Celebrating Hidden Middlesbrough

Celebrating Hidden Middlesbrough was a cultural programme delivered by members of Middlesbrough Cultural Partnership and led by Navigator North. which aimed to uncover heritage stories from the buildings, people and places in Middlesbrough town centre – drawing inspiration from the High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ).

‘Middlesbrough High Street Heritage Action Zone 2022’ commissioned by Navigator North as part of Celebrating Hidden Middlesbrough.

In November 2022, we proudly presented a short film featuring the artists, communities and cultural organisations who have shaped Celebrating Hidden Middlesbrough between 2021 and 2023. The film, produced by Squeaky Pedal, is a celebration of our heritage, our building, our people and our stories.

From radical nostalgia and the warrior women of Middlesbrough, to dancing in the shadows of railway bridges, memories of chicken sandwiches in The Masham and the industrial heritage of a town that built the world this film is a tribute to the creativity and pride that is so synonymous with Middlesbrough.

“Hidden Middlesbrough’s Cultural Programme has delivered a wide range of exciting and innovative activities, centred around heritage and culture…The Masham Hotel, reopened as the Heritage Action Zone Cultural Hub, is a fantastic reinterpretation of ‘The People’s Winter Garden’…the artists in residence are working closely with the public and local community groups, proposing and encouraging creative ways of learning about the history of Middlesbrough and devising for the future of the High Street.”

Maria Carballeira Rodriguez, Historic England.

During the two years of the programme we had an amazing 4470 visitors (in person) to events and exhibitions, supported by 2982 volunteer hours. 37 workshops and talks were attended by 821 people, with the programme working with 21 artists and creatives to deliver this activity.

Along with delivery partners we had 3 artists in residence, commissioned 10 artists and held 11 exhibitions.

The Masham as Navigator North’s project space on Middlesbrough High Street played an essential role in the delivery and success of the programme.

“Situated in the centre of Middlesbrough, The Masham, Navigator North’s creative space, has been the lynchpin of the Cultural Programme. It could be named as a Community Connector, a space for people to come together for conversation and wonderings. A place to exchange viewpoints, make discoveries, to share stories about the people of Middlesbrough, the buildings and the connection between the two. It has been a thread running through Celebrating Hidden Middlesbrough and is connected to everything.”

Jane Gray, Evaluator
‘Regenerating Middlesbrough High Street’ A film capturing commissioned by Historic England about the Middlesbrough High Street Action Zone Year One activity.

This is part of Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) for Middlesbrough, working with Middlesbrough Council. Our programme delivery partners included Tees Valley Arts, MIMA, The Auxiliary, Platform A Gallery and Middlesbrough Council.

Key architectural and cultural locations underpinned the programme themes, reinterpreting the vision behind Middlesbrough Winter Garden – an initiative to bring social activity, access to arts and culture, health and wellbeing to the people of Middlesbrough. To find out more about Navigator North have responded to the heritage of Middlesbrough Winter Garden since 2012 visit our dedicated page here.

Historically significant buildings, heritage archives and public collections formed the basis of creative research projects where artists, the public and local communities gained new perspectives on the role heritage and culture can play in our lives today.

“Celebrating Hidden Middlesbrough is a fantastic, innovative idea that allows anyone to own a piece of art inspired by our town’s industrial heritage, while also giving back to their local community. Our town was founded on the principles of hard work and philanthropy, and both values are still thriving in the people that live here. I can’t wait until Layla’s beautiful, historic artwork is on display, and I know the people of Middlesbrough will happily rise to her challenge of donating their time to help our local charities in exchange for it.”

Cllr Stephen Hill, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Culture and Communities.

Exchange Residencies

Exchange artist and researcher residencies with Layla Khoo and Tees Valley Arts.

The Tunnel Gallery

The Tunnel Gallery artist commissions.

High Street Project Space

The Masham Hotel, Middlesbrough

Navigator North’s creative space – The Masham.

Zetland Residency

Zetland Artist Residency with Amy Davies.

Middlesbrough Winter Garden

Find out more about the inspiration behind the programme.

Collection Commission

Hidden Middlesbrough Collection Commission with Ian Giles.

HSHAZ Community Engagement

Celebrating Hidden Middlesbrough has complemented the HSHAZ Community Engagement from Middlesbrough Council and the Community Steering Group, and from January 2021 has been delivered by Navigator North working with Middlesbrough Council.

Further information about the Community Engagement activities and how you can get involved, find out more and be inspired can be found at www.historicquarter.co.uk