Noticing the Now
In early 2020 I was invited to work with the residents of Sutton St James, Lincolnshire. The commissioners had an ambition to create with the community but recognised they needed help. In response I spent time building links with locals and unearthing the things that mattered. I kept oral histories and photographed what they spoke of – creating a living archive of these images on Instagram.
My efforts revealed a community working hard to minimise isolation and loneliness through resourceful home grown activities and care – and also open do more. So when lockdown happened I continued to talk with them via letters and emails, Zoom meetings and phone calls. We captured our now’s as we shared daily experiences. As restrictions eased I built on this emerging idea – working alongside a small group of residents to gather the wider communities lockdown stories and photos.
The words and images amassed is a significant contemporary collection – revealing a strange time and a very particular Fenland community on the cusp of change. A fact that led to me creating a series of posters that utilised the archive and celebrated this moment. I shared the posters across the village as a lamp post and shop window exhibition and a selection were published in a free zine. An idea for a verbatim play, using the collection as source material, emerged as we worked. LOV1 are now helping the community fulfil this desire and their ambition to perform it across the region.
Extra thanks to
Commissioned by South Holland Centre and LOV1 Venues
Funded by Arts Council England
Paul Hamlyn Foundation|
Esme Fairburn Foundation