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.