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Lesley Boulton, photographer and member of Women Against Pit Closures, about to be hit on the head by a mounted police officer at Orgreave in June 1984. Photograph by John Harris. For Lesley’s story, please click on the image.

This blog serves as a record of activities and an archive of material, documents, thoughts and notes by artist Margareta Kern, started during a residency at the School of Applied Social Sciences at Durham University in 2012. The project was enabled by an award from the Leverhulme Artist in Residence grant that was held jointly by Professor Maggie O’Neil and Margareta Kern. Even though the residency has formally ended, the blog will continue to be updated with news and events, especially with the thirty years anniversary of the strike, in 2014.

‘My residency in Durham was  concerned with the miners’ strike in 1984/85, as a historical, social and cultural event that a period of economic and social upheaval and  the rise of Thatcherism engendered. I felt compelled to re-visit the miners’ strike, as I found there to be many resemblances to the recent anti-cuts protests, occupations and strikes against the cuts that are aggressively pushed through by the current conservative government.

More specifically, as an artist, I’ve continued exploring the relationship of participatory research, performance and theatre, to experimental and documentary film-making, and the political spaces and agencies created in that process. The time in residence has created a space for me to engage in more depth with the issues of memory, archiving and historicising radical politics and its representation and contestation on screen.

This engagement manifested through (re)search of/for the miners campaign video tapes made as part of the Film and Video Workshop movement in the 1980s by the film co-operatives in collaboration with the miners and women action groups; through developing participatory project with the working group and through my collaboration with Professor Maggie O’Neil which enabled me the space to reflect on the process of residency.’

For more information about Kern’s work please see www.margaretakern.com

Students kettled by the police, during the protest against the rise of fees, London December 2011, photograph by Margareta Kern

Students kettled by the police, during the protest against the rise of fees, London December 2011, photograph by Margareta Kern

“…if we approach the shift from artwork to laboratory from the point of view of problem of tradition, cultural legacy is no longer an accumulation of ‘cultural assets’ or ‘masterpieces’ of the past, but a public reservoir of socially accessable resources and experiences, which can be reactivated in different struggles in order to transform protest into a creative action, and creative practices into acts of resistance. The learning-plays (of Brecht) are not just an example of these resources, but also a way of conceiving art that empowers this way of thinking of history as an archive of resources that can be ‘functionally transformed’ (‘umfunktioniert’) for future struggles.”
Luis Ignacio García, ‘Bertolt Brecht, ignorant master’, in Theater of Accomplices newspaper ‘Chto Delat? issue 08-32, June 2011

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