An oral history exhibition featuring the voices, thoughts and memories of people from the communities of Digbeth, Deritend and Highgate in Birmingham, launches on Thursday.

Echoes From The Edge is a living history contemporary art exhibition, housed at The Edge, a converted factory in Digbeth.

Over the past 18 months, community arts organisation Friction Arts has been collaborating with US artist, Shannon Flattery, to create an interactive exhibition reflecting the histories of the residents and workers of Digbeth, Deritend and Highgate, as the area undergoes its most significant changes for 50 years.

The three areas are set to be regenerated and revitalised as part of Birmingham's Big City Plan.

Artists have used in-depth interviews with community members as inspiration for a series of installations, including a pub and a World War Two bombsite. Each features a range of interactive elements, artwork and the voices of members of the community.

The exhibition is navigated in a tour group of 12 people at a time, who are met by an artist-facilitator and then left to explore the exhibition alone.

The tour proceeds through the rooms and visitors are encouraged to delve into the exhibition. At the end of the tour the audience sit down at a dinner table for refreshments and a short facilitated discussion about the experience.

Lee Griffiths, co-director of Friction Arts, said: "Echoes from the Edge will be the first stage in a three-year project to accurately reflect a unique, historical area as it undergoes its biggest changes for 50 years.

"The long-term ambition is to create a community-inspired, living history museum in the neighbourhood, which grows and changes with its environment."

The project has been part of Touchable Stories, an international initiative set up by Echoes From The Edge lead artist Shannon in 1996, which aims to help individual communities define their own voice and give it public expression.

Shannon said: "It is very exciting to be working on an international project with such a strong community focus.

"While we are coming across cultural differences, the experience Touchable Stories has gained in working with frontline neighbourhoods in the US has proved invaluable in developing Echoes From The Edge.

"If we are able to attract the right resources Birmingham may be the first city in the world to have an oral history-inspired, contemporary art, living history exhibition as a permanent feature of the city."

Friction Arts aims to make quality, contemporary art in real world settings, outside and alongside arts and cultural institutions and with a diverse range of people.

For more information and for a booking form for the exhibition visit

The exhibition runs from April 23 to May 30 at The Edge, 79-81 Cheapside, Birmingham, B12 0QH. Group tour bookings are available on Thursdays and Fridays, 11am or 4pm, by appointment.  It is also open to the public on Friday evenings at 6.30pm and on Saturday and Sundays at 2pm and 6pm. Places must be booked in advance