Councillor Waseem Zaffar has been leading MyBrum, a consultation by Birmingham City Council’s new social cohesion and community safety scrutiny committee asking the simple question:
“What does it mean to be a Brummie?”
I was at Birmingham Leadership Foundation‘s Monday Masterclass in Handsworth last week (Podnosh provide social media help at the events) and helped social report the debate on “What does it mean to be a Brummie?”
There was a good mix of civic and young leaders giving their opinion. Here are my notes paraphrasing the debate:
There must be some common values that we can all understand and relate to.
Any tweet mentioning #mybrum will be counted as evidence in the consultation (here’s a flavour of what people are talking about), which closed yesterday.
What are we doing to challenge negative perception of the city, when it’s called for?
Understanding our pride in where we live and people we support can help us improve other areas.
How we present ourselves personally – and when outside the city – affects how other people perceive Birmingham.
What are we proud of?
Birmingham is a welcoming and friendly city for newcomers.
“The best promotion Birmingham have had was one man talking to a camera – athlete Usain Bolt praising Birmingham during the London Olympics. He as done more for promoting the city of a Birmingham on a global scale than any government-funded organisation has ever done.”
Mention of how lots of work went on behind the scenes to bring the Jamaica and USA athletics teams to train in Birmingham before the London Olympics.
We have sense of community here that you just can’t get in London.
Let’s get caught up in being good; not looking good.
Q: Do Birmingham schools do enough to encourage entrepreneurial behaviour and creativity in young people?
A: In primary school, yes. In secondary school, no, because the focus is on results. Teachers have bigger priorities, such as language and young people newly arrived in England. This pushes encouraging creativity down the list of priorities.
Some related tweets:
We also discussed entrepreneurial behaviour and the difference in culture of accepting failure in the US in contrast with the more risk-averse UK culture.
Birmingham is the youngest city in Europe and has a high number of young people in care. The third sector is struggling to support the number of young people coming through their doors, which has increased over the last few years.
Pressure on private sector retaining talent in Birmingham.
Discussed progression in professional careers and whether to look out for opportunities within Birmingham or elsewhere.
“BME and diversity means everybody – and everybody needs support. It doesn’t just mean black or recently arrived families; it means everybody.”