On Our Way
We are On Our Way to convert bus stops along the iconic 74 route, in Handsworth, into art galleries.
We all have fond memories of taking the bus. From the after school bants, going to work, or into town to get a few bits.
China Plate is working with Artist Curator, Nilupa Yasmin, to convert bus stops along the iconic 74 bus route into galleries on Soho Road. This project was originally conceived by Aksana Khan. It’s a reflection of how the 74 is a bus route that has barely changed, but the buildings and people who use it have. No matter where you go, the bus will always be on our way. Reflecting on how buses continued to run throughout lockdown, ensuring hundreds of thousands of key workers were able to get to work, On Our Way celebrates how, although the 74 route has barely changed, the people who use it and the buildings around it have. The pandemic experience is one episode in its long history.
So to celebrate the local people who make up the area, each bus stop gallery will reflect the character and soul of its surroundings. These bus stop galleries are reflecting the past and present of those who make up the local community, and designed with them too. We’re doing this to create joy together, and to celebrate North Birmingham’s reputation for migration and activism.
The stained-glass style wrapping for each bus shelter tells a different story about the area and its people. These include collages created with the Soho Road Business Improvement District (BID) celebrating the range of independent businesses in the area and another, from the Black Heritage Walks Network, highlighting the civil rights struggles of Windrush generation bus workers.
Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is responsible for more than 5,000 bus shelters across the region, have worked with China Plate, Birmingham Hippodrome, Soho Road BID and National Express West Midlands to get the bus shelters wrapped with the designs.
The seven groups who designed the bus stops are:
Soho Road BID - inspired by the variety of thriving independent local businesses on Soho Road,
South and City College Birmingham,
the BID Services' based at the Deaf Cultural Centre,
Handsworth Association of Schools,
Black Heritage Walks Network - incorporating photographs from famous Handsworth photographer Vanley Burke.
This project came out of the work to produce the Bus Boycott Block Party where the pilot bus stop gallery was debuted.
On Our Way is created by China Plate in association with Birmingham Hippodrome, supported by The Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), Transport for West Midlands, Garfield Weston Foundation, National Express West Midlands, Soho BIDand using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
This project is ran with China Plate Theatre
Installation images by Ahsen Sayeed