White Heat of British Industry 1950s-1960s: Photographs by Maurice Broomfield

March 14 – May 6 2019, Derby Museum & Art Gallery

I produced significant research for this exhibition whilst working in the V&A’s Research Institute (VARI). My contributions had a formative influence on the themes and objects presented. My research priorities with the Broomfield archive concerned the material diversity and social function of Broomfield’s photographs, charting their shifting use from commercial, industrial commissions appearing in trade brochures to large fine art prints. My work on the topic explored materiality in Broomfield’s images, in the sense of the affective material environments they evoke: sparks, smoke, clanging steel, the shiny squeak of nylon, the astonishing speed and alchemy of wet wood pulp transforming into paper. These material-affective aspects give a stronger impression of what these industrial environments would be like to work in, functioning as effective social documents.