Friday, 6 December 2013


Brierfield Mill was unlocked on Saturday 30th November for the launch of the master plan. Members of the public came in droves to see the ambitious development plans presented to bring the mill back to life. Brierfield Mill is an important feature of the town, and it’s history, and local people are keen to see it brought back into use and be a vibrant part of Brierfield’s future. (It’s been empty and closed Smith and Nephew left in 2006).

Presented on the first floor, In-Situ contributed some examples of our practice. 
For In-Situ it was a great day at the mill: in many ways it kind if became our [unofficial] launch. More people got to see what we’re doing and connect with our work in the area.
William Titley installed sounds of looms spinning, which echoed memories of the past industrial days down the stairwell.

Kerry spent time revealing the past by ‘scrubbing and mopping’ the quarry stone tiles.

(Image by Keith Blackburn)

Jane Lawson’s (Our in-residence 004) timeline created a conversation point, seeing some important historical moments in Brierfield against a national and international backdrop, along side the humorous incidents in the town’s history.

Helmut Lemke (Our in-residence 004) suspended the huge selection of keys collected over the last 2 years by the on-site mill manager, Paul Fyldes.

(Image by Keith Blackburn)

And, Talkaoke generated discussion about the plans and the history of the mill.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

IN-CONVERSATION: Brierfield signal box -

The last example of the Saxby & Farmer Type 8 design on the ex L.Y.R. Built in 1876.
it's future is uncertain. 
demolition is on the cards. 
let's get a conversation going about how to save - and use - this brierfield LYR icon


Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Uplifting R & B

Despite the deep onset of 'busyman-flu' I had the pleasure of the company of two gentlemen willing to share their life experiences and knowledge of Soul over several cups of black coffee and pots of tea.

We made plans for next years 'Recorded Soul: The All-Nighter' at Manchester's Victoria Baths. 
Details will be released once DJs are confirmed but if you are interested in Art & Soul then you need to block out the 3rd and 4th May 2014.

Off on a tangent time: 
Occasionally life gives us a sign to confirm that things are ok and that we're on the right path and today a sign appeared all by itself when we were discussing a small personal collaborative research project between Bernard and Roy. 
You will however, have to wait until the event at Victoria Baths to see what that collaboration produces but as we were talking Bernard began to refer to their collaboration as R & B... referencing their names Roy & Bernard. For me this was a eureka moment (could be the drugs I'm on for my cold?) and I immediately got excited and haven't stopped thinking about it and how relevant it is given the subject of Soul music.
End of tangent.

On another note.
The original Russ Winstanley record boxes finally arrived and I can now start working on the design to house the Recorded Soul archive. Again... watch this space for further developments.

Make A Noise

Inspired by an annual theme within the libraries, In-Situ were successful in securing funding from the local initiatives fund through Lancashire County Council. This fund has enabled us to create a series of creative sessions for young people aged 13 +. The seasons have been planned around the types of activities young people we have been meeting in the library and at the local college Marsden Heights. We have started exploring music making with More Music in Morecambe, digital arts with Art Locates Me and Fashion with Street Style Surgery. We are working with local partners Project Pride.

The young people haven't really experienced any form of creative workshops and therefore this process will open up ideas as to what they may like to develop in the future with In-Situ and also gain experience working along side artists and creative practitioners. Here are some of the early results:

 Laying down some beats and writing raps

 Playing with manipulated images for projection

 Spray painting t-shirts

As part of the work some of the young people are aiming to achieve there Bronze Arts Award and we visited Contact Theatre in Manchester to see a modern version of Romeo & Juliet.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Developments of Local Soul

Here is a quick update on our project exploring the culture of Northern Soul.

We are aiming to complete the dance video by the end of the year with a view to having a launch party. The upcoming short film is a blend of moving biographical anecdotes from local dance legend Roy Stewart together with footage of the young people at their dance lessons over a period of 12 months culminating in them entering The World Northern Soul Dance Championships at Blackpool Tower.

The submergence into Northern Soul culture has allowed In-Situ to collect over 2500 photographs of items (vinyl, tickets, badges, tattoos, magazines, posters etc) and this number continues to rise at a rapid rate. This ultimately led to the creation of 'Recorded Soul': an archiving project of all things from the 'The Northern Soul Scene'. 

The project has a Facebook Page to share information regarding the current soul scene, which is undergoing something of a global revival.

The digital archive will soon have a physical presence in Brierfield Library and we see this as a major development in locating this fascinating collection of photographs/videos locally, just around the corner from Walter Street Working Men's Club, which incidentally used to be a 'Feeder' club to Wigan Casino in the 1970s: place where dancers would hangout before going to the 'all-nighter' sessions at The Casino.

The photograph below is of an original 45s (singles) Record Box designed/produced by the legendary Northern Soul DJ Russ Winstanley and was shared with us by Jordan Wilson, one of The Wigan Young Souls.

It is the inspiration for a design to house the Recorded Soul archive... watch this space (box)!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

wading through

The other sunday, joe hesketh and I walked through Pendle Water
from her backdoor in barrowford
from quaker’s bridge in brierfield
up stream
to where we met in nelson – victoria park

donned in waist high waders we worked our way through Water
around our waists, nets
hands gloved
grabbing and pulling out crap
some too big to remove
some small enough to fit in our nets
bulging with waste
in shallows
our bustles bumped our calves
bruising purples, blacks, and yellows
in deeper water the bulging bustles floated
dragging other’s
mindlessly discarded wanton waste

an action
two women
ankle high
walking though Water
thigh high wading

filmed by
five hours of footage
to be cut and rendered
into a film 
two women
dragging other’s mindlessly discarded wanton waste
in Pendle Water

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

a really rather magical day

One wednesday – turned out to be a really rather magical day.
the day began sort of like this

me, with jeni (in-situ in-residence 003)
ripping up and rolling up
in  a space that had known more active times.

12 months ago, william and i had sat on a picnic bench in this space, drinking pakisanti tea freshly brewed for us by a near-by resident

the picnic bench has since gone
burnt to buggery
around a midnight hour
near-by residents alarmed, raised the alarm
fire extinguishing men doused the flames
and removed the molten plastic lump that was once a functional attraction
leaving behind the one lone charred bench

rickety wobbly and charcoal covered.
no longer  

in june 2013
the space looked like this

tall grasses protruding from paving
no where to sit
no people
a once active hub
no-one taking ownership – including the owners
(hear-say says railtrack, or the council)

the once lively little space
where conversations happened
seems to beg a new conversation
and so I began
with shears and gloves
pulling and snipping
from this 

to this

selecting what should stay and what should go
personal taste

and plantains

pulling up plants
revealing paving
revealing conversations

I say:
i’m not from the council

I say:
i’m not from the council
my answer caused bafflement

I had wanted to activate the space
to create a spot
where things can happen
where things did happen
where things could happen once more
I hadn’t expected so many to be so enthused at the sight of weeding
I hadn’t expected so many conversations lamenting the loss of a picnic place
I hadn’t expected so many to be so dependent upon the council
and I didn’t expected a reward for doing something I wanted to do
but it came
contained in a mug
accompanied by tuna sandwiches

my next encounter in the space
with jeni
ripping up and rolling up

books retired from library shelves
refuse for recycling
retrieved from the county council cycle
but not reprieved
these books  - still fated to pulp – will pulp via art

books begetting boscage
where exactly is still to be negotiated
likewise the form

the magic
that happened
this day
couldn’t have happened
without the clearing
without the rolling
without the conversations
over months
getting to know people
people getting to know me
everything coming together in a moment
of space
and serendipity
a man with a dog
a man I have gotten to know
a man who could – as it happened – lay his hands on a table with chairs
a swift exchange of words
parting with
back in a mo
after a mo
up the hill
a mini dumper
the man with his dog
three men, one dog, and
a picnic table
with seating

time for more tea
this time
picked form this garden
brewed on site
drunk from a couple of cups by a couple of lasses sat at a blue table

it may not seem like much
but there's a tale to be told
that’s taken many months unfold

and before the day was done
the near-by residents
excited and agog
at the good fortune the day had bestowed
brought out drills and bits and bolts 
and secured their picnic table
in  - what is now – a community space
where art will happen

a socially engaging process invites the viewer to become an active participant, the process of engagement and responsiveness between the artist and the participant being the artwork. in this context ‘artwork’ ceases to be a noun but becomes a verb. (Kemp, (1999) A baker’s dozen for Gustav Metzger. In  I. Cole (Ed.) Gustav Metzger retrospectives. (pp .29-43). Oxford: MoMA.)