ArtivistGM

Barber, C. (Participant)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipating in a conference, workshop, ...

Description

An artist-in-residence at Bolton Museums Archives & History Centre as part of the open-call ArtivistGM programme and collaboration with Greater Manchester Combined Authority, GM Libraries & Archives, and Manchester Histories.  The idea of ArtivistGM is to enable archivists and artists to collaborate in bringing a heritage collection or archive to life and create new ways for the public to engage with the heritage of their local area. The project was also designed to enable a creative practitioner and an archivist in each GM district to explore the importance of a creative archival process and develop a deeper understanding of how archives can be opened up to public engagement in new ways. Ideally, the work would take inspiration from the 200-year anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre and the themes of Protest, Democracy and Freedom of Speech. 
The main objectives of the ArtivistGM programme were to:•To create opportunities for archivists and artists to work collaboratively in bringing a heritage collection or archive to life•To create new ways for the public to engage with the heritage of their local area•To attract new audiences to archive collections•To provide archivists and artists with a professional development opportunity in contemporary archival practice.  The project included a sharing/ learning event at Manchester Central Library in July and a final evaluation session September 2019. 
During the residency I worked with archivist Caroline Furey at Bolton Museums Archives & History Centre. I became interested in considering the small square cloth of a handkerchief as record keeper of the past and of individual and imagined experience. I discovered in James Fenimore Cooper’s essay ‘Autobiography of a pocket handkerchief’ the object of the handkerchief considered as narrator, literally remembering the course of its life. After investigation at the People’s History Museum I learn of the Peterloo Handkerchief, made in mass production to keep the memory of the massacre alive. Subsequently, in the archival material presented to me by Caroline Furey I uncover a narrative handed down through generations of one young individual called Isaac Entwistle on the day of Peterloo. It is not macabre, but an astute observation from a 15-year-old boy handed down and interpreted through generations. The intimacy of the story provides a source into the past, while the smallness of a pocket handkerchief became a surface to work through this narrative from my own personal and imaginative approach.The final pieces, a set of four handkerchiefs collectively titled Spinning wheels, muffins and hedges in repeat are presented in the exhibition Peterloo: Bolton Textile Works and the Fight for Democracy, Up Close Gallery, Bolton Museum, Bolton, curated by Matthew Watson (July-September 2019). A limited edition set of handkerchiefs were also for sale in the Bolton Museum shop. Following this exhibition there has also been an opportunity to present outcomes in display cases in Bolton Library. 
Period14 May 201926 Sep 2019
Event typeOther
LocationBolton, United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionNational