The Grange, Oldham Day 1
We've just started our new project Making Memories which is funded by the Barings Foundation and is a partnership with Gallery Oldham. We're experimenting with new approaches to reminiscence boxes, whilst devising a series of boxes for the Gallery. We're planning to stretch the boundaries of this kind of artefact, taking in broad notions of what stimulates memories and how we understand our collective past.
Ideas that we're playing with include the juxtaposition of old and new objects, creating productive clashes. Bringing in parallel sense experiences like taste. Exploring the emotional value of particular objects and the memories attached. Opening possibilities for reminiscence by using objects that are ambiguous or unexplainable – using the imagination as an investigative tool.
We also want to bring art practice into this playing with the form of the box. The beautiful work of Susan Hiller is particularly in mind. Her cabinets of bottled essences - of people and ideas - are a cunning alchemical brew. They're tangibly real and yet unreachable, like the past itself.
This first morning session was spent meeting with Dorothy, who manages The Grange - sheltered housing in Oldham - discussing the programme of activities and people who'd be interested, saying hellos to residents and familiarising ourselves with the venue - and then in the afternoon looking through the reminiscence materials available at Gallery Oldham.
This two year project will be run as a close partnership with Gallery Oldham, from whom we hope to learn much. We are delighted to be funded by the Barings Foundation, their support for Making Memories is a welcome endorsement of our continued work in the arts and health field.