EXILE at Kingston Lacy
EXILE installation at Kingston Lacy. Credit: National Trust / RCMG / University of Leicester. Image Credit: National Trust images / Steven Haywood.
EXILE is a research-led collaboration between RCMG and the National Trust at Kingston Lacy. As an installation, EXILE considers one of the most remarkable stories of Kingston Lacy – William John Bankes’ exile in 1841 – and marks fifty years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales.
EXILE not only reveals how this extraordinary story helps us to understand the house we see today but also invites visitors to consider and reflect on its relationship to the ongoing challenges faced by the LGBTQ community today.
A film with project team members Richard Sandell and Rachael Lennon reveals the aims behind the collaboration, and can be viewed below:
This film with Rachael Lennon, the National Public Programmes Research Manager at the National Trust, goes on to share the impact that working with RCMG has had on the National Trust, and can be found below:
Below three short time-lapse films reveal the process of installing different elements of EXILE at Kingston Lacy:
EXILE by RCMG/National Trust. Installation of ‘In Memoriam’ at Kingston Lacy, 13th-17th September 2017. Research and narrative design by Richard Sandell, Tom Butler and Julie Howell. Spatial design and production by Julie Howell and Tom Butler. Soundtrack performed by the staff and volunteers of Kingston Lacy and composed by James Jones. Graphic design by Anna Lincoln. Image Credit: National Trust images / Steven Haywood.
‘In Memoriam’ is a tribute to the 51 men who were hanged under laws that criminalised same-sex acts during the lifetime of William John Bankes (1786-1855). It is a reminder of the brutality of the times in which he lived, and the context for his decision to leave Kingston Lacy and live in exile. The time-lapse film showing the installation in progress can be found below:
EXILE by RCMG/National Trust. Installation of ‘Displaced’ at Kingston Lacy, 13th-17th September 2017. Research and narrative design by Richard Sandell, Tom Butler and Julie Howell. Spatial design and production by Julie Howell and Tom Butler. Motion graphics and film production by Lea Nagano. Soundtrack by James Jones. Image Credit: National Trust images / Steven Haywood.
‘Displaced’ uses projection and sound to draw connections between the story of William John Bankes, owner of Kingston Lacy, and prejudice and intolerance today. It draws on the diverse experiences of LGBTQ people forced to leave their homes in the UK and abroad. The time-lapse film showing the installation can be found below:
Prejudice, Persecution, Pride
EXILE by RCMG/National Trust. Installation of ‘Prejudice, Persecution, Pride’ at Kingston Lacy, 13th-17th September 2017. Research and narrative design by Richard Sandell, Tom Butler and Julie Howell. Spatial design and production by Tom Butler and Julie Howell. Graphic design by Anna Lincoln. Image Credit: National Trust images / Steven Haywood.
‘Prejudice, Persecution, Pride’ sets the story of William John Bankes within a global history that examines how the law has shaped – and continues to shape – LGBTQ lives. Copies of legal documents from the Parliamentary Archives and a timeline reveal familiar and surprising stories of persecution and intolerance, liberation and equality. The time-lapse film showing the installation in progress can be viewed below:
Researching and Developing EXILE
RCMG brought together a team of creative collaborators to research, design and install EXILE, with the National Trust. The team members included Julie Howell, Tom Butler, Anna Lincoln, Lea Nagano and James Jones.
Julie Howell is a researcher, spatial artist/designer and creative producer. She works to create installations, exhibitions and events within communities and cultural and heritage sites. She is interested in reinterpreting and re-framing spaces and places and their stories, to create new ways of informing, new memories and social/behavioural change. (Image Credit: National Trust images / Steven Haywood).
"Being part of this important and ground-breaking collaborative project with RCMG, The National Trust and a group of talented creatives has been a complete privilege. It was wonderful to discover and draw out the central narrative through academic research, and place it within Kingston Lacy's internal spaces, on its windows and in cellars and passages. For me, the continuing heartfelt and moving public response to EXILE makes the case for working in this way, with beautiful sensory presentations embedded in rigorous research, and hard-wiring these narratives onto this site."
Tom Butler is a writer, researcher and creative producer. He works collaboratively to devise and design exhibitions, installations, film and editorial projects. Areas of interest include new approaches to the built environment and projects that reconsider heritage, narrative and place. Find out more about Tom on his website.
“Working on EXILE with the RCMG team has been hugely rewarding. It has been so satisfying to see the various elements of project come together, and to see the emotional impact it has had on visitors to Kingston Lacy.”
Anna Lincoln has a background in museums, exhibition design and communication design. She develops and designs projects collaboratively to create meaningful experiences for cultural and urban spaces. Find out more about Anna on her website.
"I am thrilled to be part of the team working with RCMG, challenging the role of storytelling in a historic house and creating a design language that allows the narrative to achieve maximum impact."
Lea Nagano is a passionate visual director and motion designer. Her practice explores the power of film narrative and moving image in spatial environments. Find out more about Lea on her website.
"Working with the RCMG team was a really enjoyable experience, we were inspired by each others' ideas, positive drive and energy to research stories that have previously remained untold or invisible. EXILE is both impactful in its content and the way in which it powerfully and emotionally resonates with audiences."
James Jones is a composer working primarily in film and television. Recent credits include Channel 4's Cutting Edge, The Three Day Nanny and natural-history documentary Touching The Wild for PBS. His orchestral work, Irrational Exuberance, was premiered by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales at Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff last year. A new album of orchestral and chamber music, Principia, is being released in the coming months. Find out more about James on his website and SoundCloud.
"It was wonderful to be part of the Exile project. It's heartening to know how well the work is being received."
EXILE, part of research-led collaboration and programme between RCMG and the National Trust – Prejudice and Pride, has had a wide-reaching impact.
National Trust Film
In the following film, made by the National Trust, we hear from a range of perspectives about how EXILE has moved and inspired audiences and how the programme Prejudice and Pride impacts people's lives today. The film can be found below:
The following audio clip is taken from a radio interview with Richard Sandell, Julie Howell, Tom Butler and visitors to EXILE, which formed part of Mary Milton’s radio show for ShoutOut Radio. The interview can be found here. For more information about Mary Milton please visit her website or ShoutOut Radio.
Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall, features in the following short film for EXILE, which was presented at the end of the installation and exhibition. In the film she responds to questions posed by the research team, reflects on the progress that has been made over the last fifty years and considers how the ongoing challenges facing LGBTQ communities can be addressed. The film can be found below:
EXILE attracted considerable interest from the media, featuring in the following press pieces:
- The Guardian, 18 September 2017, William John Bankes, forced into exile after gay liaison, celebrated by National Trust
- Daily Mail, 19 September 2017, National Trust's latest PC stunt: New exhibition at historic property features 51 ropes to commemorate men who were hanged for being gay
- New Statesman, 21 September 2017, The National Trust is right to bring gay history out of the closet