Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Community Arts Middlesbrough

Community Arts Middlesbrough (CAM) was launched by Paul Hyde and Pete Roberts in 1984 at the Pavilion

 North Ormesby, Middlesbrough. Originally the North Ormesby project, they formed a Community Co-operative in 1984 when their remit began to cover a wider area of Middlesbrough.

They covered a wide range of Community Arts activity, from murals, supporting the music collective and community recording studio - Studio 64, playgroups and much more. 

In relation to this literary history, CAM's initiatives and support and encouragement for Community based writing initiatives was essential to the developments that followed on the Creative Writing Scene (along with others areas such as the Music Collectives). CAM set up the Teesside Writers Workshop (TWW) in 1984, modelled on the Worker Writers Groups in other parts of the North East. The Teesside Writers Group will have its own post on here but was one of the liveliest and most influential groups although not without its problems.

Trev Teasdel, who was running the New Poetry Scene at the Dovecot Arts Centre at the time, announced the launch meeting at the venue. The launch included a visit and performance from the Tyneside Writer Workshop with poet Keith Armstrong guesting. Many of the members of the New Poetry Scene came along to the launch and got involved with the organising committee as will be related in post on the group.

Camx 001

Launch of Teesside Writers Workshop
Trev had met Pete Roberts at the Media Group in Darlington and was keen to work in Community Arts and became a member of the voluntary management committee of CAM working alongside Pete Roberts with Teesside Writers Workshop. In addition Trev ran writers workshops for the CAM festival and poetry performances for Middlesbrough festival. He also got involved in the Community Newspaper Workshop days, leading workshops.

Through CAM the Teesside Writers Workshop got involved with the annual Write Together sessions in Durham (blogged about separately). This was a gathering of all the Worker Writer Groups in the North East involving workshops / discussions and an evening performance from a guest poet and members of the various groups. Write Together was organised by Keith Armstrong and Doff Pollard in association with the Federation of Worker Writers and North East Community Arts Organisations. 1n 1985 Trev Teasdel proposed the formation of a regional publications group to share print, publishing and distribution resources through out the North East. Trev, Keith Armstrong, Kevin Cadwallander and Clive Rawson (Pete Roberts replacement at CAM) formed the committee for this (more of this in the post on Write Together) and helped organise the last Write Together, this time in the Tees area - Darlington Arts Centre.

As time went on, CAM was one of the organisations through which Trev

From Outlet 1987
 began to develop the writing scene in the mid 80, with CAM having helped Trevor become a WEA (Workers Educational Association) tutor and facilitating the production of Outlet. Working with Cleveland County Education through Eileen Moran, CAM arranged for Trevor to do a series of Writing Workshops for Bookweek in schools in East Middlesbrough in 1989. These and the WEA Creative Writing courses became projects centred around the Outlet project and which helped to develop the Creative Writing Movement which culminated in the annual Write Around Festival which ran 11 years from 1989.

Through Trevor, CAM also assisted Khadim Hussain in the production of an

 Asian magazine - Cleveland Review in 1989, which was a community magazine centred around sport(mostly Cricket) and Creative Writing and organising some of the earliest Mushaira (Urdu poetry symposiums).

CAM therefore played a pivotal role in the development or the Creative Writing Scene between 1984 and 1990 through their own initiatives such as the Teesside Writers Workshop and the Community Newsday Workshops and in supporting and facilitating the wider work of Trev Teasdel and initiatives such as Outlet, Cleveland Review.

Much more of the far-reaching work of Community Arts Middlesbrough can be gleaned from the minutes and other documents that will eventually be attached to this post via Google Docs.


Paul Hyde giving Portastudio training

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