What is Knotted Identities?

Knotted Identities is an Arts Council funded project which is running in the Staffordshire Moorlands during 2020. 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 the potteries, there is less familiarity with the rural areas of North Staffordshire and its peoples. Knotted Identities is based on a journey KARVAN will take through rural Staffordshire Moorlands. Starting and ending in Leek, ‘the queen of the Moorlands’ the route will combine ‘older ways’, historic trade routes with contemporary routes.

Conceptualised and run by lead artist, Emma Dawson Varughese and her artistic practice – KARVAN- , Knotted Identities explores 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 will also deliver workshops with various community-based groups in ceramics, drawing and multimedia art practice.

Image courtesy of Alan Hamer

In addition to the KARVAN workshops being held at the nine locations across the Staffordshire Moorlands, lead artist, Emma is compiling a travelogue, documenting the KARVAN’s journey and its encounters with the various groups of people who are signed up for the workshops. The Travelogue will creatively capture the Knotted Identities project, incorporating sights, sounds and people’s stories in its documentation of the journey. The workshops run throughout June, July and August. The project culminates in an exhibition at the Foxlowe Arts Centre in Leek in the Autumn of 2020.

Follow the journey through the Travelogue here.

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