Research Images As Art 2007 Gallery

Connecting threads

Dr Joe Cain, Science & Technology Studies

Whitchurch Silk Mill, on the River Test in Hampshire, was built in 1800. These bobbins hold silk thread used at the mill.

I use this image to integrate historical thinking. Because these are silk threads, this image relates to agriculture as an science-driven industry. Stretch a bit, and it connects to ideas of manufacture and machines, export economies and globalisation, competition between biological and chemical dye industries, the promotion of efficiency by scientists and engineers, and shifting patterns of work. A simple image is all we need to start talking about global histories of commodities and connections.

We must think analytically about commonplace items in our lives: beans come from Zambia, lamb from New Zealand or Wales, and chocolate … where does chocolate come from? More importantly, why is it so hard to figure that out?


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