Woven in Kirklees needs your stories of Dewsbury’s textile industry for 2022 festival

Woven in Kirklees is appealing to the people of Dewsbury to share stories, anecdotes and memories of their experiences in the local textile industry.

By Jessica Barton
Saturday, 26th February 2022, 6:00 am
The project will celebrate shared experiences of the textile industry, both past and present, in Dewsbury and across Kirklees.
The project will celebrate shared experiences of the textile industry, both past and present, in Dewsbury and across Kirklees.

Interwoven, funded by Kirklees Council, is a part of the wider Woven textile festival which aims to bring communities together through music and storytelling.

The project will celebrate shared experiences of the textile industry, both past and present, in Dewsbury and across Kirklees.

The project began as Woven Into Song at the first Woven festival in June 2019, a boliyan and choir performance that told stories of textile industry immigration from the industrial revolution to the present day.

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This was further developed for the 2021 festival as a unique soundscape of the Kirklees area, both its mill heritage and its present – a mixture of machinery, work, storytelling, brass music and boliyan.

Nat Walton, Woven Festival curator, said: “Interwoven is just one of the many exciting projects which takes place as part of the wider Woven festival, so we’re thrilled to be able to expand on the great work achieved so far and bring live performances to local communities.

“Engaging with the local community is key to the success of the Woven festival so this project is a unique way for people to be part of something really special for all to enjoy.”

This year, Interwoven will include a temporary exhibition and live performance which will take place in Dewsbury Minster on May 6, 2022.

The new musical piece will be performed by Qawwali musicians, a brass band, and folk singers.

They will also be joined by local poet Ahmad Lunat reading a new piece of poetry inspired by the collected stories.

The stories might also be used in film, workshops and talks that will accompany the performance.

The Interwoven project team consists of Huddersfield based artists Hardeep Sahota, Mandeep Samra and ex-Chumbawamba musician and writer Boff Whalley.

Mandeep said: “We really want to hear the personal stories of life working in the textile industry mills of Dewsbury and the wider North Kirklees area, but in particular those from South Asian communities.

“They will feature in both the live performance element and other aspects of the overall project.

“It’s a great opportunity to create something which is totally unique but celebrates the sound of Kirklees both in its heritage and the present.”

Woven is a Kirklees Council funded initiative which connects strong heritage with today’s innovative developments in industry, university research, arts and crafts expertise together with the creative expression of the district’s rich and diverse communities.

Councillor Will Simpson, Kirklees Council cabinet member for culture and Greener Kirklees, said: “Interwoven will be a great way to bridge the gap between our Woven festivals, which currently take place every two years.

“It’s projects like this that truly bring to life the personal stories of residents who’ve worked in the textile industry here in Kirklees.

“Ensuring these aspects of our collective history are kept alive is important and telling these stories through performance and exhibitions will help bring them to life for our communities today."

Woven in Kirklees is particularly interested in stories from South Asian communities and their experiences of working in the local textile industry.

The deadline for submissions is the end of March.

Anyone wishing to share stories, anecdotes and memories should contact community development coordinator Satnam Galsian by email [email protected] or call 07413 399054.