Black Country Stories invites critically acclaimed photographers, film-makers and authors to work with local people to tell amazing stories that celebrate everyday life. Click below to find out more the approaches of people we have commissioned and to discover stunning photographs, films and stories of people living and working in the Black Country. You can also find out more about other projects that sit within the Black Country Stories programme.
Black Country Stories reinvents the creative documentation of working class Britain by artists from Humphrey Jennings to Stanley Spencer, George Orwell to Bill Brandt. It does so through the unique connections between Black Country people and international artists enabled by Multistory, realised through its use of new technology to make and distribute the work.
Multistory is also supporting local talent in the Black Country to tell their own stories and develop their own practice.
Black Country Stories
Magnum photographer Martin Parr’s work is close-up and intensely colourful. It is direct and uncompromising but also a respectful celebration of community life. Martin has visited factories, foundries, working men’s clubs, Royal Wedding street parties, horticultural shows, dog training classes and much, much more. The images capture and celebrate the unique mix of communities living in the area as well as existing, traditional Black Country life.
Multistory commissioned Magnum photographer, Mark Power, in March 2011 to work with us on the Black Country Stories body of work.
We invited Mark to make work that explores the social landscape of the Black Country using his large format plate camera. Mark produces beautifully detailed landscapes that draw you in. He finds beauty in what is forgotten and in people’s continued efforts to make the best out of what they have.
Black Country Women
Dame Margaret Drabble collaborated with Multistory to create ‘Black Country Women’, our Black Country version of Woman’s Realm or Woman’s Own, but with a twist! Margaret has written three short story features and Martin Parr, Magnum photographer, has taken every photograph in the magazine. All of the additional content has been contributed by local women including: the top tips, problem page, fashion, food and craft features!
Where We Dream
Where We Dream tells the story of West Bromwich Operatic Society (WBOS), an amateur group that has been performing musical theatre in the Black Country since the 1930s. WBOS produces ambitious shows in big regional theatres, and is entirely self-supporting. It has over a hundred members and its own youth theatre section but, above all, WBOS puts on great shows that are loved by their audiences.