Thursday, 17 December 2015

Memory day at Hop 50+ cafe, Hove

Today we ran our first memory day at the Hop 50+ cafe in Hove from 10-2pm. We had a steady stream of older people coming to share their stories of their giddy youth in Brighton.

The day started on BBC Sussex radio and an interview with Giddy's Nimbus Group's Co-director Carina Westling promoting the memory day. She read out a diary entry found during our research aof the Mass Observation Archive at The Keep.

Here's the radio interview with some images from our photographic research and first memory day:

We had different stations set up for various activities in the lounge next to the cafe as well as in two separate rooms and the pupils from Longhill did a fantastic job in rotating around various roles:

1. Being on the 'front desk' welcoming the older people and talking them through the various consent forms they needed to sign.
2. Scanning images that people may have brought in.
3. Assisting photographer Elizabeth Doak in taking portraits.
4. Interviewing older people working with sound recordist Paul Farrington.
5. Independently interviewing and recording oral histories.
6. Generally chatting with newcomers and helping with the essential cups of tea etc.

See below a selection of the photos taken on the day. Elizabeth was looking for expressions that somehow captured their different personalities and response to sharing their stories. The gentleman with his eyes closed said he found the experience of sharing his stories quite an emotional one. We selected different backgrounds using material from 40's/50's and 60's and changed these from time to time. These images may end up as part of the exhibition and perhaps on the App itself.

Pupils working with Elizabeth to take portraits

Photos brought in by participant of the Memory day

Caricature drawn by Ben Ware, brought in by his daughter who also took part in recording her own oral history. 

Dance hall in Brighton brought Photos brought in by participant of the Memory day

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

App and Logo design

For this session while half the group were taking part in the memory day the rest of the group worked App designer Peter Pavement and designer Oli Pyle to come up with ideas for the Logo.

Peter went through the wireframes he has created for the app based on ideas given to him during his last session with the group. A wireframe is a visual guide that represents the skeletal framework for the App - the pupils contributed many useful ideas during the last session with Peter that he incorporated into the design.

This is what Oli said he did during the session:
  • I introduced myself and showed some of my work so they could get an idea of what I do.
  • I gave a quick intro to logo design and what makes a good logo
  • I then talked a bit more specifically about the creative brief for Giddy and tried to get the group thinking about concepts and ideas we could think about for the logo
  • We also asked them to think about fonts and colours to use using Google Fonts and Adobe Colour
  • They spent the rest of the session sketching some ideas out while we went round talking to each of them about their ideas.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Research at The Keep

Today the group met at The Keep to begin for a research session of the Mass Observations Archive as well as the Brighton and Hove Collections.

Suzanne Rose, the Mass Observation Archive's Education and Outreach Officer had prepared a fantastic array of material for the pupils to explore. Wartime diaries, Mass Observations documents, Astoria's scrap book from the 1950's, newspaper cutting about the mods and rockers, photos of Brighton from the 40/50/60's to name a few.

The pupils launched themselves wholeheartedly into the role of researchers and even got the chance to look through boxes and files of material that the Mass Observation Archive hadn't seen before.
They particularly liked looking at photos of Brighton and working out what had changed. 'That's where Primark is now" and that's 'H & M'.

Looking at photos of the Odeon cinema that got bombed during WW2 and reading the diary of a girl who narrowly missed being in the cinema at the time, but who lost friends had a powerful resonance.

Carina Westling co-director of the Nimbus group and instigator of the Giddy project popped in to meet the group and do a bit of research herself. We came across a great giddy sounding story from the 1950's of a rendezvous under the pier and wondered if we'll get any other under the pier stories in our first memory day next week.

 We even found the word giddy:

For the final 10 minutes the group shared and talked about the material they found interesting.
Carina told the group about the man she met on the streets of kemp town, Brighton who invited her for a drink and to share a few memories. On impulse she went along with this proposition and after a couple of drinks and some very eye opening tales he took her on a walking tour of the streets where his memories actually took place. The idea for the app came from this extraordinary interaction with this stranger...

Next week the first memory day, there's been lot's of interest a from the public as well as local radio and we are expecting to be busy....

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Oral History planning and sound recording

On Wednesday 2nd December the Giddy group met for our last oral history training session before the first memory day. Rose Holmes recapped on the key oral history techniques:
Active Listening
Open Questioning
Guided Discussion

The pupils devised their questions, starting with a few introductory questions and leading towards some questions that  connect with some of our Giddy themes:

Beach and seafront
Music and dancing
Fashion and identity
Hobbies and pastimes
Love and Romance

The group were introduced to Paul Farrington who will be facilitating recording the oral histories during the planned memory days. Paul talked to the group about a previous oral history project 'Floating Memories' he had led. He played the group different recordings of oral histories using different recorders from iphones to more sophisticated recording equipment to compare different qualities. 

The group had a go at using the recording equipment while role-playing their questions, taking it in turns to take on the role of the older people.

Friday, 27 November 2015

The Keep and Mass Observation Archive

On Tuesday (24 Nov) students from Longhill visited The Keep in Falmer, which contains the archives of Mass Observation, East Sussex Records Office and the Royal Pavilion & Museums Local History Collections.

We met with Suzanne Rose, Education and Outreach Officer for the Mass Observation Archive, who began by giving us a tour of The Keep, letting us know what is kept at The Keep, and how things are conserved. This included looking at one of the cool storage conservation rooms, which stores documents at cold temperatures to preserve them. We also got to see the conservation room where documents, such as maps, books and pictures a repaired.

Suzanne then gave students the opportunity to look at and examine some of the artefacts in the Mass Observation Archive's collection. This included day diaries written by young people, diaries written during the war, daily life flip books created by teenagers and wardrobe content lists from the 1940s written by young people.

Students on the day were interested and engaged with the contents of the diaries, especially those written by other young people, and reading about people's lives during wartime. The session was an excellent introduction to how archives work, and how the Mass Observation Archive can influence Giddy's development.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Oral History Training

Today's fantastic session was led by Dr Rose Holmes from the University of Sussex. At the start of the session she asked the group to interview each other and ask why they wanted to be involved in Giddy and to feed something back to the rest of the group.

These were some of their responses:

- likes history and want to carry on with it throughout school life.
-  interested in history and want to meet older people
- wants to find out how Brighton has changed
- to hear people's personal stories
- wants to learn about people's lives and to see how the app will progress and how it will be shared with wider community.

Rose introduced herself as a University lecturer and informed the pupils that she was going to treat them like University students - and once the pupils relaxed and got talking Rose thought they wouldn't be at all out of place as first year university students!

She talked about what oral history was, its history, why it might be important and how to prepare for an interview.

These are some of the thoughts the group had about how to prepare for an interview:

- think about tone
- body language - open posture to reflect open attitude.
- how can you make yourself appear as relaxed and open as possible
- eye contact - good but not intense eye contact
-Listen to what the interviewee is saying and respond
-Listen - let them talk
-ask open questions
-ease in gently before you get into more personal questioning
- what do you do if someone gets emotional? - be sensitive to their feelings- emotions are natural, give them the opportunity to have a break if necessary.
- break down questions to smaller ones before you get to the BIG questions or how can a broad question be broken down to smaller more specific questions.
- if it becomes quiet, have another question ready (have too many questions)
- you may prepare a set of questions but you can just respond to what comes up

The group were set a series of role play exercises which they really enjoyed, Rose observed and gave feedback on everyone's interviewing skills. She was very impressed by many of the pupils natural ability,

Rose talked about 3 useful interview techniques:

1. Active Listening -  body language, eye contact and facial expressions are very important to help your interviewee feel listened to and feel relaxed to talk. Don't make noises (because of recording) when they are speaking.
2. Open questioning - they asking follow up questions based on their responses to the first question.
3. Guided discussion - how do you steer the conversation back to topics you want to discuss.

Potential issues to deal with:
What if they get upset?
What if they are quiet?
What if they won't talk about what I've asked?
What if someone says something I don't agree with - perhaps something racist or homophobic?

The have gone away with the task of writing a series of questions they might like to ask. The key I think is for the pupils to think about what they'd like to find out about, what interests them?
But also to think about giddy of course and of all the things that might make us feel Giddy.

Under a general umbrella of Youth Culture the themes emerging for questions are:
Music and dancing
Fashion and identity
Beach and seafront
Love and Romance
Hobbies and Pastimes

and from todays session 'friendship' might be one to add to the list.....

Thanks to Jade, Lilah, Izzy and Paige who are going to be setting up their own Giddy blog for all the pupils to add to.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Giddyness at Brighton Museum

This week's session took place at Brighton Museum with the aim being for the pupils to develop a deeper sense of decades 40's, 50's and 60’s and how one influenced the next. 

The group started off by exploring the galleries 'Exploring Brighton' and 'Images of Brighton' recording, observing and drawing, images, objects and oral histories in response to a sequence of 'prompts:

i). Choose an object from 40/50/60's (each group given different time period) - draw and or describe the object (find something unusual, that intrigues you or haven't come across before)- what it looks like and what it was used for. Be detailed. 

ii). Listen to an oral history from 40/50/60's (each group given different time period) write down an interesting quote/sound bite from what you hear.

iii). What did people do at work/home/free time in Brighton in 40/50/60s find an example for each.

After sharing their findings, the fabulous Brighton Museum learning assistant,  Penny Balchin, led a costume handling session looking at the change in clothes from victorian times – 1960’s and how these changes related to other social and political changes in national and internationally. The pupils had great fun trying on costumes, not everyone was willing at first by the end they were all dressing up.  

The last activity demanded imagination and a bit of detective work. The group were presented with an old suitcase and were told it had been left at Brighton Station. The objects inside might provide some clues to who owned the suitcase and why it was left there. Their task was to open the suitcase and carefully take out the objects and then work in groups to come up with a story about the owner/s and what might have happened. They came up with some very imaginative stories and presented them back to each other.

Next week oral history training!