‘Mapping Memories’, Holly Graham

The ‘Mapping Memories’ project aimed to create a space for listening, a place for reflection, and creative story-telling. Members of the Waterloo Action Centre’s Sixties Plus group in Lambeth, in collaboration with Holly Graham, explored and shared independent experiences of living, both within and outside of the local area.

The project participants were a very diverse mix of nationalities; however, most who participated had migrated to the UK in the 60s, several from Caribbean countries, others from Belgium, Zimbabwe, and Northern Ireland. Participants kept ‘scrap-boxes’, a form of sketchbook to document project development, and created a series of prints and spoken audio-works based on conversations emerging over the course of the workshops.

Unpacking the Box: ‘The casket contains the things that are unforgettable, unforgettable for us, but also unforgettable for those to whom we are going to give our treasures. Here the past, the present and a future are condensed. Thus the casket is memory of what is immemorial.’ Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space (1958).

The participants began the project by covering boxes to use as a 3D scrap-book for their collected research. They were encouraged to consider the form of the box as a metaphor for the mind: a container; a protective casing; a place to order, categorise and put things away; a private space which can be opened and made temporarily public. Participants conducted interviews with each other to uncover each other’s experiences of living within and outside of Lambeth. Following a visit to Tate Britain to experience the audio-guide sound piece ‘The Darks’ by artists Ruth Ewan and Astrid Johnston, the group began to think about these interviews as their own audio-guides of sorts; leading the listener through their own life journeys. Bearing these in mind, participants developed visual ‘maps’ that sit alongside their audio recordings, which they then screen-printed onto cloth and paper. Holly Graham and the participants discussed the significance of oral tradition against the form of print as a means of duplicating and fixing narratives.

‘Mapping Memories’ was commissioned by HS Projects and funded by the Insight Community Arts Programme (2002 – 2015).

The project ran from April to September 2014.

‘Personal Archiving Project’, Shiraz Bayjoo

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 were 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 ‘Personal Archiving Project’ was commissioned by HS Projects and funded by the Insight Community Arts Programme (2002 – 2015).

The project ran from October 2013 to March 2014.

Arts & Business New Partners Award, Elizabeth-Jane Grose

HS Projects received funds from the Arts & Business New Partners initiative to run a series of workshops with lead artist Elizabeth-Jane Grose for Brunswick residents, business tenants and primary school children and staff of a nearby after school support centre.

The Brunswick, a listed development built in the 1970’s, was undergoing extensive redevelopment as part of the North Bloomsbury area regeneration and this project formed part of the art strategy for the Brunswick. The workshops examined the unique social history of the area, dominated by the socio-cultural legacy of the Foundling Hospital, Britain’s first home for abandoned babies and infants, founded back in the late eighteenth century by Captain Thomas Coram. Many of the mothers whose babies had been accepted into the Foundling Hospital would leave tokens with their babies in the hope that they may some day be re-united with their child.

The workshops looked at the social reality and legacy of the Foundling Hospital on the area and also in a wider context, through their life time experiences, ending with each participant designing and drawing their own tokens.

Commissioned by HS Projects in 2005, Elizabeth-Jane Grose worked with Brunswick Residents, business tenants and Coram After School children & staff.