21st December, the Winter Solstice, marks the shortest day and longest night of the year. In 2020 artists and cultural institutions across the Midlands come together to provide hundreds of moments of happiness and hope under the banner: It Gets Lighter From Here. This event organised by Culture Central has seen many organisations come together sharing 1 minute films, to remind us of that light always returns, even on the darkest day, and even during these uncertain times.

Here is the Jewellery Quarter we have commissioned 3 films, funded by the Jewellery Quarter BID, Jewellery Quarter Townscape Heritage and Jewellery Quarter Cemeteries Projects. It has been a joy to work with these artists to create them. We hope you enjoy the films and celebrating the fact that every day from now brings longer hours of daylight.

Saprophytes by Emily Doyle

Emily Doyle is a multidisciplinary visual artist who moved to the Jewellery Quarter as a student in 2015 and never left. Her practice focuses on the biological, looking for comfort in the physicality that connects us all during changing times. Throughout lockdown, Warstone Lane and Key Hill Cemeteries have been a source of inspiration and respite for Emily and the sites have shaped her creative output through 2020, Like many, she has found the JQ Cemeteries to be a place of grounding and reflection.

Emily Doyle’s film is inspired by the cycle of growth and rebirth we see in nature every year, which we have documented this year by gathering a lockdown gallery of images shared with us by visitors. Emily says ‘Seeing summer give way to autumn and the leaves falling only to feed the vast array of fungi that spring up has felt reassuringly cyclical, at a time when it seems more important than ever to remember that all things pass.’

Sustainability is at the forefront of Emily’s work. The textile sculptures in this film were all made using reclaimed textiles, including some sourced through Scrapstore Birmingham.

Saprophytes by Emily Doyle – JQ Cemeteries Project

Jewels by Saranjit Birdi

The Jewellery Quarter is a special place where creativity thrives and where many craftspeople choose to work. It has beautiful architecture; full of details and decorations which are truly unique. So, we present ‘Jewels’ by Saranjit Birdi, a celebration of skills, shapes and all things JQ!

Jewels by Saranjit Birdi – JQ Townscape Heritage

It gets lighter from here by Barbara Gibson and Marta Kochanek

Following an open call for submissions, the JQBID was delighted to commission Barbara Gibson and Marta Kochanek to create a 1-minute animated video responding to the prompt, It Gets Lighter From Here, and inspired by the Jewellery Quarter.

Barbara Gibson has been exhibited internationally, nationally and locally within Birmingham’s well-known galleries. Her work often uses collages of vintage magazines and illustration techniques to create socially engaged pieces, combining disparate pieces in humourous and unprecedented ways. Marta Kochanek is a multi-award-winning photography artist who has coordinated, directed and produced advertising and commercial campaign across the UK and beyond. Her photography work has been featured in galleries and exhibitions across the UK and internationally.

The resulting video below created by Barbara and Marta blends portraits of well known historical figures, with photos of workers and modern images of buildings in the Quarter. Many thanks to Anne-Marie Hayes for letting us re-use her photos of the Jewellery Quarter in this new work.

It Gets Lighter From Here – JQBID

If you have enjoyed these videos there are many more to check out today on social media – just check the hashtag #ItGetsLighterFromHere on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

Jewellery Quarter Cemeteries Project


This project is possible because of funding from: