poems for bootle: looking to the past, present and future of the north

The fourth in our series of specially created projects from students at Manchester School of Art comes from Lauren Black, who takes inspiration from Roger McGough’s Poem for Bootle to create a personal view of the surroundings she grew up in.

by Lauren Black
09 November 2017, 11:11am

One of the aims that Lou Stoppard and I have with North: Fashioning Identity, is to encourage audiences to consider what the North of England is today, what it means to them and how it can inform creative practice. With this in mind i-D set a brief to students studying BA(Hons) Fashion Art Direction at Manchester School of Art, to create a project that is a personal reflection on their own sense of northern identity. For some this meant revisiting their home town to unpick themes of their own history, others are all too aware of the different feelings and lifestyle that moving to Manchester has given them, while some felt that they could not relate to a sense of northern identity at all. What links this varied group of projects with other young creatives throughout Britain, is that no matter where you are, these formative years are likely to be present in their work for ever more.

-- Adam Murray, co-curator of North: Fashioning Identity

For this brief I wanted to consider my feelings towards the north and my time growing up in Liverpool. I focused on northern identity being a constructed concept, as I’ve never felt that I have a strong northern personality even though I’ve lived in this part of the UK my whole life. I base a lot of my work around creating new environments through collage. Throughout these images, I’ve constructed my personal view of the surroundings I grew up in, with some images being from places I would consider ‘hidden gems’. Within each image are extracts from Roger McGough’s Poem for Bootle. The poem was commissioned to show the identity of Bootle in Liverpool. Some of the text in this poem resonated with me, as well as the memories I have from working on the same project back in 2007. I have used a collection of images from my early childhood, but I focused more on pictures of family members, a majority of these being my older sister. She represents a big part of my life and upbringing in the north and I wanted to encapsulate this by making her one of the focuses of the work.

North: Fashioning Identity is at London's Somerset House until 4 February 2018.

Lou Stoppard