Lisa Taylor has published on lifestyle media, factual welfare television and arts consumption. Her book ‘A Taste for Gardening’ (2008) was about the relationship between British garden lifestyle media and the classed aesthetics of gardening. Drawing on the interdisciplinary turn to spatiality and affect and using participatory methodologies, she examines peoples’ affective interactions with place. Her recent work tackles the impacts of wider socio-economic policies upon local communities, such as the de-valuing of spaces ‘left behind’ by de-industrialisation. Arguing for care provision and healing opportunities, her current collaborative project ‘Intertwining Threads’ uses arts methodologies as a means to foster cohesion in circumstances where communities are eroded or divided.
Intertwining Threads: Re-valuing Labour; Re-making Community
This project explores what happens to communities when once thriving mills, offering employment to company villages are closed down and demolished. It approaches the deindustrialised landscape as a site of loss. It brings togther psychoanalysis, cultural geography and non-representational theory in the development of a series of photographs using the hand skills of carpet-making as a way of rebuilding community. It expands on my earlier ethnography of Bailliff Bridge’s carpet factory in West Yorkshire, UK which was demolished in 2002 (Taylor, 2019). I exmained how ageing ex-workers responded to spatial change using mobile methods and by gathering photographs and objects. Drawing on photographic motifs and ex-worker knowledge, I collaborated with artist Catherine Bertola to make photographs depicting the hand gestures used to make carpets. The arts workshops were designed to build affective ties in Bailliff Bridge – a place which qualifies as a ‘dormitory village’ (Beatty and Fothergill, 2017). The workshops aimed to produce a convivial atmosphere where conduits of mutual respect would bridge the ex-worker/ newcomer divide so that an understanding of the village’s industrial past was exchanged on equal terms with the newcomer’s lived experience of place. The photographs used embodied nostalgia and the affective history of textile worker bodies moving together as a central theme. The series of photographs were displayed at an exhibition at Clifton House (one of the few remaining Firths Carpets buildings) to make visible the once hidden, now lost labour of the site.