After visiting Benwell as part of the Durham conference Alice and I came back with a number of publications from the Benwell History Group. They included a very high quality publication called ‘Made on Coal’. This and a few other publications were given to the history group to look at.
Their inspiration led them to think that something might be done for Hillfields, but that ‘Built on Ribbons’ wasn’t the angle to take. Instead the group felt that tackling the poor reputation Hillfields suffers from would be more suitable. Moreover, one of them said that the Imagine project needs some physical outputs. This intrigued me.
Our concentration has been on supporting organisations in what they need, and tailoring what we need to this, so that increased community capacity located wthin the voluntary group leads to better outputs and outcomes for us. For example, digitizing the history group’s images will help them maintain an archive and develop their group, whilst the inclusion of newly-digitized images in the timeline works for our research purposes; improving the interviewing skill of radio presenters through support from me (as an ex-radio producer) produces competent broadcasters to develop the boardcast community at Hillz FM and records interviews for this research is another.
The ephemerality of internet and voice led the history group to want to create the book. Their own physical archive of leaflets and documents represents an earlier age of Hillfields history, and very little else exists, so perhaps their need to produce something physical is to be understood.
To this end we have contacted Culture Coventry to apply for a grant for the publication. The group will apply, with my support, should Culture Coventry give us encouragement. We will see.