A book of things collected as part of the art project: Black Path Press

PartnersMIMA, Teesside Archives, Groundwork NE, Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council

In 2019, we were invited to make a mural which explored the historic route known as the Black Path (as well as the surrounding neighbourhood of South Bank) – thinking about these places in the ‘past, present and future’.

For this commission, we wanted to meet as many people as possible because a community is made up of many different stories and perspectives. We decided that the best approach was to set up a little printing press in the Golden Boy Green Community Centre on Normanby Road and invite different people to come and make books with us. We called this Black Path Press.

The books were made on a printer called a risograph, which is very quick and easy to use. This method of production meant that some books could be made within just a couple of hours and others could be researched and compiled over a much longer period of time.

Gradually, over the course of 9 months, we worked with over 500 people to produce 36 different books. Hundreds of copies of Black Path Press books were shared across Teesside.

In Autumn 2019, we selected a number of stories and visuals from across this library of books, reworking them into the final mural design. Notes on the Black Path (as we ended up calling the mural) featured 50 different posters interwoven with a painted design referring to the pipes which surrounded the Dorman Long tower, as well as a lyric by South Bank-born songwriter Vin Garbutt (1947-2017) set in a specially made font.

Now (a little later than originally planned) we want to share this little companion book which features a compilation of Black Path Press stories celebrating this brilliant part of the world. Should you want to read any of the books in full, you can find reference copies in local libraries within the borough of Redcar and Cleveland. We hope you enjoy it.