Your Home, Your Voice, Your Place
Your Home, Your Voice, Your Place creative history project is a celebration of community, home and personal history. It brings together an incredible collection of artwork and oral histories from communities across Oldham.
The project was developed in collaboration with residents and neighbours from Crossley, Dew Way, Fitton Hill and Primrose Bank to mark the 10-year anniversary of Great Places Housing Group and Inspiral’s Gateways to Oldham regeneration project.
Creative history activities were led by early career artists Katie McKeever, Laura Jones and Millie Sheppard, and oral historian Heather Roberts between February – July 2023. Sessions included recording the memories of local residents, creative workshops and drop-ins, a reunion of members of a 1990s youth group and an art call out. Artwork, poetry and film were showcased in a three-month long exhibition in Gallery Oldham and a 76-page book.
Fifteen Oldham residents recorded their memories which are currently being transcribed and will be hosted by Manchester Histories until Oldham Archives and Local Interest Centre moves into its new building in Oldham town centre.
Exhibition at Gallery Oldham, 16 Sept – 2 Dec 2023
Communities around Oldham responded to a creative call out for artwork expressing personal ideas around the question ‘What does ‘home’ and ‘community’ look like to you?’. The response was incredible and the exhibition received over 65 paintings, sketches, textile pieces, poetry and film which has created a vibrant and celebratory body of work. The Mayor of Oldham, Councillor Zahid Chauhan, welcomed over 80 guests to the opening of the exhibition and emphasised the importance of gathering and sharing personal testimonies as important historical research and archives for future generations.
Two of the artworks were created as collaborative pieces. Primrose Centre users worked together over several months to create a painting that brought together all their shared memories of home, family and childhood. Members of the Primrose Sewing Class and Fitton Hill Library users contributed to a beautiful textile representation of Alexandra Park, Oldham’s first public park which opened on 28 August 1865. Alexandra Park was mentioned many times by residents who took part in the Oral History recording sessions as an important community place to them throughout their life, as a space to play, relax, enjoy nature and meet friends and family. Local residents, members of Greenacres Art Group, Oldham Indian Association and Poetherapy Group also submitted individual pieces.
The book is a testament to the enthusiasm and generosity of the people who took part in the project. It features quotes from the oral histories, archive images, maps, contemporary illustrations, photographs and historic information about the four areas. The book launch on 25 November 2023 brought residents together again over tea and cake and a talk about the history of Oldham by historian and tour guide Jonathan Schofield.
A short film was made of three separate events – a St George Day teaparty for over 55s, a Coronation Celebration and a reunion of members of a youth group that performed Tales From The Hill in 1995. The events took place over summer at the Primrose Centre Oldham, and The Ace pub in Fitton Hill. The film is a snapshot of activities that take place locally, and highlights the importance of community that connects people, their shared experiences and heritage.
The Primrose Art and Craft Group is our space to come together, to relax and switch off from worries, everyone is so friendly and welcoming. We usually do our own individual projects but this collaboration has brought us all together. It’s been absolutely wonderful, everyone has gone above and beyond and it’s surprised a lot of us about what we’ve been able to achieve, it’s come together beautifully!
We started with a discussion about memories of Oldham and we thought about images that brought strong memories for us individually and as a group. We talked about what is important to us, shared memories of our childhood, our favourite places and what makes us feel connected to this area and Oldham as a whole.
15 Individual Oral Histories Recorded
65 Gallery Oldham Community Exhibition Art Submissions
11833 Visitors to the Exhibition
45 Book launch attendees - 1000 copies & online version