Jubilee Arts Archive, 2014-15
This archive shares what was going on in society, what was going on in the world and what was going on in a place like Sandwell, where industrialisation was being wiped out and we were moving into a new territory.
Going into that territory then we said, we’re not going to do the art for you, we’re going to co- produce with you we know how to make things and make things look good and tell stories, but we’ll work with you because these are your stories.
This isn’t art that only artists make, this is art that artists and communities and young people make together, and this had an enormous impact and resonated with what was going on in society. That’s what makes it so exciting, it’s not just a document and an archive about an arts process or practice, it’s about the way people lived together and worked together, and what they could achieve together.
In the 1970s times were tough, rather like today. I hope the Jubilee archive will be a revelation to today’s young people, showing just how creative and community-spirited their parents and grandparents were when they were young. Forty years on, that same community spirit is needed more than ever.
Steve Trow, one of the founder members of Jubilee Arts
This project provided an opportunity for an artist led investigation of an unique archive of material from Jubilee Arts - who were based in Sandwell in the West Midlands of the UK - and those questions - a celebration of both that generation of artist activists that inspired change and the communities they worked within, both locally and internationally, expanding the boundaries of what art is, who makes it, and where it is found.
The archive, held by Sandwell Community History and Archives Service, consists of over 20,000 images from the years 1974-94, which documented projects undertaken by cross-disciplinary artists with diverse communities.
It is a unique record of the people, places and changing demographics of the Black Country.
With respect to the original principles of Jubilee, the archive was shared through public events and workshops over an 18-month period, co-curated with local community groups, and finally presented as a bespoke media-rich website.
Project Artists: Brendan Jackson, Beverley Harvey, Chris Baldwin, Ania Bas, Geoff Broadway, Helen Sweeting, Paul Lacey.
The project was supported by Heritage Lottery Fund, Community Development Foundation, Arts Council England, Sandwell Council.