Representing Hodge Hill (Birmingham)

  • Explore the relationship between ethnicity, health and well-being in a multicultural inner-city area

  • Collect the stories of local residents and health providers as the basis for a creative output

  • (Re)present the Pakistani community’s multiple ways of living in contemporary, multicultural Birmingham

Pakistani-Asian Diaspora
This case study will explore the relationship between ethnicity, health and well-being in multicultural inner-city Birmingham, focusing on the cultural resources for the promotion of health and well-being found within the Pakistani community as well as the specific challenges faced by that community.

The Hodge Hill constituency in Birmingham contains a large Pakistani population with poor rates of health and high levels of social deprivation and unemployment. Following post-7/7 terror-related arrests in the area, parts of Hodge Hill have gained a negative ‘reputational geography’ in the local and national media, which tends to focus on inter-ethnic conflict and social deprivation. The Alum Rock Road within the Washwood Heath Ward (the area’s central commercial artery), for example, is often perceived to be a Muslim ghetto where Muslims live ‘parallel lives’ – a ‘no-go area’ for non-Muslims.

The case study will use interviews with residents and local health providers as the basis for a performance, and/or other creative outputs (decided by community members) that represent the Pakistani community’s multiple ways of living in contemporary multicultural Birmingham and explore the relationships between culture, ethnicity, and health. It will combine this qualitative research with literary analysis of health and well-being in contemporary British Asian literature, in order to explore the intersections between imaginative representations and the lived experiences of the Pakistani community.

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