Project showcasing Birmingham through music celebrating a second year


A city-wide music project in Birmingham is celebrating its second year.

For-Wards sees people from 24 parts of the city working with six professional musicians to create music in response to their local area.

The project’s artistic director Bobbie-Jane Gardner said For-Wards had grown from an initial desire to explore Birmingham through music.

“Seven years ago I found out about there being 40 wards in Birmingham and thought it would be a great starting point for a composition project.

“Initially I was going to set out and write 40 pieces of music by myself about the areas, but then I thought about what I could write about these areas because I haven’t lived in a lot of them.

“So, I thought ‘why don’t you get people who live there to be part of the process?’ It seemed a great idea to get Birmingham composers involved with the process.”

A live music composition covering areas such as Erdington, Yardley, Hall Green, Sutton Coldfield, Ladywood, Erdington and Perry Barr is due to take place in June 2018.

The project is being financially supported by the Birmingham Royal Conservatoire with a launch event held at the city centre venue last week.

Principle Julian Lloyd Webber said: “I think this For-Wards project is absolutely brilliant idea.

“The idea of going to all the different communities and capturing the sound and turning it in to music absolutely fits in with everything we want to do here.

“It is a public venue and we want people to come in and hang out here. We are all integrated and music is probably the best way of bringing people together.

“Music is something for anyone. What happens in here should reflect what is happening in the city and the For-Wards project is exactly what we want to be doing.”

The composers come from a broad background including jazz and dubstep, something creator Bobbie-Jane was keen to see from the outset.

“I wanted to incorporate a team of artistic organisation and multimedia programmes to be part of this journey,” she said. “Firstly, to celebrate the hard work that they do, and secondly, so it would be more diverse as Birmingham is a really super diverse city.

“It was exciting because I didn’t know what would come back.”

Among the composers working on the project are:

  • Annie Mahtani
  • Pøgman
  • Xhosa Cole
  • Scott Johannsson
  • Simon Duggall

Scott Johannsson, a composer for Erdington says he hopes to create a narrative through his piece.

“I envision something multimedia,” he said. “So it will involve music sound and possibly radio, definitely film and photograph with a musical through line.”

For more details on the project visit the For-Wards website.


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