HISTORY enthusiasts are being invited to join Mossley-based carnival arts company Global Grooves in a new Heritage Lottery Fund project entitled Cotton Culture.
As the company’s base at Vale Mill on Micklehurst Road is transformed into a new, state-of-the-art cultural hub, Cotton Culture aims to uncover the building’s former life as a lynchpin in the local area’s thriving textile trade.The project also seeks to unearth how mill workers in Tameside, including those at Vale Mill, spent their precious leisure time.
Jane Harris, project manager, said: “As carnival artists, we have more in common with our predecessors in Vale Mill than we initially realised.
“Our work connects us to the thousands of mill workers who liked nothing better than a street celebration, be it a parade, a festival, a procession or a carnival, decked out in their best clothes.
“So it’s time to unpick some of the threads that connects our work to the local heritage and celebrate the learning in the best way we can – in a carnival.”
Volunteer researchers will engage in investigative work to provide fascinating historical material which will be used in the project to:
• Inspire and excite children about
heritage in school workshops
• Tell stories and share memories
in an exhibition at The Vale
• Deliver a joyous carnival in
Global Grooves would not like to set parameters or limit the enthusiasm of the researchers.
However, the company is specifically interested in three broad areas:
1. Vale Mill: its history and people.
2. Cotton: how did cotton shape
work and leisure time in
Tameside? Did it connect people
from different backgrounds?
3. Celebratory processions: what
forms did they take:parades,
festivals, carnival? Who was
involved? What did they mean
across the communities?
Due to current Covid-19 measures, volunteer researchers will work independently through online archives, web searches, raiding family photo albums and bookshelves, and trawling social media ‘in the past’ pages for relevant anecdotes and images.
However, when lockdown comes to an end, Global Grooves hopes to offer volunteer researchers skill development in oral history, the chance to connect with local studies libraries, and the opportunity to share findings through the exhibition, and with community groups and individuals, including artists.
All potential researchers will be invited to attend an initial online get-together to learn more about the project, agree research areas and hear from a guest speaker.
To learn more about the project, visit: www.globalgrooves.org/learn/cottonculture
And if you are not sure you want to be a volunteer researcher, but you still have memories or ideas to share, then Global Grooves would love to hear from you.
Primary school teachers are also encouraged to get in touch to programme heritage workshops.
Interested parties are invited
to speak to Jane Harris: please send an email with Cotton Culture in the subject heading to Jane@globalgrooves.org