Manchester Literature Festival
MLF and Manchester Art Gallery commissioned Benjamin Myers & Adelle Stripe to create two new works of fiction responding to Return to Manchester, a career-spanning solo exhibition by iconic British photographer Martin Parr. The exhibition documented Manchester over the last 40 years, including photographs of Prestwich Mental Hospital in 1972, Yates’s Wine Lodge in 1982-83 and Salford in 1986, alongside newly-commissioned work featuring the city and its diverse communities over the past six months.
British Film Institute
Our North was a writing commission on the life and work of Andrea Dunbar at Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle as part of the British Film Institute’s Film Hub North. This project formed part of a special season of film screenings celebrating great Northern writers on screen and is supported by the BFI and National Lottery.
The Humber Star was a collaborative work between Adelle Stripe & Halldór Smárason that was performed at John Grant’s North Atlantic Flux: Sounds From Smoky Bay programme as part of Hull City of Culture 2017. Read by Vicky Foster, the poem was adapted for performance by Icelandic composer Halldór Smárason and was performed by an ensemble, Sinfonia UK Collective, at Jubilee Church. It is now available to watch on Vimeo.
The Humber Star project was commissioned by Curated Place and supported through the Artists’ International Development Fund, a jointly funded programme between the British Council and Arts Council England, and Grants for the Arts.
Spectra Festival of Light
I was writer-in-residence during the winter months of 2017 as part of Secret Cities in Aberdeen. Alongside photographer Andrew Brooks I traversed the dark corners of Granite City as part of Spectra Festival. We created a newspaper and light box exhibition at Marischal College.
Part of the residency involved a visit to an archaeological dig at St.Nicholas Kirk, where bones formed part of the old church’s foundations. We documented the witches’ ring, a scold’s bridle in Tolbooth, a whale’s eardrum, Houdini’s vanishing site, William Wallace’s dismembered arm and the glorious Society of Advocates Library.
The full archive of Secret Cities images are available on Andrew’s website. This project was supported by Aberdeen City Council.
Beyond the Silver Pit is a narrative poem that tells the story of Matthew Mudd and his battle against the tempestuous nature and savage beauty of the North Sea. Drawing on local folklore and superstitions, oral histories, hydrographic maps and archive material from Hull History Centre, the poem captures the atmosphere of Hessle Road in the nineteenth century and formed part of an installation at Manchester Central Library.
As part of the project I travelled to Iceland to speak to local fishermen about the historic links between Hull and Reykjavik, and the waters which were fished by Hull crews up until the Cod Wars of the 1970s. The poem was recorded as a spoken word piece by the Hull author Russ Litten, and the visual elements were designed by Factory Records’ typographer Trevor Johnson and lighting designer Nick Malbon.
This project was supported using public funding by Arts Council England and the British Council.