Exhibition looks at changes to Blyth's industrial heritage

A new exhibition has launched exploring how industrial change is affecting Blyth’s community.

By David Sedgwick
Thursday, 8th July 2021, 8:57 pm
Updated Thursday, 8th July 2021, 8:59 pm
Clifton Evers's 'listening to hope'.
Clifton Evers's 'listening to hope'.

Blyth once believed to be the busiest coal port in the world, was also a centre for shipbuilding and coal mining.

And like many towns in the North East and beyond, these traditional industries have now disappeared and are being replaced with new industries – in Blyth’s case with the low carbon energy industry.

ENERGIES – Blyth’s Industrial Past and Energy Futures, explores the community’s reaction to the changes.

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It features work by nine regional artists, commissioned by Newcastle University. Their artworks will express how the artists see the Blyth industrial past linking to the transformation and the types of energy used to sustain both life and work.

The art is aimed at prompting people to think and question what is happening. How the community itself sees, feels and communicates this change is vital for shaping the Blyth community’s future as well as informing the adjustment all coastal communities must make to adapt to climate change.

As part of the exhibit, all visitors are encouraged to share their own thoughts and reactions to Blyth’s energy futures.

The ENERGIES exhibition has been brought about with expertise from academics across Newcastle University.

Anthony Zito, Professor of European Public Policy, is the project Lead said: “Blyth is the perfect example of a town which relied on certain industries for a very long time, but these traditional industries are now being replaced with something new.

"What we don’t know is how the community feels about this change and that’s what we’re hoping to find out with this exhibition.

“Art can help to shed light on the issues in a way that a questionnaire simply can’t. It can highlight emotion and help give us a deeper understanding of these issues.”

ENERGIES is running two separate exhibits curated by Dr Clifton Evers, Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies, at Headway Arts and the Republic Gallery in Blyth until July 25. It will also be available online at https://linktr.ee/blythenergiesexhibit

Booking is not required and social distancing and reduced capacity will be in place at both venues.