10th – 30th September 2017
Constructing connections: Fiction, Art and life Patricia MacKinnon-Day was the outcome of a two-year Arts Council of England research project. , extending earlier research: An Artist’s Anthropological Approach to Sustainability (published in The International Journal of Art and Design October 2016). Tressell’s seminal working-class novel and socialist tract, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists’ was a catalyst and starting point for research, blog, seminars, community engagement, exhibitions, and publication.
Constructing connections: Fiction, Art and Life was a series of artworks and public events held in Croxteth Hall. This research was based on an interrogation of Tressell’s 1914 seminal socialist tract, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. It investigated and made parallels with current societal inequalities and of the historical period as described in Tressell’s book. MacKinnon-Day engaged daily with the staff at Croxteth Hall during a year-long residency. This interaction was a key onsite catalyst for her research and was disseminated through blogs, seminars, community engagement, exhibitions, and public talk at the Liverpool Irish Festival.
This interrogation of place as seen, through the lens of Tressell’s text, formed the basis from which further academic discussion took place at the Centre for Literature and Cultural History at LJMU. The project extended Mackinnon-Day’s previous research enquiry: An Artist’s Anthropological Approach to Sustainability. This was published in The International Journal of Art and Design in October 2016, 3000 copies have been distributed throughout the UK and abroad. The works produced are now incrementally integrated into the Hall’s permanent public displays. On completion of the exhibition, the imagery and text were circulated nationally in a ‘newspaper’ publication with essays offering a critical review of the exhibition from Tessa Jackson OBE and academic Dr Deaglan O’Donghaile. The onsite research created ideas for artworks in a place where contemporary art is not normally practised or seen. Impact events included a symposium and schools workshop, introducing students to the book, the artists, the Hall, and receive the same brief. The aim was to test how the process extended their understanding of the book and the artists’ working methods at Croxteth Hall in June 2017.