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The Rossendale Fairies

Hyatt, J (2015) The Rossendale Fairies. 01 March 2015 - 30 July 2015, Whitaker Museum, Rossendale. UK. [Show/Exhibition]

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Engaged in a practice of how to photograph fast moving things, Hyatt in a mixture of success and accident made some digital photographs of what appeared to be small winged humanoid figures flying in the evening sunlight. Hyatt, at the time, was supporting a local museum to stay open and generate income and attention, therefore he constructed an exhibition (deliberately in the café area) of these photographs. He framed their reception with a press release which placed the work in the context of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the Cottingley Fairies. Hyatt used his professorial title for the first time in an exhibition context to add gravitas. This gained local, national and then global attention, becoming an Internet viral phenomenon in 2015, bringing over £1 million equivalent of positive publicity, appearances on TV in Japan, Italy and the USA, promoting Rossendale and the Museum which increased takings 600% and the fairies helped the venue win the Lancashire Cultural and Tourism Award in November 2015. Fundamentally, the form in which the research was disseminated asks the viewer to decide: it questions belief systems and asks the question whether the viewer believes in the supernatural being or not. The findings were approximately 50% yes and 50% no. The world seems equally split (Brexit-like) between those that believe in other worlds, specifically fairies, and those who do not. This project saturated the world digital media for months. In reached millions of people encompassing the entire globe. The Natural History Museum, Oxford, examined the photographs and declared them genuine photographs (but unsurprisingly were of the opinion they were insects). They, however, invited Hyatt to deliver a paper in Oxford, ‘Why Fairies are Real’ (2015). He continues to make invited presentations about the research, such as at The Bradford Literature Festival, 2017.

Item Type: Show/Exhibition
Uncontrolled Keywords: Rossendale Fairies; Hyatt; John Hyatt; Digital; Digital Photographs; Folklore; Nature; Natural World; Supernatural; mythology
Subjects: T Technology > TR Photography
Divisions: Art & Design
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2017 10:26
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2022 15:15
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7179
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