Taking up residence in an empty shopping unit, METIS spent a week developing World Factory, our current interdisciplinary performance project, which explores the global textile industry and our relationship to what we wear.
The METIS team used the week to gather responses and also wider thoughts about our relationship to clothes and the clothing industry. During the week, a web of thoughts, ideas and anecdotes was created in the shopping unit, strung from shirt to shirt with thread, ribbon and lace. At the front of the shop, sewing machines whirred and tea was on offer to all who dropped by.
On Saturday 19 April, artist and researcher Sarah Whitfield joined us to ‘mind and mend’ and share stories of clothes that matter. Her website is here.
Performer Pradeep Jey, with a crack support team from the New Wolsey, was out and about around Tower Ramparts and on the High Street taking the measurements of men in Ipswich. The resulting average size will provide the dimensions for The Shirt to be made in China.
Over the week, at the back of the shop the METIS Team worked on the project as a whole: researching factory management systems, communicating with Zhao Chuan in China and finding out more about the clothing industry at home in Ipswich. We tested our World Factory Factory Management game out with volunteers from the New Wolsey’s Youth Theatre and Young Company: their responses will shape our next phase of creative development.
The outcomes of the residency will be shared as a part of Pulse Festival, Saturday 7 June, when METIS will once again take up residence at Tower Ramparts, offering an immersive experience over the course of a day to the public and festival goers. Later that day, Zoë Svendsen and Simon Daw will present 28 Hands Make Light Work at The New Wolsey Theatre, introducing the World Factory Shirt and demonstrating the bespoke World Factory app, designed to scan codes on The Shirt which trigger videos revealing the story of its making.
Simon Cantrill from the BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee joins both events to chat with METIS and the public about his relationship to sewing and his and his family’s experience of working in Bradford’s textile mills.
Thank you to everyone who took part!