The first of the Iron Duke-related community engagement projects to begin in 2016 involved the Bath-based performance poet Hannah Teasdale, who worked with young people, in particular those at Bradford on Avon Youth Group, to explore the health issues involved with working at the former Avon Rubber factory (especially those associated with the notorious ‘Black Hole’ mixing department), and any contemporary issues faced by young people living in a post-Avon town. The starting point for this project was the poem The Grim Reaper’s Snuff by Bradford on Avon’s Merv Grist.
Hannah comments that three of the girls who produced their own pieces of writing about their experience of life in Bradford on Avon had never written voluntarily before, and the workshops became very person-centred and therapeutic for them.
The resulting work was showcased at a Bradford on Avon Arts Festival event on Saturday September 10th 2016 – some written and performed by the young people, and some written by Hannah and performed by the young people. Some of the performances from that evening, plus other work by the young people, were filmed and edited by James McQuade, the resulting film, Our Black Hole, being showcased at the official unveiling of the Iron Duke on 24th September.
Click here to watch the film: Our Black Hole