The Soles of Harborough Folk: New Digital Resources Reveal Leicestershire’s Shoemaking Past

Posted by ap507 at Nov 17, 2014 01:10 PM |
University of Leicester involved in project bringing history to life

Issued by the University of Leicester Press Office on 17 November

  • Sole2Soul launch takes place on Thursday 27 November at Harborough Museum, The Symington Building, Adam & Eve Street, Market Harborough
  • New app to be launched, containing commissioned creative writing about the Falkner Boot and Shoe exhibit
  • Museum curators of the future to meet Silver Champions who have written poems and stories about the exhibit
  • It revisits the history of the Falkner family - Market Harborough shoemakers for more than 150 years
  • Sole2Soul was commissioned as part of Leicestershire County Council’s Click; Connect; Curate; Create project, funded by Arts Council England to create  digital content based on its museum sites, stories, objects and collections.

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Copyright: Kev Ryan

Step back into the history of Harborough’s shoemaking heritage with the launch of new exhibit and “Falkner” app for smartphones and mobile devices.

The Sole2Soul project links the traditions of the town’s footwear artisans, the Falkner family, with modern day tales inspired by writers commissioned by the University of Leicester’s Centre for New Writing.

Sole2Soul was commissioned as part of Leicestershire County Council’s Click; Connect; Curate; Create project, funded by Arts Council England to explore how digital media and technology can increase engagement with collections and footfall to museums.

The event takes place at Harborough Museum, on Thursday 27 November, between 4pm and 5.30pm, where young curators of the future will meet wise old “Silver Champions”, participants aged over 55 who have produced twitter stories (tales of 140 characters or less) and poems about the exhibit.

There will also be live readings of the creative work, podcasts and artefacts on display from the Falkner Boot and Shoe exhibition, which is named after the family which dominated the hand-made shoe industry in Harborough for three generations - more than 150 years.

Organiser Dr Corinne Fowler, Director of the Centre for New Writing, said: “It will bring a key part of the region’s shoemaking history to life through commissioned writing and new digital resources and be the first ever public event in the newly opened Symington building in Market Harborough.”

The event will also be focused on the launch of a new mobile app, which contains information about the project and includes a radio programme about the Falkner exhibition.

More than 50 people will take part in the event including the 12 Silver Champions and 10 young curators from around Leicestershire.

Dr Fowler, of the University’s School of English, said: “We wanted to start an intergenerational dialogue between two groups who are the least likely to come to the Falkner exhibit.

“We also wanted the project’s Silver Champions and young curators to inspire each other to talk to each other - and then to us all - about the Falkner exhibit.

“Our motto is: Wise souls talk to young souls about shoe souls.”

All of the work created for the event will be displayed on the project website, is featured on the app, on postcards and in an e-anthology.”

Examples of the writing include the poem Bovine Thoughts, by Krytyna Wysocki:“Chewing cud, mooing. This tannery's been my undoing.”

Other submissions include a Story Tweet, by John Kitchen: “Dumped off the bed, me, his calf skin derby, then stabbed by her falling stiletto-DISRESPECT.”

The project is funded by Arts Council England and managed by Leicestershire County Council. You can find out more at


Notes to editors:

For more information or to book tickets, visit the event page, at:, email:

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