climate. These conversations have given the young volunteers different perspectives and broadened their horizons to understanding senior generations better.

Kanye, 18 from Erdington “I’d rather paint with a brush than carry a blade and there
Just isn’t enough projects like this to get involved with. Meeting and speaking with the seniors has given me perspective and provided more positive role models into
my life.”

Jacob, 21 from Wolverhampton “I’ve always enjoyed painting but haven’t picked up a brush since a child. Working on these portraits has inspired me to do my own art
Again as I find painting therapeutic and good for my mental health. I now paint in my
Spare time rather than playing call of duty!”

Hagley road village resident Lisa Fewtrell, 76, who appeared with her dog holly in a portrait commented: “it was interesting, they worked so hard on the picture and
my dog, my little holly, I thought it was all brilliant having the young people there,
It was a dose of medicine it really was. I have terminal lung cancer and I have days
when I feel I’m no good for anything and I thought if I felt ok I’ll come to the event. I
Live by a quote of never losing your own pride and taking pride in what you do and
this was what was put on my picture.”

Lamari, 19 from Erdington, “this project has helped me so much. I’ve learnt new
skills and it’s helped me focus in other areas of my life. Being around the senior
citizens and hearing their childhood stories has made me understand and respect
them more. I know feel that I have more positive role models to go to for advice and

Sheila, 83 from Hagley road retirement village, said “since I’ve been talking to some of the young people involved I have been absolutely blown away, they have got
ambition and all sorts of hope and we’re thrilled to bits they came to us.”

The project was directed by Alexander Mahrra, Chairman of the Public Art
Committee for Birmingham Civic Society,
“Grandbabs is a celebration of being a Bab. The relationships formed have bridged the generational gap and everyone
involved has found common ground and through young hands seniors have shared their legacy in paint and picture.”

Serena Trowbridge, vice president at the BMI commented: “the Birmingham & Midland Institute is keen to engage with all parts of society. The premise of Grandbabs, a vehicle intergenerational discourse, can only serve to improve the coherence of society and we are delighted to be hosting it at the institute.”

The Grandbabs project has been supported by the Birmingham & Midland Institute,
Birmingham Civic Society, Lawyers Arts Club, Kall Kwik print, VIP graffiti paint and
Birmingham Brewery Company.

The exhibition is free to attend and until 23rd December 2022 and is open daily, 10.00 am - 4.00 pm, Monday to Saturday.

Some of the ten young people involved in the exhibition will be visiting Hagley Road
retirement village for their talent show and Christmas party this December.




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