Robyn Woolston // MGS Plastics


Family histories run parallel to the evolution of manufacturing and unseen waste with an immersive floor installation and a fascinating film documenting human responses to the 1st and 4th industrial revolutions. 

Film by Wash Design, commissioned by Creative Lancashire

REVOLUTION (2017) provides a meditation on mechanisation and environmental responsibility. From the people who powered the 1st Industrial Revolution to the information super-highway that’s delivering the 4th.

At its centre you’ll find both a film, and an art installation, that embody stories that are steeped in hand-working expertise, heritage and engineering. It’s a way of life for the people I interviewed. One remarked that MGS Technical Plastics is like a ‘family’. From this viewpoint you can begin to understand how the densely interconnected stories of Blackburn, Darwen and Lancashire form its potency as a Northern Powerhouse.



In the first part of Robyn Woolston’s project, thousands of pieces of injection moulded plastic from the factory floor of MGS form a vast and immersive installation. Using mis-moulds, ‘sprue’ and ‘purge’, the installation works ambitiously in colour, form and scale to illustrate the nature and scale of industrial manufacturing waste.

In her complementary piece, a documentary film contrasts the 1st Industrial Revolution against our contemporary 4th. The artist’s father spent his whole life in plastic injection moulding and Woolston found herself drawn to the intergenerational narratives emerging in interviews with MGS employees, producing a film that not only draws on their stories but reaches further into our industrial heritage.

As the two halves of her work come together, historical parallels proliferate; design, fabrication and plastic moulding processes are shown in parallel with the ebb-and-flow of the Leeds to Liverpool canal, culminating in a meditation upon Lancashire-based manufacturing and its legacy.


Robyn Woolston is visual artist who works across installation, photography, moving image and print. From socially engaged practice to site- specific responses, her work seeks to harvest, uncover and re-appropriate what is ‘left behind’ by archetypal narratives. Previous installations have included the use of 7,500 ice-cream containers and 45,000 carrier bags. Woolston works both nationally and internationally questioning material values within different cultures.

Passionate about reducing environmental waste and committed to recycling, MGS Technical Plastics is a plastic injection moulding company based in Blackburn, Lancashire. Established in 1974 they are now the production partner of some of the world’s leading brands.. The company operates 20 plastic injection moulding machines, weighing from 22 – 800 tonnes, and riveting, heat staking, over moulding and pad printing are all standard processes for the team.

Having Robyn here has been an exciting change from the norm. The team have really enjoyed the conversations that have taken place – Robyn is breath of fresh air and will always be welcome here at MGS



Art in Manufacturing is a collaboration that saw manufacturers and workforce communities, often coming from generations that have worked in these industries, very generously impart their knowledge to the resident artists who, in turn, have shone a spotlight of excitement and curiosity onto their formidable skills and dedication.

REVOLUTION (2017) was made by the the artist and the following collaborators

John Sturgess
Glenn Cooper
Neil Garrity
Chris Pearson
Samantha Taylor

12th - 13th May 2018 | Blackburn, Lancashire

The National Festival of Making Delivery Team


The National Festival of Making is supported with funding from Arts Council England, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and Heritage Lottery Fund