Shored, My Ruin(ed) City

Grade Separation: Archive of Hockley Flyover

Anila Safeer (UK), Sebastian Smart (UK), Fei Luo (UK), Michael Conner (UK)

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Birmingham is closely connected to the utopian ideals of mid-twentieth century planners and architects. The term “grade separation” refers to the separation of vehicular from pedestrian space. The road often overwhelmed the context. In an attempt to counter this, artworks were commissioned for the public realm. At Hockley Flyover, sculptor William Mitchell created a series of dramatic wall reliefs in pigmented concrete.

These types of public art remain part of an important history of our urban form and are increasingly under threat. To the casual pedestrian, Hockley Circus might seem a story of urban decay and neglect, but beneath is a story of post-war optimism in art, engineering and architecture.

Documenting this story has developed into an interdisciplinary collaboration between different media and methods of art and archive.