How I grew to love my Teesside accent

Teesside Art

This is the story of How I grew to love my Teesside accent. Ever since being a teenager right up until my early 20s I always been ashamed of my Teesside accent. I think the reason I never liked having a Middlesbrough accent was the media representation of the accent whilst I was growing up it always been portrayed in a negative light. Often being mocked on television and never hearing any northern accents or anyone who spoke like me on any TV shows or radio shows ,having North East accents massively underrepresented in the media industry.

I remember back in 2013 Steph McGovern had received heavy criticism from viewers of BBC breakfast for sounding to common to be a presenter on BBC Breakfast. It was suggested by viewers and some BBC bosses she should try and change her accent and the way she speaks to more BBC English to avoid viewers not being to understand her. This was like some of my own experiences when traveling to different parts of the UK and around Europe interrailing back in 2016 . I would often face many procedures against my accent and how I spoke people not being able to understand my voice and many phrases I use not understanding what they meant, I would receive comments saying I didn’t sound English, or I sounded common, spoke to fast , often I felt on many occasions comments were made to me people were mocking the way I spoke. I do believe they are many occasions people are curious of the Teesside accent, its happened to me enough times for me to notice people mocking me or just being interested .

When seeing Steph McGovern be the BBC business reporter on the breakfast show back in 2013 for the first time seeing a women who sounded similar to me on the TV inspired me and also helped me to love my Teesside accent not be ashamed of the way I speak . It has led to me having the confidence to become a radio presenter and speak proudly in my Teesside accent. Hopefully if others hear me on the radio it will help them not be ashamed of their Teesside accent, not feel pressured in changing the way they speak help get more people with local northern accents into TV/Media roles.

Article by Chloe Tempestoso

Project Stephen Docherty Artist

Teesside Art

Project Middlesbrough sat down and chatted to local artist and musician Stephen Docherty to talk all things to do with his artwork and Middlesbrough.

Would you like to introduce yourself ?

My name is Stephen Docherty. Born and grazed in Middlesbrough. 35 year old and fast getting older.

Whats the story behind your artwork and being artist?

There is of course a story behind me but not yet leading to being an artist (except in my own head and heart) thus I can’t advise anyone else’s aspirations of a career in art but let me tell you where I’m heading and how I plan to get there… My artwork is non specific, i make everything ranging from music, videos, drawings/paintings, photo shopped images etc. I write short stories and I love photography too. In the past few years this has been the focus of my life (beyond my family) and I can no longer turn off the tap from where my ideas pour. I take inspiration from everything life offers and I live for the love of creating. A great boxer has to be a boxer 24 hours a day and I believe the same is true for an artist. That said, my primary focus has always been as a musician and song writer and I have just finished crafting my first album with our incredibly talented singer/song writer Mary Elizabeth Webb. Our band is ‘User Dreams’ but everything I (we) do falls under this too. I see us more as a creative company than a band as such. Much like how John Lydon and Keith Levene spoke of Public Image Limited (see their interview with Tom Snyder -1980.

We want to make music for movies/TV and video games etc. The majority of my influences (musically) for this album have derived from video games and cinema (soundtracks and scores) and our album ‘Fusion’ is a mixture of sounds and colours that showcase these influences. 

Whats peoples reaction been to your work?

I would say its hard to measure since all I have currently are the followers and likes on Instagram but those that have heard the album are excited about its potential reach. However I will not stop promoting my ideas, my music and my art. I have absolute belief in my ability to succeed and though thus far I’ve found a series of locked doors I’ve heard the “key” is persistence.

What does Teesside mean to you?

-Middlesbrough / Teesside is a place I love and always will. It’s all I’ve ever known. I’ve never traveled (barring a few holidays) I didn’t go away to university or anything so it’s been my surroundings since 1984 (and now this big brother of mine is watching me). I will continue in my endeavors to leave a mark and help further propel the towns reputation as a place that gives birth to talent.

Where can people find you online to follow your artwork ?

You can follow my instgram page at to follow my work.

Interview by Chloe Tempestoso

Project Anjalee Burrows

Teesside Art

Would you like to introduce yourself?

Hello! I’m Anjalee Burrows, also known as ‘Anjalee Bee’. I’m a freelance illustrator, based in Middlesbrough, currently specialising in children’s books, stationery and clothing designs.

What’s the story behind your artwork and you becoming an artist?

Illustration has always been a part of my identity, and I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve always had people encouraging me to explore creativity. Growing up, my mother would take me to draw dancers at the Billingham International Folklore Festival. As a teen I’d stay up most nights, illustrating portraits for my classmates and friends. I studied Graphic Design at the Northern School of Art, back in 2010, where I was taught to use software such as Adobe Photoshop, as well as how to approach real-life briefs. From there, I have worked hard to develop a distinct portfolio and illustrative style. In 2019 my first picture book, ‘The Hospital Hoppities’ was published.

Tell us a bit about your artwork?

What’s been people’s reaction to your artwork? My drawings capture the world around me, through an optimistic lens, often focusing on the little things that make our world so wonderful. I’m mostly known for my vibrant colour palettes, character design, and visual storytelling. ‘The Hospital Hoppities’, in particular, has received a lot of fantastic feedback as it fosters positive representation of children with chronic illnesses, by placing them in a helping role rather than a dependent one. My illustrations depict various pieces of medical equipment, such as central lines, drip stands, heart monitors, etc to normalise them and help children, for whom these things are part of daily life, feel ‘seen’ within children’s literature.

What would your advice to anyone in Middlesbrough/Teesside want a career in art?

The best advice I have been given is – don’t wait for opportunities to come to you. If you know the kind of artist you want to be, and the type of clients/projects you want to be working with, produce some examples and add them to your portfolio. A fellow illustrator I know, created mock-covers for Roald Dahl’s books, which lead to him being hired to illustrate a series of young fiction books. I’m not normally one for “inspirational quotes” but the phrase “you can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do” definitely rings true. If you want clients to see what you have to offer – show them!

What does Teesside mean to you?

I lived in Portsmouth for six years, and it has honestly made me appreciate just how special Teesside is. People always assume, to make it as a creative you need to move to London or the South but that’s simply not true. Having experience of both places, I can say that Teesside artists are making a national impact, and there seems to be a better chance of making it here than if you were to move further afield. Teesside has such a rich creative scene. From Orange Pip Market to art fairs, craft classes, pop up shops, and Facebook groups such as NE:UK Creatives, there are so many opportunities to connect with other creatives and showcase your work. Then of course you have The Northern School of Art which has propelled a lot of artists into great careers. It makes me proud to see local artists doing so well for themselves and it spurs me on to work even harder.

Where can people find you online?

Find me at @anjaleebee on Instagram and Facebook. I’ll be launching an online shop very soon!

Interview by Chloe Tempestoso

My Visit to the Black Path

Teesside Art

Artists Foundation Press have spent the past year working with people in South Bank, Middlesbrough. Their artwork ‘Notes On The Black Path’, located along the public footpath off Old Station Road, is a large collage celebrating the historical route known as ‘The Black Path’ and the nearby community of South Bank.

Opportune path for work to the steelworkers of South Bank Middlesbrough, a piece of past and present history to the people of South Bank.

My trip to the Black path in South Bank give me understanding of the heritage and history of the Teesside through the power of words and voices of local people.

To demonstrate a present-day response to the Black Path during the collapse of the steel industry, the Black Path Project was launched by several artists who produced an exhibition based around the path at the House of Blah Blah in Middlesbrough, January 2006. The exhibition featured field recordings, paintings, photographs, sculptures, and music, all produced to mirror the Black Path. Providentially, this project was able to capture the end of the Black Path era.

In December 2019, Foundation Press donated the risograph printer to the community center thereby establishing Black Path Press as an underway activity. So far, Black path Press has published 40 different books and are exploring further topics and community printmaking activities in 2020.

Black Path Press, a community publishing project, produces books with people in South Bank, Middlesbrough, UK; an area surrounding the historical Black Path route. These books are chunks of a collective effort to reimagine the story of the Black Path community. With varying subjects, the publications explore different perspectives of the past, present, and future.

Small-run books made by the Black Path Press are distributed conventionally via word of mouth and shared with local libraries, museums, and individuals living in and around South Bank. Also, a printing press has been set up, with an MZ77OE risograph printer installed at Golden boy Green Community Center, Normanby Road, South Bank.

In December 2019, Foundation Press donated the risograph printer to the community center thereby establishing Black Path Press as an underway activity. So far, Black path Press has published 40 different books and are exploring further topics and community printmaking activities in 2020.

Some of the books produced by Black Path Press include; 1) Digital drawings made after a walk around the site of Dorman Long, collecting shapes for a possible typeface, 2)Collages, turning digital drawings and photographs into letters, collaboratively creating a font for black Path Press, 3) South Bank & The Black path, Pattern Sampler vol 1/vol 2 only to mention, but a few.

In the framework of the project, Foundation Press has delivered 40 public workshops, publishing books with different groups and individuals. There approaches to books and workshops are through transcribed conversations, unearthing archival content, object-based histories, individual artist commissions, and creating collaboratively made patterns or typefaces.

Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, MIMA, has supported the exhibition of Black Path Press material and the work is on display in MIMA’s Art in Action space, though due to COVID-19 the building is presently closed.

The Middlesbrough Collection is also permanently on display and holds over 2000 artworks at the MIMA art gallery. The exhibition changes annually.

With profound gratitude to MIMA, local community artwork projects are setting off, fully supported, thus encouraging the development of more similar projects giving residents in the area an opportunity to learn about their local heritage and be more involved in the local Tees Valley art scene.

You can find out more about what MIMA are currently doing at or @mimauseful on social media.

Article by Chloe Tempestoso

This article has been supported by MIMA.