Residency on the Johnson Fold Estate, Bolton

From March 2012 to December 2016 I undertook an open brief residency commissioned by Bolton at Home. This long-term residency focused on locating and articulating the creative and cultural values already present on the estate.

In addition to artworks and research, I have produced a series of recommendations on social issues witnessed on the estate.


About the Project (Film) 

A short film by Huckleberry Films about the project.

Artistic Outcomes

Every Sha-la-la-la (Film) 

A short film about karaoke culture on the estate. 

Regular karaoke singers at The Colliers Arms were the subject of this short film, which explores the cultural currency and social value of this traditional and popular pastime. The film features local karaoke DJ Diane Campbell, and relates the significance of karaoke as told through the voices of community.  


Scooterboys (Film)

A short film about a local scooter club.


The Bolton Roadrunners, originally formed in June 1970; The club still meets today. They discuss the founding principles of the Mod movement, and how it is still a core part of their lives 46 years on.   


Tattoo Tea Towel and Booklet

A tea towel featuring tattoo artwork commissioned by residents of the estate, and a booklet of interviews exploring the meaning behind them.



Art on the Johnson Fold estate, Bolton (Booklet) 

Booklet and dialogical intervention researching residents' relationship with art. 

The title of the booklet is intended to suggest that it may comprise of the commissioned artworks on the estate, where the sub-heading reveals this is art already present in the homes of the estate. Residents were asked to select their favourite artwork that they own. This resulted in a series of revealing and candid creative discussions, documented alongside the artworks in booklet format. The artworks chosen ranged from famous paintings to Facebook memes, religious iconography to commissioned paintings. 



A collaboration with sound artists James Mather, a resident of the estate. 

The soundscape of Johnson Fold is available online here. Local residents can listen to the piece via QR codes installed around the estate, or via a limited edition of CDs disseminated via community events.  


The Art of Living (Transcribed Interview)

Transcribed interview with Norma about the incidental opportunities presented to her during her residence in the local area. [Not yet available online]

After entering a competition in a national paper aged 16, Norma won the opportunity to study art in London. Loyal to her father's wishes, she honoured his opinion that London was not a place for a young Bolton girl. This interview documents how creative opportunities continued to knock at Norma's door during her local life as a mill worker and a nurse.  


Ray's Stories (Audio Interview)

Edited audio interview with Ray, aged 90, about his life growing up in the local area. [Listen here]


Ray is the oldest member of the local catholic church, and despite his declining health, his memories of the local area remain sharp and bright. At the request of the congregation, I arranged this audio interview to document Ray's eclectic, moving and beautifully-told stories.  


Traditional Art Installations

Prints of two well-known artworks installed into two residents homes: The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci and Poppy Field by Claude Monet. 


Two interviewees of the 'Art on the Johnson Fold estate' booklet described their personal relationships with these two well-loved artworks. They also revealed that they no longer owned a copy of the works. As an homage to a more traditional relationship with art than I usually advocate, and in line with the ethos of this residency, I purchased and framed a copy of each as a gift to these residents. I regard these as permanent art installations on the estate. 


Guitar Lesson for the local Priest

The local priest at the Catholic Church teaches guitar to young members of his parish. I gave him a lesson to improve his skills, so he could share this with his learners.  



Series of photographs of the estate

[Full Flickr set here]


Research Outcomes

Documents from the Bolton Archives

[Full Flickr set here]


I spent three days in the Bolton Library Archives documenting all articles that feature the Johnson Fold estate.  



Documents from St. James' Archives

The local church lent me documents from their archives to inform my understanding of the history of the church, and other related information. This included the church log book, and information about the Halliwell Cross.