Groundbreakers is a site-interpretation project which will peel back the layers of social, cultural and environmental history of the Queen Elisabeth Olympic Park. Backed by the London Legacy Development Corporation and the Canals and Rivers Trust, the project explores the industrial history, archaeology and post-industrial legacy of what is now the Olympic Park. It does this by means of two trails, a programme of community engagement and work with local schools. Groundbreakers is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and managed by our partners, The Building Exploratory. The trails will be launched in spring 2019. For further information contact Katie Russell.
CitizenS atlas of london
Citizens Atlas of London: a brief history
The original idea for the Atlas emerged from the early days of LivingMaps. There were a series of meetings with potential participants and collaborators over a two year period in which the project gradually took shape. The issues discussed included the relationship of this project with other counter-mapping initiatives; the nature of the platform and mode of delivery; the political and conceptual focus of the project and its mapping methodology.
What emerged from these discussions was 1) we would produce a toolkit which could be used by a variety of groups, viz schools, youth projects, community organisations and campaign groups 2) the strategic focus would be on the opportunity areas as defined in the 2050 London plan 3) an online platform will host multimedia material produced by a network of local groups through workshops 4) this material would explore visions of London's past, present and future, and would be focused around specific issues and themes to be investigated through a variety of counter-mapping methods 5) the project to be supported by a programme of public lectures by leading figures in radical urbanism who have focused their work on London's democratic transformation. These contributions will form the basis for a book of essays and specially commissioned thematic maps that will be published to accompany the online atlas.
So far we have developed and trialled the mapping methodology, working with a number of artists and produced a 12-minute video to promote the project to potential participants and funders. This can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/KaDJF4CSXKo
The lecture programme was initiated in 2017 and has been very successful, with contributions by leading figures in the movement to rethink what London means to its citizens, drawing on its historical record, its contemporary geography and most importantly, on its future envisagement. Speakers to the series thus far: Iain Sinclair, Michael Edwards, Anna Minton, Ben Campkin, Emma Spruce, Bob Gilbert and Ken Worpole.
After a recent meeting to review progress and discuss a funding strategy for the next active, phase of the project we decided to focus this around a proposal for a Young Citizens Atlas of London. This will involve running a workshop programme for teachers and youth workers, who will then use the toolkit to deliver participatory mapping projects with young people in a number of opportunity areas where there is a high incidence of youth violence and crime.
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ENERGY IN STORE
(Creative partner: John Wallett of Livingmaps)
In the AHRC funded project ‘Energy in Store’, (2017-18) external researchers have been working with Science Museum Group curators and conservators to explore the potential of the Science Museum Group stored collections.
The Group’s collections include around 425,000 objects, and in total seven million items including books, archival records, photographs and other media. Although some of these are on permanent display in the museums, and others will feature in special exhibitions and loans to other venues, most of them will remain in the stores for the foreseeable future.
In Energy in Store a small working group of curators and researchers was brought together, united by an interest in the history of energy production and distribution.
Over the last year that working group has met on a regular basis to exchange perspectives and explore new ideas. We held workshops and visits taking in Blythe House in West Kensington, the Library and Archives at the Science Museum, the Collections Centre at the Museum of Science and Industry, and the National Collections Centre at Wroughton.
During those meetings the group have discussed around 150 different objects that relate to energy generation and distribution – ranging from a fossilised tree, to dummy nuclear waste, domestic gas meters, early batteries, engines, and models of power stations.
Visiting the stores and focusing on objects has allowed us to tackle a series of questions How could SMG offer access to the object collections which is better adapted to the needs of external researchers? Where might researchers benefit from a greater understanding what happens ‘behind the scenes’? We have also discussed issues of concern shared by all parties – how could the historical knowledge that external researchers are producing about the objects be more systematically integrated into the museum records? How can volunteer organisations, interest groups and museums avoid intergenerational loss of expert knowledge? What benefits (or hazards) does the digital present to object-based research?
The project has been facilitated by information designer and community arts expert John Wallett, and recorded as a documentary film by Aura Films.
At a final symposium in June we bring some key topics, debates and ideas from Energy in Store to a larger audience of interest groups, the voluntary heritage sector and professional museums staff. We will screen the film, and use the findings from Energy in Store as a provocation for further debate with the audience.
We will also be publishing further material in the form of a printed publication and an archive of stills photography, audio interviews and supplementary video footage.
AHRC Funding and Delivery
The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (grant ref: AH/P013678/1 official title: Integrating Forms of Care: building communities of practice around reserve collections).
It is being delivered by Dr Anna Woodham, King’s College London, Jack Kirby, Group Head of Collection Services, SMG, and Dr Elizabeth Haines, Research Associate, Science Museum, London, between July 2017 and July 2018.
Energy in Store page on the SMG website:
Putting yourself on the Map : Workshops for young people
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Lecture series: Our Kind of Town
A series of occasional public lectures by leading figures in the movement to rethink what London means to its citizens, drawing on its historical record, its contemporary social geography and its future. Lecturers have included Michael Edwards, Anna Minton, Ben Campkin and Emma Spruce.
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