- Susan Stockwell
- Warrington Museum and Art Gallery
- Arts Council England
Hidden Histories, Untold Stories is part of the Meeting Point 2018-2019 programme, and was displayed at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery in the North West from 24 October 2020 – 18 April 2021.
This exhibition highlights the museum’s role as a cultural collector and storyteller, and brings to life some of the untold stories behind its 200,000 objects. The exhibition also explores themes around social change, consumerism and how museums across the world are reframing their collections to better reflect the communities, cultures and people they represent.
Artist, Susan Stockwell, said:
“As one of the oldest museums in the country and a hidden gem, Warrington Museum & Art Gallery also has one of the most varied collections, covering everything from ethnology, archaeology, natural history and Warrington’s own social and industrial history. I was inspired to learn more about the stories behind its objects; who originally made them, and what were they used for? I wanted to explore how the museum’s objects help us understand our history, and how the act of collecting and displaying things links to our modern obsession with consumerism and ownership. We’re also in a period of social change and questioning, and I wanted see how the museum’s collections could help us engage with current debates.”
Susan’s exhibition at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery reflects her personal interests in politics, colonialism, social movements and the importance of telling people’s individual and untold stories.
Roger Jeffery, Producer at Culture Warrington, said:
“I’m very excited to welcome an artist of Susan’s international standing to exhibit at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery. This is a very timely and important exhibition and I’m very much looking forward to the fresh perspective Susan will bring to our collections.”
- To be more ambitious with WM&AG’s programming.
- To engage new audiences, and cross-pollinate existing Heritage and Contemporary Arts audiences and to highlight the arts in a different context.
- To build on the positive work done by Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival.
- To engage with the more challenging elements of WM&AG’s extensive collection.
As participants in the Meeting Point 2018-2019 programme, Warrington Museum & Art Gallery were supported by Arts&Heritage through a process of sharing knowledge and presenting contemporary art projects and commissions in non-traditional art spaces.
Six museums based in the North were selected for this Meeting Point programme, and took part in a series of training workshops, visits to artists’ studios and meeting peers at other properties, to learn how they successfully delivered contemporary arts projects at their museums and heritage sites. Museums developed their own Artist’s Briefs.
A networking event between the participating museums and 60 artists from across the UK took place at the National Centre for Early Music, York, following which artists were invited to send in an Expression of Interest to museums that interested them.
Four artists were shortlisted by each museum to draw up a more detailed proposal and were paid £500 each to do so.
Warrington Museum & Art Gallery selected Susan Stockwell for the £11,000 commission in Spring 2019, to produce Hidden Histories, Untold Stories in Autumn 2021.
Susan Stockwell is an established artist working across sculpture, installation, collage and film. Her practice is concerned with examining social and colonial histories and engaging with questions of social justice, trade, cultural mapping and feminism. Her art employs the material culture of everyday products, such as recycled computer components, maps and paper currency, which she transforms into compelling artworks. In seeking to reconnect an object’s past, its related history and materiality with contemporary issues, her practice underscores these materials urgent interconnection to collective memories, desires and ecological shortfalls; aspects that evoke, expose and challenge features of social, racial and gender inequality and injustice. Susan has exhibited extensively around the world, including at TATE Modern, the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, The National Museum of China, Beijing, The Katonah Museum of Art, New York and Art League of Houston, USA and Manchester City Art Gallery. Her work is in public and private collections around the world. She teaches part-time at the University of East London and is based in London.
Sophie Dixon at Grace Darling Museum
Grace Darling Museum commissioned Sophie Dixon in Spring 2019 as part of the Meeting Point programme.