Beautiful Birmingham: Art and Welfare

Nineteenth-century Birmingham came to be regarded as the most artistic town in England. George Dawson explicitly intended Birmingham to be a new Venice or Florence.  In fact, he intended Birmingham to be more beautiful than Venice or Florence, because the beauty of Birmingham had an extra, moral dimension deriving from the fact that in Birmingham culture was meant to be shared more equally with everybody.  The Shakespeare Library is the best surviving monument to the ethos of linking welfare and culture that was pioneered in Dawson’s Birmingham.  ‘Everything to Everybody’ will recover this heritage for a city which has often been unfairly maligned as a place without significant architectural or cultural heritage; but it will also explore and pose important questions about the relationship between heritage and welfare in Birmingham now.

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Keywords: Shakespeare, Shakespeare Library, George Dawson, Professor Ewan Fernie, Everything to Everybody

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ICE Productions

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