Forging Links:New Ways of Collecting is a programme of work being delivered by Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council (SMBC) in partnership with arts organisation Multistory. It is part of a regional programme of work called New Ways of Curating; connecting museums, artists and archives in order to attract new audiences and create participatory and innovative programmes of work within heritage settings.
The main focus of Forging Links is on the heritage of the local metal bashing trades and industries and the communities that have been shaped by them.
Sandwell Museum Service and Sandwell Community History & Archives Service (CHAS) hold an important and diverse collection relating to many hugely significant Sandwell based companies which made an impact on both the national and international stage. Forging Links aims to bring this collection to life through film, photography and audio recordings in order to reveal a social and human context for the collections and to find a way to bring it to the attention of a new generation and the wider community.
Local young people and residents will be working with artists Katie Shipley and Julian Walker over the next six months to create an exciting new collection of objects as well as an exhibition of photographs, stories and artwork which will introduce the borough’s heritage to a new audience as part of the Sandwell Arts Festival in 2011.
Katie is working with young people from the West Bromwich YMCA and Coneygre Art Centre to collect, create and record stories from pictures and items from the borough’s collections but also from meeting and interviewing older people that remember the industries in action, as well as working with local metal artists to gain first hand experience of metal bashing. Katie and the young people will be recording their experiences and findings on this blog.
Julian will be creating a new collection for the borough, in partnership with local residents. Julian will be leading the research to help bring together objects, stories and histories. Julian would also like to create a publication recording the bridges made in Sandwell, mapping their journeys across the globe with photographs of them in situ. If you have any photos of Sandwell bridges or if you want to help create this new collection with Julian he will be using this blog as a noticeboard and you can keep up to date with his events and progress or get in touch using the details below.
We want to hear your story: if you have worked in the metal bashing industries, if you have an interest in local history or if your family was involved in the industrial past of Sandwell please get in touch. We need stories, objects and/or photographs to help us bring this important history to life.
Forging Links:New Ways of Collecting is funded through Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and MLA.