Keele research into local heritage showcased at new outdoor exhibition

Keele University research on the transformation of collieries in Stoke-on-Trent is being showcased at a new outdoor exhibition in the city.

The transformation of North Staffordshire’s Chatterley Whitfield Colliery into a heritage site is being featured as part of this year’s Being Human Festival, which is open until November 22nd at the Whitfield Valley Nature reserve. The festival is sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, British Academy, and School of Advanced Study.

The exhibition is based on an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded research project led by Dr Ben Anderson, Lecturer in History from Keele’s School of Humanities, in partnership with Stoke-based co-creative art pioneers Urban Wilderness CIC. It provides visitors with an opportunity to explore the heritage of the local landmark through a self-guided walk around the nature reserve, which is adjacent to Chatterley Whitfield Colliery.

Along the walk, which begins by the entrance to the colliery, there are information boards and QR codes to allow visitors to download podcasts to find out more about the people, ideas and innovations of the workplace of the time. Information is also available online for individuals to explore the history of the colliery from their homes.

In line with current lockdown restrictions, visitors are reminded that they can only visit as an individual, or with members of their household or support bubble, as part of their daily exercise, respecting social distancing at all times.

Being Human is the UK’s only national festival of the humanities and brings together universities, museums, galleries, archives, independent research organisations, community and commercial partners to make research in the humanities accessible and demonstrate its relevance to our everyday lives.

Dr Anderson said: “This is a great opportunity to think about the place of the North Staffordshire Coal Industry as a dynamic place of movement - people, energy, cultures and ideas coming and going as the industry had its peaks and troughs. From post-war migrations to energy movement and ghost stories, you'll find all sorts of migrations at our Being Human Festival installation.”