House on the Borderland

House on the Borderland (2017)

Single channel digital video

15 mins


Featuring Michael Butterworth

Text by Fay Ballard


Sound Design and Mix by Simon Connor

Archive Material from North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan and from Savoy Books personal collections.


This film explores alternative publishing and censorship in Manchester via the history of Savoy Books, a Manchester based publishing house that published a wide array of material from comics and books to small press fiction and alternative paperbacks. Heavily persecuted in the 1970s and 80s, their bookshops were raided and their published content seized by conservative police commissioner James Anderton, nicknamed ‘God’s Cop’.

Their first bookshop, House on the Borderland, set the formula on which others were based, reminiscent of the effervescent world of fanzines and bootleg records populating the streets of 1970s Manchester.

Commissioned by HOME Manchester.


Film Stills

HOTB still 1 HOTB still 2 HOTB still 3 HOTB still 4HOTB 5

A Savoyard’s First Brush with Censorship

Savoyard 1

A Savoyard’s First Brush with Censorship, 8 minutes, 2014

Commissioned by The Exhibition Centre for the Life and Use of Books (Robert Carter, Daniel Fogarty, Lauren Velvick,) as a response to the ‘Corridors’, a collection of zines edited and published by Michael Butterworth, more specifically Corridor 2 which saw he first signs of censorship after its publish in 1971.

This film looks at the context behind the publishing work of M. Butterworth and the early signs of censorship in the 1970’s Manchester, through personal stories, records and archive footage. The film is structured in a ‘cut-up’ fashion as found in the works of William S. Burroughs and the layout options to the likes of Corridor 2, 1971

Film Stills:

Savoyard 2




Michael Butterworth in Conversation, 20 minutes, 2015

In this interview Michael Butterworth talks with broadcaster and art critic Bob Dickinson about his early childhood and his connections to the speculative sci-fi magazine New Worlds and how his friendship with JG Ballard affected his later writing and publishing career. The film was exhibited at Bury Art Gallery as part of Modern History VOL III, a series of three exhibitions curated by Lynda Morris and supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. The film was commissioned by Contemporary Visual Arts Network North West as part of Modern History.


Kris Guidio in Conversation, 22 minutes, 2015

In this interview comic artist Kris Guidio talks with academic Jonathan Barlow about his illustration career for OZ and other underground magazines in the 70’s and his associations with Savoy as the principal artist for La Squab, Lord Horror and Meng & Ecker graphic series.





Drawings for Ideas

Drawing CJH

Drawings for Ideas, 8 min, 2016

Drawings for Ideas is a film produced as part of a group residency in Preston aimed to further investigate and critically respond to the collection of Christopher Joseph Holme (1952 – 2010). Holme was an unknown painter who produced a large body of work throughout his life. Holme studied Fine Art under Professor Kenneth Rowntree at Newcastle University and it was in his second year of study that he first became seriously ill and was diagnosed with and treated for Schizophrenia, a disability that would go on to influence the course of the rest of his life.

As part of the residency I have been invited alongside four creative practitioners such as Lauren Velvick, Alyiah Hussain, Michael Redmond and David Wilkinson to respond to Holme’s remarkable archive comprising of paintings, sketchbooks, diaries and newspaper clippings. The residency culminated in an exhibition at ‘In Certain Places” in Preston and a print publication produced in collaboration with Lisa Lorenz, as a special edition of Nous Magazine.

The project is delivered by Lauren Velvick in partnership with In Certain Places and funded by Arts Council England.

For more information on the CJH Project, Cracked Egg or In Certain Places, please visit, and


Becoming particularly interested in a series of charcoal drawing that had been labelled as ‘Staff and Patients at Sharoe Green’, Casian has sought an analysis of these works, both from Christopher J Holme’s siblings and a medical professional specialising in psychosis. Casian’s work draws attention to the ways in which such analyses are inevitably inflected with personal bias, and the eagerness of observers to find rational meanings where there may be none. (Text by Lauren Velvick)


Press Links


Cracked Eggs Publication:


Cracked Eggs Publication

Drawings for Ideas by Clara Casian (Postcards Edition of 4); limited edition of 20 (per card design); 300g Cyclus; full colour RISO inkjet; 200mmx120mm

Printed in Manchester by MARC the Printers
June 2016



Film Stills:

Drawings for Ideas 1Drawings for Ideas 2 Drawings for Ideas 3 Drawings for Ideas 4

BIRDSONG – Stories from Pripyat


BIRDSONG – Stories from Pripyat, 38 minutes, 2016

Directed by Clara Casian

Original Score by Robin Richards

Produced by Katie Popperwell

Camera by Ricardo Vilela from Sagitta Media and Clara Casian

Edited by Clara Casian

Based on testimonies by Valentina Kuprienko, Mykola Dubas, Olha Savotivna, Mrs Volodymyr Kachan, Alexander Sirota, John Roberts

Poetry by Maria Casian

Archival footage sourced from Dovzhenko Centre Kiev, Volodymyr Kuznietsov and North West Film Archive UK

Supported by Arts Council England, HOME Artist Film, University of Salford, Old Granada Studios and Low Four


BIRDSONG – Stories from Pripyat is a newly-commissioned film by Clara Casian with original score by Robin Richards. The film is underpinned by nuclear research and incorporates found and previously unseen archival footage with original material filmed on location in Ukraine, while Robin Richards’ original score for piano, strings and synthesisers is based on first hand testimonies of Pripyat residents, liquidators of the Chernobyl plant and evacuees to his hometown of Stockport and nearby Glossop from Ukraine and Belarus. The project combines the immediacy and energy of live music with the magic of cinema, revisiting a dramatic and devastating historical event using personal and scientific narratives to draw out the tensions and truths at play in our collective cultural memory of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

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dosimeter fish farm palace of culture piano radiation scan root sand


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