Friday 26 April 2013

Gathering the troops

Brainstorm at Mandeville school
Last week, I held a meeting at Mandeville school for the Project helpers. I called it a brainstorming meeting as I wanted them to steer me in the right direction to get the project underway.

There were twelve of us around the table. Three people couldn't make it.  It is good to know that I have an adequate pool of helpers as I cannot do it all on my own.

I filled them all in on the details of the grant and outlined what we have done so far. Amazingly, we have accomplished a lot considering the project has not yet officially started. Then we discussed next steps.

At the meeting, I received a pack of completed forms from Mandeville schoolchildren who had been required, as part of their homework, to talk with their families over Easter about their memories of coming to and living in Sopwell. The idea is to make the migrant communities aware of the project and hopefully to agree to being formally interviewed at a later date. So we had fun looking at the forms to discover the many countries where their families originated. I will do some analysis later.

Brainstorm at Mandeville school
Inevitably, a lot of the discussion was on the forthcoming launch party on Saturday 18th May at St Julian's Church, Abbots Avenue.

There is such a lot to think about if it is to be a success!

We have agreed to have a professional filmmaker make a five minute film of the occasion for our digital record and which will double up as publicity for the project.

We agreed that it was a good idea to use some of the residents who contributed to the book.

This all needs careful planning: how many shall we interview; who will be interviewed; and where is the best place to do the filming. I am reluctant to approach potential interviewees too soon in case they are put off and fail to turn up on the day.

Then there are the decisions about the venue: what space can we use; where can we display photographs; where to put the winning entries of the painting competition; where to put the rolling display of digital images; where is the cake going to go; where is the quietest place for the video booth; where will the magic show be held if it rains? It is all very worrying and it keeps me awake at night especially when another problem comes into my head which we haven't discussed!

Anyway, it was a very productive meeting and my team are behind me, which is reassuring. Once the launch is over, we will be planning oral history training and then starting to interview residents. But first we must make the launch a success!

Sandy Norman

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