Silk is the Soul of Macclesfield

Cheshire East Council has been awarded £25,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to enable young people to explore the silk heritage of Macclesfield and everyone is urged to get involved in the project, which will reimagine silk heritage using art and digital technologies.

‘Silk is the Soul’ is a youth-led project devised by artist Laurence Payot. It will see the creation of a website archive of local stories about silk, a touring exhibition of immersive virtual reality videos and silk sculptures created by young people. All this will be on permanent display at Macclesfield Silk Museum.

Project leaders are looking for people with specific knowledge of silk or local silk history to take part in the project, as well as a group of up to eight young ‘ambassadors’ aged 11-18, who will work closely with Laurence and film-maker Tim Brunsden to create this cutting-edge digital artwork.

Laurence Payot said: “We’re looking for silk experts who can share their knowledge, experience or memories to inspire the young people of the town, so that our amazing heritage can be carried through, proudly, by the next generations.

“We also want to discover what Macclesfield’s silk heritage means to the young ‘born digital’ generations of the town and what they feel is important and should be remembered. We want to imagine how we could weave more beautiful connections with each other, our heritage and the world, using silk as a metaphor.”

The project will also work with Kathryn Warburton at the Silk Museum and include young people from Fallibroome Academy, Project INC (inclusive Creative Learning for 11-19 year-olds, who need extra support) and will partner with Barnaby Festival, Macclesfield Library and Cheshire Archives.

Young people taking part will learn various skills, including:

  • 360 degree filming and editing; 
  • Designing promotional material and a website;  
  • Delivering a social media campaign; 
  • Creating dance and movement for performances in heritage locations and
  • Creating sculptures using silk. 
Councillor Don Stockton

Councillor Don Stockton, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for environment, said: “This is excellent news for Macclesfield, the funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund allows an exciting, modern approach to delve into the fascinating history of silk making. I’d encourage experts and enthusiasts in this subject to get involved in the project.”   

Information meetings and interviews are being held for silk experts and information events are taking place for young ambassadors. 

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