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.