WE ARE ALIVE AGAIN is an ongoing and growing body of work exploring the uses and meanings of family photography. For a long time, I have mined my own family archive, using images of myself and my family alongside found materials in my art work, which I’ve done through artist books and zines, collage, photography, installation, experimental video and collaborations with family members. Doing this work has offered a means to make and remake stories, to explore identity and relationships and memory, and has been a transformative experience for me personally.
1n 2012, after the death of my beloved Nana at age 92, I was given custodianship of her large photographic archive (spanning over a century), to digitise and share with the rest of her large family. Since that time and because of my own experience of working with family photographs, I’ve become more and more drawn to the potential of working creatively with family archival materials with others.
For the last year, I’ve been working on how I can do this. This process has so far involved many different activities: from looking at archives and albums, conversations and sharing archival material, research, including sociological and art therapy approaches to the uses of family snaps, and collaborations. I’ve been blogging about some of this work here
I collaborated in 2013 – 14 with For The Love of People (artists Jez Coram and Caroline Hick) at Fabric Arts Lab in Bradford in a 3 month period of experimentation and play, working with photographs, objects, collage and light, to explore performative and collage processes in working with personal and family archival materials. To see documentation from the collaboration visit our facebook page here. This process culminated in a public event in February 2014 where we invited people in to the space to look, play and share their own stories and memories.
WE ARE ALIVE AGAIN was recreated as a site responsive installation commissioned by Art in Unusual Spaces for Dark Matter Institute, a temporary gallery space at Oastler Market in Bradford as part of Bradford Threadfest. Taking place on 15th May, 2014, the installation comprised of collections of archival family photographs, posters, makeshift dioramas, assemblages, collages, everyday objects, zines, found props and projections. Visitors and market users were invited to ‘tamper with the work according to their needs, to perform a story for that moment, or that day.’ Images here. This work was developed further as part of Wur at Oastler Market, a two week residency in the same space in July 2014, and continues as part of my solo and collaborative practice.