Introducing ‘Voices of the Archives’…

I’m afraid I’ve been reasonably quiet on the blog over the past month, but I’ve been working away on our Voices of the Archives campaign. And what an exciting project it’s been!

Picture4It all started off with an idea to promote some of our community archive collections- but we didn’t want to show you the collections from our point of view. We wanted the people who use them most to tell us their thoughts, and so we contacted local community groups, researchers and volunteers and asked them to tell us what various collections meant to them. The responses we’ve received have been wonderful, and from such a fantastic range of archive-users.

We’ve collected all of the responses together and compiled them into 3 pop-up banners and a booklet…

Voices of the Archives pop-up banners on the first floor landing at York Explore

Voices of the Archives pop-up banners on the first floor landing at York Explore

There was a lot of excitement in the office at York Explore yesterday as the banners arrived from the printers. I’m pleased to say they’re now up and ready for you to view on the first floor landing- so why not pop in and take a peek?!

One set of the banners will remain at York Explore throughout 2016, and another set will be touring the branch libraries- so keep your eyes peeled!

A sneak peek at our Voices of the Archives booklet!

A sneak peek at our Voices of the Archives booklet!

I’m sure there will be lots more excitement later on this week when our Voices of the Archives booklets arrive hot off the press!

For those of you reading this blog post who have contributed to Voices of the Archives, I just want to say a huge THANK YOU! Without your input we would not have been able to create such a fantastic resource. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we have enjoyed creating it!

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Our Art Installation has Landed!!

It’s been an exciting week here at Explore York Libraries and Archives! On Friday night, it was our community celebration event to mark the end of our Heritage Lottery Funded York: Gateway to History project. Not only that, it was also the launch of our fabulous new public art installation! The piece was produced by community artist Emily Harvey, and is now in place on the first floor landing here at Explore.

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‘York Panorama: What York Means To Us’

Titled ‘York Panorama: What York Means To Us’, the installation was inspired by over 600 responses to the question ‘What Should York Remember?’ that we have put to York’s public throughout 2015. Since being installed at the start of last week, the piece has been covered by pop-up banners, so Friday night was also the first chance any staff at Explore had to take a step back and see it in its entirety. And what can I say- we’re delighted with it!

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Stepping back and looking at the bigger picture

Not only does the artwork offer a panorama of the city, it also contains people’s personal memories of York within each individual panel that makes up the panorama. For example, a rowing club are making their way down the river, a graduate is receiving her scroll, and there is even a lady being proposed to on the City Walls!

The installation really gives you a feel for not only the history of York, but what it means to individual people. And the artwork is not just something for you to look at! It has been designed as an interactive piece that you can touch as well. You’ll even find some Braille included.

But enough of me raving about it- why not pop into Explore York and have a look for yourself…?! For those of you that don’t know, we’re located right in the centre of York in Library Square, just off Museum Street- so why not pop in and take a break from all that Christmas shopping?!

Update: Explore’s Art Project!

Back in August, Sarah published a blog post telling you all about our exciting art installation that will soon be in place on the archives landing here at Explore. We thought it was about time we posted an update on this project that’s got all of us here at Explore on the edges of our seats!

Just to refresh your memories, the art installation is based on over 600 responses we have collected from you- the public- to the question ‘what should York remember?’. It will take the form of a panorama of York, titled ‘What York Means to us’. Inspired by the iconic city walls, the piece will be made up of individual bricks that each tell a story about life in York.

Emily's mock-up of the art installation, inspired by individual memories and the city walls.

Artist Emily Harvey’s mock-up of the art installation, inspired by individual memories and the city walls.

We thought we’d keep you posted on our progress and asked artist Emily Harvey to tell us how it’s going…

Emily busy creating the panels in her studio!

Emily busy creating the panels in her studio!

“The whole panel is sketched out in more detail now – I will keep adding and removing things as it progresses though! Once particular blocks are designed they start to take on a life of their own, and I know that some characters will pop up again in different scenes.

Here are pictures of some sketches and maquettes testing out the ideas:

Polo swimmers – lots of people talked about swimming and this block shows children having fun in the outdoor pool (sadly no longer there) with polo ‘lifesavers’ .

Learning to read – this image comes from a stained glass panel in All Saints Church in North St – a little girl is being taught to read 500 years ago, this picture will be combined with contemporary children and university students in York.

The white horse – you can see the white horse from high points in York and it is included in the panorama to show the landscape beyond the walls.

carriageworks plaster

The carriageworks – lot of people have memories of working here, this image is made from old spanners, bolts and other tools and other tools used in engineering.”

The final artwork will be installed at the end of November, so we’ll be keeping you updated until then. I’ve just updated the display boards on the landing here at Explore, so pop in and take a look! Don’t forget to keep your eyes and ears peeled for future updates!

Our newly-updated display boards on the landing where the art installation will be.

Our newly-updated display boards on the landing where the art installation will be- pop in and take a look!