Looky Loos: Jeremy Deller

Jeremy Deller: The Battle of Orgreave
17 June 2001, Orgreave, South Yorkshire

A live re-enactment, filmed under the direction of Mike Figgis for Artangel Media and
Channel 4.

In 1984 the National Union of Mineworkers went on strike. The dispute lasted for over a
year and was the most bitterly fought since the general strike of 1926, marking a turning
point in the struggle between the government and the trade union movement.
On 18 June of that year, the Orgreave coking plant was the site of one of the strike’s most
violent confrontations. It began in a field near the plant and culminated in a cavalry
charge through the village of Orgreave.

Jeremy Deller’s The Battle of Orgreave, staged seventeen years later, was a spectacular
re-enactment of what happened on that day. It was orchestrated by Howard Giles, a
historical re-enactment expert and the former director of English Heritage’s event
programme. More than 800 people participated in the re-enactment, many of them former
miners, and a few former policemen, reliving the events from 1984 that they themselves
took part in. Other participants were drawn from battle re-enactment societies across

The Battle of Orgreave was filmed by Mike Figgis for Artangel Media and Channel 4,
and aired on Sunday, 20 October 2002. The film intercuts dramatic photographic stills
from the clashes in 1984 with footage of the clashes re-enacted in 2001, together with
moving and powerful testimonies, to tease out the complexities of this bitter struggle. 1

1 www.artangel.org.uk//projects/2001/the_battle_of_orgreave


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