I co-founded the Cinderloo 1821 community group to raise awareness of the Cinderloo Uprising which took place almost 200 years ago, when 3,000 miners and their families marched in protest at proposed pay cuts and increasing poverty. They gathered at the cinderhills of Old Park in Dawley (now the Telford Forge Retail Park), where the protest culminated in conflict with the Shropshire Yeomanry. Two men were shot dead with many injured, and one man, Thomas Palin, was hung for “felonious riot”.
The project brings together history, contemporary responses, writings and artwork. We secured public funding from project partners for a range of different activities including walks, community workshops, film-making and other artworks, educational work with schools, heritage skills workshops, local history and family history research and talks.
I am leading art projects, both self-initiated and participatory, focusing on different aspects of the historic event, working in partnership with Participate Contemporary Artspace CIC and artists and writers including Jill Impey, Jean Atkin, Amanda Hillier, Kate Allan and Jean McEwan.
Read more about the film Bear Witness: The Lie of the Land I made with Jill Impey.
Originally inspired by a poem I wrote about the Uprising and its links with trees in the landscape, I began conversations with Shropshire Wildlife Trust, the Small Woods Association and members of Severn Gorge Countryside Trust, and worked with a small group tracing and mapping trees which are estimated to be over 200 years old. We are also tracing the old miners tracks, many of which still exist and which may have been used by protesters in February 1821.
Out of the Dark zine
Working with different community groups as part of a series of guided history walks and workshops, I have compiled collages, photos, maps, poems and other writings into a zine which connects contemporary responses to the landscape with historical traces of communities and industries in the area connected with Cinderloo.
Copies of the zine can be ordered here.
Mixed media paintings and printmaking
An ongoing series of works, focusing on images of the men and women that took part in the Uprising.