Inspiration Wildlife

Project Pigeon workshops

22 Feb 2011

Project Pigeon works with pigeons and people to bring about social change.  Alexandra Lockett and Ian England do lots of things with their pigeons, such as run workshops, make musical performances, curate exhibitions and design and build city centre lofts.

I got in touch with Alex and Ian to find out more and visit the loft in Digbeth, Birmingham.  The first Project Pigeon workshop was last Saturday and saw a group of us huddled together around the loft, out of the rain, drinking tea and discussing pigeons.  Pigeon history, pigeon fancying, pigeon racing… and how to cheat.

Two pigeon racers from the club Alex and Ian had recently joined were discussing the numerous methods that can be used to make pigeons fly faster (or at least appear to fly faster), including putting the clock that times the pigeon into the fringe or oven (to slow down or speed up the time) to win a race. There were many other techniques to increase speed and the overall productivity of the racing pigeons, but what struck me the most was just how competitive pigeon racing is.  Pigeon racing club members or committees can decide whether a new member can join based on their track record (for racing pigeons).  If a new member is seen to be joining all the local clubs and winning too many prizes then they can be turned down for membership or the zone for which they live can be altered so that it doesn’t include them.  This may seem unfair or even petty but this attitude is most likely due to the fact that its members are very dedicated and spend a lot of time caring for and training their pigeons.  Some club members do it to win cash prizes, others do it to be involved with the social side.

If you are curious about pigeons and want to learn more come along to the workshops at Digbeth, (run by Alex and Ian- both lovely people!) from now until April on Fridays and Saturdays.

Lucy Stevens’ artistic practice examines the acoustic ecology of the natural environment, using field recording, digital illustration, performance and printmaking as a tool to visualise sound produced by wildlife, weather and other natural phenomena.

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