Strata is a reflection on the history of the East Midlands mining community seen through the lens of the landscape, which forms a witness to their legacy. The work combines original landscape pictures with archival materials from Mansfield Coal Authority and details taken from banners representing local miners’ trade unions. Each of these different visual sources embody specific points of view on the East Midlands. If Discipula’s original images represent the spontaneous response of strangers discovering an unknown territory, the ones selected from the Coal Authority archive and the trade union banners reveal more specific aspects of the relationship between the land, its resources and the role that mining played in it. More specifically, while the Coal Authority provides an institutional and formal view of the mining industry as a whole, the graphic illustrations of the banners reveal the core values of the working class and its strong connection with the land and its history.    

Along with an original textual contribution from Discipula, the interaction between these multi-faceted sources creates an open dialogue through which to reassess, in a time of dramatic political and economic reconfiguration, the legacy of the miners while questioning at the same time the notion and meaning of landscape itself.


Discipula is a collaborative platform operating in the field of contemporary visual research founded in 2013 by MFG Paltrinieri, Mirko Smerdel and Tommaso Tanini.

Working across a range of practices varying from art production to publishing and education, Discipula focuses on the exploration of the role and use of images in the contemporary mediascape. The collective refers to images as political and economic tools, means of power and control whose ambiguous nature can be controlled to trigger shifts in the perception of reality. Discipula pays particular attention to the role of the viewer, as well as to the act of looking as a form of political conscience.

Discipula's work has been exhibited internationally at Unseen Photo Fair — Amsterdam, Photo 50  — London Art Fair, Matildenhohe Darmstadt, FORMAT Festival — Derby, Kunsthalle Budapest, Tokyo Institute of Photography and more.


Discipula is the recipient of various awards including Premio Fabbri for Contemporary Art 2016 and Les Rencontres d’Arles Author Book Award 2015.

This project was co-commissioned by FORMAT and First Art for Flâneur – New Urban Narratives.




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