Birmingham Conversationland

Birmingham Conversationland
Map of Birmingham Conversationland

Map of Birmingham Conversationland

The hand that holds the prayerbook marks the ballot paper,
And while it would be heaven if we all agreed
On faith and politics, the EU and education,
It’s another form of earthly heaven here in Brum
To ask and listen, free to pray and think and vote,
Free to speak and share the Conversation.

The Birmingham Conversations bring people together of all faiths and none, under the auspices of the Bishop of Birmingham. The Conversations are rooted in the city we share, historically a haven for religious dissenters, now home to people of many faiths and cultures –  a rich and challenging urban kaleidoscope.



Exploring the role of ‘faith in the public square’, we discussed freedom of speech, freedom to worship and demonstrate in the city, and the sometimes fractious relationship between faith, education, media, politics and the arts. How can we make sure that people of all faiths and none can flourish, living side by side?

Taking part in creative activities - here exploring  our use of traditional and new media

Working with Jake Lever to invite creative participation – here exploring our use of traditional and new media

These theoretical questions came sharply alive for me as I chanced upon a large and noisy pro-life rally in the city centre on Saturday afternoon. How to express nuance, questions or disagreement in the public square? How to raise one voice among many?

Writing in response to honest discussion, I set out to capture the flavour of our city as a huge collective body which somehow, mostly peacefully, contains all our differences. Working alongside artist Jake Lever, I mapped my writing onto an imagined cityscape and skyline, details from Jake’s painting.

2000 copies of the Map of Birmingham Conversationland will accompany Jake’s large-scale painting as it tours faith and community venues around the city.