The Clarks’ shoe factory in Dundalk, Ireland finished making its last shoe in 1985. Having closed its doors in favour of cheaper labour overseas, the prosperity of the area and lives of industrial workforce declined. In 2015 the factory was demolished and the site is now a carpark.
Documenting the demolition of the site unearthed many aspects of the daily lives of the workers, mostly women on the factory floor. The memories of these female workers are still shared through social media, which has become repository of relationships, camraderie and friendships formed over many generations. When men are present in her collages they are removed or in the shadows to reinforce this dynamic.
Brown photographs of the demolition and the debris left behind form the foundation of her work. Archival material from social media, shoe advertisements and other documented history of the Clarks shoe factory legacy are fused together in collages and composites. These historic images include many happy moments, from tea breaks to reunion parties, which intersect, providing a new narrative of it female workforce. Combining the past and the present, fictions and legacies, Brown celebrates both the hard work of women and the strong bonds that persist long after the factory has closed.