Middlesbrough Art Week 2023
Showcasing local stories on screen

Tish Murtha looks towards the camera in a shot from TISHTish Murtha looks towards the camera in a shot from TISH

The past and present of the North East meet on the big screen at Middlesbrough Art Week.

Middlesbrough Art Week, the North East’s largest festival of contemporary art, returns from 28 September to 7 October.

The festival’s 6th edition is set to be its biggest yet: the event expands from a weekender format to a ten-day celebration; and festival producers Auxiliary Project Space are teaming up with venues across Middlesbrough to effect a creative takeover of the whole town.

The 2023 programme revolves around the theme of Measure and offers up a selection of exhibitions, installations and events which consider how we perceive the past, present and future. In the festival’s film programme, local stories of the past that resonate in the present loom large.

Fresh from its world premiere on opening night of DocFest 2023, Tish screens on Wednesday 4 October. Tish examines the experiences, struggles and achievements of Tish Murtha: the South Shields-born photographer who documented marginalised communities and working class life in the North East as the region grappled with the fallout of deindustrialisation. Middlesbrough Art Week present a special panel discussion alongside the film, featuring contributions from director Paul Sng (Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché), Teesside-based producer Jen Corcoran and documentary participant Ella Murtha.

On Saturday 7 October, the Yorkshire and North East Film Archive bring to life more images from the region’s past that feel all-too urgent in the here and now. Social Cinema is a new programme of short films designed to spark conversation about the big issues - from the cost of living crisis to the climate emergency - that appear time and time again throughout the archive’s collections. Graham Relton, Archive Manager at Yorkshire and North East Film Archive and producer of Social Cinema, takes part in a Q&A session after the screening.

Yorkshire and North East Film Archive make another appearance in the programme with a talk focused on Nature Matters - a new project from the archive, which uses the moving image to explore the impact of climate change on our natural landscapes. Martha Cattell, Delivery Manager for Nature Matters, hosts a discussion on Sunday 1 October exploring how artists, filmmakers and the public can engage with the project.

   Our moving image heritage can be like looking into a mirror from the past; what we see reflected can shine a light on the cracks in our world. Thanks to support from Film Hub North, we’re delighted to showcase Social Cinema: a series of archive-based short films that explore social and political issues. The screening is a rollercoaster of emotions; sometimes sad, but full of hope as we ask questions about ourselves, our communities, our society and what we can learn from the past. - Graham Relton, Yorkshire and North East Film Archive

Film Hub North is pleased to support Middlesbrough Art Week 2023 with National Lottery funding through our Pitch Pot Fund.

Our funding ensures that film plays its part at the festival by providing support for film licensing and marketing, as well as expenses for special events featuring visiting filmmakers and archivists, as well as additional activities for audiences.

Explore the festival

Middlesbrough Art Week 2023 is supported by National Lottery funding through our Pitch Pot Fund.

For more information on how we can help your next project, book a meeting with our team or visit our Exhibition Funding landing page.

Second image: Cost of Living, Yorkshire and North East Film Archive.