What is Knotted Identities?

Knotted Identities is an Arts Council funded project which ran in the Staffordshire Moorlands during 2022. Knotted Identities refers to the symbolism of the Staffordshire Knot and the project, through artistic and literary activity looks to explore historic and modern influences on the construction and expression of rural identities of Staffordshire Moorlands communities. Like the Staffordshire Knot, there is more complexity to the Staffordshire Moorland’s identities than the visible surface. Whilst urban centres of North Staffordshire are known through association with industry such as pottery and ceramics, there is less familiarity with the rural areas of North Staffordshire and its peoples.

Knotted Identities is a journey KARVAN took through rural Staffordshire Moorlands in the summer of 2022; the route combined ‘older ways’, historic trade routes with contemporary ones.

Conceptualised and run by lead artist, Emma Dawson Varughese and her artistic practice – KARVAN- , Knotted Identities explored contemporary Staffordshire Moorlands identities asking questions of what it means to belong to this part of the country, its landscapes and its local people. Alongside Emma, three Staffordshire Moorlands-based artists also delivered workshops with various community-based groups in ceramics, drawing and printing/design art practice.

‘Karvan at The Art Barn, Longnor, north Staffordshire Moorlands’, image by EDV

In addition to the KARVAN workshops being held at the nine locations across the Staffordshire Moorlands, lead artist, Emma compiled a travelogue, documenting the KARVAN’s journey and its encounters with the various groups of people who signed up for the workshops. The Travelogue attempted to creatively capture the Knotted Identities project, incorporating sights, sounds and people’s stories in its documentation of the journey. The workshops ran throughout June, July and August of 2022 and the project culminated in an exhibition at Bolton Gate Farm (Arts and Cafe) in the Autumn of 2022.

Follow the journey through the Travelogue here.

For press enquiries, kindly write to worldlits@gmail.com