Suzanne Lacy
The Circle and The Square

Super Slow Way

July 17, 2017

September 14–22, 2017

Brierfield Mill
Brierfield, Lancashire

In her new film installation,The Circle and The Square, Suzanne Lacy explores the demise of the textile industry as an economic and social driver in the North West of England and the resulting separation of South Asian-heritage and white communities who used to work together in the vast mills there. This localised critical inquiry represents a much needed national conversation on race, work, and capitalism, captured in the epic spaces of one such mill that stands as a symbolic remnant of the globalised trade in skills, commodities and people that continues to resonate, with seismic repercussions, across the world.

The installation is the result of Lacy working in Pendle, Lancashire for over two years, exploring the cultural and spiritual backgrounds of the community and the socio-economic circumstances that brought people together and nowconspires to drive them apart.

The piece is a beautiful and moving testament to this process that culminated last year when, over three days in September 2016, the community came together to perform and to film themselves in the place where many used to work. Hundreds of voices resonated in the mill’s vast spaces, using traditional and fusion forms of vocal and spiritual expression. The production was a distillation of months of community conversations and collective chanting and singing that ended in a dinner with 500 hundred residents in the largest gathering in the mill since its doors were closed.

Using the two vocal forms of Shape Note singing and Sufi chanting, the installation includes multi-vocal conversations about the past, present and future of the region following the demise of the textile industry. A comprehensive Resource Room explores the art production and political coalition building prior to the mill’s imminent redevelopment and beyond, in one of the most in-depth looks into social practice as art.

The installation will be accompanied by tours of the empty mill led by local community members and live presentations of a range of local vocal traditions including, Shape Note, Dhikr, Nasheed and mill ballads.

A range of artists and activists both locally and internationally have created thisnjew video installation, including anthropologist Massimiliano Mollona of Goldsmith’s College, London, musicologist Ron Pen of the University of Kentucky, USA, Rauf Bashir, of the Free Spiritual Centre and Building Bridges Pendle filmmaker Mark Thomas of Soup Co, and community organizer Paul.Hartley.

This major new work by Lacy is commissioned by Super Slow Way, a major arts commissioning programme in the north of England and in collaboration with In-Situ, a local artist collective based in Brierfield.  other artists, activists and anthropologists central to planning this project include.

Watch Suzanne Lacy in conversation with Super Slow Way’s Laurie Peake and other conversations at

Media contact: Catharine Braithwaite, cat [​at​], T  +44 (0)7947 644110