Exhibition celebrates life and work of writer Barry Hines

  • New exhibition celebrates 50th anniversary of Barry Hines’ A Kestrel for a Knave
  • Collection of images on display inspired by Hines’ writing and research into his life and work by University of Sheffield academic
  • Artwork highlights Hines’ determination to write about changing personal and political landscapes of working-class life
  • Exhibition part of Festival of the Mind – a 10 day city-wide festival showcasing pioneering University of Sheffield research in collaboration with city’s creative, cultural and digital industries
A piece or artwork representing education An impression of Park Hill, Sheffield
An impression of Billy Casper walking in the rain Barry Hines

A new collection of images inspired by the writing of the renowned author Barry Hines, academic research and the contents of his archive held at the University of Sheffield, are set to be unveiled as part of an exhibition this week (20-30 September 2018).

Named Untameable, the exhibition highlights Hines' dogged determination over three decades to write about the changing personal and political landscapes of working-class life in South Yorkshire.

Images displayed at the exhibition, produced by artists Patrick Murphy and Anton Want, together with an accompanying publication, visually explore and reinterpret these landscapes and key themes from his work.

Hines was the quintessential working-class writer from Barnsley. He was a man who wrote from the margins, and unflinchingly chronicled the social injustices he witnessed: from the failure of the education system and lack of opportunity found in A Kestrel for a Knave and the examination of land ownership and alienated labour in The Gamekeeper, to the devastating effect that Thatcherism had on Sheffield in Looks and Smiles and the increasingly toxic climate of nuclear threat during the 1980s in Threads.

The exhibition includes re-workings of rare documents and material from the archive and also builds on Hines' interests in examining contemporary South Yorkshire landscapes and communities as they continue to change and evolve to survive in an increasingly politicised 21st century.

Dr Dave Forrest from the University of Sheffield’s School of English, who has studied Hines’ work in detail, said: “The collaboration with Patrick Murphy and Anton Want is an exchange of ideas about, and interpretations, of Hines’ writing.

“The artworks contained within this exhibition and book re-animate the Barry Hines Archive we have here at the University, breathing life, colour and movement into pictures and words that might have once evoked mournful nostalgia. Now they burst with the energy of the here and now, reminding us that Hines is not just a writer from a bygone age. To view them is to witness an inheritance: two artists shaped by the same landscapes as Hines, formed by the same communities, show us that he continues to provoke, to educate, and to inspire."

The exhibition is being held in Sheffield’s Chapel Walk Gallery from 20-30 September 2018 as part of the University of Sheffield’s Festival of the Mind – a unique city-wide festival showcasing some of the latest pioneering research from the University in collaboration with Sheffield’s creative, cultural and digital industries.

Artist Anton Want commented, "Festival of the Mind is a wonderful opportunity for the public to engage with academic research from across the University that has a real life within the city and beyond; it's great to be involved.

“This collection of artworks by Patrick Murphy and I is an interpretation of Hines, his writing and the subjects that informed his work. It is about people, place and time and the power of words. The collection combines numerous elements, including re-workings of Hines’ original research materials, manuscript drafts and personal copies of his publications. Along with this is a set of my unseen landscapes from the last deep coal mine in the UK, Kellingley Colliery in North Yorkshire, made previous to its closure in December 2015.”

Anton added: “The British coal industry informed Hines’ life and writing throughout, and was a domestic industry he saw thrive, struggle and disappear within his own lifetime. It felt right to show this work for the first time in a collection about Barry Hines. We hope people will visit the exhibition and be inspired to have their own interpretations of the work."

The Untameable artworks will also feature in a publication by the artists along with a selection of special prints of the work to accompany the exhibition, and be available during a reception event on Wednesday 26 September 6-8pm at the gallery.

Event: Untameable exhibition

For a full list of events visit the University’s Festival of the Mind website.

Additional information

The University of Sheffield

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For further information please contact:

Sean Barton
Media Relations Officer
University of Sheffield
0114 222 9852