Artist Led·Community·Culture·Film

The Foundling Museum – Shared Stories, Shared Voices

September 2020 - April 2021

Artist led workshops and films

The Foundling Museum tells the history of the Foundling Hospital, the UK’s first children’s charity and first public art gallery established in 1739 by the philanthropist Thomas Coram to care for babies at risk of abandonment (whose work continues today as the children’s charity Coram).

When the Coronavirus pandemic forced the Foundling Museum to close in March 2020, they looked for new ways to make their Collections available online and to stay connected with communities at the heart of the Museum’s life, namely our volunteers, care-experienced trainees and graduates of the Tracing Our Tales programme, and the former pupils of the Foundling Hospital. I was commissioned as one of the artists to lead sessions and work with the Museum’s volunteers and the Foundling Hospitals former pupils to develop a collection of highly personal responses to objects on display at the Museum.

Shared Stories, Shared Voices was developed through a series of artist-led workshops, run online through video calls, working safely with participants in their own homes across two lockdowns. With three different groups (2 volunteer, 1 former pupils) meeting for an hour every fortnight, across 8 sessions we talked, laughed and cried over lightly creative activities exploring peoples connections to the museum collection and their personal lives.

This was a hugely rewarding and special project to work on, and resulted in the creation of 20 films, one for each of the participants I worked with, which sit alongside the other films in the project. The variety and depth of personal stories revealed is a testament to my belief that everyone has powerful stories to tell, we just need to listen. It was an honour and a privilege to work on Shared Stories, to connect with people through a very tough time, and to learn more about the Foundling Hospital and the amazing work that the Foundling Museum is doing. A selection of films from the project are below, but to watch them all see the project page.

Clive – former pupil
Eleanor – former pupil
Jenny – volunteer
Sue – volunteer
Robin – volunteer
Gillian – volunteer

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