About our Birmingham Music Map

After changing my initial idea of having iconic Brum buildings on the for-Wards interactive sound map and another project had already done it beautifully, I realised it made more sense to feature Brum’s musical heritage. We don’t celebrate it enough, at all!

I wanted to visualise the wonderful music creators and iconic music spaces (think record stores, venues and recording studios) from my wonderful hometown. I realised I could not do this alone…. I contacted Claire Hartley to design the map and started work on curating the content. It was immense and I had enough to do running for-Wards. Someone suggested I contact Jez Collins from the Birmingham Music Archive and he was keen to help. Thanks to Jez for his support in helping us compile Brum’s music heritage. (Bobbie-Jane Gardner)


Here are some words from him:

Birmingham has such a long, deep and rich history of music activity, culture and heritage that who and what to include on this map was an almost impossible task. In the end it came down to the simple calculation; could I accurately pinpoint the origins or place of the musicians and venues we were mapping in Birmingham?

This proved an incredibly difficult thing to do! When I created the Birmingham Music Archive (BMA) it was because no one else was seeking to document the city’s music history and heritage and I believed that if we didn’t start documenting it then huge amounts of music and cultural history would be lost forever. Moreover, if we didn’t have access to this history and knowledge then how could the musicians and entrepreneurs of the future know about the incredible richness of Birmingham and its music? How could they learn from it, build on it and create their own history?

Compiling the location of the things we’ve mapped, I’ve been helped by the content on the BMA, crowdsourced from the music community in Birmingham. It’s amazing to see that every ward is represented on the map with some type of music history, some inevitably have more than others and it’s so brilliant that Forwards will be creating new music that will no doubt take its place in future editions of the map. However I do realise there is so much more to do and so many holes to fill in our existing knowledge!

So this is a call to arms! Help me build a more complete and representative Birmingham Music Archive. One that reflects the amazing vibrancy and diversity of the music culture of the city. One that captures the incredible and amazing music culture being made now. And one that shows the world that Birmingham is a true city of music!

Jez Collins
Birmingham Music Archive