Rachel grew up in the former mining town of Conisbrough, South Yorkshire. The daughter of a miner, she was born during the strike of 1984, and her work as an artist has grown out of the experience of coming from a community that had been thrown on the scrapheap.
Her first big project, ‘Out of Darkness, Light’ (2005), was a memorial event for the 410 men and boys who died in mining accidents during the life of the Cadeby Main colliery, where four generations of her family worked. Since then, her other projects have included ‘Pin the Pits’, a campaign to get the Ordnance Survey to add former pit sites to the categories of historical features marked on their maps.
At the second Uncivilisation festival, she spoke about the reality of living through the collapse of an industrial way of life – and the role of stories and memory in the attempt to rebuild a broken community. Since then, she’s been one of the organisers of The Telling, a series of Dark Mountain events in South Yorkshire.