Place in the Community is the first of our four social research projects which aim to better understand the historical and communal value of Islington Mill through documentary research. Working with creative practitioner David Partington, we decided to create a series of connected yet stand alone remotely accessible workshops to try and engage with as many people from different community groups as possible. We then held an exhibition once restrictions allowed us to bring people in the room together and share what we had learnt with the local community.
We discovered that what Islington Mill means to its surrounding community has changed greatly through the years as the building has changed in use, which is reflective of the changes in modern British society. Our Place in the Community participants included factory workers from the Mill’s manufacturing days, shop assistants from when the building imported clothes as Islington Mill Fashions and artists who now create works in the building.
The oldest participant we connected with was Christina Kane who shared her memories of leaving school and starting as a garment worker in the Mill in 1955, when the mill was still manufacturing clothes on site.
Local history group We Grew Up in Salford provided lots of their memories of the mill, mainly from back when it was Islington Mill Fashions. Our creative practitioner David Partington then turned these into commemorative plates.
As David is a potter he held various ceramics workshops, in person and remotely using instructional videos. If you want to join in with any of the remote workshops his videos are available to view here.
We held a free entry exhibition in July 2021 where we displayed the memories collected, as well as the creative responses to them. Over 100 people came to view our exhibition, which included commerative plates based of participant’s memories, mini mills made by a local school and postcards written containing reflections of people who had worked at Islington Mill.