New Lanark's autumn exhibition evokes emotion with snapshots of the decline of Scottish industry
As a historic hub of learning and leisure, New Lanark invites you to step back in time this Autumn with its next exhibition, “Snapshots of a Lost World: the Decline of Scottish Industry”. The exhibition displays the Historic Environment Scotland (HES) photography exhibition, ‘Industry and Aesthetics’, which explores emotional responses to photographs of abandoned industrial spaces as a jumping off point to explore reactions to New Lanark’s decline as a working mill, and living village. The exhibition takes you on a journey of its past, present and imagining its future.
If you have been watching BBC1’s ‘Scotland from the Sky’ you will find this exhibition equally as fascinating. This unique exhibition is displayed in three parts. Firstly, soak up the ‘Industry and Aesthetics’ HES touring exhibition before absorbing the historic images from the New Lanark Archive, showing the abandoned industrial landscape of the 60s/70s/80s. This will be supplemented by contemporary pictures submitted by visitors as part of a summer photography competition which will serve to lead the narrative into the opportunities that these abandoned spaces present, and this is reflected in. And lastly, enjoy the projects from Architectural undergraduate students from Glasgow School of Art that imagine what direction the industry and work in New Lanark could go in the future.
This exhibition was created by Historic Environment Scotland (HES), the lead public body established to investigate, who care for and promote Scotland’s historic environment. The exhibition images were taken by (HES) as part of its ongoing mission to document Scotland’s historic environment. Multiple images are taken as part of creating a record in order to help us remember and better understand our industrial heritage.
As well as being responsible for over 300 properties of national importance, HES has a large and ever-growing archive of drawings, photographs and information on the nation’s archaeology, architecture and industry. The photographs in this exhibition form part of the National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) which is maintained by Historic Environment Scotland (HES). The images aim to capture the everyday, the exceptional, the marginalised, the ignored and the undervalued within our industrial heritage.
The photographs were chosen for the exhibition as a result of a ‘crowd sourcing’ exercise. Participants were invited to choose which words, feelings and emotions each of the images conjured up. Scotland was one of the world’s first industrialised nations but this extraordinary achievement was not widely studied or appreciated until relatively recently. In the post-industrial age, our legacy of industrial sites and places can appear a negative one, synonymous with decline, pollution and blight. With the passing of time, the way in which Scottish industry has shaped our communities and landscapes has even, in some places, been forgotten entirely.
HES aims to take a factual approach to photographing Industrial spaces, structures and processes. Over the years, our photographers have sought to avoid an artistic response or to convey a subjective reaction to the places and situations that are being recorded.
A few of the industrial sites included here are protected because they have already been recognised as significant or historic, others have been recorded for their interest or rarity or because they were destined to disappear through demolition or decay. Some are still in operation and some long abandoned. The common theme which unites these industrial places is threat – they are all going to be changed, or lost.
The photographs in this exhibition serve to memorialise an industrial history that is rich, complex and emotive. As well as documenting the physical reality of their subjects, they preserve the potential for a human reaction to places which may no longer exist; nostalgia, sense of belonging, negativity, discomfort or loss. By extracting individual images from their archival context, we invite you to consider these photographs not simply in terms of the information they contain but also for their aesthetic value. Do you find them beautiful or ugly? Do they provoke a personal, emotional response?
Only one hour drive from Glasgow and Edinburgh, New Lanark offers the perfect backdrop for this exhibition as a rejuvenated industrial icon which has since been awarded World Heritage Status. Following the exhibition, take a moment to visit the award winning New Lanark Visitor Centre and you can step back in time and rediscover life of this working Mill village. Following on from this, explore the industrial heritage, pick up a gift in the Mill Shop, have breakfast or lunch in the Mill Café or New Lanark Mill Hotel Restaurant, or enjoy dinner in the latter, play in the park or simply take a seat by the waterwheel and soak up the history of this magnificent 18th century cotton mill village.
To find out more visit:
“Snapshots of a Lost World: the Decline of Scottish Industry”.
14th September - 27th October 2019