Everyone Can Make an Archive
The 'Everyone Can Make an Archive' Project provided a unique opportunity for Tyne and Wear Archives Service to work with experienced visual artist, Dougey Hunter, and writer, Aidan Moesby. This is the first occasion the Service has used the unique skills and approaches of artists in outreach work. We are grateful for the funding provided by MLA North East under their Innovative Projects & Good Practice Grant Programme.
Dougey and Aidan worked with 7 groups of Year 6 pupils from four North Tyneside primary schools: Amberley, Bailey Green; Moor Edge and Shiremoor. Starting with two days research in TWAS they selected a range of exciting archive resources based on the themes of local and family history around Killingworth and journeys made by people in the past.
Using these documents as a starting point, the children reflected on changes in their own lives, especially the process of transition to George Stephenson High School, now a specialist College in English and Humanities. Their innovative work is shown in the variety of presentations in this exhibition.
The books have printed cloth lain across an open page. This is a metaphor for the past and future unseen (closed pages) with the present visible (open pages). Information from TWAS was used to stimulate pupils’ imagination. Timelines, spider mapping, memory mapping etc were used by pupils to create group pictures. These have been digitally put together by scanning objects, writing, drawings and photos. The digital images are printed onto the cloth to give a detailed yet slightly antiquated feel to the books.
Box Picture Frames
The box picture frames contain personal mementos and special objects as well as drawings and written text. Material from TWAS prompted ideas of personal identity and sense of self. The box picture frames are self portraits of the pupils who created them.
Sets of Drawers
Some drawers were made by individuals whilst others were done by a small group. Inside the drawers are ‘scenes’ which reflect pupils’ interests. They use photographs and objects of meaning to pupils. Externally the chests are collaged with written work, including maps to school; labels identifying special objects; acrostic poems formed from the names of pupils in the class; imaginary time travel postcards; timelines and spider web diagrams. The collaged chests are painted in order to give it a ‘treasure chest’ feel.
Triptych Picture Shelves
The 3 panels are collaborative pieces made by pupils. The Picture Shelves show objects, collaged written work and the painted surface. For example a paintbrush to show the person enjoyed learning about art or swimming goggles represent a keen swimmer. Written text produced included acrostic poems and maps of routes to school. This work was collaged and painted to create a landscape of layers, objects, colours and emotions.
Mixed Media Panels
These large panels were produced as collaborations. Work produced included creative writing, lifelines, spider diagrams, labelling special objects and acrostic poems were collaged onto the panels. Shelving and partitioning made created space on the picture surface. Key words and phrases are stencilled onto the panels with objects such as shoes, a hairbrush or mirror also prompt ideas of narrative about the pupils’ lives and who they are.
Type Set Drawers
The type set drawers utilise different compartments to include words derived from working with archive material and objects deposited into this ‘archive’. Each object represents an individual pupil and collectively they represent the class of pupils.