The Hive JQ

The Hive is a community hub for Birmingham in an historic building, with an award-winning organic café and bakery, craft workshops, exhibitions and event spaces.

Photographs in this exhibition from the two-year documentary project, titled ‘Vulcan’s Forge’.

In 1977, Janine Wiedel was awarded West Midlands arts bursary to document the five counties of the West Midlands. She spent the first month driving, walking and talking to people in the area as well as researching background material from the library. The area was vast and her aim was to find the link that differentiated the five counties from other areas of Britain.

“As I got deeper into my subject them to feel the much of Birmingham and the West Midlands could well belong to Vulcans people: sons of fire, casting their thunderbolts”. Janine Wiedel

Janine gravitated towards the rundown industrial wastelands below spaghetti junction; aware of the deafening sounds coming from small, dilapidated workshops running alongside the canals. Historically Birmingham was referred to as ‘the workshop of the world’ and ‘the city 1000 trades’. It  was here that the Industrial Revolution had begun and remnants of this history could still be felt - Janine set out to discover how much this past still existed, and the document working lives that were in danger of disappearing.