Guest post: Cultural Commissioning in Balsall Heath

Participants in Balsall Heath are currently developing their projects.  In this guest post two of our panel members, Fouzia and Tahira, reflect on their involvement with the project and what they would like to achieve.

We are part of a group panel, which consists of 14 females and one male participant. The ladies are from a diverse background with different levels of education and occupations. Being part of the cultural project has been a fascinating experience. We have gained more knowledge around this project, which has an impact on our professional development, ranging from what mobile interviews are and how they are conducted. In addition, we were able to gain insights from participants about their perceptions on being involved in the planning of cultural activities for the community.

This project has created opportunities for the participants to be involved in something new, different and far from what they have done before. Also, it has provided the opportunity for participants to develop new skills at all levels. The learners have learnt time management and note taking skills, as well as gaining confidence in using their English speaking skills amongst the group members. Moreover, this has provoked them to reflect on any previous and existing cultural activities they have taken part in and discussing the long term benefits such as keeping artefacts and photographs to show generations to come.

Amongst other exciting activities taking place, the Lake District is the most popular and inspirational as it involves an overnight stay without their spouses. Looking deeply into the insights of the participants reveals that neither of the group members have visited the Lake District. During this journey we are focussing to capture key elements of the visit taking place, via using disposable cameras, which will be provided for each individual.  The idea of sharing the photographs with friends, family and teachers could encourage the new coming generation to participate in similar activities.

We are interested in creating new opportunities for Asian women and understanding the obstacles which limit women of Balsall Heath to access different types of cultural activities.  This raises questions of whether this is due to any cultural barriers, which restrict Asian women from seeking and exploring cultural activities.

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