Case Study: Objects and Stories
This case study explores the Objects and Stories project by Michelle Brace in collaboration with CPP MarketPlace and Suffolk Libraries.
This case study is part of our project evaluation for Phase 2.
In 2020 Michelle Brace was commissioned by MarketPlace and the Creative Collective to pilot an objects-inspired oral storytelling project, ‘Mantlepiece’ to connect and celebrate communities. This project has since tested and developed it’s distance engagement methods as an intergenerational project between a school and a care home. In this latest testing phase the model trials democratised delivery and archiving potential within community organisations and by community advocates.
An excerpt from the case study:
The first iteration of the project tested the model of remote recording and artwork production with groups during lockdown over Zoom. The first iteration saw the collective share objects and stories over Zoom and send their content to Michelle to create a SoundCloud library of their stories and a group portrait of objects to represent the group.
The sharing and intergenerational potential of the project, due to the nostalgia of items shared by people, resulted in a second commission testing a distance delivery model between a care home and a school group. This enabled sharing of heritage and learning about past generations whilst increasing the wellbeing and feelings of value felt by care home residents. This delivery model provided resources and instructions to staff to deliver the activity to safeguard against COVID-19 transmission. This resulted in an exhibition of the stories and objects including the responses of the children to the experience.
When MarketPlace was approached by Suffolk Libraries to partner on their Let’s Get Creative programme and platform development, Michelle’s project was a natural fit for working across multiple locations to create a sense of ownership and belonging of libraries with its existing users and new audiences. Objects and Stories is the latest iteration of this concept, testing a new devolved delivery approach.
MarketPlace has a specified geographical area for delivery and so Michelle delivered the project in Brandon, and Community Producer Louise led delivery in Newmarket, with mentoring from Michelle. A training day was held in order to reach the wider West Suffolk Libraries to support the staff through the experience and to explore the potential for delivering activity directly with their service users.
“When we did the CPD session with library staff I came away feeling overjoyed and convinced that this is a great idea and works with everyone. They all came with a story, some thought out, others grabbed on the go, but they each told a compelling story of who they are. The objects provide a lovely way to connect people and enable them to be vulnerable and share, as it’s an insight into who they are. They become not just a person in a library but a guy who had a fine art degree.’ – Michelle Brace, artist