Celebrating Hidden Middlesbrough

Press Releases

Exchange Residency

Artist Call Out

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.

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.

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)

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


Press Releases

Striking photographs and historic plans from Middlesbrough’s past are going digital as part of a groundbreaking initiative.

The rarely seen historic material from the collections of Teesside Archives is being made available through the town’s High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) project.

Middlesbrough is one of more than 60 High Street Heritage Action Zones across the country, which aims to secure lasting improvements to historic high streets for the communities who use them. The initiative is Government-funded and run by Historic England. 

The new online hub features a host of historical resources for exploring the history and heritage of the Heritage Action Zone around Middlesbrough’s Historic Quarter centred on Exchange Square and the Railway Station.

Newly digitised material includes plans of a number of Victorian and Edwardian buildings, including the Grade II* Listed Webb House on Zetland Road, designed by celebrated Arts & Craft pioneer Philip Webb,  Middlesbrough Railway Station and the now demolished Royal Exchange.

As well as making the plans accessible through the new website, a number of photos and sketches from across the decades are also featured including images of pubs, newspaper cuttings, reports and souvenir publications.

Information about the HSHAZ project and new education resources, community submissions, oral histories, blogs and additional material will be added to the new online platform as the project develops.

HSHAZ Community Engagement Officer Dr Tosh Warwick said: “By digitising material and developing the new online Middlesbrough Heritage Action Zone platform we are able to make archival material to a range of new audiences to enhance engagement with our area’s history and heritage, develop new education resources and encourage local communities to share their own items and shape the project.”

Teesside Archives Manager Ruth Hobbins added: “Working in collaboration with the Middlesbrough HSHAZ has provided an amazing opportunity to digitise and showcase some of our wonderful plans and images of the historic centre of Middlesbrough to new audiences.

“It will greatly expand the reach of the service and allow more people to engage with their history and heritage.”

Councillor Mieka Smiles, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive member for Culture & Communities, said: “Middlesbrough has amazing history and heritage and our Heritage Action Zone is helping to ensure it plays its part in the town’s future.

“These new digital resources will open up a wealth of amazing material, not just to scholars and academics, but also to the public at large.

“Great things are happening in Middlesbrough, and the Heritage Action Zone will be right at the heart of the action.”

Chris Collett from Historic England said: “We are delighted to be funding such an exciting archive project through the High Streets Heritage Action Zone programme.

“It will be wonderful to give local people access to this fascinating visual record of Middlesbrough’s rich history.”

The new Middlesbrough HSHAZ online platform can be accessed at www.historicquarter.co.uk