Hundreds gather to experience a social history of the north east on film

Rewinding The Welfare State - our North East on Film partnership screening tour with Ben Lamb from Teesside University got off to a great start in September!

Enthusiastic packed out audiences the region over have been gripped by the tears, laughter, and inspiration provided by north eastern stories of hardship from the 1920s to today.

On Sunday 22nd September Rewinding the Welfare State received an intimate 25 person audience at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle before being met by Hexham’s Forum Cinema crowd of 115 cinemagoers on Tuesday 24th September. All have been roused by tales of the Jarrow crusade, endeared by the story of an 81 year old baker, and surprised to see a famous actor’s recently uncovered second ever starring role.  

When asked whether there is anything we can learn from the past to improve our future one impassioned Hexham attendee felt compelled to state ‘in the 1930s the British public were presented with an option between capitalism and fascism. We answered that question then, and we’re being asked that same question now’.

So come along to one of our upcoming shows and tell us what you think - more info below!

A North East Film Archive & Teesside University screening programme
Touring the north east: September - December 2019

The North East Film Archive has joined forces with Dr. Ben Lamb, a Teesside University research academic who has curated a series of films which show the impact of the Welfare State on the region’s social development over the past 100 years.

Dr. Lamb has partnered with the Archive to launch Rewinding the Welfare State, a touring programme of screenings which is part of the Archive’s current North East on Film project.

Rewinding the Welfare State features local news reports and television documentaries, trade union campaigns and community-made films. These will be screened at venues across the north east between September and December.

The aim of the programme is to show the impact of the welfare state from the 1920s to today.

Dr. Lamb, of Teesside University’s School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law, said:

“Many of these films haven’t been seen since they were first made and are part of the extensive collections at North East Film Archive. By reliving the courageous character of north east communities, audiences at the screenings in the tour will experience how grassroots initiatives designed to challenge national inequality have improved the wellbeing of many people.”

As part of the screenings, the audience will be invited to share their own thoughts as the journey ‘from cradle to grave’ is explored, and hear how access to healthcare, housing, education, social security, and pensions has changed over the years.

Depending on each location, each event will be different and adapted to reference events of particular importance to each area.

Dr. Lamb said:

“We will look at life before the welfare state, turning the clock back to the Jarrow Crusade as well as considering its legacy and the people who took part in the original march. Memories will be shared ofbringing up children in the 1940s and experiences of having children in the post-war period. The educational opportunities and training that has been made available to young people will be explored, along with developments in housing, from slum clearance and life on the ‘wrong side of the tracks’,to high rise living.”

Other areas that will be highlighted include industrial development, welfare benefits and the prejudice experienced by people ‘on the dole’.

Julie Ballands, Delivery Manager of the Archive’s North East On Film project said:

“Teaming up with Ben is an incredible opportunity for the Archive to dig deeper into the material we preserve in our vaults and to present these films in a new and exciting way. The films we have selected tell the story of the north eastover the last 100+ years and it will be brilliant to explore this history with our audiences over the next few months.”

Dr. Lamb’s research looks at the representations of marginalised communities within the media, wider culture, and the arts, with the aim of helping to improve social integration policy.

Rewinding The Welfare State is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Teesside University.



ARC Stockton Arts Centre
Monday 3rd February, 7.00pm
Tickets £8/£6

Spennymoor Settlement Everyman Theatre
Thursday 26th March, 7.00pm

Information and booking details on all of our forthcoming events can be found at our events page HERE