The aim of this project is to work with community partners and residents to bring together an extraordinary amount of information about Hillfields in Coventry to examine how it has been imagined over time by residents, businesses and various levels of government. From this, new imaginings may take place. There is also a secondary element in which the methodology of this research and the practices that stem from it have an impact in the community by changing practice and building capacity, and that these changes contribute to changes in academic understanding and practice.
Part of our work has been to create a timeline. The timeline can appear in several methods: as text in a technical-looking spreadsheet and as a visual, interactive map. The spreadsheet might be thought of as a base document. It contains all the themes against which paths my be viewed – local policies, national and regional politics, community action, physical development, voluntary organisations, myths, leisure, ethnic population are a few mentioned so far – and puts them in a chronological order. The interactive online version will not only present these events but also present relevant data such as images, audio and documents, giving residents a chance to work at their own pace on information presented in the timeline.
In conversations with people at a community level involved in this project the timeline may allow them to locate their thinking in the activities of policy makers, community events and major occurrences. From this they will contribute their memories through interviews, photographs or documents. Residents also see the utility of the timeline as a dynamic project. At a recent conference, contributions as to how the timeline might develop ran to several pages, and the debate on myths could certainly have run on long after the event finished.
The timeline in this project will be a legacy website too with the skills to develop it and add to it located in the community, and within the community organisations in Hillfields. Whether there is someone to do this, and whether they, or another, feel the continued value of the timeline, will be a measure of the success of this project.