datod-unravel is a National Theatre Wales Located Residency led by Emily Laurens, with support from the National Wool Museum. This period of creative research will see Emily visit and respond to the mills of Drefach Felindre, Carmarthenshire, as part of a longer-term project exploring textile production past, present and future. Visits may prompt meditations on: injustice across centuries and continents and the largely forgotten links between Welsh wool and the transatlantic slave trade; the effects of coronavirus on the garment industry in South Asia; and the moment of utopian textile production in the mills of Drefach Felindre in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and how that might help us envision a future industry free from exploitation.
During National Theatre Wales’ Summer 2019 artists residency on climate change, Egin, the theatre-maker and visual artist Emily Laurens learned that Welsh wool was transported to colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries to clothe enslaved peoples. Further research into these histories led to a tangle of threads, with these little-documented histories illuminating the ways in which (neo)colonialism, ecocide, racism, gender violence and capitalist power operate in Wales and in our globalised and geographically unequal world.
From April-July 2020, Emily will visit the mills within walking distance of her house in Drefach Felindre and linger nearby to listen, write, draw and converse. Some are derelict, some are dwellings, some house museums, shops, and warehouses. Throughout this process, Emily will draw insights from a number of collaborators, and share creative responses as the project progresses on a designated instagram account, datod_unravel, which everyone is encouraged to follow closely.