Archiving the Little Things Bright Beginnings Nursery, Stockport, 2013
RESIDENCY, FINDING TREASURES, MUSEUM IN A BOX
RESIDENCY This lovely nursery in Adswood, near Stockport is a social enterprise working for the benefit of local children and their families. I was commissioned to engage with the staff and children to creatively explore and work with them in and about their place. It was clear from my first visit that this was a busy place, lots of great things happened, children were actively engaged throughout each day. I wanted to bring a playful look at archives and collections into their world and to capture those brief moments that we often miss as we go through a day, stillness and pauses, tiny things. I began to observe, write, draw and photograph activity and display my thoughts for the children, staff, parents and visitors. I shared my images and we talked about things we could see and those we could only imagine. The next step was to begin to involve the staff and children in collecting these treasures.
EXPLORATIONS NEAR AND FAR We explored the nursery spaces inside and out together and began to find things that we liked to talk about, to play with. Leaves, twigs, images of a rain drop splash, book pages, toys, cloud formations, passing planes, sudden noise and silence. We took a coach to Bramall Hall and walked the autumnal grounds to find things we could take back to nursery. The children each had their own bag to gather their own collection of treasure, personal to them, magical, special, memories of their day. Back in the nursery I worked with the children to decorate their own personal boxes, making space for them to store their special treasures inside and talking through their ideas for a shared space to store the memories of everything we had done together.
MUSEUM IN A BOX I created the Museum in a Box as a lasting legacy of this special residency, something tangible to be used by the nursery to continue to explore ideas about the local area, it was packed with plant identification charts, local information and maps, current and historical and filled with a layer of empty wipe-clean boxes; it encouraged new explorations, new treasures to be found for new collections.