Anna FC Smith + Helen Mather

Photography by Livia Lazar

Images courtesy the artists

Visit the artists in their studio, see them work and hear more about this extraordinary project.

Visits can only be made by booking a time slot HERE

This Activation by Anna FC Smith and Helen Mather explores how Leigh women from pre-Peterloo Reform Societies were portrayed as witches and beasts; repurposing this imagery to create art that empowers people with a magical energy drawn from nature. The artists generate art and research with the local community and historians Ruth Mather and Yvonne Eckersley.

 

The interwoven elements are presented as folkloric objects, where banners and pikes stand like a forest populated with the beasts of the people. The project connects the community with their environment, history and agency, empowering them to roar together; sympathetic, empowered, and enfranchised. 

Throughout lockdown the artists have developed their collaborative practice with local participants who have continued to create responses from home. Their residency resumes at The Turnpike in Spring 2021, where they will develop an immersive space for co-creation as well as outdoor platforms for debate and performance. 

The project is part of The Turnpike's ongoing exploration of Bioregionalism; a political, cultural, and ecological set of views based on naturally defined areas.  

RELATED EVENTS

 

WORKING CLASS WITCHES ON BROKEN PAVEMENTS

Alt-pop poet, Louise Fazackerley, performs a selection of poetry chosen to reflect themes that mirror the life and actions of The Leigh Female Reformers of 1819. Her contemporary lived observations of life and politics in a northern town speak across the centuries and evoke an atmosphere of place; of hardship, of conviviality, and of everyday magic.

SATURDAY 6 APRIL 6-7pm

WATCH THIS EVENT

 

WITCHES IN CONTEMPORARY POLITICS - RAISING YOUR VOICE Pre-recorded conversation and live Q&A with political and LGBTQ+ activist Jess Eastoe.

SATURDAY 6 MARCH 2pm-3:30pm

Artists Helen Mather and Anna FC Smith talk with Jess Eastoe about her contemporary experiences as a campaigner, activist and youth worker based in Leigh, drawing parallels with the Leigh Female Reformers of 1819. 

WATCH THIS EVENT

 

GLIMPSING SHAPESHIFTERS Performance, conversation and Q&A with artist Rachel Finney

SATURDAY 6 FEB 6-7:30pm

Debut of pre-recorded performance by Rachel Finney for These Lancashire Women are Witches in Politics, followed by a conversation with artists Helen Mather and Anna FC Smith

WATCH THIS EVENT

 

GLIMPSING SHAPESHIFTERS Performance, conversation and Q&A with artist Rachel Finney

SATURDAY 6 FEB 6-7:30pm

Debut of pre-recorded performance by Rachel Finney for These Lancashire Women are Witches in Politics, followed by a conversation with artists Helen Mather and Anna FC Smith

WATCH THIS EVENT