Projects / Hand, Heart, Head

The Shipyard Slips

Ruth Clinton
February - Nov 2020

The Slipyard Slips artwork by Sean Greer

Household has been working with artist and musician Ruth Clinton to host a workshop and performance exploring the fractured histories of Sailortown and represent the polyvocal nature of this historic Belfast area through singing and sound.

We had initially expected residents and people who work and socialise in the area to take part in the workshop, which would finish in a performance in the atmospheric St Joseph’s Church. Due to COVID 19, we had to cancel all workshops and participatory activity but believe that there is an opportunity to work collaboratively in a different context.

We are inviting you to take part in a digital version of the singing workshop, where you record yourself singing the chosen score, The Shipyard Slips, in whichever part you choose, and send it back to us by 23 November. We will edit all the recording we receive into one single song with many voices. You can find the instructions, audio clips and lyrics here.

The song selected by Ruth, The Shipyard Slips, is about the decline of the Belfast shipyards and about exile. It was written by David Wilde (1977), who was a member of the group ‘Men Of No Property’. The Shipyard Slips references the ‘Island Men’– the men who would have worked in the shipyards on Queen’s Island – and details the hardships and historical events in that area. The song references loss and longing for something, a narrative that we feel resonates both with the history of Sailortown and the present day. 

About the artist
Ruth Clinton is an artist and musician living in Co. Sligo. She is co-founder of the Sacred Harp Singers in Dublin and is a member of traditional singing group Landless. Ruth also works as a collaborative duo with artist Niamh Moriarty using performance, video, sound installation and storytelling, along with a detailed research process, to convey visions of transience and resistance.

Ruth’s research explores the inevitability of progress and moving forward, the impossibility of going backwards, and questions the role nostalgia plays in the oscillation between these states.