We often view our collective history through the lens of nostalgia, seeking comfort and reassurance from a familiar past. During my residency at Roach Bridge Tissues, I chose instead to seek out the unfamiliar and unexpectedly discovered the poetry of those workers who ushered in the modern world. These poems reveal much that could so easily have become lost to us. These small memories and forgotten moments from our manufacturing heritage; allow us to better remember who we may have been, and better define who we may yet become. My work asks you to remember William Billington, the ‘Blackburn Poet,’ and every hand loom spinner, doffer, engineer, artist, poet or papermaker who helped push “Blackburn to the fore!“
Choral performance of William Billngton's poem 'Blackburn to the fore!' 1883
Commissioned for The National Festival of Making 2017.
Performed by The Blackburn Peoples Choir