1:00 AM 27th March 2024

Call For Curatorial Volunteers For Film Tracing Coalmining History

Image copyright of Yorkshire and North East Film Archives
Image copyright of Yorkshire and North East Film Archives
A Teesside University academic is calling for volunteers to get involved in the creation of a new film about the region’s coalmining history.

Dr Ben Lamb, Senior Lecturer in Media in the University’s School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law, has commissioned Yorkshire and North East Film Archives to produce a short film on the story of coal and its connection with communities across the North East of England, bringing together over a century of archive footage.

The film, In the Veins: Coal Communities, will continue conversations around the 40th anniversary of the miners’ strikes, and reflect on the communities, bonds, relationships and heritage connected to the industry.

As part of that work, Ben is hoping to recruit volunteers who will play an important role in creating the film. The volunteers would form a community advisory curatorial group, which would help to shape the content of the film, which coincides with the 40th anniversary of the miners strikes.

Dr Ben Lamb
Dr Ben Lamb
Ben said:
“It is essential that the people connected to the communities we are putting on screen have their voices heard, and that the experience we create authentically captures what it was like to live and work in mining communities over the years.

“We are seeking people to join us as community curators, to tell the authentic story of mining communities. We’re looking for people who can come together to form an advisory curatorial group.

“They would be involved in sense checking edits of the film as it develops, provide emotional responses, factual advice, and ideas for how the film can be shaped to connect with audiences.”

Graham Relton, Archive Manager, Yorkshire and North East Film Archives, said:
“Our moving image heritage is a powerful medium to connect with the past and reflect on the present. We are digging deep into our collections to reveal mining footage from across the decades and importantly the people involved. From this raw content we aim to craft a short film full of emotion and resonance, that we hope will to speak to a wide audience to reconnect with their mining heritage.”

Ben added:
“We are keen to get a steer from those people who have lived and worked in mining communities, whether at the coalface, in the community, at home, or even people who continue to communicate mining heritage now, perhaps from museums or local history groups.”

Ben said the aim is to create a diverse group, with a mixture of ages, backgrounds, experience and understanding of the industry. Members of the curator group will also act as advocates for the project and continue their involvement as ‘community champions’ to help with organising screenings of the film in venues across the region.

These community champions would help in taking the completed film to community centres, groups and mining institutions to host screenings in former pit villages throughout the North East and Yorkshire.

Ben added:
“We want to ensure that as many people as possible can watch, discuss, enjoy and engage with the film. We are hoping to involve people of all ages, from those who lived and worked in mining communities, pit villages, and collieries, those who worked at the coalface, to those who may have been looking after the family at home.”

Volunteers would be needed to spare two hours each week during April and May. This voluntary work will involve watching video files at home, along with online meetings to discuss the film as it develops.

Members of the voluntary curatorial group will be invited in April to take part in a tour of the North East Film Archive in Middlesbrough, or Yorkshire Film Archive in York, depending on location. The project is supported by Teesside University’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Impact Acceleration Account.

Anyone interested in getting involved should contact Ben Lamb on b.lamb@tees.ac.uk.

Dr Ben Lamb is also presenting a talk, You’re Nicked, which traces the evolution of the British television police drama series, as part of Teesside University’s new Spotlight series of talks. More info here.