Objects from home connect local lives

Often the most interesting stories crop up by chance, and so it proved when I was looking around the other day for a new theme for this blog – now in place.

I found the Codium Extended theme, but needed to change a couple of things, and so looked at the list of fixes. There I came upon a reference to the Urban Words blog written by Sarah Butler.

I was fascinated by the many projects Sarah has worked on, exploring how writing relates to place – and amongst them saw that Sarah and Eva Sajovic were last week celebrating the end of an artist residency at the Cuming Museum in Southwark.  Their blog of the project, Collecting Home, explained:

We will work with residents local to The Cuming Museum, Walworth, to explore themes of collection, home, immigration and multi-culturalism, and to re-imagine, re-interpret and re-present the museum collection both within and outside of the building.

We are asking local residents to select objects from their own lives, which they would put into a museum: objects that represent themselves, their home lives, or the history of the area. Eva and Sarah will be making a new exhibition within the museum showcasing these local objects (either their stories, or the objects themselves).

I went along to have a chat, and found that the Home from Home exhibition associated with the project builds on the tradition of the museum, that was established in 1906 to house exhibits collected during the course of 100 years by father and son Richard and Henry Cuming. At first these were all stored and displayed in their home.

As you can see from the blog, Collecting Home has used photography, workshops, conversations around objects, and a host of creative activities to engage local residents and schools. I particularly liked the ceramic book cover designed in collaboration between Sarah and Eva and produced by Eva.

I have come upon the idea of “social objects” before … explained here by Hugh Macleod in relation to social networking online.

The Social Object, in a nutshell, is the rea­son two peo­ple are tal­king to each other, as oppo­sed to tal­king to some­body else. Human beings are social ani­mals. We like to socia­lize. But if you think about it, there needs to be a rea­son for it to hap­pen in the first place. That rea­son, that “node” in the social net­work, is what we call the Social Object.

By inviting people to share things from their homes, Sarah and Eva made their contributions social objects that stimulated conversations and helped create some new relationships in the neighbourhood.

I’ve now discovered that a blog theme can also be a social object, if you are prepared to get out of the home office.

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