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The Factory Floor, its phantoms and futures; Exploring legacy and labour through a familiar lens at Guy Motors Industrial Park, Wolverhampton

PhD study at Birmingham School of Art. 2022 - 


This page, Factory Floor... is a fledgling online space that articulates and documents my PhD. 


As a method for developing my thinking and interrogating my findings, and a place for observation and musing, it reflects the interdisciplinarity of my practice and describes my encounters with place, people, materials and processes.

I'm fascinated by how we experience the world and its stuff, by places and objects and how they are ecountered and used, by the people who use them and by the ways they effect behaviour and artmaking.  My PhD takes a close look at one particular contemporary, post-industrial site and community of labour and working practice in the Black Country where I grew up.

I'm excited by found objects and archives; I scavenge, collect and assemble images and things to figure them out and get to know them.  My practice is a collaboration with site and stuff, and with people.  I'm particularly interested in failure and precarity as qualities of being in the world and as inherent in the processes of artmaking/labour and of being an artist. Underpinning this research is an exploration of the relationship between art & industrial work/processes, collapse & transformation, and between public & private histories.

Originally a painter and still very engaged with its material and image making possibilties, my work is increasingly concerned with the expanded realm of painting and how that might describe an increasingly process and materially entangled practice.

I grew up in the Black Country, the granddaughter and daughter of men who worked in its manufacturing industries; when I was a girl, my father took me to the factories where his friends and colleagues worked. Images of machines that press out tools from sheet metal, that grind and polish, that mould and extrude, of conveyor belts and assembly lines, of things stacked and packed, and of forklifts moving up and down the aisles of warehouses, are etched indistinctly on my mind - a memory blur of places and objects.


Guy Motors was the longest surviving vehicle manufacturer in the Midlands - a private company set up in 1914, it exported Black Country buses and trucks all around the world and, in both world wars, it built and supplied armoured vehicles and jet enguines. My Grandfather was a track fitter there and though he'd died by the time it closed in 1981, he'd worked in its factories for over two decades - a photograph of him receiving a gift in recognition of 21 years of service, as well as the cigarette case he was given, began this project. It's this family history that makes me a sort-of-insider and this lived, familiar and inherited experience that situates and frames my research, shaping the lens of my enquiry.

Considering the contemporary Industrial Park as a site of historical trauma and mourning for the losses of community, job and economic future, I’m looking for traces of the history of the site and hunting ghosts.  Exploring the relationships between personal and public history/trauma, I'm  conceiving corporeal collapse as a metaphor for corporate collapse and the failure of community/economic body and ecosystem.  But it's much more than just a post traumatic site - it's also a site of post-industrial transformation and I'm getting to know the contemporary Industrial Park to observe and document its present-day productivities, processes and practices and to explore how they relate to art labour and practice. 

Manchester Contemporary 2023

The first exhibition of my PhD work in progress:


Zooming in, collaging, considering collapse, fragments and time.

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