Birmingham’s rich musical heritage is being celebrated this month as urban arts company, City of Colours launches a new exhibition with work created by young people.

Organisers worked alongside Jez Collins founder of the Birmingham Music Archive and Birmingham City University Researcher, to run a ten-month project aimed at highlighting the city’s rich musical history. The Our Musical Roots project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Young Roots programme, involved children under 16 in underprivileged areas of Highgate, Digbeth and Lozells, and was designed to break down perceptions and increase awareness of Birmingham’s musical heritage.

When speaking to young people under 16, organisers discovered that 89% of those interviewed could not name a single musician from Birmingham.

City of Colours and Birmingham Music Archive worked with three youth groups to produce street art murals that reflected their research into Birmingham’s musical roots. The murals were unveiled in Lozells and Highgate in October. A final exhibition at the renowned Muthers Studio in Digbeth will display artwork, research and findings from the young people, which includes reimagined album artwork, vinyl collages, a lyrical installation and a timeline of Birmingham musical heritage in November.

Young people from St. Martin’s Youth Centre, Highgate and the youth homelessness prevention charity St. Basil’s, explored the rich musical history of Birmingham, focusing on music of black, Asian and white origin. They attended a summer school, where they took part in a number of music heritage based workshops and activities, with a number going on to complete a Bronze Arts Award.

Our Musical Roots Exhibition takes place on Thursday, 17 November from 7pm at Muthers Studio, and is free to attend. For more information head to

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