Former coal-mining communities and landscapes explored in artists’ film at Experience Barnsley

A new film reflecting on the former coal mining communities of Barnsley and its surrounding areas will be screened at Experience Barnsley, in January 2018, as part of an exhibition by artists Jacob Cartwright and Nick Jordan.

The exhibition, ‘Strata: structures, transformation and solidarity’, explores themes relating to the region’s social, cultural, industrial and natural histories. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a two-screen video installation that combines landscape and architectural cinematography with voice-over interviews and archive film, forming an immersive picture of place, shared experience and collective memory.

In light of extensive environmental and social change, Cartwright and Jordan’s film installation draws connections between former coal-mining sites in Barnsley and South Yorkshire with comparable locations across Europe. The film captures the ways in which former collieries have been transformed, framing both the similarities and differences resulting from structural, ideological and cultural change.

Cartwright and Jordan said: “The archive collection at Experience Barnsley was our starting point for this project and it unearthed some amazing material. We’ve used this to develop a two-screen film, ‘Strata’, and related artworks, which connect South Yorkshire’s coal-mining history with wider, international locations that are marked on the European Route of Industrial Heritage.

“We’ve been looking at different layers of social history and geological ecology; exploring the loss and erasure of former coal-mining sites, alongside the environmental transformation and cultural re-purposing of these locations. We’re also interested in how flora and fauna have re-colonised and thrived on former industrial sites.”

Part of Meeting Point2, a year-long project led by contemporary art agency Arts&Heritage that sees artists partner with museums in Yorkshire, the North West and the North East to produce new artworks inspired by the museums and their collections, ‘Strata’ will be screened as part of an exhibition at Experience Barnsley from Wednesday, 31 January 2018 until Wednesday, 11 April 2018.

Cllr Roy Miller, Cabinet Spokesperson for Place, said “Working on this project has been an incredible and insightful journey of learning and skills development. Without the support of Arts&Heritage through Meeting Point2, it is unlikely the collaboration would have happened. Nick and Jacob have cinematically captured Barnsley’s ever changing landscape in such a beautiful and poetic way, possibly, for the first time since Ken Loach’s critically acclaimed film, Kes in 1968.”

Timandra Nichols, director at Arts&Heritage said: “Jacob and Nick have taken inspiration from the existing collections and archive at Experience Barnsley to develop a film installation that tells the compelling story of Barnsley’s industrial history. It will really enhance the visitor experience at the museum and add to its extensive archive for the benefit of future generations.”

The exhibition has also been included in the BBC’s civilization festival, an exciting partnership between museums and galleries. The weeklong festival will be a showcase of ideas and events designed to engage a culturally curious audience.

For more information about Strata: structures, transformation and solidarity’, visit www.experience-barnsley.com

For more information about Meeting Point2, visit www.artsandheritage.org.uk