The Boarding House
The Boarding House is a collaboration with writer David Campbell to document aspects of the Yemeni community in South Shields, on the River Tyne, in the northeast of England.When Ali Said opened his South Shields boarding house for Arab seamen in August 1909, he connected the northeast of England to colonial networks that ran from Europe through Suez to India and beyond. Over time these lodgings in the Holborn district of the town marked a transformation in the character of the region. Although the boarding houses are nearing the end of their life, the Yemeni community continues to be an integral part of South Shields and northeast England.Produced in January 2009.
Part of the Furniture
The 'Factory’, ‘Reliable Upholstery’, (82 years trading), ‘George’s Workshop’ is hidden down the back lane of South Woodbine Street, South Shields and although it is hard to find it feels as if it has always been there rooted in its end of 19th century corner spot. There used to be many such workshops scattered around South Shields and in many ways the 'Factory' feels like the last one. It is a simple one room up, one room down workshop measuring twenty feet by ten feet. However, to describe the workshop like this is in no way to do it justice. George’s place of work for the last 20 years isn’t so much a factory or an upholstery workshop but a visual experience a feast for the eyes. This work has been produced over the past year with the cooperation of George and the people who visit him in the workshop.
The work is centred on the diverse community along Frederick St and the Laygate area. This is a vibrant area made up of indigenous north-easterners, a long-established Yemeni community – who were once migrants but now includes second and third generation British citizens – as well as people from Angola, Bangladesh, the Congo, Iran, Jordan, Palestine, Poland and Somalia.
Through existing contacts and friendships within the community, daily interactions of the different social groups that constitute this community were documented. The work does not profess to be an all-encompassing overview of the area but uses short photo-films to give people a platform to express their everyday thoughts, feelings and concerns, and to reflect on their place within the community. Produced in collaboration with David Campbell