Birmingham in pictures: beauty built on water and bridges

  • Is Birmingham ugly?

Birmingham is not a pretty city.

Many people will certainly disagree with the idea, and I’ll concede to them that beauty is entirely subjective. It just takes a few days of sightseeing in Britain’s second city streets to either be conquered – or repelled – by its – lack of – beauty.

The fact is, Birmingham does not seem quite sure where to stand. A walk in the City Centre might convince of this assertion. Victorian buildings stand alongside post-modern concrete three-storeys – making its charm hard to enjoy.

Whether or not Birmingham is an ugly city is an opinion that one can form only upon seeing the city for oneself. The Lord of the Rings’ Shire beautiful landscape and green pastures have been inspired by the namesake country park, at the south of the city, not far from where Tolkien grew up.

What remains a source of pride for Brummies’ is the city’s 36 miles of navigable canals, which is even more than Venice (26 miles), although Birmingham is more spread-out than La Serenissima. I set out to explore Brindley Place and the canals in what I would described as an attempt to capture this overlooked and shunned beauty, built on water and bridges – weak foundations.

  • Brindley Place in Pictures:

Brindley Place Birmingham
Along the canals of Birmingham in Brindley Place
Brindley Place Birmingham (2)
A bridge above the canal in Brindley Place
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A heavenly sight along Brindley Place’s canals
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Water and bridges: edifices upon which lies Birmingham’s beauty
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A reflection in the water
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Sunset on the Mailbox

More on “ugly Birmingham”

More on pretty Birmingham

Entrepreneurship And Journalism – What To Ask Yourself?

  • The independents

 The independents (Charles Leadbeater & Kate Oakley) 1999, highlight the results of an investigative study about young independent entrepreneurs.

What is shown is the emergence of a new breed of independents setting-up their own businesses, producing a rise in self-employment, a boost of the creative industry and generating an economic growth. These entrepreneurs work closely with networks, participating in a re-dynamisation of cities that had fallen into economic or cultural decline thereof becoming less and less attractive.

Up till recently, people in the UK have been moving to London, the heart of England’s creativity. However, at the end of the past century, these once shunned cities have suddenly become attractive: Cardiff is reshaping itself around the media industry whereas Glasgow is basing its creative potential in architecture and design.

This new breed of independents is a generation that has gotten older. What at the time of this article was written appeared as a new creative phenomenon, is now mainstream and has happened in Birmingham: just have a look at the Custard Factory or Digbeth’s quirky shops and exhibitions.

  •  Entrepreneur, what does it mean?

 As a response to Leadbeater and Oakley, fifteen years later, I want to offer a reflection on what it means to be an entrepreneur today.

As adjectives come to mind one after the other – successful, innovative, clever, avant-gardist – pictures of Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington and other successful business starters come to mind.

Are we born entrepreneur or do we become one? Is entrepreneurship a mindset or about developing a collection of skills? I guess the most obvious answer is found in between.

In order to creating a business you need to know what you want to achieve and which way you will use to encounter success in your endeavour. In this light, one needs to be determined, undoubting and conscious of the risks taken however hard the path taken appears.

Nevertheless, all this self-belief is not sufficient. A basic knowledge of communication, finance or sales is necessary.  Listening to the advise of all business runners, there will eventually be a point in their career when they will have to deal with policy, PR and law.

More tips about starting your own business here

  •  My project

As a postgraduate journalism student, one needs to be aware of the process of building an enterprise. Especially in response to Leadbeater and Oakley’s paper that has highlighted the phenomenon of self-employment.

Moreover, the future is looking more and more towards freelancing (and not only in journalism). As a freelancer, you need to ask yourself:

  • What skills have you got?
  • Who is your audience (if you have one yet)?
  • What is your audience looking for in your work?
  • Who would pay for your work?

These are the questions that have been going through my mind lately and that I will answer in a few weeks when putting up the first stones of my ‘enterprise’ module project.