Art and Hidden Histories

Celebrating Warwickshire County Record Office and the under / untold stories Within it.

Colour photo, interior. A book with neat pages and fairly dense text lays open. Pages are slightly fanned so that three are visible. From one of, a bee and honeycomb hexagon shapes have been cut. The bee looks as if it is landing on the page. Light passes through the honeycomb shapes onto the next page illuminating parts of the writing in little hexagons. No books were harmed in the making of this (folding and cutting only- no removing paper- it can all be folded back down and read) | Image courtesy of Lady Kitt
Image courtesy of Lady Kitt
Colour photograph, interior. A paper cut map on light green card. Using Chinese paper relief techniques sculpted from green, yellow, red, black and brown paper. Towards the top of the map, a hand with brown skin and a green sleeve is pointing towards a detailed potion of the map. Above the hand, cut into the paper are the words, ‘my story starts here’. | Image courtesy of Lady Kitt
'My Story Starts Here'
Image courtesy of Lady Kitt
Colour photograph, interior. A smiling woman wearing a green headscarf holds up a large sheet of paper on which is a hand drawn family tree. | Image courtesy of Sarah Li, supplied by Lady Kitt
“Socially Awkward” project facilitated by Lady Kitt commissioned by The NewBridge Project, Gateshead
Image courtesy of Sarah Li, supplied by Lady Kitt

Hia, I’m Kitt. I’m an artist and researcher based in Newcastle- upon-Tyne. This is the first of an occasional series of blogs during 2021-2022 through which I’ll share info about the participatory art project “This, our hive of voices”, commissioned by Warwickshire County Record Office (WCRO) as part of the Arts&Heritage Meeting Point Programme.

The project started in March 2021 and will run until March / April 2022. During this time, I’ll be working alongside staff and volunteers at the record office and groups of local people. Together we will explore the archives, looking for stories which often don’t get told in traditional approaches to history. We will use these stories as the inspiration for a series of collaboratively made artworks.

Why a hive?

I like the idea of the archive as a beehive or giant bird house- with local histories flying in and out and we’ll use this as a starting point for the artwork. I’m interested in the role of the archive in the community. To me, it seems like a place where stories are cared for, nurtured, and sent back out into the world to connect with, and through, new communities and generations. Together, through the project, I hope people involved will also discover and share stories about their own histories (and imagined futures).

Get involved

There will be a series of workshops for local groups and individuals between Sept – Dec 2021. If you, or a group you work with, are interested in learning more or getting involved please email the project producer Sarah Li with the heading “WCRO”. No previous art / archive experience is required!

In March 2022, the collaboratively made artworks will be shared publicly through a digital exhibition and (hopefully Covid restorations allowing!) also through a physical exhibition in a venue in Warwickshire.

I’ve popped a few links below about the project and some of my previous work relating to un / under told histories, and you might also be interested in this article about the project at the record office. If you have any question or would just like a general chat about the project please get in touch. I hope to publish another blog in July.

Cheers,

Kitt

Previous examples of work with museums and archives