measures of us

Something Good (Measures of Us) is an outdoor arts, technology and conversation project

Measures of Us took place for one week in November/December 2016. We invited Birmingham residents to think about how they were feeling at the end of the year and find out how people from different parts of the city were feeling too. We asked a question a day for five days, Monday to Friday. The daily results were displayed in the form of illuminated artworks, inspired by cricket scoreboards, in 6 very different neighbourhoods before coming together to form Measures of Us, a beautiful illuminated art installation in Cathedral Square, telling the whole city story. Audiences were invited to share their interpretations of the similarities and differences in responses from the 6 neighbourhoods.

Here is a film about Measures of Us 2016, created by Joseph Potts

How did it work?

From 28th November to 2nd December 2016, 24 voting boxes were hosted by local shops, businesses and community venues across the 6 areas: Boldmere, Hodge Hill, Springfield/Hall Green, Rubery, Handsworth and Colmore Row/City Centre. Each box displayed the question of the day, which could be answered by pressing one of three coloured buttons. The question changed daily, for five days.

The results in each neighbourhood were displayed from dusk onwards, on large artist designed display boards, updated by our local facilitators – residents could use their phone flash or torch to light up how people in their neighbourhood were feeling that day.

On Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th December, all 6 display boards came together in Cathedral Square to form a beautiful outdoor illuminated artwork by Redhawk Logistica. Participants and audiences exchanged ideas about the responses from the different parts of the city, proposed new questions for future conversations and shared some delicious food offered by our special guests, Langar Aid (by Khalsa Aid).

Over 7,000 votes were cast in response to the week’s questions. The individual display boards were seen by an estimated 20,000 people across the 6 locations and the final Measures of Us art installation in Cathedral Square by 10,000 over the course of the weekend.

What people are saying…

"People are more positive and hopeful than I would have imagined in this area."

Resident, Hodge Hill

"This project has begun to get a city talking to each other within the city."

Canon Dr Andrew Smith, Director of Interfaith Relations, Birmingham Diocese

"I am pleased the positivity that has come through, not just in Handsworth, but through Birmingham. And it was speaking to people who wouldn't normally have a voice."

Audience Member, Cathedral Square

"I think it has been good to measure a sense of wellbeing rather than trying to see the mistakes in the community."

Tom Thomas, Springfield Centre, Hall Green

Something Good (measures of us) was created through a collaboration between Orit Azaz, Redhawk Logistica and Lisa Koeman on behalf of Birmingham Cathedral, with churches and individuals of all faiths and none, and University College London Interaction Centre (UCLIC and ICRI Cities). The project was enabled by funding from Arts Council England, Jerusalem Trust and UCL.

Take a look at how Measures of Us 2016 brought our communities together…