- Doors Open: 6:15 pm
- Event Start: 6:30 pm
- Admission: £0
Join us at Newhampton Arts Centre for a talk and film screening by artist Sophie Huckfield, followed by a Q&A discussion.
Sharing four film works made since 2020, Sophie will reflect on their filmmaking practice to-date, particularly on their approach to ‘democratic film production’ and film’s capacity for challenging dominant narratives. The artist will also reflect on their recent year-long project OUTWORK, which tells the stories of women workers of the West Bromwich K&J printworks.
Sophie’s practice is concerned with centering the voices of women, migrants and working people, and the artist applies methods of co-production and the concept of polyphony in order to platform unheard voices. OUTWORK is rooted in the heritage of women’s oral storytelling, referencing how working women’s herstories are often shared anecdotally and passed down through a spoken tradition, while being left out of official archival records. Huckfield’s film works often take the form of the video essay, centring voice – with the voice of the computer or AI intertwining threateningly with the voices of workers – in order to interrogate legacies of privatisation and ‘progress’ and show that another world, one built on community resistance, is possible.
This event coincides with the launch of a new podcast as part of the project OUTWORK. The podcast is produced by sound artist Dr Natalie Hyacinth and narrated by Wolverhampton City Poet Laureate (2020-2022) Emma Purshouse, and seeks to explore how women can make space to debate what work is and could be.
There will be a bar available on the evening, with soft and alcoholic drinks.
Event timings: 6.30 – 8pm
This event is hosted as part of Multistory’s Blast Creative Network public programme. To learn more about the BCN and how you can get involved, visit the BCN page.
Factories leaving the worker (2022) 7mins 12secs
Commissioned by Vivid Projects and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Factories Leaving the worker’ draws on archival materials from the Trade Union Resource Centre, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery’s digital collections and contemporary footage of demolitions in the West Midlands, UK. The work explores the promises of nationalisation, the fight against privatisation of public services, alongside the legacies of Trade Unionism in the UK. The work is rooted in the concept of ‘Ruins in Reverse’, working with this method as a way to question the present moment: how the ‘cost of living crisis’ is intrinsically connected to neoliberal policies reaching back from the 1970’s. The work seeks to collapse temporalities and challenge the present narrative which posits our living conditions as an inevitability, but one we must continually challenge.
…it is time that we become human again (2021 ) 4 mins 50 secs
Commissioned for ‘SURGE’ by: Wellcome / EPSRC Centre for Interventional and Surgical Sciences, UCL and University of the Arts London
The work incorporates the action of the ‘cut’ as a framing device, centering on the idea of the ‘cut’ both as a literal action and as a symbolic and economic reality. Collaging a range of archival footage and research related to the history of surgery, automation and labour which explores the complex reality of technological determinism, automation and workers rights.
Break The Frame (2020), 9mins
Repurposing a table top three-axis machine to perform and move hand carved puppets, the moving image work deconstructs the narratives around ‘progress’ in relation to histories and futures of labour practices, social class and technological development. This work was created and filmed in isolation during the first pandemic between March-June 2020.
Written and Directed by Sophie Huckfield
Music Composition: Aubrey Jackson-Blake
Narrated by: Chris Huckfield and Sophie Huckfield
Hands (Many Hands Make Light Work) (2022) 3mins and 20secs
Commissioned by Arts Connect for British Arts Show 9 Schools Program with Hayward Gallery Touring. In association with Arts Council England, The University of Wolverhampton and Wolverhampton Art Gallery
Many Hands Make Light Work is a collaborative project involving five schools across Wolverhampton and the Black Country. Each school and college co-created a multidisciplinary moving image work based on each word of the phrase “Many Hands Make Light Work”, students collectively developed their own unique story, alongside building the props and art works for each film. The film’s five stories were inspired by West Midlands based histories of collectivity alongside contemporary issues such as food insecurity, care work and the Climate Crisis, in conjunction to the ideas and processes utilised by artists exhibiting in BAS9. Local musicians studying at Wolverhampton University were also commissioned to create unique music compositions for each moving-image work, utilising sound recordings created by each school.
Each moving image work seeks to present how one phrase or story can be interpreted and presented in a multitude of ways and perspectives, with collaboration and collectivity at the core of each work. The project aims to move away from the linear narrative of history and the ‘lone hero’s’ arc of storytelling in order to co-create stories rooted in the concept of polyphony. A practice used predominantly in music and literature, which aims to include a diversity of simultaneous points of view in storytelling, to create a cacophony of voices and perspectives.
Sophie Huckfield (she/they) is a cross disciplinary artist and researcher with a background in arts, design and engineering. Their research-based practice is political, collaborative and combines social engagement to challenge and repurpose the dominant tools and narratives used to frame specific stories, histories, futures and experiences. Which connect to themes around work, technology, craft, social-class, intersectional feminism and (de)industrialisation. When developing work they incorporate repurposing, layering and cutting as a conceptual and aesthetic tool, drawing on archival and research materials to develop multidisciplinary works which move between video, sculpture, installations and writings. Their practice is collaborative and she works with a range of organisations and individuals across disciplines to meditate upon the way we think about the world shaped by the tools at our disposal.