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Stuart Layton

MA work

The Act of the Spartan Boy

The Act of the Spartan Boy is a moving image work that combines both appropriated and purpose-shot footage, mostly from the small towns that make up the Black Country – an area in the West Midlands given it’s name due to the soot and smoke produced by the foundries of the Industrial Revolution. The film explores notions of memory and aims to operate not as document but rather as a transient, fragmented vision, free and fleeting as the fallibility of memory itself. Lines between fact and fiction are blurred by way of broken narratives that are weaved within the fabric of the images, during which slippage occurs, and indeed is encouraged in the hope of leading to some undiscovered ‘other’.

While it operates as a work in its own right, the film is also a key component of a much larger, ongoing project provisionally entitled 'Navigating a Life Half Lived'.


  • MA Degree


    School of Humanities


    MA Painting, 2015



  • Working across video, installation, sound, written and spoken word, my work explores the passing down of history, folklore and childhood recollections found within small, regional communities within post-industrial towns. These often overlooked places operate as microcosms, separate, yet still connected from the wider world that remains ignorant of their actuality. Subsequently these investigations emphasise the fallibility of memory, becoming an investigation into the validity of history itself. Utilising combinations of acquired and shot-for-purpose footage, sound, written and spoken word, I seek to exploit the 'slippage' that can occur within our recollections, exposing the blurred lines that exist between fact and fabrication.

    The common thread in all my work is a critical examination of memory and editorial choice in the formation of political and personal histories, and personally political histories.

  • Degrees

  • BA (Hons) Fine Art, University of Worcester, 2012
  • Experience

  • Visiting lecturer, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2015; Visiting lecturer, Royal Leamington Spa College, Leamington Spa, 2014–15; Curator, Chelsea College of Art & Design, London, 2015; Curator, Worcester Museum & Art Gallery, Worcester, 2014; Installation technician (client: Flood Alert, Be Prepared, The Hive), Worcester, 2012
  • Exhibitions

  • Small Worlds, New Art Gallery, Walsall, 2015; Open Film, Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2015; Light/Matter, Cookhouse Gallery CCAD, London, 2015; Now & After, Museum of Gulag, Moscow, 2014; You Never Wash Up After Yourself, Three Gallery, Birmingham, 2014; Zombie Poverty, Article Gallery, Birmingham, 2014; You'll Never Work in this Town Again, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton, 2013; New Art West Midlands, Grand Union, Birmingham, 2013