Digbeth Art Space is delighted to welcome Tom Radcliffe with his stunning debut exhibition 'The Forgotten Council Estate.' We connected with Tom because we sponsored 'Best Photograph' at the Access Creative College awards evening, which was held at the Mill in Digbeth, Birmingham on July 04th and we've since found out he is a worthy winner! Tom has blown us away with his professionalism, vision, passion and shear hard work to his get debut exhibition happening.
We caught up with Tom ahead of the launch to find out a little bit more about the creative process from this emerging talent.
I decided to do my project on the Druids Heath council estate, a council estate south of Birmingham that borders fields and farms. I was inspired to do this project because as a boy I'd spend a lot of time there hanging out with my friends. I saw various aspects of the community and everyday life. With this project I wanted to revisit those childhood memories and confront them with the reality of living in a council estate that is due for regeneration.
When I went there as a kid I saw young lads hanging out at the local youth centre, kids playing, families living. I also saw less usual things such as someone stabbing himself in the mouth and my mate stabbing his drunk dad. I am also intrigued by the architecture of the place and how architecture can affect people’s lives. This is not your usual inner city council estate, as it borders farmlands. It gives this place a unique feel of both dystopian and bucolic, and this schizophrenic feeling reflects on the life of its inhabitants.
The estate is part of a big city, Birmingham but its geographical location means that it does not really belong to the usual estate and has been largely forgotten and never been regenerated). My project is partly social documentary, partly reflection on how the optimism of 1960’s architects had a huge influence on people’s life mostly in a negative way. I also wanted to show that despite the inequalities and difficulties, people create and maintain communities and for a lot of the inhabitants it is also a happy place to live.
The exhibition 'The Forgotten Council Estate' by Tom Radcliffe launches at Digbeth Art Space at 5:00pm on Friday July 26th and will run until Friday 9th August with viewings daily between 10:00 and 19:00.