Ross Hetherington // Modern Gazetteer


Bournville was constructed a hundred year ago as the ideal model village. The village trust maintained an rigorous application of regulation so that its “precious village” (Cadbury, R.) remained in stasis.

In 1931 Michael Reilly produced a series of illustrations for a publication issued by the Bournville Village Trust. These images popularised the ideal setting for the village and the idea of English life that the Trust continues to rigorously enforce. The notion of Englishness has changed irrevocably since then but the village setting is still seen as the one we aspire to –what if anything does this this “ideal village” now play in modern life.

During the 1990s artists Komar and Melamid explored the idea of popularity in ‘People’s Choice’. By commissioning a range of professional surveys in different countries they discovered what art people wanted, they then created art based on the results. The results from every country came back broadly the same, a landscape in the background with animals populating the foreground – mainly blue (in colour.)

The subject of the exploration will be will be a social survey that will delve beneath the veneer of Bournville, re-running a historical survey and seeing what the results might be. The media will relate to the information that is presented, whether interpretive or purely descriptive.

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