reading the riot act

This immersive digital and visual promenade explored the explosive events of the 1842 Potteries Riots in Stoke through the personal story of one family that was changed forever through a spontaneous act of revolt.

Audience were led through a space transformed with visual installations, using iPad films to navigate, taking on the eye-view of a child worker as the story played out against an epic social backdrop of poverty, the rise of workers’ movements and growing social unrest.

Through an intensely personal perspective, Reading the Riot Act brought to life the eruption of activism that swept through communities and households pushed to breaking point. It explored how exploitative social and working conditions drove Miners, Potters and Child Workers to rise up and set out on a journey that would throw the town into chaos and ultimate heartbreak, as families were torn apart and the prosecuted were deported to the other side of the world.

Reading the Riot Act drew on research including the 1842 Report on Child Labour. Periplum was commissioned by Appetite Stoke to transform the abandoned Burslem Library for a special presentation of the event.