Bring a Thing @ UoB Arts and Science Festival

Courtesy of the University of Birmingham’s Research and Cultural Collections department, a marquee in University Square offered a wonderful vintage and homely feel. With atmospheric music and comfortable armchairs it was like being transported back in time.

The inside of the marquee was set out like a period lounge. There were two velvet armchairs set on an old rug with an antique coffee table nestled between them, an old bureau to display objects in, and a dining table complete with table cloth for people to sit at and talk while labelling their ‘Things’.

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‘Bring a Thing’ was put together by the Research and Cultural Collections department of UoB. The idea behind it was that everyone who visited the exhibit brought something special from home. They were required to write a short descriptive label detailing what their thing was and what it meant to them. Over the course of the two hour event an eclectic mish-mash of objects were displayed together. They created a surprising exhibition, all of them well worth having a glimpse at, as well as having a discussion about with the other people gathered in the marquee.

Although it was extremely chilly outside in the square, the atmosphere was warm and friendly as people wrote on their labels and talked about their things they had brought in. It was fascinating to discover the stories behind the objects, some new, some old, but all holding some sentimental value to the owner.

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The Research and Cultural Collections care for and maintain the University’s permanent collections. They look after the displays, put on temporary exhibitions and are involved in commissioning and creating works of art around the University, in conjunction with the five colleges.  They offer many activities and opportunities with their outreach programme: more details can be found on their Facebook page.

If their ‘Bring a Thing’ pop-up museum is anything to go by, then their other events will be well worth a visit.

Louise Stone

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