From the archives we have selected a particular photograph to share with you, along with some thoughts from local individuals, our curators and participants. Perhaps never seen before, these images offer an insight into the Black Country and our changing lives.
In the 1980s, Jubilee Arts signed ‘agency agreements’ with both Dudley and Walsall, expanding youth arts work further across the Black Country boroughs and helping to develop new community artists and funding.
At Noose Lane in Willenhall, they worked with a community steering group to offer an exploratory series of arts workshops events over the summer which led to a festival event. They worked one project with a group of teenage girls (and one lad, who enjoyed climbing on things to get in shot) and made a short video, called ‘Am Yow Tapin’ it?’, canvassing local opinions on Girl Power (10 years before the Spice Girls monetarised the term), Family Life; Best Friends; Spare Time; Education? Best holidays! And so on… This was premiered at the Festival.
Material in those days was captured on the newly available Sony Betamax portapack and 12.7 mm cassette tapes – although intended for home usage, these were very close to professional Betacam tapes used in news broadcasts. There was a camera, attached to a pack which you can see in this image. The pack ran off batteries. In the image you can see the girls are holding an external rifle mike. Within a few years this format lost out to VHS tapes, which came to dominate the market. The equipment to play the tapes became redundant and replacement parts unavailable. Several U-matic tapes that Jubilee recorded in the 1980s were stored with Sandwell Archives and have recently been digitised by the Media Archive of Central England, and thus reclaimed for the future.