Dogtown by DAD? skate crew

3 – 5 June 2016

Introduction by Cuckoo Young Writers

From January to May 2016, the Dad? crew – a bunch of teenage skateboarders from Newcastle  – worked with poet Paul Summers to create an exhibition of skateboarding sonnets, photos of flips and short films that show you places and faces through a skateboarder’s eyes. The exhibition gave audience a chance to see the tagging, skate tricks and injuries, and to see Newcastle in a totally new way.

210 people visited the exhibition across the weekend of 3-5th June with over 100 coming to launch night to see the young poets perform. Alongside the exhibition, there was live music, spoken word, and a screening of seminal skateboarding documentary, Dogtown and Z-Boys, which tells the story of the group of teenage skaters in 1970s California who formed Z-Boys skate crew and went on to change the history of skateboarding.

The project came about after 16-year old Isaac Goldsbury Murray, from Newcastle, took part in a Young Writers’ City summer project (see the film poem below!). With funding and support from New Writing North and Paul Summers, Isaac pulled together the members of his crew to create the exhibition. The resulting exhibition depicted a world where counter-culture rubs up against authority, but the themes are universal: where well-known city spaces are better known for their skating opportunities.

Isaac said:

“I didn’t know what to expect when Paul asked if my friends and I would like to be involved in a skate project, I just thought it sounded awesome and messaged all my friends straight away. It was a lot of hard work putting it all together, but it was really fun and I’m happy with the way everything turned out. I’ll definitely continue to write and hopefully work with New Writing North in the future.”

Poet Paul Summers said:

“The group are a lovely, passionate, anarchic bunch of young men who already dedicate a lot of time to documenting their skating and their downtime. They have a great eye for a decent image and really eclectic cultural references so it wasn’t difficult to get them to engage with the poetic bit or to get them to think about curating a version of their own lives for the Dogtown show.”

“It felt gratifying having something we’re all so passionate about coming to life.” Will, aged 16

Huge thanks to Tyneside Cinema, Metro Repro and the participants for helping to make such a unique and brilliant exhibition. You can see the full exhibition on Facebook.

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