Lots of connections and strands of ideas have started forming recently through various snippets of research and conversation.
The sense of conversation itself and of community, storytelling, remembrance and will to connect is what’s stood out to me the most during my visits to Aylesham and the project activity so far – this is what’s informed the following series of ideas & plans that I now really want to take forward as content for a ‘final’ artwork:
– capture and collect together conversations, stories, memories and interviews with the ex-miners community and others linked with the local coalfield heritage, including the very personal connection that is my grandfather, who was a miner at Betteshanger Colliery.
– hold a collaborative drawing event at the Kent Miners Festival (31st Aug 2015) which all members of the community can take part in – taking inspiration from the photographic material on display and integrating mining-related processes to the drawing activity. I’d like to use this event as a basis for capturing conversations and stories from the miners, which could become components for a more final artwork.
– organise a curated walk (or small series of walks) along the East Kent Railway and colliery routes. Different practitioners and members of the heritage community will be invited to contribute and respond to the walk through recounting memories, and extracts from the archives could be read out / performed to coincide with different sites along the routes… (see this post for more detail: http://www.dadonline.eu/dmag/walking-proposal-part-1/)
– WW1 research – look into records and accounts about tunnelling during the war, conditions of the mines, the establishment of the first local collieries, and perceptions of work, labour and skill