Junction is a canal arts project that has been running between April and June on a stretch of the waterways that runs through Digbeth in Birmingham. The idea behind Junction is to promote access to the public spaces found along the canal and to see if we can collectively re-imagine this historic stretch of waterway. All around the canals the city is being re-made Junction provides an opportunity to reflect on the areas past whilst we move forward.
As part of the project Ghost Streets has commissioned local artist Lucy McLauchlan to make some new work to transform the front of the old canal cottage on Belmont Row.
The aim of the art installation was to help re-connect this building with its contemporary surrounding and give new meaning to the cottage to be part of a space that matters to the wider community.
The visual landscape around the cottage has changed significantly over the last few years it sits today nestled in amongst the Birmingham City University campus. Further development is planned on the rest of the Birmingham City University campus and construction of HS2 Curzon Street Station near by will lead to further significant changes to the area over the coming years.
Some improvements were made to the cottage which is locally listed several years ago as part of the Eastside regeneration to improve its exterior and hoardings were also fitted to secure the building. More recently Birmingham City University acquired the cottage when they purchased the surrounding land and told us they have no current plans to use the cottage.
Given the wider significant redevelopments in the area it felt like an important point in time to explore the role of a street art installation to empower community action to improve this space and influence what our city looks like. Street art has the potential to help us create interesting and unique places in Birmingham so this was an exciting project to work on.
The new art installation on the Belmont Cottage builds on the beautiful art painted by Lucy McLauchlan on the canal where she draws on the natural environment as a theme of her work.
Lucy painted on top of the metal hoardings which has provided a wonderful texture to the installation best viewed afoot.
The cottage is on the public highway at Belmont Row so easily accessible from Cardigan Street or from the Digbeth Branch Canal exit at the bridge shown on our new map. The best time to photograph it is in the morning when the sun is rising in the east of the city. We would love to see your photos of the building please share them with us on Instagram #junctionbrum
To see more work by Lucy McLauchlan checkout during the Junction Weekender our film shorts at The Ruin curated by Flatpack on Sat 8/Sun 9 between 1-5pm and our pop up photography exhibition which opens on Friday 7 June from 6.30pm until late (Digbeth first Friday). Free entry to both events.
Lucy will complete a second installation for us on the canal side by Centrala on the adopted wall for the Junction Weekender and opens her UnFold exhibition on Friday 7 June at 6pm at Centrala runs until 15 June 2019.
You can download our map for free and use it to try and find Lucy's work on the canal start at the cottage and walk as far as the bridge at Bordesley Circus. Our guided walks for the Junction Weekender are sold out.