Shropshire News

Join artists and academics to discuss the impact of the Industrial Revolution;

Join artists and academics to discuss the impact of the  Industrial Revolution;

9 - 10 October, Enginuity, Coalbrookdale

Art fans, students, amateur historians and anyone with an interest in the Industrial Revolution are being invited to join artists and academics in Ironbridge on 9 - 10 October to discuss the impact of the Industrial Revolution at a symposium Re-imagining the Industrial Revolution. During the two-day event delegates will discuss our industrial past, its impact on our present and consider what will happen in its aftermath. An impressive line-up of speakers from both the academic and contemporary art world includes a keynote lecture from international artist Jeremy Deller, who will take a personal look at the impact of the Industrial Revolution on British popular culture.

Following a full day of discussions, on Day Two delegates will be given the opportunity to join artist in Residence Faye Claridge as she covers the famous Iron Bridge in rags for her installation Weighty Friend. In the evening they can enjoy a performance of moving songs and projections by Nathan Tromans, The Trail of Thomas Love. Free entrance to the Ironbridge Gorge Museums will be included in the symposium ticket, which must be pre-booked.

The symposium is the culmination of an exciting programme of contemporary arts events in Coalbrookdale that have been co-produced by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and Meadow Arts and funded by Arts Council England

Highlights of the Symposium include a talk by Dr Matt Thompson, Director of Collections and Learning at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust about how the Industrial Revolution is often viewed as a functional, dirty and unattractive period. While this can indeed be seen to be true in certain cases, it is possible to see the development of the aesthetics of industry through the eighteenth and into the nineteenth centuries. In answer to this exploration of the aesthetics of industry from an historic perspective, artist Clare Mitten, who has a fascination with machines, will discuss whether this aesthetic still exists.

Other sessions will examine the business of industry with Dr Roy Edwards (Southampton University), and artist in residence Faye Claridge. Another session will see Dr Roger White (Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, Birmingham University) and leading landscape photographer John Davies look at the Landscapes of Industry and discuss how they were formed, what it might have been like to live there and what people feel about them now. It will address historic landscapes but will also ask questions about how we feel about new developments such as HS2 and what we feel today about large scale change in what we like to see as ‘unspoiled’ countryside.

A number of workshops will encourage delegates to find creative new visual or textual ways of looking at the Industrial Revolution. Poet Pele Cox (previously poet in residence at Tate and the Royal Academy of Arts) will lead a session looking at the Romantic Poets and their vision of the Industrial Revolution, before delegates join together to write their own poem in reaction to Coalbrookdale. Artist Nathan Tromans will join the ex-librarian of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust to walk through the Ironbridge Gorge and look at the industrial views of the past and present. Following their hugely successful Ironbridge Time Travellers’ Quest, The House of Fairy Tales will be back with a workshop created for the symposium delegates.

The Symposium is open to all; tickets at £15 per person must be pre-booked online at; for additional information about the symposium contact Dr Matt Thompson on 01952 435900 or visit for the full programme.

More details about Shifting Worlds activities can be found on and


Date Posted: 29th September 2015

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