Photography students’ work showcased at Storyhouse.

Posted on 12th June 2017

The work of University of Chester Photography students is being showcased in an intergenerational exhibition at Storyhouse in Chester.

The exhibition, called ‘Keys to My Memory’, captures intimate dialogues between strangers of different generations. It features images of older people, alongside everyday objects with particular significance to their lives, and was produced for the Big Lottery funded project, Brightlife*.

‘Keys to My Memory’ was created by four second-year photography students from the University (Lorna Elwin, Abi Miller, Beth Grimes-Thomas and Tim Newman). It has already been exhibited at venues around Cheshire, and comes to Storyhouse as part of the ‘Great Get Together’ weekend, a UK-wide celebration inspired by Jo Cox, the much loved MP and figurehead of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness.

In association with Storyhouse, Brightlife has organised a full day of taster activities for the over-50s between 10am and 6pm on Saturday, June 17. During the day, the students’ exhibition will feature in the Storyhouse lobby. Full details of all the events can be found at: www.brightlifecheshire.org.uk

Dr Tracy Piper-Wright, Senior Lecturer in Photography at the University of Chester said: “It has been a real pleasure to work with Brightlife on the ‘Keys to my Memory’ exhibition, and the feedback so far from those who have seen it has been wonderful. We are extremely excited to now bring this exhibition to Storyhouse, which is such a fantastic opportunity for our students. This has been such an inspiring cross-generational project and we are really proud of the effort that the students put into forging a relationship with the older people they met and the work they have produced as a result. This has been a great way for the students to engage with the wider community in Chester and to use their creative skills in the real world.”

Student Tim Newman said: “We couldn’t believe how willing everyone was to talk to us, really open up and share their memories and tales behind old paintings, photos, recipes, items of clothing and childhood treasures. We’ve learnt about all sorts – from ‘Lend a Hand on the Land’, trading rabbits for coal in the war (illegally), to the Ministry of Food’s recipe for Woolton Pie.

“I am absolutely thrilled to have our work exhibited at such a brilliant new addition to Chester!”

Chris McMahon, Social Prescribing Manager at Brightlife and organiser of the exhibition, added:

“Reminiscence activities are so important as people get older – they help people stay connected to their past, while reinforcing their sense of self, which is vital for their wellbeing.

“The students spent hours chatting to and listening to older people attending Brightlife events, creating a level of trust whereby the older people felt comfortable to open up and share precious memories. We have been so impressed by the compassion, maturity and respect the students have demonstrated, not to mention their wonderful photography skills!

“We're so pleased they'll be joining us for our Great Get Together at Storyhouse on Saturday June 17, when they can see their work displayed in this wonderful new arts centre.”

Watch a film about the students’ project here.