Take a visual journey in this exhibition to discover how Birmingham moved from being City of Empire to City of Diversity – from 1889 to the present day. How the make-up of the city’s population changed is shown through images drawn from the Library of Birmingham’s important photographic collections. At the heart of this tour are captivating portraits of people photographed by the Dyche studios over several decades.

This visual journey is enhanced by personal stories and reflections on migration and settlement illustrating the range of experiences of those who journeyed to encounter life in Birmingham and put down roots here. The City of Empire to City of Diversity project shows how Birmingham’s connections to the British Empire have shaped its past, present and future.

Cultural Education

School visits are welcome and highlights include:

  • a full life size model of the Dyche photography studio shop front
  • a ‘selfie space’ in front of the original Dyche backdrops where you can take photographs ‘as if’ in the Dyche studio
  • a young people’s guide to the exhibition, with questions to help young people engage and lovely photographs to take home
  • a ‘learning walk’ around the city centre, which you can take your pupils on, connecting them with the various statues and landmarks charting our city’s evolution from City of Empire to City of Diversity

The exhibition is free. Opening hours are from 11am daily, 18 March -18 June 2022. It will take about an hour to experience the exhibition, and our learning walk takes about an hour.

Please note, the link will take you to the libraries general booking form for children visiting the children’s library. There is a question on the booking form which asks ‘which parts of the library do you plan to visit?’ Please answer this with 'From City of Empire to City of Diversity: A Visual Journey'.

Come and find out how the Artist made the work at an exclusive Teacher Inspiration talk on 26 April. Places are free and strictly limited.

Website: sampad.org.uk

Generously supported by Arts Council England and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.