The history of the Black Country is echoing throughout a new arts festival, which was officially launched on Friday (19 September, 2014).

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Black Country Echoes is the result of collaboration between councils, arts organisations, community groups and businesses in Wolverhampton, Walsall, Dudley and Sandwell, and celebrates the manufacturing traditions of the area.

Over the last 12 months, project workers have teamed up with manufacturers, historical societies and former workers groups to encourage local people to tell their stories about the Black Country's rich industrial heritage.

The material that has subsequently been gathered together is showcased in more than 100 events and exhibitions taking place over the next few months.

Venues across the Black Country are involved, including Wolverhampton Art Gallery, which will be exploring the links between the Black Country and JRR Tolkien's fantasy land of Mordor in a fascinating exhibition, The Making of Mordor, from 20 September, 2014 until 17 January, 2015.

Other displays at Wolverhampton Art Gallery include Simon Redgrave's Hired Hands, an exhibition about Boulton Paul and a new commission especially for Black Country Echoes, Parallel Realities: Entropy Through Black Matter by artist Stanza.

Parallel Realities takes live feeds from cameras in Bytom in Poland, Charleroi in Belgium and Dudley - all areas which share similar industrial characteristics - and presents them alongside historic and modern day photographs of Bytom, Charleroi and Dudley, drawing comparisons across the industrial landscapes and a ubiquitous surveillance culture.

Bilston Craft Gallery reflects on war and remembrance in Craft and Conflict until 22 November, while past and present photography students at the University of Wolverhampton celebrate local manufacturing and industrial heritage in a special exhibition running until late October.

Light House Media Centre is showcasing evocative images documenting the post-war era, capturing local communities and the changing face of manufacturing in Black Country Echoes: In Pictures until 31 October, 2014. It also has an exhibition by former employees of Chubb and Sons Ltd.

There are other events taking place in Wolverhampton and at locations around the Black Country - for more information, please visit Type=links;Linkid=4246;Title=Black Country Echoes;Target=_blank;.

Councillor Elias Mattu, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Leisure and Communities, said: "The people of the Black Country have an unrivalled industrial and manufacturing heritage, and the area continues to be a creative place of re-invention and innovation today. Black Country Echoes is a celebration of all of this and more.

"Over 200 volunteers have contributed their time, knowledge and enthusiasm to the festival, and their efforts have not only contributed towards a fascinating series of events, but also added to our knowledge of the history of the Black Country."

  • released: Tuesday 23 September, 2014