Innovative Birmingham photography exhibition up for national award

Author: Stacey BarnfieldPublished:

An innovative exhibition held at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery in the summer of 2017 has been shortlisted for a national award, with a public vote taking place between October 17-25.

Thresholds, a virtual reality art project by internationally-acclaimed artist Mat Collishaw took audiences back over 170 years to the dawn of the photographic era. It was part-funded and supported by Colmore BID, the Business Improvement District for the Colmore Row area, while respected photographic historian Pete James, who sadly passed away in March 2018, was a driving force for the exhibition.

VR headsets allowed Thresholds visitors to walk around a recreation of ‘The Model Room’, an exhibition of Manufactures, Inventions, Models and Philosophical Instruments staged at King Edward’s School, New Street, in August 1839.

The exhibition revealed how Birmingham was at the forefront of developments in the technology that revolutionised the way we see, record, represent and understand the visible and invisible world. The experience was fully immersive, with visitors walking freely through a digitally reconstructed room using virtual reality headsets.

The remarkable Thresholds VR exhibition

Thresholds has now been recognised by British BIDs, the support organisation for BIDs across the country. It will compete with events in London, Nottingham and Bournemouth for the ‘Place Marketing’ prize, which honours creative exhibitions and events that help attract visitors to towns and cities.

Thanks to public support, Colmore BID won the same award in 2016 for its #nicklinunseen outdoor exhibition in Snow Hill Square, which celebrated the work of Birmingham photographer and lecturer Phyllis Nicklin.

Mike Best, Colmore BID Board Director, said: “I am very pleased to hear that Colmore BID has been shortlisted for a prestigious national BID award for Thresholds. I was highly impressed with the innovation underlining the Thresholds project, exemplifying the history and forward thinking status of the Colmore area and partnering with Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, attracting and enchanting an audience from Colmore BID and the wider city.

“This shortlisting happening in our ballot period for a third term is recognition both of the good work the BID has done and the excellent prospects for the next five years.

“We are asking people to vote for Thresholds to help give it the recognition it deserves; there is only a short amount of time to get involved!”

Members of the public have one week to vote for their favourite BID Award via the British BIDs website between October 17-25 only. Visit

The winner will be announced on November 8 at the British BIDs National Conference in Cambridge.

Press release issued by Edwin Ellis Creative Media on behalf of Colmore BID.