on the settee
In The Front Room, the settee offers a place of sanctuary; a place where you can take a load off.
On our settee you’ll discover conversations that will slot into your day like a catch up with an old friend, or your favourite song
– something that makes you feel at home, open, yet vulnerable and connected with yourself and others.
beyond books series
Our newest season of ‘On the Settee’ programming features a range of folk from across Birmingham’s reading, writing and book selling community. Books, reading and access to ideas, experiences and stories can be found at the heart of exploring yourself and the world around you. Who is writing these stories? Whose experiences are being heard? What voices are being excluded? How are books being accessed in the city? There may be a growing movement to make publishing more inclusive and representative but have these changes made their way into what books we are able to buy and read? How are independent booksellers amplifying the voices that get published and are these inclusive voices truly representative?
As part of our Beyond Books Starting Revolutions series with Jools Walker aka Lady Vélo in conversation with Hannah Ross, the author of Revolutions we bring photographer Alison Baskerville ‘On the Settee’ to talk about Babs on Bikes, personal cycling stories from women and non binary people in Birmingham.
Storytelling is a powerful means of fostering connections among people, between ideas and experiences. When it comes to our countries, our communities, and our families, we understand intuitively that the stories we hold in common are an important part of the ties that bind us, as well as the importance of space for many viewpoints and ideas to meet. In this series, we will be connecting with people who use the art of narrative throughout their work to connect, educate and share the experience of themselves and others, steering away from monolithic narratives by sharing celebration, pain, love and everything in between.
Documentation plays an important role in this process, and this series of conversations moves us between still image, moving image and the written word to consider different ways that stories can be archived and shared, as well as who feels that they are able to do this.
Movers + Shakers series
This next chapter of On The Settee brings together intersectional practitioners that are shaking up the fields within which they work, not only through what they do, but also by being authentically who they are. Expanding upon the personal conversations with artists earlier this year, which looked at the internal, everyday experiences of the pandemic through the lens of their creative practices, this series looks more externally at the wider environmental, social and cultural factors at play as we navigate the next stages of COVID-19 together. In this series, spend time with those moving between a range of different spaces, across different facets of their identities and the interconnected purpose(s) of their work that takes us beyond any one compartmentalised reality and into new realms of possibility.
ongoing neighbourhood series
From July 2020, we are inviting our neighbours round to chat on the settee on an ongoing basis.
Conversations explore everything from faith, creating spaces that are very much needed and don’t exist, neurodiversity and disrupting the city’s waterways, to community gardening, family and neighbourhood networking, and regeneration. These conversations will shine a spotlight onto their important work happening in the community and across the city.
Watch back previous conversations below, and check back for further upcoming sessions.
The first series of On The Settee featured artists whose creative practices spoke to different facets of our individual and collective experiences of the pandemic; from our changing relationships to the elders in their family and reimagining our commercial livelihoods, to gaining new insight and understanding from those for whom lockdown is nothing new, and how to deal with grief and loss whilst isolated from those we love.
Hosted in May 2020, watch the recordings from this series below, featuring Navi Kaur, Bolade Banjo, Demi Nandhra and Cass HM.