Birmingham 2022 Festival presents a China Plate and Birmingham Hippodrome project

Soho Settlers

A Creative City Project generously supported by Birmingham City Council.

A close up of a phone screen in a person's hand.

"The Soho Settlers workshop has given me a sense of self confidence and it was an experience I will never forget "

Handsworth Resident

A man and young woman chatting and looking at their phones near a bus stop.

Soho Settlers

By Black Heritage Walks Network & Overhear

Residents of the Soho Road and Handsworth shared their stories of migration during curated walks and workshops with Black Heritage Walks Network and Overhear, whilst asking them to consider their own connection to the place.

Their stories have been turned into audio pieces by the digital creative writing company Overhear, including newly commissioned poems, and worked into a brand-new heritage walk from Black Heritage Walks Network.

Each of the audio pieces have been digitally pinned to real-life locations in and around the Soho Road using the Overhear app. Users can download and collect these by exploring Handsworth and its history of migration – think ‘Pokemon Go’ for poetry!

We are inviting you to come on a heritage walk, collect these stories, and experience Birmingham’s Super Diverse area from the beautiful, genuine perspective of the people that came to live in the UK.

Whether experienced in a park, a housing estate or a bus stop, audiences will be encouraged to pause, listen, reflect, and ultimately celebrate the vibrant community that calls Handsworth home.

For more information about the Birmingham 2022 Festival, please visit:

Generously supported by Arts Council England and The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Birmingham City Council, Garfield Weston Foundation, Transport for West Midlands and National Express West Midlands.

Image © Paul Stringer

Get Involved

How to download and use the Overhear App?

  1. Head to the App Store or Google Play Store and download the free Overhear app



  1. Open the app to discover all the amazing audio pinned to locations near you. Tap the ≡ icon in the top left to focus on Soho Settlers
  2. To listen to the Soho Settlers pins located in and around the Soho Road, you will need to travel to each of their locations to collect them.
  3. Once you’re near a pin, look out for the on-screen pop-up to let you know that the pin has been collected and dropped into your library automatically.
  4. Next go to your Library, listen and enjoy!
  5. To continue collecting audio and building your pin collection, follow the onscreen instructions when prompted to make a free Overhear account – this will allow you to keep the recordings in your library to be listened to at your leisure anywhere.

For more information about Overhear, please visit:

To find out more about the residents and community groups of Handsworth, whose stories and memories have inspired these audio pieces, please visit:

When are the walks taking place? 

Black Heritage Walks Network hosted five exclusive free heritage walks of Handsworth alongside the Birmingham Festival 2022.

For more information about Black Heritage Walks Network, please visit:

To find out more about the residents and community groups of Handsworth, whose stories and memories inspired these new walks, please visit:

Five poets; Charis McRoberts, Rick Sanders, Ryan Sinclair, Adjei Sun and Cassandra Wiggan – each of whom have a personal connection to Handsworth – were commissioned to write and record audio pieces for Soho Settlers, by responding to the stories and memories shared by residents, during curated walks and workshops with Black Heritage Walks Network and Overhear.

To find out more about each of the poets, please visit:

A man and two women looking directly at the camera and smiling.

Black Heritage Walks Network

Read more
  • Commissioned Artist | Black Heritage Walks Network
  • Commissioned Artist | Overhear
  • Commissioned Poet | Charis McRoberts
  • Commissioned Poet | Rick Sanders
  • Commissioned Poet | Ryan Sinclair
  • Commissioned Poet | Adjei Sun
  • Commissioned Poet | Cassandra Wiggan
  • Associate Producer | Jade Samuels
  • Producers | China Plate & Birmingham Hippodrome

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