Black Country Man is a specially commissioned Multistory publication. Earlier this year, a series of interviews took place with 27 men who originate from, or who now live, in the Black Country. Their stories offer personal, real life accounts of an area that is rich in history and heritage.
The interviews were transcribed and a selection is presented in the book in extract form. The full interviews are available as audio files and will be stored with Sandwell’s Community History and Archives Service (known as CHAS) and at the Black Country Living Museum.
Over a series of specially designed chapters, the book tells the stories of Black Country men. We hear about the decline of production and manufacturing; tales from school days and early childhood memories; reflections on troubled times, personal conflict and political unrest; racial inequality; leisure; food; celebratory events; and tender accounts of all kinds of relationships. This publication chimes with the personal and the intimate and yet there is a story here for everyone. Focused on the every day and the ordinary, this book reveals the endeavours and achievements of the men of the Black Country.
Illustrated by a series of specially chosen photographic images, the book contains a mixture of historic and contemporary imagery accompanying the stories. These come from a range of sources including the Archive Services from the four Black Country boroughs and the personal collections of participants. Other photographs come from acclaimed photographers Martin Parr, Daniel Meadows, John Bulmer, Nick Hedges and Vanley Burke.
Documentary designer Graham Peet was commissioned to select the photographs, edit and design the book. Writer and performance poet, Emma Purshouse conducted the interviews with Neil Price, a local Black Country enthusiast.
The book will be on sale via Multistory’s website from 18 June, 2015 www.multistory.org.uk/shop/and is also being sold at local venues including Sandwell Libraries and the Black Country Living Museum and, throughout July, the book will be sold at a specially reduced rate, at the following events celebrating the Black Country Festival 2015.
Sunday 12 July
Women Chainmakers’ Festival, 2015, throughout the High Street, Cradley Heath, 11am-5pm.
Tuesday 14 July
Cradley Heath Library is hosting a special screening of the Multistory commissioned film, Chains, Dogs & CHAOS, 2.30-3.30pm.
Saturday 18 July
Multistory will be joining staff and the Friends of Tipton Library for a special Black Country Book Day, 11am-1pm.
Black Country Man is commissioned and produced by Multistory, an ambitious community arts organisation based in West Bromwich, in the borough of Sandwell, in the Black Country. Multistory makes art with local people and critically acclaimed artists to tell stories of every day life. Multistory is funded by Arts Council England and Sandwell Council.
Emma Chetcuti, Director of Multistory, said:
The book is about the hardships, the pleasures and the humour of the men of the Black Country. It is an intimate record of their lives from living memory of the Black Country.