The Life Story Boxes strand was a series of creative workshops with groups of elders, working in conjunction with three memory cafes in south Devon, led by artist Kate Green.
(Click on the links for more information about Memory Cafés in Devon, or near where you live.) Visit the Life Story Box gallery to see lots more images and to listen to the stories, or explore individual boxes from here.
Over a period of eighteen months, participants made life story boxes with artist Kate Green, containing spoken memories as well as things that are special to the maker, or their family. These boxes were exhibited in a number of the memory cafes and at Cockington Court in Devon, and most have now been returned to their makers. Kate says:
“Your memories are treasures, stored for safekeeping –– they are your life story.
When you visit your treasure box it is to pick out precious moments. You re-visit the past, travelling back to a moment saved across many years. If you close your eyes you can almost smell, hear and taste that time again. You have returned, right into the middle of that experience. Then it is gone and you are back in the here and now with the warm feeling of having been somewhere special that is yours.
Some of your treasures may be from when you were young and just starting out as a collector of magical moments. Some may be from moments further on in your life that may have brought you tears or laughter. Over the years you became better and better at gathering these special moments to put in your treasure box and there were larger and more significant happenings to treasure –– your first friend, love, partner, child. Your first job, dance, achievement, adventure.
You marked special moments, thinking “I must remember this, I must keep it forever.” Sometimes there may have seemed so many that you wondered if they could be found again amidst the hundreds of other treasured memories. Unexpectedly a smell, sound or familiar place will remind you of treasures you forgot you had kept. Sometimes you can remember past moments and can regale family and friends with stories full of detail and of life. Sometimes your treasures may seem dim, foggy, unreachable. You know the vague outline, you sense the essence of something important, but parts of the picture are missing and you long to fill in the gaps.
It is the sharing of our stories, our treasures, that keeps them alive. Each time we tell a tale from our past to another we breathe life back into it. The way we recount an adventure, with enthusiasm and emphasis and a sparkle in our eye, they become infectious and are embedded in someone else’s memory. We keep our memories alive by sharing and passing them on to other people.
I hope that when you look into the treasure boxes in this on-line exhibition that the stories you find will stay with you. You can breathe new life into them by sharing them with others –– these special memories deserve it.”
The boxes have both a physical and digital element: photographs, layered images on acetate, objects with meaning to participants, film clips, audio – below you can see some plans for the boxes and pictures of Kate and Richard making them.
We’d like to thank Kate Green and Richard Povall for their fantastic and wonderfully imaginative work on this project, as well as our three partner memory cafes: Totnes, Bovey Tracey and Babbacombe.
Here are the plans for a selection of the boxes and some photographs of the boxes as they were being made. You can click on each image for a closer look.
Aune Head Arts
Devon TQ9 6EN
Aune Head Arts is a Company Limited by Guarantee, registered in England & Wales. Co. No. 03478530; Registered Charity No. 1141626. Reg. Office: as above Aune Head Arts has now ceased to trade.
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