Find out about an inspiring older person’s hurdling tips and let us know what they are…

As you may have gathered, our exhibition 110m Hurdles is now open at The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum in Coventry (until June 10th). We sent poet Julie Boden and photographer Joanna Ornowska into Princethorpe Court to chat to the elderly residents about how they’ve overcome the hurdles they have faced in life – and this wonderfully inspiring exhibition of ten large scale portraits and ten-line poems is the result.

Now we are working with year 5 children from Moseley Primary school. Yesterday we gave each of them a camera, and the mission to – over the half term holiday – photograph an inspiring older person, and talk to them about their top hurdling tips. After half term, the children will be working with Julie to make their notes into poems to exhibit alongside the portraits they have taken.

In part, this project was inspired by Janet’s last visit to see her grandmother, Sylvia, in the care home where she was resident. During the visit, they enjoyed reminiscing about Sylvia haring around on her moped (sporting a hat which Janet remembers as a sort of immensely glamorous pith helmet held in place by a silk headscarf), an activity which she certainly used to get her over many a minor hurdle.

This is sort of why we’re giving people an excuse to photograph and interview their elderly relations and friends – and to learn from them about their top tips for coping with the hurdles life has thrown at them. If you’d like to join in, please do – and add your portraits to the flickr group pool we’ve set up for the project.


For more about the project, see the Talking Birds’ Decathlon project website.

Talking Birds’ Art & Sport Weekender


(image) Photographer Joanna Ornowska with the 110m Hurdles exhibition.

Just a reminder:

Friday night: High Jump at mac, Birmingham 6pm.

Saturday: 110m Hurdles opens at The Herbert, Coventry (til June 10th) 10am-4pm.

Saturday: the two final shows of We Love You City (football) at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry (2.45pm & 8pm).

Sunday: (not strictly only Talking Birds, or sport, though it may get a mention) Pecha Kucha Plays also at mac, Birmingham and also as part of Capital Theatre Festival, 6pm.

Decathlon progress: 110m Hurdles and High Jump

 Now that We Love You City is up and running (til the 26th May), we’ve turned our attention back to the Decathlon


110m Hurdles: Poet Julie Boden and photographer Joanna Ornowska have been working with residents at Princethorpe Court to consider the hurdles they have faced in life – and their strategies for overcoming them. This project will result in an exhibition of large scale portraits and poems at The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum running from May 26th-June 10th.

High Jump: Earlier this year, Talking Birds, in association with Capital Plays and Writing West Midlands, put out a call for submissions for 5 minute pieces (stories, monologues, plays) which engaged with the high jump, either metaphorically, or literally. The plays or stories needed to be completed – not part-works, or works in progress – but fully realised in, and embracing, the 5 minute form. There’s a list of the selected works here, and they will be presented as a rehearsed reading, hosted by Talking Birds at mac on May 25th as part of the Capital Plays Festival.

For more details on the Decathlon as it unfolds, keep an eye out here.

[We Love You City and Decathlon have both been awarded the Inspire Mark.]