The AiR collaborative at Bournemouth will be gathering in a week to experiment with the stories of others and how to represent them using various media. Participation in the two-day workshop is closed now, but others are welcome to the concept and to experiment with it themselves.The instructions are simple:
The ARTS in Research (AiR) Collaborative would like you to contribute to an experiment. Please bring your past as a present to the workshop. You will give it to someone else. They get to keep it.
Look through that box at the back of the wardrobe or in the loft—the one with bits and pieces that you have been unable to throw away because they represent you and your past. You are going to give some of them away now.
Find some of those precious objects to include in a small packet.
Objects might include a paperback novel, pamphlets, railroad tickets, stamps, old letters or
photographs (from when photographs used to be physical things), a mix-tape cassette (still have
any?) or a 45 record, a food stained recipe card, a small piece of clothing, an accessory like a ribbon or a badge, sheet music, keys, post cards, used concert or theatre tickets, a self-penned poem or a song, or a drawing. Select a few of the objects that tell a particular story from a particular time in your life. Finally, find a box or something else to put them in or wrap them in. Wrap them lovingly, using beautiful materials, perhaps ones that you also have collected. No more than could fill a cigar box or a shoebox at most.
Bring your gift to the workshop. You will agree to exchange presents with one person, someone chosen for you by random. You will talk to each other, telling each other stories about the contents. You might make some notes, but be a good listener/observer. After eating lunch with your partner, we will gather to begin to create individual projects around the earlier exchanges.
Day Two: will be ‘Show & Tell’ –more show than tell. You will present your partner’s story in 5 minutes using any media of your choosing that is convenient. You may want to have your phone, your iPad, your laptop with you. These will be ‘narrative postcards’ of the stories that you have experienced.
Two-day Workshop on Biography, Narrative and Arts-based approaches to collecting and
disseminating the personal stories of others by using our own.
Other than listening, how do we gather life stories?
• Other than dry academic reports, how can we retell these stories in a sensitive
and ethical way to wider audiences?
• How do the stories themselves inspire creativity in retelling them?
• How can we involve participants in the retelling of their stories?
• How much of their story is also our story?
• When is the gathering of the story itself, itself the story?
• How willing are we to let go of our selves?
• Form new relationships with colleagues across disciplines and Schools.
• Experiment with arts-based methods to represent/disseminate research findings.
• Develop more participatory relationships/collaborations with research participants.
• Develop visual and tactile methods of gathering data using all of the senses.
“It’s difficult to draw a line between the past
and the present –awfully difficult” –Little Edie,
Maysles Brothers’ documentary, Grey Gardens