Celebrating Hidden Middlesbrough news in July


We have some exciting updates to share with you in July as part of our recently launched Celebrating Hidden Middlesbrough programme.

With Tees Valley Arts we are looking to appoint an artist in residence as part of our Exchange Residency. This will begin in Autumn 2021 and run through to Autumn 2022. We’re really looking forward to finding out what might inspire artists and communities to explore this further with us. Read on for further information and how to apply.

Our opening night for our new creative space The Masham was a resounding success and since the end of June we’ve welcomed in a whole host of visitors, some who are interested in the art, some in the heritage and others just curious to find out what the former public house is now going to become. In light of this we’ve decided to extend the run of our opening exhibition to give more people a chance to visit the current show.

We’re looking forward to seeing you soon.

Celebrating Hidden Middlesbrough

Exchange Residency
Artist Call Out

We are inviting artist applications to a year-long residency scheme exploring the cultural life of a historic centre of the town – Exchange Square, between Autumn 2021 and Autumn 2022.

This area was the hub of commercial activity during the town’s rise to prominence and remained an important exchange point, either from commerce or transportation with both the railway station and the bus stations located in this district, through until the 1980s. 

Exchange Square was Middlesbrough’s Victorian commercial and financial district and is located in the heart of the Middlesbrough High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ).

There have been numerous historic buildings past and present which once played an important role within the town’s history. This includes The Royal Exchange, Commerce House, Jordison’s Print Works, the former Post Office and Bolckow House.

More recently the Square has been an important centre for the town’s nightlife with several well-established bars and nightclubs located within the grand former civic buildings.

This residency will focus on researching, relating, and exchanging the histories of the town that matter to the communities living and working within the HSHAZ.

Above – Photograph by Vicky Holbrough

Tees Valley Arts and Navigator North as part of Middlesbrough Cultural Partnership are seeking an artist to explore the hidden heritage narratives of this place and the communities who continue to use it.

This residency will – 

  • Offer an artist an opportunity to research and respond to the hidden heritage narrative that exists within the town.
  • Connect with communities to uncover and celebrate heritage stories in a meaningful way.
  • Become part of a growing archive of responses to the heritage of Middlesbrough, made by artists and the wider community.
  • Develop exhibition or public realm outcomes in association with Tees Valley Arts and Navigator North (as programme leads).
  • Work with the Exchange Researcher in Residence to consider other avenues for dissemination of research.
  • Engage with the relevant steering panels to help envisage the future of the HSHAZ and ensure that its communities’ stories are reflected (supported by Tees Valley Arts and Navigator North).

Artist Fee £11,000

Link to download the Artist Brief.

The deadline for sending applications to info@teesvalleyarts.org.uk is 5pm Friday 30th July 2021.

 Historic England have funded this project as part of their High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) scheme. HSHAZ projects are happening all over the country, and they are designed to protect and spotlight the heritage stories on our high streets. The Celebrating Hidden Middlesbrough cultural programme will shine a creative light on the culture, history and stories of the high street. 
Follow our progress over on our Instagram account and sign up to events via our Facebook page. #hiddenmbro

Celebrating Hidden Middlesbrough is led by Navigator North working in partnership with Middlesbrough Cultural Partnership, Middlesbrough Council and Historic England. This programme forms part of the wider High Street Heritage Action Zone in the town.

Above – Exhibition opening for the Tunnel Gallery artists at The Masham. Photographs by Matthew Ward

Exhibition extended to Saturday 28th August

We had a an amazing 24 hours of opening our creative space at the former Masham Hotel on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th June. We welcomed nearly 200 visitors into the space during that time which is no mean feat when our maximum capacity due to social distancing is 15 at any one time!

It was a joy to see so many familiar and new faces, and receive such a positive response to the exhibition, the space and our plans for the future. In light of this we’ve decided to extend the exhibition, so there’s plenty of time to visit if you’ve not had chance yet.

The current exhibition includes work from Sara Cooper, WAX Photography Collective (Amy Owens, Rachel Deakin, Antony Chambers and Jason Hynes), Connor Clements, Annie O’Donnell and North East Statues (Dan Cochran) who were each commissioned to research and make new work for The Tunnel Gallery. 

Subjects include an activist motorcycle group from the town, personal family photographs and the natural heritage that grows between the cracks of the historic buildings around us. The role of public sculpture has been re-imagined through stories about the town and its residents and the creation of a virtual gallery space has opened up possibilities for people to visit these works from anywhere in the world.

The commissions reveal some of the hidden stories of Middlesbrough’s heritage and were part of a pilot project in the run up to the larger Celebrating Hidden Middlesbrough 2 year programme.

The Tunnel Gallery is led and programmed by Navigator North, Tees Valley Arts, Platform A Gallery and The Auxiliary Project Space.