Monday, 23 May 2016

Birmingham: Faith in Birmingham at BMAG


Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is one of my favourite places in the city and it keeps getting better. There's a huge collection of Pre-Raphaelite art and a lovely people of Birmingham exhibition. But the place is massive and you have to keep exploring to find more.


The Faith in Birmingham gallery is an excellent example of the way BMAG are involving local people. 40 representatives from the 6 world faiths in Birmingham worked together with the museum to create a gallery which celebrated their similarities and differences.


Each faith has its own area, with items which are special to its followers or that tell us more about the religion.

The plan is for the gallery to be open for 3 years, with the faiths represented rotating.


Around the outside, there are displays which explore the similarities in the life of a follower, the history and so on. These themes will stay the same even as the faiths change.


Did you know 70% of the Birmingham population adhere to a faith? This is a large amount compared to other cities so it's great to see that represented at BMAG.


There was some controversy over the moving of the Buddha. I had no idea that it was actually the second item in the museum, after being discovered in 1862 in Northern India.




One of the most interesting items is the Christian Gospels written in Arabic, which was used by European scholars to learn Arabic.


Another prize item is the famous Birmingham Qur'an. This was discovered in the University of Birmingham's archives and is thought to date from the 1st century, based on the paper. If you want to see this, it's only going to be in the gallery until about August 3rd.


A great deal of thought and care was put into where each item would be. For example, the Buddha shouldn't be able to see the Qur'an.  So far, there has been no criticism, probably due to the different religions being consulted.


There are 13 faiths recognised by the council and the plan is to represent all of them at some point.


The gallery is very peaceful and it is lovely to see the different faiths sitting together. I loved how the people who worked on it were keen to celebrate the similarities as well as the differences.


Any trip to BMAG should involve tea and cake as well. We gathered in the lovely Edwardian tearooms for a giant slice of ginger cake and pots of tea.



Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Photos by me.

This was an event for bloggers but the museum is free for all to enter.

1 comment:

Laura Metcalf said...

Loved this post Helen! As an RE teacher you have given me a good trip idea! ha x