The Island Stories

Client: Heritage Lottery Fund / North Yard Trust / Clarion Housing Group

Date: 2017 – 2018

Synopsis:  Bridging Barne Barton: The Island Stories is a social history project based on the Barne Barton Estate, Plymouth. The former naval estate, built in the 1960’s to house young naval families, is undergoing regeneration.  Fotonow CIC have been working with residents and volunteers in the area since September 2017, recording interviews, gathering and archiving old photos in order to capture a picture of the area at this time of change.

The project aims to present various perspectives and details of life in Barne Barton, by drawing on the experiences and memories of residents as well as the knowledge of local historians. Creative and photography workshops run by Fotonow and local youth worker Bridey Borda, animate the archive material and engage local residents and young people.

Brief: This 18 month £38k project is funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund, Clarion Housing Group and North Yard Community Trust. The central brief is to create an archive of oral histories which are available on the website and to deliver a range of creative and community events which to aims to engage residents and local youth groups in the project.

 Our Approach: We appointed a social history researcher to work alongside Fotonow staff to engage local residents, to carry out interviews and project manage.  As a socially-engaged media practice our approach to the brief combines project delivery and participant engagement through participatory methods with high production and presentation values. Content gathered through the project is presented on the project website. 

 Impact:  The Island Stories has so far delivered; 4 community events, attended by 78 local residents; produced an exhibition with the local ‘Young Ambassadors’ youth group, attended by 29 people; run local history walks and delivered 6 workshops in Riverside Primary School, attended by 10 year 5 children.

“I loved being a part of this and I loved using the equipment because I would like to be a reporter or a part of a camera team (maybe yours!). You have really inspired me. Thank you” – Amelie, young person.

“I liked the tech bit like being the sound person or being in front of the camera I enjoyed it because I learnt how to use the camera and be more confident with speaking in front of the camera” – Lennox, young person.

A total of 295 volunteer hours have been recorded, supporting audio transcription assisting with workshop delivery and audio recording.

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