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Imagine North East Exhibition Launch, Saturday 27 June 2015

It was the Imagine North East Exhibition Launch on Saturday 27 June 2015. Held at St James’ Church, Benwell the event was attended by about 80 people and more than half were local residents or from community organisations. There were also former Benwell and North Shields Community Development Project workers; local councillors, a local MP, and local authority workers. The exhibition showcased a range of work undertaken by 12 community organisations from Benwell and North Shields and researchers from Durham University. The opening speeches were at 11.00am. Professor Sarah Banks (Durham University) welcomed everyone and introduced the Imagine North East project. She was followed by Lord Jeremy Beecham (Councillor for Benwell and Scotswood); Margaret Reynolds (Councillor for Chirton, North Shields); Ian Harford (former Director of Benwell Community Development Project); Penny Remfry (former North Shields Community Development Project worker) and Professor Alan Townsend  (Imagine North East statistics). Finally, Sarah spoke again for a few minutes to introduce the Imagine North East Durham University team members (Andrea Armstrong, Fred Robinson and Vincent Chu) and to launch two booklets on Benwell and North Shields – hot off the press and available for the first time.

The speeches were followed by an excellent lunch. Steve Pool from of the wider Imagine project was there to take photos and film.

After lunch, as well as looking at the exhibits there were plenty of opportunities to take part in numerous activities:

  • A slide show of old West End photos with the West Newcastle Picture History Collection
  • Meeting the Cornerstone Knitting and Crafts group
  • Adding your Imagine photo to the Patchwork digital selfie wall
  • Touring the historic graveyard at St James’ Church with Olive, a Newcastle City guide
  • Taking part in Durham University Vox Pop to share thoughts on the exhibition and changes over time in Benwell and N Shields
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Former Benwell CDP workers meeting up at the exhibition –  Ian Harford, David Gray, Judith Green, Sue Pearson and Moira Gray (David’s partner)

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Durham University Imagine North East Research exhibit

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Benwell and North Shields booklets – hot off the press!

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Professor Sarah Banks opening the exhibition

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Lord Jeremy Beecham giving his opening speech

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Councillor Margaret Reynolds giving her opening speech

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Ian Harford, former Director of Benwell CDP giving his opening speech

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Penny Remfry, former North Shields CDP worker giving her opening speech

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Vincent Chu and the Knitting group

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Imagining community at Cedarwood by Cedarwood Trust, North Shields

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Time Traveller project by Pendower Good Neighbour Project

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A Journey through Time by Phoenix Detached Youth Project in North Shields

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Hopes and Fears by Patchwork Youth Project, Benwell

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Benwell in Felt by St James’ Centre for Heritage and Culture

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Playing with Change and Ideas by Riverside Community Health Project, Benwell

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Meadow Well Timeline by Meadow Well Connected, North Shields

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Remembering the Past, Resourcing the Future exhibit

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Photos by Ken Grint of North Shields life and work during the 1970s

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The Community Development Projects revisited – photos, CDP reports and handling books

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West Newcastle Picture History Collection exhibit

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Growing Old in West Newcastle by Search, Benwell

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Photos by Derek Smith of Benwell in the 1970s

The Imagine North East exhibition showcased community projects by Patchwork Youth Project, Search, Riverside Community Health Project, West Newcastle Picture History Collection, Pendower Good Neighbour Project, Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, St James’ Heritage and Environment and St James’ Heritage and Culture, Phoenix Detached Youth Project, Cedarwood Trust, Meadow Well Connected and Remembering the Past, Resourcing the Future. We thank them all. Here are a few photos taken by Andrea and Vincent. Benwell CDP photoImagine NE Exhibitin 27 June 2015 004 Imagine North East Exhibitin 27 June 2015 002 Imagine North East Exhibitin 27 June 2015 007 Imagine North East Exhibitin 27 June 2015 008 Imagine North East Exhibitin 27 June 2015 009 Imagine North East Exhibitin 27 June 2015 010 Imagine North East Exhibitin 27 June 2015 012 Imagine North East Exhibitin 27 June 2015 013 Imagine North East Exhibitin 27 June 2015 017 Imagine North East Exhibitin 27 June 2015 019 Imagine North East Exhibitin 27 June 2015 023 Imagine North East Exhibitin 27 June 2015 032

 

 

 

 

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Meadow Well Film Screening and Discussion with Hugh Kelly, 24 June 2015

‘An English Estate’ and other films by Hugh Kelly

Film Show and Discussion

12.30 – 2.30, Wednesday 24 June 2015, The Meadows, Waterville Road, North Shields

Blog post written by Hugh Kelly, Swingbridge Media

 

I really appreciated this opportunity to screen my three Meadowell films. Extracts were shown from: Good News to the Poor  (Church Action on Poverty, 1991); An English Estate (Channel Four, 1992) and Poverty – Its a Crime (Cedarwood Project,  2001). 

The screening was unique because film showings are often only organised around single film launches and it was fascinating to see the cumulative portrait of many people from  the same area talking about their struggle of poverty amongst a mixed story of public housing provision.

As the films were watched, many local people were keen to point out who they knew, often from thirty five years ago. Nancy Peters, a long standing Meadowell community activist, and who has sadly recently died, was one of the residents who featured in all three films. As the community filmmaker who took the perspective of making films that look with people and not at them, then these three films still succeeded in explaining what was going on in explicit terms but also in ways that were not judgemental and reflected the different views and tensions that can coexist. I had forgotten how the poor the Meadowell housing environment was in 1991, and even though we filmed just for one day, we still managed to show the scale of the physical degradation. It was also useful to reflect of the contrasting ambitions of the programmes and the underlying theories of change.

The first clip from Good News to the Poor (1991), a 30 minute programme was very much in the style of a campaigning video, where experiences of poverty and testimony are set alongside an analysis of the problems of structural inequality. Change was set within what could be achieved by Church Action on Poverty in its campaigning role, part of the role of the film was to create cross community awareness of the effects of poverty.

Our Channel Four film, An English Estate (1992) was directly commissioned as response to a proposal we wrote after the first film, but as we had witnessed a media frenzy following on from the riots in September 1991, we suggested a more considered analysis from the communities point of view. We would avoid the crude shorthand that painted residents as either being Poor, Mad or Bad. This was also being articulated by the development of theories around the underclass that American sociologist Charles Murray was promoting. His view was to blame the individual for their poverty, and he expounded the concept of a culture of poverty. He was very keen on focussing on ‘deplorable behaviour’ and that included ‘committing crimes, having illegitimate children and not wanting to work’.

We saw our programme ‘An English Estate’ as an opportunity to counter these arguments that were having some influence in Government policy at the time. We got a sizable audience on first screening – well over a million and a half people watched – and it got a positive response from participants. I went out to the way to have a preview screening on the estate before broadcast – other programme makers would not do this. Impact – always hard to say – in the immediate period the local authority started working more effectively with residents and in the medium term the housing renewal investment changed the area.

There was a ten year gap and I was asked by the Cedarwood project to support three young people into an investigation of the impact of the regeneration changes and how young people rated their lives and needs.

Together we produced a film Poverty: It’s a Crime (2001). Tom Laws, Beverly Office and Wayne Ryder talked to young people in Scotswood & Byker, and contrasted their experiences with those of people from Jesmond and North Shields. Despite the money spent on physical improvements very little has changed for people themselves. Young people give their views on poverty, school, crime, drugs, CCTV and policing on the estates. Themes of making choices and taking responsibility are presented within ideas of what type of youth and community provision would work best for young people.

I have occasionally screened clips of the programme and have thought about how the overall structure needs some change – it would benefit from a re-edit. However, peoples comments appreciated how the young people addressed concerns around poverty and discussed policing styles and the impact on their lives – all of this in a direct style of address. The dialogue process within the film is very much about Tommy, Wayne and Beverly as 20 year olds  talking with 15 year olds…and it’s in that dialogue space where experiences are clear, truthful and genuinely from the inside. The estate visuals from 14 years ago look remarkably similar to today and people commented the same situations apply today.

A lot of concern was expressed about the lack of youth provision and consequences. I was struck by the conversations we had about how the young lads from 2001 had got on with their lives…most of them were now young family men with children…and well thought of across the estate.  It will be interesting to talk to these young men now to compare and contrast their lives.

What Next

I have offered to run the screenings again and if we did so, help out on getting a bigger audience. I’d like to discuss what we could do with these films and how they might be more widely used for other community dialogues. Often regeneration processes don’t follow through and nurture the human relationships aspects of change. It might be an opportunity to extend some of these ‘people’ conversations into more purposeful learning about the impact of such schemes…and the role of community video in an active agent in community development and change.

Hugh Kelly

Swingbridge Media Tel: (01207) 545511   Mobile: 079323 04783 Email: swingbridgemedia@gmail.com    www.swingbridgemedia.co.uk

Poverty Crime 2 An English Estate_HUGH KELLY_DIRECTOR An English Estate_LES SREEDHAR_ANDY DUMBLE Poverty Crime 1_

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Imagine North East Group Meeting, 15 June, North Shields

We held an Imagine North East Group meeting on the 15th June 2015 at the Old Low Lights Heritage Centre on the Fish Quay in North Shields. It was a sunny day, and everyone enjoyed the views across the bay. Old Low Lights opened earlier this year and held for a short time, an exhibition of Imagine North East – North Shields community projects (see previous posts). This meeting had a packed agenda. We started off with a round of introductions. The group welcomed two guests from the US – Patrick Harman is in the North East for 2 weeks before taking up his Fulbright Scholarship in January 2016 (working on Imagine). Vincent Chu (also from the US) is a sociology student at Durham University and he has an internship over the summer to work with Imagine North East.

Next, Yvonne Hall showed us extracts from one of the films produced for Imagine North East by the group from Cedarwood Trust (North Shields). This included scenes of North Shields accompanied by music followed by an interview with David Peel. Everyone enjoyed the film extracts. We then moved on to other items further down the agenda because Judith Green had to leave the meeting early. This included: plans for the Imagine North East Exhibition Launch on Sat 27 June 2015 at St James’ Church in Benwell; the other Connected Communities Festival Events in June (story telling and model making in Benwell and a film show and discussion with local film maker Hugh Kelly in North Shields).

The ‘whole’ Imagine conference on 9 Sep in Huddersfield was discussed as we have the opportunity to do two workshops. Ben Kyneswood and the Coventry team are doing one and we decided to do one ourselves on the theme of ‘Being community researchers’.

Plans for the next 6 months include an exhibition at the Discovery Museum from the 1st Oct – this will be mainly digital outputs and a final Imagine North East event in November – hopefully at the Discovery Museum.

Fred Robinson gave an update on the census work he and Alan Townsend have been doing for Imagine North East and there was an update on the two booklets being produced for Benwell and North Shields – to be launched at the exhibition on the 27th June.

We then divided into small groups to consider some questions – reflecting on the contribution the community projects are making to Imagine North East. There wasn’t time to consider both questions so we concentrated on:

  • What are the key learning points for you personally and for the participants in your Imagine project?

We will return to the other questions at the next meeting which is on Wednesday 16 Sep, 10.30 – 1.00 in Benwell (Venue TBA).

Imagine CAR Group 15 June 2015 North Shields 011

Left to Right: Patrick Harman (visiting from the US); Ian Farrier, Kath Smith, Ruth Taylor, Sarah Banks, Yvonne Hall, Fred Robinson, Andrea Armstrong, Emma Renno, Judith Green

We then turned our attention to the lunch – an excellent buffet and we wandered out on to the balcony to enjoy those views again. Imagine CAR Group 15 June 2015 North Shields 001 Imagine CAR Group 15 June 2015 North Shields 002 Imagine CAR Group 15 June 2015 North Shields 003 Imagine CAR Group 15 June 2015 North Shields 004 Imagine CAR Group 15 June 2015 North Shields 005 Imagine CAR Group 15 June 2015 North Shields 006 Imagine CAR Group 15 June 2015 North Shields 008 Imagine CAR Group 15 June 2015 North Shields 009 Imagine CAR Group 15 June 2015 North Shields 010

 

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Getting in the spirit!

On the 5th June 2015, a group from Patchwork Youth Project in Benwell visited the exhibition of Imagine North East North Shields projects at the Old Low Lights Heritage Centre on the Fish Quay. They cycled there and Judith Green (Imagine North East community coordinator) met them and it looks like they had an enjoyable time – really getting into the spirit!Patchwork visiting Old Low Lights Exhibition, 5 June 2015 Patchwork visiting Old Low Lights Exhibition2, 5 June 2015

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North Shields Exhibition at Old Low Lights Heritage Centre

It was a grey, rainy day today as I set off up the A19 to meet Judith at the Old Low Lights Heritage Centre on the Fish Quay in North Shields. I followed the Fish Quay signs, winding down the hill and drove past bistros and cafes. Lots of fine looking buildings, refurbished and in use and there on the quay front  – Old Low Lights. Well the visit certainly lit up a grey day in May. Have a look at the photos I took of the panoramic views and the fabulous exhibition of Phoenix’s graffiti art project; the Meadows timeline and Cedarwood’s history project plus the amazing Ken Grint photos. North Shields Exhibition Old Low Lights Fish Quay 19 May 2015 027 North Shields Exhibition Old Low Lights Fish Quay 19 May 2015 001 North Shields Exhibition Old Low Lights Fish Quay 19 May 2015 002 North Shields Exhibition Old Low Lights Fish Quay 19 May 2015 003 North Shields Exhibition Old Low Lights Fish Quay 19 May 2015 004 North Shields Exhibition Old Low Lights Fish Quay 19 May 2015 005 North Shields Exhibition Old Low Lights Fish Quay 19 May 2015 006 North Shields Exhibition Old Low Lights Fish Quay 19 May 2015 007 North Shields Exhibition Old Low Lights Fish Quay 19 May 2015 008 North Shields Exhibition Old Low Lights Fish Quay 19 May 2015 009 North Shields Exhibition Old Low Lights Fish Quay 19 May 2015 011 North Shields Exhibition Old Low Lights Fish Quay 19 May 2015 013 North Shields Exhibition Old Low Lights Fish Quay 19 May 2015 014 North Shields Exhibition Old Low Lights Fish Quay 19 May 2015 018 North Shields Exhibition Old Low Lights Fish Quay 19 May 2015 026 North Shields Exhibition Old Low Lights Fish Quay 19 May 2015 054 North Shields Exhibition Old Low Lights Fish Quay 19 May 2015 049 North Shields Exhibition Old Low Lights Fish Quay 19 May 2015 051 North Shields Exhibition Old Low Lights Fish Quay 19 May 2015 053

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Future Creating Workshop in Benwell

On the 6th May, Imagining Community in Benwell: a Future Creating Workshop and Family Fun Day was held at the Riverside Community Health Project (Carnegie Building) in Benwell. Facilitated by Mary Brydon Miller (a professor visiting Durham from the University of Cincinnati, US) about 40 children and parents attended the workshop/fun day.  The workshop started with a critique phase which asks everyone to identify any concerns they have about where they live. These are then sorted out on a display board to see what are the main concerns. This took about 45 minutes and then we all enjoyed the buffet.

After the buffet, the groups worked on the Utopian and Realisation Phases of the workshop. For the Utopian Phase everyone was asked to write or draw ‘Our Perfect Benwell’ – what would they like to see in their community. The Realisation Phase then asks everyone to consider – ‘how can you, your family, your school, your community MAKE THIS HAPPEN’ – in other words, this is where everyone can make pledges or commitments.

The workshop was very successful and there are follow up plans being made – so watch this space

Many Thanks to Bren and all the staff from Riverside who helped plan and coordinate the workshop/fun day and the table facilitators (Andrea Armstrong, Fred Robinson and Rachel Shah). Benwell Futures Workshop 6 May2015 022 Benwell Futures Workshop 6 May2015 001 Benwell Futures Workshop 6 May2015 003 Benwell Futures Workshop 6 May2015 004 Benwell Futures Workshop 6 May2015 014

 

 

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Imagine Projects at Local History Day in North Shields

On Saturday 2 May 2015, the annual Local History Day was held at the North Shields Customer First Centre and Imagine projects from North Shields had stalls at the event: Phoenix Detached Youth Project (graffiti art project)were represented by Luke; the timeline created by the Meadow Well Connected group was there and a compilation of work by the group from Cedarwood Trust. The day also included archive film screenings with volunteers from Remembering the Past/Resourcing the Future providing social and industrial films of North Tyneside. There were author talks, a choir and ancestry sessions. Over the coming month there will be a number of local history events. North Shields Local History Day Poster photo photoa photob photoc

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Imagining Community in Benwell: a Future Creating Workshop **Booking Link below**

Imagining Community in Benwell

A Future Creating Workshop

2.00 – 4.30pm, Wednesday 6 May 2015

Carnegie Building, Atkinson Road, Benwell, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 8XS

What the workshop will involve: This workshop invites people to Imagine Community in Benwell. This involves a collaborative process – a future creating workshop – focused on developing a shared vision for the future along with concrete strategies for reaching specific goals. The workshop provides participants an opportunity to work together to deepen their understanding of the challenges facing their community, to create positive alternative futures, and to begin to design strategies to bring those futures to life.

Imagining different communities and making them happen: This is one of the key themes of the Imagine North East research project, which entails Durham University working in partnership with community organisations in Benwell. The project is looking at the way people engage with their communities and with wider society through taking an active role in civic life.

What kind of community would you like to create in Benwell? Benwell can trace its history to Roman times. It remained rural for decades and in the mid-nineteenth century the population was only 1000. The Industrial Revolution transformed Benwell and by 1900 the population was 18,000. Housing was built for the growing workforce and it contrasted sharply with the area of ‘rural’ Benwell which consisted of mansions, housing many of the new industrialists. Benwell has experienced many changes over the last century including industrial expansion and decline and has been through various phases of regeneration including demolition, refurbishment and new building. Benwell has a number of community and voluntary organisations and there is a keen interest in its history. But what of Benwell’s future?

Who would be interested? Anyone living, working or interested in Benwell including members of community and voluntary organisations.

The workshop is led by Professor Mary Brydon Miller, Director of the Action Research Center at the University of Cincinnati, USA. Mary is visiting Durham University from April – June 2015 to work at the Centre for Social Justice and Community Action (CSJCA) and is running a number of workshops.

The workshop funded by Durham University’s Imagine project. Places are free, but limited so booking is essential. To BOOK A PLACE please go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/imagining-community-in-benwell-a-future-creating-workshop-tickets-16277071158

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CANCELLED: Imagining Community in North Shields: a Future Creating Workshop

This event has been CANCELLED and we are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

We hope to reschedule the workshop at a later date

 

Imagining Community in North Shields

A Future Creating Workshop

What the workshop will involve: This workshop invites people to Imagine Different Communities in North Shields. This involves a collaborative process – a future creating workshop – focused on developing a shared vision for the future along with concrete strategies for reaching specific goals. The workshop provides participants an opportunity to work together to deepen their understanding of the challenges facing their community, to create positive alternative futures, and to begin to design strategies to bring those futures to life.

Imagining different communities and making them happen: This is one of the key themes of the Imagine North East research project, which entails Durham University working in partnership with community organisations in North Shields. The project is looking at the way people engage with their communities and with wider society through taking an active role in civic life.

What kind of community would you like to create in North Shields? North Shields can trace its history back many centuries and indeed takes its name from the ‘shielings’ or ‘shiels’ (fishermen’s huts) that once stood on the banks of the river. It was an early monk’s settlement at Tynemouth that helped to make the area one of importance from a very early period. North Shields grew in size with the salt and mining industry and, in the 18th and 19th centuries, the town expanded away from the river. North Shields has experienced many changes over the last century and has been through various phases of regeneration including demolition, refurbishment and new building. North Shields has a long history. But what of North Shield’s future?

Who would be interested? Anyone living, working or interested in North Shields including members of community and voluntary organisations.

The workshop is led by Professor Mary Brydon Miller, Director of the Action Research Center at the University of Cincinnati, USA. Mary is visiting Durham University from April – June 2015 to work at the Centre for Social Justice and Community Action (CSJCA) and is running a number of workshops.

For any queries please contact: Andrea Armstrong by email: imagine.project@durham.ac.uk or phone 0191 334 2232