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I submitted a completed draft to my tutor Beth Derbyshire on Friday evening (19th July). I’m feeling positive about the paper and a mixture of emotions now that he course is nearly over, as it’s been an enjoyable and enriching experience.

As for the paper, I have much more work to do on it, as even reading it over the past two days has highlighted various issues with the flow and areas where the application of ideas and concepts could be better presented and argued.

To be honest writing the abstract (see below) felt cathartic after a 13-hour writing day and several months spent on this project – physically, mentally and emotionally (plus the preparation for the live project it’s based on). I still have one interview to conduct with Karen Leach, Chair of Moseley Road Baths CIO, which should allow me to integrate further context around the campaign and Balsall Heath more generally, strengthening my conclusions.

This week I plan to conduct some brief surveys at the swimming pool, to capture impressions and feeling towards the ‘100 Swimmers2’ image.

In the next 8 days I will focus on completing the appendices in time for my final tutorial on the 31st July.

I will then have just two weeks to edit based on the conversation with my tutor and submit on the 14th August…so hopefully it doesn’t need drastic re-writing.

Abstract

Contemporary arts can play a powerful role in urban regeneration, with current critical discourse focused on the authenticity and efficacy of locally rooted place-based initiatives. This paper presents the findings of research into the role and impact of unplanned, artist initiated contemporary arts activity on a fifteen-year grass roots campaign to save an internationally significant at-risk heritage site and community resource in Birmingham, England from permanent closure.

Providing an in-depth analysis of the campaign to keep Moseley Road Baths open by utilising qualitative research methods, this study was exploratory and interpretative in nature, and is informed by first hand testimony from long time campaigners, artists and residents.

For further context this paper examines the emergent use of contemporary arts to develop audiences at heritage sites with a focus on participation, partnerships and the use of high-profile artists. Finally, this paper presents a project plan for a curated contemporary arts project, which celebrates the completion of the re-roofing of the Gala Pool, the first capital investment in the regeneration of Moseley Road Baths.

By drawing on concepts of Visual Activism, Story Telling, Audience Development and the Coordinate Effect of individual citizen activism, this paper argues that spontaneous, artist initiated contemporary arts has been an integral part of the successful and ongoing campaign. I show that through a process of organic co-production with artists, photographers, curators and producers, this citizen led campaign attracted live and digital audiences locally, nationally and globally.