Balsall Heath Biennale

Tourist Information Centre

Travelling around the local area over the summer of 2013, the Balsall Heath Tourist Information Centre offered information on an area not renowned for it’s tourism industry (see information).

Although slightly tongue-in-cheek, Balsall Heath has a fascinating, complex modern history that many Birmingham residents are oblivious to. The Tourist Information Centre pitched Balsall Heath as an alternative space of urban tourism, in contrast to more affluent tourist hot-spots within the city.

The Tourist Information Centre distributed information on cultural activity in Balsall Heath, the biennale newspaper, public sculpture colouring in posters, ‘Surreal House’ competition /Balsall Heath Academy of Contemporary Art information, postcards and essays. The postcards featured a series of local ‘heritage’ sites and landmarks, such as Zaffs kebab house and Apna Ghar Asian OAP home. The essays hopefully offered an esoteric and tangential lens through which to explore Balsall Heath. They included writing on taxi driver’s speeding offences in Taiwan, the political ecology of the plastic bag waste problem in Nairobi, driving under the influence of khat, the Tanzanian scrap recycling cycle and the role of artists within the field of gentrification. The Print Station also featured at the centre.