Hidden Middlesbrough Collection Commission

Ian Giles was commissioned to create a response to works within the Middlesbrough Art Collection held by Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA). Using Middlesbrough as a springboard, Ian has considered the hidden histories and untold stories related to the town and its wider cultural and industrial past.

Group visit to Middlesbrough. Photo credit, Rachel Deakin

Ian has actively researched queer histories in Middlesbrough, including research at the Teesside Archives, Ormesby Hall and exploring the Middlesbrough Collection at MIMA.

A series of community engagement sessions in 2022 included working with a young person’s group, a LGBTQI+ writing and book group in Middlesbrough and a queer flower arranging workshop as part of Heritage Open Days at The Masham.

Collage by Ian Giles.

As a result of the research Ian has written a historical radio drama about the fictional lifelong relationship between two male servants who worked for Bolckow and Vaughan – the founders of the iron ore industry in Middlesbrough.

Broadcast on BBC Radio Tees in February 2023 (available on BBC Sounds here), it is a tale of love, class and progress.

Ian Giles (centre) at BBC Tees. Photo credit, Rachel Deakin

Ian Giles is an artist with a social practice, fostering new networks to record and celebrate LGBTQI+ histories and contemporary experiences.