Would you like to write [or stick, stitch, snap, paint or talk….] your way into history? If so then this is the lockdown project for you:
In association with the Dorset History Centre, Guggleton Farm Arts is running a four week journaling project; as we look forward to the easing of restrictions as they come; backward to the personal journey we have each made in the last year; and take a beat to take stock of all we are feeling right now, in the same four weeks…..
It is interesting to consider that it was not until the 1970s, an era of expanding social awareness, that the historian, Richard Collier, made an effort to compile letters written way after the fact about the human cost and suffering endured in the UK during the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918.
Many people will tell you that we live in very different times to then, with the mushrooming of social media providing a voice for anyone living through the COVID pandemic. Stories and tragedies can be found anywhere you care to look. Are they, though, enough of a representation of the social and emotional change many have experienced? Are they, or can they ever be, an intimate enough snapshot of living through an unprecedented moment in human history? How can we, as individuals, preserve for the future the knowledge we have gained about ourselves, our society and our dreams. Can we adequately expect top line figures to preserve for history the experience of losing a loved one without the chance to say goodbye?
How simple could it be for us now, in these tantalising last months before a return to ‘normality’, to set down our own individual thoughts, experiences, observations, hopes, wishes, dreams, revelations and inevitable hardships and heartaches?
How quickly, once something close to normality does return, will we forget how we watched nature flourish, how much a short walk everyday helped us notice the seasons more, how to knit one; pearl one, how simple things brought so much pleasure, how much we missed the in-laws and quite how irritating daytime television is? How soon will we again be dissing our keyworkers?
It is for this reason that Guggleton Farm Arts is putting forward the Lockdown Journals initiative.
Anyone who wants to hold a glue-stick, pen, pencil, phone, camera or other ‘documenting device’ can join in, pointing it towards both their experience of the last year and their hopes for the easing, for the four weeks beginning Monday 19th April and ending Sunday 16thMay. Taking whatever form you please these journals will become an archive of history in the making, a slice through time.
A digital record of each journal will then, at the end of the four weeks, be submitted to become part of a permanent archive at the Dorset History Centre, with the original retained by the author lest they forget and be asked in the future “What did you do during the lockdown Grandad?”; with a selection to feature in an exhibit at the Guggleton Gallery, Stalbridge and the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester.
In this small way we can all of us write ourselves into history, for the benefit of those that come after us and crucial stories lost in 1918 need not be so in 2021.
To register your interest in joining this project then click here, to find ideas and suggestions for beginning your journal look here.