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  • Writer's pictureLiz O' Connell

Archives and Mill Film Stills

Updated: Sep 20, 2020

The archives from Sunny Banks Mills and the visits to Bradford Industrial Museum and Saltaire were an inspiration.Making films and using projections has made me think about using film to document myself.

The Mill visits were fascinating, from the beating sound of the looms in Bradford, to the weir at Saltaire and on top of that the stories from the Archive at Sunny Bank Mills. Through visiting these places, I was able to develop a picture about the nature of past textile work and labour and gather ideas about the transition, and, seismic shift involved in the move from weaving in a home on a hand loom to the Industrial life of the factory.

Furthermore, this informed my thoughts about how women's work has been historically labour-intensive and underpaid and how women's domestic labour has been hidden by a veil of invisibility.

I've woven glass and created quite aesthetically beautiful glass. However, now I’d like to focus on ideas about invisible work. Not just the data gap in collecting economic statistics on domestic work but the psychological impact on women that domestic work, childcare, and care in general has, which is not counted in the economic data. Such invisible work is difficult, and generally speaking, ignored both in data collection and on a personal level.

Sunny Bank Mills Archive

The photos below, are here kindly reproduced with the permission of Sunny Bank Mills.

Sunny Bank Mills and Bradford Industrial Museum

The Industrial museum has working machinery. It took about 5 years to become fully trained in any department. Moreover, it is absolutely fascinating to think of my family’s time working in the mills in the UK upon arriving here, and meditate upon how transformative the time of the Industrial Revolution was, and how it drove change and shaped cities in the North of England.

Below are my film stills projected onto woven glass pieces.

After looking at the artist's films at the North Lands Creative Film Festival,'Glass meets the Future', I am inspired, to continue to use film. The last part of this project is performative, using the glass woven pieces of cloth and filming myself in the process.

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