The Circle and the Square, Brierfield Mill, Brierfield, Lancashire, United Kingdom
September, 2017 

 

In her video installation, The Circle and The Square, Suzanne Lacy explores the demise of the textile industry as an economic and social driver in the North West of England and the resulting separation of South Asian-heritage and white communities who used to work together in the vast mills there. This localized critical inquiry represents a much needed national conversation on race, work, and capitalism, captured in the epic spaces of one such mill that stands as a symbolic remnant of the globalized trade in skills, commodities and people that continues to resonate, with seismic repercussions, across the world.

The Circle and the Square was a three-day performance in September 2016 when the Brierfield Mill, sitting in disrepair since its closure, was once again open to the community. Volunteers led tours of the mill, interviewed residents on the past and future of the region, organized a mill-workers’ reunion, and other events. The project culminated in a day-long performance with Dhikr chanting, Shape Note singing, and a dinner for 500 residents.

This two-year project with the people of Pendle in Northwest England, was organized by local organizations--In-Situ, The Free Spiritual Centre, Building Bridges Pendle and Brierfield Action in the Community—working with artist Suzanne Lacy.