Celebrating Hidden Middlesbrough Commissions

ReCreation by Frances Moffatt for The Tunnel Gallery. Photo credit Rachel Deakin

The Tunnel Gallery

The Tunnel Gallery is an exploration of public art in Middlesbrough. Site specific temporary works are shown in the pedestrian underpass in Middlesbrough Railway Station, the billboard under the A66 bridge on Albert Road and virtually via a dedicated website.

From 2020 (HSHAZ cultural pilot project) this new iteration of The Tunnel Gallery has been led and programmed by four independent arts organisations in Middlesbrough including; Tees Valley Arts, Navigator North, Platform A Gallery and The Auxiliary who are founding members of Middlesbrough Cultural Partnership.

As the first project for Middlesbrough’s High Street Heritage Action Zone, curatorial themes investigate how artists and communities can respond to the hidden heritage of Middlesbrough through artist commissions. Each commission is led by one of the four organisations, with commissioned artists encouraged to share their research and creative process with audiences and participants. Artist produced resources include illustrations for colouring in, artwork guides and ‘How To’ instructions and community produced zines.

Between 2020 and April 2022 eight commissions have taken place, with further commissions planned for 2022 and beyond. Developments within the HSHAZ are being taken into consideration including works within Exchange Square and Middlesbrough Railway Station which may affect the physical locations currently being utilised by The Tunnel Gallery.

“Loved the workshop. I haven’t coloured in anything for about 20 years! My son also loved the shadow play. We’ll be doing it at home for sure.”

– Workshop participant

You can visit the virtual The Tunnel Gallery and find out more here.


The former site of Middlesbrough Winter Garden. Photo Credit Rachel Deakin

Hidden Middlesbrough Collection Artist Commission

Ian Giles has been commissioned in 2022 to create a new body of work starting through engaging with the Middlesbrough Collection, led by Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA). The Middlesbrough Collection comprises 2250 works of modern and contemporary art and craft from the 1870s to 2021.

Over the next year Ian will make new work that engages with the Middlesbrough Collection and hidden histories in Middlesbrough with our communities. Ian’s practice addresses the lack of preservation of queer objects and narratives and instances where lives and achievements go unrecorded.

The work will be shown at or with MIMA later in the year towards the end of Year Two with opportunities for further sharing and public engagement within the Celebrating Hidden Middlesbrough High Street space at The Masham.

Ian has begun a series of visits to Middlesbrough HSHAZ and the Middlesbrough Collection as part of his initial research. Further activities will involve working with local identified LGBTQ+ communities.