Lancaster exhibition lifts the lid on witch hunts

A ground-breaking new exhibition, I am Witch – Tales from the Roundhouse, to be held at The Storey in Lancaster until January 28, will explore how the European Witch Hunts of 1450-1750 left a wound in our collective psyche that still affects us today – and how it can be healed.

Cali White, lead curator of the exhibition, which was co-created by 33 fellow women known as the Silver Spoons Collective, said: “ Our educational and experiential exhibition explores the history of the Burning Times, the vital history lesson mostly overlooked at school, how inherited trauma from those times continues to affect us, and how creativity, ceremony and collaboration offer a threefold pathway to healing.

“We also want to dispel witch myths of ‘black pointy hats, devil-worshipping, warty-nosed old women’ and tell the untold story of what really happened.

“Sharing the trauma-clearing personal journeys of 33 women – evocatively expressed through interactive installations, painting, film, music, performance and storytelling – we offer a powerful opportunity for reflection and reconnection, and the chance to be part of a growing movement for social change and healing.”

The Silver Spoons Collective is a sisterhood of UK-based women working to heal their intergenerational trauma inherited from the Burning Times.

The group’s work was born out of a pilgrimage made by psychotherapist, Cali White, across the UK and Ireland in 2019, during which she gathered women in ceremonies to honour our ‘witch’ ancestors.

Coming together at the beginning of 2020, the group committed to collectively transforming the destructive behavioural patterns caused by inherited trauma, which were negatively affecting their lives.

Comprising of 4,000 hand-printed and stitched individual pieces of fabric, the centre-piece of the exhibition is a stunning Medicine Spoon Memorial, co-created by more than 1,000 women worldwide, led by artist Caren Thompson, to honour the 4,000+ women from the UK and Ireland whose names lay forgotten in trial records during the Burning Times.

Cali White, lead curator of the exhibition 'I am Witch - Tales from the Roundhouse' at The Storey in Lancaster.

Alongside the main exhibition, a three-night programme of live events will feature spoken word, music and dance performances, and a series of daily workshops offers opportunities for learning and empowerment.

Highlighting how modern-day witch hunts continue today, particularly in India, Africa and Brazil, the exhibition will also raise funds for charities working to support the growing numbers of innocent women being targeted.

The exhibition reflects an emergent modern movement working to undo the injustices of the Burning Times, including a growing campaign, ‘Witches of Scotland’, led by Claire Mitchell QC and author Zoe Venditozzi, which is calling on the Scottish Government to pardon, apologise and create a national monument to memorialise those people in Scotland accused and convicted as witches under the Witchcraft Act of 1563.

Cali White said: “The scars we still carry show up in many ways - fears of being seen or heard, experiences of betrayal, mistrust of other women, feelings of disconnection to nature, irrational fears, and struggles to feel at home in ourselves.

Pendle witch trials at Lancaster Castle.

“25 generations on we are left feeling powerless, isolated, stuck, divided, unsafe and unsupported. It is affecting our health and wellbeing in so many ways and we’re tired of it!

“The Silver Spoons Collective is on a mission to shine a light on the shadows of the past so we may heal, grow and create new ways of being, rooted in healthy connection to ourselves, each other and the Earth.

“If any of this resonates, please join us as we restore our ancestral connections and the broken bonds of our sisterhood.”

For further information about the exhibition and to book a place, visit:

Exhibition 'I am Witch - Tales from the Roundhouse' at The Storey in Lancaster.

https://silverspoons collective.org/the-exhibition.

I am Witch - Tales of the Roundhouse: An Exhibition of Hystory, Healing and Hope runs for 26 days until January 28.

Opening hours at The Storey are : 10am-7pm Monday to Saturday / the recommended time for a comprehensive visit is three hours

Tickets cost £13; students & OAPs £7; teens 13-18 admitted free of charge. To book visit: https://www.tickettailor.com/events/silverspoons collective/591939/

Due to the nature of some content, the exhibition is not suitable for under 12s.

A few bursary tickets will be available on an application basis for those in financial hardship – to apply, please email [email protected]

Exhibition 'I am Witch - Tales from the Roundhouse' at The Storey in Lancaster.

The Storey – formerly the Storey Institute – is a historic creative arts venue located adjacent to Lancaster Castle, the final destination for the Pendle Witches.

Watch a video about the making of the Medicine Spoon Memorial: www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4nMqQnjgjk

A tree will be planted for every exhibition ticket sold in partnership with reforestation charity, TreeSisters.

Exhibition 'I am Witch - Tales from the Roundhouse' at The Storey in Lancaster.