The people of Shipley Pool

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about setting out on the brilliant Northern Big Board project. I’m now (somehow, how did that actually happen?) two weeks into the process, and most recently spent two exhausting, brilliant, eye-opening days collecting stories from the people of Shipley Pool. I also learnt to do a basic dive off the 5 metre board, and a standing drop pike (I think I made that name up, but it’s something along those lines) with the help of one of Bradford Esprit’s brilliant, brilliant coaches (turns out, by the way, that I TOTALLY LOVE DIVING, and it’s a really satisfying thing to begin to master). It’s tiring but brilliant. I was a bit nervous at the beginning of the process, as it relies so heavily (like others of my previous work – The Smell of Rain… and The Umbrella Project did) on the stories I’m able to collect from members of the public – totally in fact; I don’t know what I will be making, or how the content might work until I’ve spent a couple of weeks talking to people – that it can seem quite daunting. What if people don’t want to talk to me? What if they insist they have nothing to say? What if they feel like I’m invading their space, or taking their stories in a way that’s not OK? Then you get there. And you take a deep breath, smile earnestly and invite the first person to talk to you, and you remember; people are brilliant. Generous, kind, also angry and difficult and driven and busy and shy, but always extraordinary. I came away from Thursday and Friday with 58 audio recordings, and pictures of those who consented to have them taken. Also with the beginnings of some ideas. More, I suspect, later. But for now, here are the faces of a few of those extraordinary people.

images of people who gave stories to Northern Big Board

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