130 young people aged between 11-16 are about to discover the history of Swindon – while making history themselves, thanks to an award of £25,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Young people will use Swindon photos taken between the 1940s-60s, to create their own exhibitions about Swindon’s community history. They will run a campaign to find some of the photograph subjects, interview them, learn to take photos of their own communities, and then curate an exhibition of the images and the stories they discover.
The Back to Black and White project is a partnership between Swindon Borough Council’s Create Studios & Swindon Museum and Art Gallery and Swindon Youth Forum and is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Young Roots programme. The Youth Forum members were inspired by the Albert Beaney collection of 40,000 photographs of Swindon residents in the 40s, 50s and 60s – which shows a unique insight into the lives of young people in Swindon. They took the lead in designing the project and aim to create better relationships between younger and older members of the community.
The Youth Forum members– all completing their Arts Award – are working alongside professional artist Dani Landau to create their exhibition and gain a range of new skills including photography, digital media, photograph handling and curatorial skills. Their exhibition will take place at Artsite’s Post Modern gallery on 1-7 August.
Following the exhibition launch the CreateMobile, a state-of-the-art mobile digital media studio, will go out to four Swindon schools to enable them to create their own unique exhibitions.
Celebrating Swindon’s heritage
Dienka Hines, Culture Swindon’s Education manager said, “From this project we hope to develop a group of dynamic young heritage leaders who will gain the skills to facilitate workshops with younger children and older members of the community. These young people will play a leading role in shaping the future heritage provision in Swindon. We will also be rolling out the project to 4 Swindon schools. This project will celebrate Swindon’s heritage past and present, through 5 original exhibitions – and a showreel on the BBC Big Screen, reaching over 6,000 people”.
“Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, young people are going to reflect on their heritage, identity and sense of belonging, and will create a lasting archive of young people’s original photography, which reflects on Swindon’s diverse communities today.”