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Art meets industry at the Swansea Eisteddfod

Blue MacAskill commissioned by National Waterfront Museum Swansea

Blue MacAskill, artist, photographer and film maker, has been commissioned by the National Waterfront Museum and the National Eisteddfod of Wales to create an installation for the largest annual open-air cultural event in Western Europe, which will be held near Swansea from 5 to 12 August 2006.

Swansea’s industrial history and particularly the role of women in industry is the inspiration for Blue’s work. She started research in April at the Museum, which opened last year as Wales’s museum of industrial history. Some of her artwork will go on display at the Museum after the Eisteddfod.

The site of the National Eisteddfod at Felindre – former tinplate works on the outskirts of Swansea – will be directly reflected in the memories of women tinplate workers (see notes below) who last worked in the industry in 1957.

Blue refers to her installation as a “show”, which will move to the National Waterfront Museum after the National Eisteddfod. “…it will be a breathing, evolving show that takes on a new slant when a different person sees something they relate to…”

The themes so far developed are: Blue Iris – cross-generational conversation about Swansea and its attitude to women, industry and the Welsh culture. Quilting the Map - a large scale Swansea Quilt evolving from the journeys of the people involved in the tinplate works and the cockle picking industry. Questioning the Bay of Life – a mail art project between artist and people. T-shirts and legacy – photography project imprinting the memories of past tinplate workers onto t-shirts worn by the next generation. Croeso i Felindre – reminding children of the Felindre School of the history of the tinplate works, formerly on the site.

More information is available on Blue MacAskill’s website:

The National Waterfront Museum is committed to art as a means of enhancing the museum experience. Outside the entrance there is a recent sculpture by Gordon Young – pobl+machines – people plus machines – the story of the museum itself. The artwork is made up of gigantic letters in polished steel and concrete, which spell out the words using the alphabet called Bifur, reflecting the industrial theme and designed by Adolphe Cassandre in 1929. Cast onto the top surface of each letter is the names in Welsh and English of objects from the Museum’s collection.

The Museum has also hosted two of Swansea Institute's Degree Shows, those of the Welsh School of Architectural Glass (the Institute’s stained glass course is one of the most important in the UK) and the School of Animation and Digital Media. Students from another school at the Institute have created a temporary installation in the metals gallery comprising of banners of material etched by rusting metal after a burial overnight in the sands of Swansea Bay.

The award-winning dramatic glass, steel and slate building, designed by architects Wilkinson Eyre, is proving an exciting venue for art exhibitions, using either the large “street” that links the two buildings or the galleries themselves.

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales operates seven national museums across Wales. These are: National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans: National History Museum, National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon, Big Pit: National Coal Museum, Blaenafon, National Wool Museum, Dre-fach Felindre, National Slate Museum, Llanberis and the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales celebrates its centenary in 2007. For more details go to our 07pages.

Entry to all the museums is free, thanks to the support of the Welsh Assembly Government.

Note to Editors:

1 - Tinplate industry: In the 20th century, there were some 1,000 working tinplate rolling mills in south Wales; the Museum features a tinplate mill from the Melin Griffith works, a rare survival, restored to working order by Corus for the Museum. It produced thin sheets of steel for tin, a hugely important Welsh export. Women worked in the tinplate industry in south Wales – mainly to split the tinplate sheets when they were folded and stuck together. They used a “hangar” – a sword- like implement. This was heavy work and in general there were few women working in the heavy industries of Wales. The tinplate industry was an exception with some 15 per cent of the workforce being female, mainly young and single.

2 - The National Eisteddfod of Wales will be at Swansea from 5 to 12 August 2006. More information at

3 - Blue MacAskill studied at Camberwell College of Art, then the Ruskin School of Art in Oxford and recently completed her Masters in Fine Art at Wimbledon School of Art. She was awarded an Arts and Humanities Award in 2003. Recent exhibitions, film and video screenings in Athens, Klaipeda in Lithuania, Sweden, Cardiff, London, Winchester, Frome, Bristol and Oxford. MacAskill has written and published with Contemporary and Leisure Art magazine. MacAskill was recently nominated for 3 Swansea Bay Film Festival awards and announced as a most promising young filmmaker 2006. MacAskill lives/works between London and Llandrindod Wells,Powys.

4 - Award-winning Museum: The National Waterfront Museums has been selected for a RIBA Award and also received a commendation as part of the Structural Steel Design Awards.

5 - Summer events at the National Waterfront Museum: details on the website, or telephone (01792) 638950. The Museum is open every day from 10.00 to 17.00 (and until 20.00 on Wednesdays throughout August and September 06). Admission is free.

For press information and interviews with Blue MacAskill contact: Fay Harris, Press and Marketing Officer, National Waterfront Museum, Swansea, telephone (01792) 638970; Email Fay Harris