Celebrating Age : by Kate Peters

Celebrating Age

GRAIN originated Celebrating Age as a project to work with older residents of Birmingham, to think about ageing and its representation.  Working alongside residents of three Lench’s Trust housing schemes in Birmingham, engaging with older individuals and utilising photography to commemorate and narrate stories of families, childhood, professions, war years, special occasions, and memorable events, the project took place over 18 months. In meetings and workshops, residents shared photographs from their personal collections and family albums, recollecting the time and place depicted in the images. The project effectively, through participation, explored and told the history of the city.

Following the workshops, which were led by Stephen Burke, a pop-up studio was created in each of the housing schemes.  Here, Kate Peters made new portraits of the residents, using their stories and old photographs as inspiration.

The project succeeded in evoking memories, fostering conversations, and strengthening connections, demonstrating that the older generation holds significant tales about enduring and enjoying life despite adversity and challenging times of crisis.

A selection of the residents’ photographs, snapshots of their memories, and the portraits made by Kate Peters have been curated and published in a small photobook.   ‘We Went Mackerel Fishing One Day.’, was designed by Mark Murphy as a keepsake and documentation of the project.  The images within the book are personal, compelling, and enigmatic, offering insights into communities, individuals, and their lives.

GRAIN gifted portraits to each of the participants and a collection of the portraits to the three housing schemes.

‘Celebrating Age’ is a partnership with the Lench’s Trust, generously supported by The National
Lottery Heritage Fund.

Image Credit: Olive Hall, (c) Kate Peters

Copyright 2016 GRAIN.