Building on community connections we have developed through work with the Jubilee Arts archive over the past 18 months, we are undertaking a new project to look at the industrial legacy of the heart of the Black Country. With support from the Arts Council, artists Brendan Jackson, Jain Mckay, Alicja Rogalska,and bursary artist Joshua Whitehouse are collaborating with web designer Paul Lacey, using writing, visual art, photography and digital art. Alongside this, we are working with Oldbury and Langley Local History groups, youth groups and library groups to create a series of events and exhibitions supported by Heritage Lottery Fund and Local Area Budget.
As the project develops, we will investigate archive materials from the post-war period relating to Accles & Pollock and Albright & Wilson, core industries that shaped both local infrastructure and the economy of the country, as well as the lives of generations in the region. These industries also supported a large number of smaller firms, of which there is still little known and of particular interest to the local history groups. Through a series of workshops and bespoke activities, archive materials will be curated, presented and exhibited at a series of performative events and finally via a web site. Independent photographic curator, Pete James, will be advising on the content.
Together we will explore folk memory, oral histories and common tales, many layered fabrications of myths and personal testimonies which relate to local landmarks and industrial archaeology – all of which shape the culture and identity of a place. By combining our cross-disciplinary skills with new digital content, the web site will offer a digital journey through the area.
Made in Oldbury was the title of an large industrial exhibition held at Langley Baths in 1949, profiling the products from the area. The website in progress is www.madeinoldbury.co.uk