EAST CLEVELAND WOMEN LIVE
1982 to 1986
Doff Pollard (Community Arts Worker) for the newly formed Village Arts in Loftus and Jean Forrest (dialect poet from Skinningrove).
In Skinningrove and supported by Village Arts.
Description of the Group
I don't have all the details, but the project began in 1982 in Skinningrove and involved a Women's Women's Live but also involved men from the village! Not clear if that was a separate component though. Being a community Arts project it focused on working class writers affected by unemployment and the decline of the industrial village of Skinningorve formerly known for its ironstone mining and steel industry. The group took part in the annual and regional Community Arts Write Together Meetings at Castle Chare in Durham organised by Keith Armstrong and Doff Pollard. (See post on Write Together. Basically it brought together all the worker-writer groups in the Northern Region for a day of workshops and readings and led to exchange readings between groups throughout the year.
Two publications - one in 1982 called Village Voices of which Jean Forrest says "We didn't sit in judgement on the contributions or estimate them in terms of their literary values. People, we feel have the right to express themselves intheir own way and we enjoy opening opportunities for their writings to be read by others."
The second publication was called The East Cleveland Way in 1984. This was initiated by Jean Forrest's challenging little jingle which was the centrepiece of a leaflet distributed by the Women Live group all over East Cleveland in 1983 to encourage people to express their feelings about living in a high unemployment area. The booklet was a collections of the poems, stories and drawings they received.
TV - During this period Channel Four / Broadside Films made a TV programme about the group and the anthology focusing unemployment in the area (Loftus (although a small place) had the highest unemployment rate inthe country at the time and there were issues around the redevelopment of the industrial village of Skinningrove). Viewers responded to the poems on unemployment etc via letters.
The anthology sasy on the TV "While we were preparing our little booklet we were approached by the production team of an all-female current affairs film company called Broadside Films, which had a regular spot on Channel Four.They wanted to use our activities as a focal point for a film about unemployment in East Cleveland. The resulting film _ Message From Skinningrove, was screened in 1983, soon after the general election.It provoked responses from people living all over the country, several who sent us poems"
The East Cleveland Way will be on here soon as a PDF file.
People Involved in the anthology / group
Doff Pollard (Village Arts worker), Jean Forrest (appeared in the Channel Four Film and in the later Outlet BBC2 Open Space programme about Outlet and Write Around), Glady Thompson (later published in Outlet), Brian Bulmer, Bill Buckley, Sue Penney, Eric Hibbing (Journalist), Denny Tuffery, Martin Richardson, Teresa Smith, HM Hedley, Janine Hudson, Kilroy wuz here!, Karrol and Mandi, Ann Marie Shelley, Stephanie Beckwith, Andrew Scott, Leslie Garrett, Hazel Mulgrew, LA Barraclough, Ida Gale, Nina Hibbin, John Smith, Robert Simpson, Howard Pearson, Ada Fox, Jeanette Parkin, Christopher Jacklin, Lorna Price,Stella, Tony Howson, GW Skaife, Paul Piert, Suzanne Pearson, Angela Pountain, Jackie Wright, Ruth Easton,Mandi Zagovic, Paula Snowdon, David Gale, Dawn Sidmore, Danny Price, Tracy Readman