AN INTERACTIVE exhibition which encourages local folk to examine Stalybridge’s history and future is coming to the town’s art gallery.
Pine an’ Fret opens on Saturday, September 30, at Astley Cheetham Art Gallery on Trinity Street.
The exhibition by artist Rebecca Chesney – which has also been supported by The Bridge Creative Network – will run until January 6, 2024.
It will depict a series of posters featuring an array of poetic statements – some of which were created by the Stalybridge community during workshops with local writer Cat Lumb and some taken from poems by dialect poet Samuel Laycock.
Cat used some of Laycock’s writing to inspire people to give their ideas, thoughts and opinions about Stalybridge today, at the workshops held earlier this year at Stalybridge Library, Mossley Writers group and at Industry.
The poetic statements that have been written cover thoughts on the changing face of the town, wages, health and the cost of living. They are intended to provoke a response from the viewer and start a dialogue about Stalybridge, with the exhibition exploring our role as citizens in shaping society.
Rebecca has taken the statements from Cat’s workshops and turned them into posters, using a combination of historic letterpress printing techniques with digital design. The posters were then printed using risograph, a digital screen printing process.
The exhibition’s aim is to examine how Stalybridge has transformed since the time of Laycock in the 1800s, as well as to understand the similarities between social issues today and those of the past.
Rebecca says she wants to start a conversation with residents young and old about where Stalybridge has been, where it’s going and how people feel about the place and why.
She has selected paintings, drawings and artefacts from Tameside Council’s archive and collection which she feels capture the spirit of the town and the project to feature in the exhibition.
Audiences will be encouraged to respond to the artworks at different points in the room during the exhibition, creating new contributions which will also be put on display alongside Rebecca’s work.
All of the public’s thoughts, comments and designs will also be documented on The Living Room website – a new social history archive that aims to capture the voice of people today and give a platform for local people’s memories and experiences.