Blue Bricks to Blue Plaque

Blue Bricks to Blue Plaque is s a school-based project led by local poet and performer Brendan Hawthorne and filmmaker Keith Bloomfield, to creatively explore and respond to a selection of photographs from the Keith Hodgkins archive. Over four months, they worked with two Year 5 classes and staff from Joseph Turner Primary School, Tipton, to produce a new film based on archive photography, creative writing, performance and poetry. 

Over a 50-year period, Keith Hodgkins has created a unique collection of over 15,000 photographs that record the continuously changing urban landscapes of the Black Country. Pupils worked with Brendan Hawthorne and his wife Lynn to select 10 iconic photographs from Keith’s collection. Working in teams, pupils scoured the local archives and newspapers to unearth historical facts, stories and local legends that fitted the timeframe for each photograph. 

Making Blue Bricks to Blue Plaque, 2019
Making Blue Bricks to Blue Plaque, 2019

The pupils spent significant time working with Brendan to develop a series of poems playfully merging historical facts with found and imagined stories. The pupils were coached by Brendan, Lynn and Keith Bloomfield to perform their poems to camera against a ‘green screen’ background. This familiar technique allows the pupils to appear in the film as if they are present in the background photograph.

Their film Blue Bricks to Blue Plaque is a highly engaging and evocative set of performed poetry. It reveals the talents of young people and how they can be inspired to use their imagination and creativity to explore archive materials. 

Making Blue Bricks to Blue Plaque, 2019
Making Blue Bricks to Blue Plaque, 2019
Making Blue Bricks to Blue Plaque, 2019
Making Blue Bricks to Blue Plaque, 2019

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