In Widows and Orphans: Chapter 21 the Agriculture Revolution and Industrial Revolution have a major impact on land and society. Towns and cities fed a society with learning and wealth.
In 2016 artist Jamie Shovlin spent time with the University of Lincoln’s School of Film and Media, Photography department and School of Social & Political Sciences as part of a residency run by Lincoln Voices. The result of this residency is a work called Widows and Orphans that retells history through fragmented chapters.
From multiple versions and revisions of the school textbook A History of the Modern World, Jamie took the underlinings and highlightings from generations of readers as the basis for the chapter scripts. He worked with a group of young people in Lincoln to record the narration. Months were spent editing the visual material of the films to create a multi-layered experience.
Script read aloud during Widows and Orphans: Chapter 21:
The process of shifting from hand tools to power machinery is what is meant by the Industrial Revolution. The result was a thorough transformation of farming, an Agricultural Revolution without which the Industrial Revolution could not have occurred.
Land thus came under a strict regime of private ownership and individual management. Labor was thus released for other pursuits. Skilled workers found themselves degraded in status. They were a mass of recently assembled humanity without traditions or common ties.
The factory owners, the new “cotton lords”, were the first industrial capitalists. Peasants, gaining legal freedom, might learn and enter any trade as they chose. It made their misery apparent; philanthropic sentiment was gradually aroused among the more fortunate.
Gathered in cities, workers obtained more knowledge of the world. They were being obliged to reconsider and analyze society as a whole.
They loved the mysterious, the unknown, the half-seen figures on the far horizon. They believed in what was modern, enlightened, efficient, reasonable, and fair. They wanted orderly change by processes of legislation. They shrank before the idea of revolution.
Republicanism shaded off into socialism.