Rhythm of the Looms

In this blog we hear from the team commissioned to create our first podcast series for Pendle Radicals. Over the past two years they, plus the Pendle Radicals volunteers and the Clarion Choir, have worked with us on a series of sharing events based around Ethel Carnie Holdsworth’s life and works. All the research was intended for a final performance piece, which may still happen in the future, but wasn’t possible in 2020. However, that gave us the opportunity to concentrate on our long held ambition to create some original audio, and so the podcast idea was born! It was a new adventure for them too, so what did Jules, Liz and Scott make of the experience…

What a joy it has been for us creating the This Slavery podcast series.

From a small professional studio in the Ribble Valley, we have been honoured to bring Ethel to life through music, writing and soundscape.

Also, hearing the amazing voices of the Clarion Choir and the crowd scenes created by the Radicals volunteers – intertwined through the podcasts – we have tried to demonstrate how much Ethel means to all our creative community. 

We have had such wonderful reactions from across the spectrum of listeners – smiles, tears, laughter and an outpouring of love. What more can we possibly ask for?

Jules Gibb: 

This Slavery is such a cracking book that when we got the chance to do something in-depth about it I jumped at it. I’m a big fan of Ethel Carnie Holdworth, she seems to represent all the things I think are important and coming from Lancashire and a weaving heritage, it’s no wonder we want to shout about her from the rooftops. It’s been inspiring working with Liz and Scott. They are so skilled, and we work together really well, sparking ideas off each other. I’m really proud of the end product. It feels like we are lifting Ethel up and running around the streets with her, trying to tell everyone how fabulous she was.

Scott Robertson: 

It was so important to me, to make sure the rhythm of the Lancashire Looms provided the beating heart of this podcast. Yes, there was darkness in the mills but the beat of the rhythm of the looms – when owned by the mill workers in their singing, became a thing of sheer beauty. My piece of music, Looming, took its rhythm and timing from the Lancashire Loom’s punch cards, which look so much like my 2021 Pro Tools digital production screen – bizarre!

Liz Robertson: 

I am so pleased I had the opportunity to capture much of the soundscape from Queen Street Mill and our live performances with the Radicals volunteers and the Clarion Choir, before we went into Lockdown. Who would have thought that our production would have been punctuated by temperature checks and Covid tests… but, just like the mill workers in This Slavery‘we’re not downhearted no…‘. We took a bit of Ethel’s spirit, overcame obstacles and found a way to enable those magic hours of creativity to take Ethel’s work forward to new generations, post Corona!

Working collaboratively has made this happen, not just us (Jules, Scott & Liz), but all the contributions from the Radicals volunteers, the Clarion Choir, the teams at Mid Pennine Arts and Lancashire Libraries – it’s been like the best ‘virtual’ Pie & Chips Supper Ever!


You can now listen to the first episode of the podcast, created in partnership with Lancashire Libraries and Libraries Connected. The three part series is entitled This Slavery, and you’ll find the first episode, Pies, Chips & Politics, on Our Podcasts page.

You can also hear more about the process of making the podcast, and about Ethel, at a FREE online event for International Women’s Day on the 8th March 2021. Find all the details HERE.

MPA is very grateful for the support we have received through COVID-19 emergency funds, from sources including Arts Council England, National Lottery Heritage Fund, CAF, Burnley Borough Council and HM Government Cultural Recovery Fund.  This support continues to be vital in helping us survive the pandemic and carry on developing some very special projects.  Thank you!   

One thought on “Rhythm of the Looms

  1. Pingback: Rhythm of the Looms (via the Rebel Pen Club) | Mid Pennine Arts

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