Personal Archiving Project, 2014

Personal Archiving Project, 2014

The Personal Archiving Project explored the history of the Leonard Cheshire Disability charity (LCD) along with personal stories of its residents.  Working with the Randall Close Resource Centre, participants created a visual map of the services they know today and the social history that has helped to shape them.

The project’s lead artist Shiraz Bayjoo explored the LCD archive, drawing out photographs from three distinct periods in the development of the charity.  The visual material was presented to the participants who collectively pieced together a collaged timeline.  Participants were asked to create a narrative exploring their own stories, using photographs and objects from their own past, and present lives.  Participants photographed jewellery and copied old photographs that were added to their collaged timelines.

This process also took on the form of recorded interviews, as participants pulled together their memories to create a video.  Participants interviewed each other about their experiences of living with disability, as well as staff and volunteers at the centre.

At times, this has been a difficult and painful process for some of the participants as they explored aspects of their own lives and disability.  The participants explored their community and the relationships they have formed, presenting an understanding and insight into what is often a hidden part of our society.  The project celebrates their successes and illustrates the rich lives they have led and some of the difficult challenges that they have faced.  It aimed to empower and create a sense of community amongst the participants as they present to an outside audience their sense of who they are and how this community fits into a wider social history.

The final works for the exhibition have been recomposed by Shiraz Bayjoo into mirrored landscapes and repeating elements that create a sense of symmetry and pattern that seeks to draw the viewer along the narratives presented.

The project was commissioned by HS Projects and funded under the Insight Community Arts Programme.