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Artist appointed to mark contribution of Derry’s ‘Factory Girls’

30 June 2022
The Communities Minister and Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council have welcomed the appointment of the artist Chris Wilson to undertake the production of a new artwork commission for Harbour Square, in the heart of the city.
 
The artwork will celebrate the industrial heritage of the city and acknowledge the significant role played by the women who worked in its factories. The public artwork will be incorporated as part of a wider public realm redevelopment of the Square.
 
Supported by the Department for Communities and Derry City and Strabane District Council, the commissioning process was informed by early and ongoing engagement with local factory girls’ representatives who helped inform the artist brief and background context for the open competition.
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said: “I welcome that an artist has been appointed to develop an iconic piece of public artwork, which will recognise the contribution of ‘the Factory Girls’ to the City.
It is envisioned that the sculpture will be a unique, world class, year-round visitor attraction in celebration to the women who worked in the factories and were the backbone of Derry’s economy.
 
“I wish Chris well as he brings his design to life and look forward to see the piece in place.” 
 
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Sandra Duffy, has welcomed the progress made to date on this project and looked forward to seeing it advancing to the next stage. She said key to the success of the project is the ongoing consultation and engagement with the factory girl representatives.
 
She said: “I am delighted to see this project progressing so well and look forward to the installation of a new public artwork celebrating the contribution that our factory girls have made to this City and District. This will be an iconic work and an integral part of the redeveloped Harbour Square and wider riverfront area, and we are grateful to the Department for Communities for their support of this initiative. I also want to extend our gratitude to the Factory Girls for their invaluable contribution in this process to date.”
 
Mary White, Factory Girls representative, said: "We are delighted to see this project progressing to the next stage now with Chris appointed as the artist. We have no doubt he will do a fantastic job capturing the essence of what the factory girls meant to this city and the role that they all played in its history. We are truly thankful to the Department for Communities and to the Council for their support in making this artwork happen and we look forward to continuing to work alongside all of the partners to deliver what is a very special project to all our hearts."
 
A public engagement session has been scheduled to take place on Thursday 07 July at the Green Room, Guildhall, from 3.30pm to 4.30pm. It will be an opportunity for members of the public to view the design and meet with the artist. To attend you must register in advance by  contacting Council’s Arts and Culture team on 02817235253 or emailing [email protected]