About Rebekkah

Rebekkah Abraham is the Historypin Operations Director.

Becontree mural launch!

Have you drunk at The Merry Fiddler? Saved the day at Ley’s swimming pool? Or perhaps dived straight in at Dagenham Town Show?

Becontree’s colourful history will soon to be bought to life with the launch of a new mural at Valence House Museum & Visitor Centre. Artist Chad McCail has painted a 100 year history of the Becontree Estate, inspired by the photos, memories and stories shared by local people as part of This Used to be Fields. Everyone is invited to join the free launch celebration.

 

Venue: Valence House Museum & Visitor Centre, Dagenham, Essex, RM8 3HT

Date: Saturday 25th October

Time: 2pm-5pm

Free & un-ticketed (just turn up)

 

Chad McCail and Create will be there to introduce the mural, and Historypin will be on hand sharing our favourite local photos, films and stories in our ‘Becontree Memory Box’. The This Used to be Fields archive is yours to explore and contribute to, so dig around in your attics, dust off those old photo albums, and bring along your Becontree images to be shown, scanned, and shared.

You’ll be able to share them in comfort with friends and family too, as they’ll be free tea, coffee and cake provided, as well as some specially created arts activities for children from Scribble & Smudge

This Used to be Fields is a collaborative project delivered by Historypin and Create. The project has been commissioned by the Barbican, with funding from the Arts Council of England and additional support from Creative Barking and Dagenham.

Local libraries commemorate the First World War with their communities

We’re honoured to be hosting The Digital War Memorial on Historypin, an initiative to bring together libraries, communities and artists to create unique artistic responses to the First World War.

Ten libraries around the country have been working with members of their communities to explore the rich and diverse First World War historical materials in their collections, including photographs, letters and newspaper articles. Community groups then worked with local artists using poetry, dance, music, writing and visual arts to reflect on the impact of the First World War and how it resonates a century later.

All the historical materials, contemporary media and creative films and recordings made have been added to the Digital War Memorial on Historypin where they can be explored and further added to.

Face to face connections and live performances were foundational pillars of these projects, offering powerful ways for people to connect with their libraries and each other. But the complementary use of digital technologies offered innovative ways for the collaborations to be captured and curated, creating additional ways for people to participate and experience the projects.

In The Digital Scrapbook Leeds Library digitised an archival gem, a scrapbook created by a matron at Gledhow Hall, a country home transformed into a hospital during the war. The scrapbook is a treasure trove of photos, clippings, examples of craftwork made by the recovering soldiers. Through a series of workshops they opened this scrapbook to local writers and craft groups who created new material inspired by the Matron’s collection.

Students, song writers, musicians and choirs came together in Lest We Forget writing and performing poetry and songs inspired by research into local First World War stories and using digital tools such as SoundCloud to collaborate on the final audio recordings.

Over in Lancashire where students were exploring the theme of conscientious objectors, one of the final pieces was a powerful recreation of a tribunal hearing, based on the original transcript.

Visit the Digital War Memorial to explore these projects and all the others around the country.

The Digital War Memorial is run by the Society of Chief Librarians, with support from the British Library and funding from the National Lottery supported Grants for the arts: Libraries fun through Arts Council England.  Read more about the project here.

 

Becontree Mural Day

Saturday 25 October, 2-5pm
Address: Valence House Lawns, Becontree Avenue, Dagenham, RM8 3HTTo mark the completion of Chad McCail’s new mural inspired by life on the Becontree Estate we are delighted to invite you to a launch event at Valence House Museum & Archives. Please join us for an afternoon of free activities to celebrate this new work of public art.

Free drop-in activities include:

  • Family art workshops – Join Scribble and Smudge to create a model of the Becontree Estate
  • Historypin’s Becontree Memory Box – Join Historypin to enjoy local films, photos and stories
  • Meet the artist  – Chat about Becontree’s new mural with artist Chad McCail
Plus we will be offering free tea and cakes to all guests. We hope to see you there!

Chad McCail’s new mural is part of the This Used to be Fields, a new digital archive of photos and stories from the people of Becontree.

This Used to be Fields is a collaborative project delivered by Historypin and Create. The project has been commissioned by the Barbican, with funding from the Arts Council of England and additional support from Creative Barking and Dagenham.

This Used to be Fields: Help tell the history of the Becontree Estate

Built in the 1920s to house the growing population of East London and soldiers returning from the First World War, the Becontree Estate was the largest housing estate in Europe. The creation of the Estate transformed the countryside east of London from fields into homes for 100,000 people.

We’re inviting everyone who has lived, worked or passed through Becontree to share their photos and memories to create a shared history of the Estate. Explore what’s been added so far.

Have you got photos or stories about Becontree? Add them here!

Do you live in Becontree? Come along with your photos and memories to have them digitised and added to the archive.

Valence House Visitor Centre, Becontree Avenue
Tuesday 19 August 2 – 6pm
Tuesday 26 August 2 – 4pm
Tuesday 16 September 5 – 6pm

Kingsley Hall, Parsloes Avenue, Dagenham
Wednesday 13 August 6.30 – 8pm
Thursday 14 August 10.30 –11.30am

Dagenham Trades Hall, Charlotte Rd, Dagenham
Wednesday 13 August 2 – 4pm

A new mural at Valence House

The history, stories and photographs of Becontree will inspire a new mural at Valence House painted by artist Chad McCail.

Come and meet Chad

Drop in on Chad at his artist studio at Valence House to share your stories of the local area, show him your photos and chat about the mural.

Tuesday 12, Wednesday 13, Thursday 14 and Friday 15 August 12.30- 1.30pm
Saturday 16 August 10am – 4pm
Saturday 23 August 10am – 4pm

Come and see the mural being painted

Chad will be painting the mural with the help of local volunteers. Come along to see them in action, have a chat about the project and enjoy Valence House Museum & Archives.

Saturday 13th September 12 – 4pm
Saturday 20th September 12 – 4pm

Short-term vacancy: Supporting First World War history projects

Our friends at the Heritage Lottery Fund are looking for an enthusiastic and committed individual to join their team to help the First World War projects they fund share their activities on Historypin.

Job title: HLF Support Officer for the First World War Centenary hub 
Contract: Fixed term full time for 10 weeks. (40 hours per week including 1 hour for lunch)
Salary: £25k per annum
Start date: End of July 2014
Location: London SW1, with possible travel around the UK.
Closing date for applications: 
Tuesday 1 July 2014

This is an exciting opportunity to work with the Heritage Lottery Fund and a wide range of local First World War history projects across the UK. The role demands enthusiasm, flexibility, good interpersonal skills and commitment.

For more details about the role and how to apply, please see https://db.tt/tMOeetxv

Reflections on Putting Art on the Map

Over the last year we have been running Putting Art on the Map in partnership with the Imperial War Museum. With funding from the Nesta R&D Digital Innovation Fund we were able to test if crowdsourcing an art collection, in online and offline spaces, could generate deeper engagement with the collection. Through mystery-solving tools on Historypin and a series of live events with other institutional partners, we explored different ways of inviting the public to participate, collaborate and contribute new pieces of information to the artworks. The contributions fed into a co-curated Google Art Project by Dr Alice Strickland and the data gathered flowed back into IWMs’ collections.

Throughout the project there were strong examples of public contributions and evidence of deep engagement. However, the primary insight from by this project was that while metadata crowdsourcing in this form can deepen the social engagement of audiences that already have an interest in the subject or collection in question, it struggles to increase the initial breadth of engagement and does not show potential to engage new audiences.
In addition to this important distinction, we learned some key lessons about how to improve a crowdsouring project focusing on deepening engagement between interested audiences and an art collection:

  • Broad, open calls to action for people interested in First World War art were not effective in engaging a wider audience, while identifying specific communities of interest and requesting their help was more useful.
  • Inviting specific communities to engage their own existing networks was more effective in generating participation than trying to build a new community around a theme or topic
  • The ability to give clarity of purpose to participants in user-generated content projects is essential for their success, as is the need to explicitly value the expertise of users.
  • A high level of curatorial input from across different institutional departments, not just the art department, is important to ensure that the correct questions are being asked and participants feel their participation is genuinely needed and valued
  • Inviting factual contributions about an art collection is more challenging than other historical materials because of the role of artistic interpretation. This was often cited by participants who felt that it wasn’t possible or relevant to add factual details. Focusing on works which were more documentary in nature helped, but it was still a barrier to soliciting factual data.

Finally, the project raised new questions and highlighted several areas that need more research, experimentation and development to better understand them before effective tools, methods and outcomes can be determined. Of greatest interest to us is the relationship between online and offline participation. This offers great potential to increase and sustain engagement, but it is not yet clear how they relate in terms of participants moving between the two spaces, or with regard to if and how digital tools might be used during a live, group event. Over the coming year we will be continuing to explore these questions through other projects and iterating both our crowdsourcing toolset and methodologies for running collaborative, offline events.

We are compiling a full Research Report which we will post here once it is completed.

Farewell to Wilma

We are very sad to say good bye to our lovely intern Wilma who has been brilliant and a huge help with our pinning needs over the last few months. Thanks Wilma!

Name: Wilma Stefani

Role: Historypin Intern

Why did you want to intern at Historypin?
As an archaeologist and videographer, I am interested in exploring ways of communicating historical themes to the general public, and I discovered Historypin during my MA in Digital Humanities: I thought this project was brilliant in giving people the opportunity to share their pictures and stories online, and I was interested in how they were using social media to achieve that.

How did you come to hear of the project?
My supervisor at King’s College. Dr. Stuart Dunn, suggested me to apply for an internship at Historypin, as it could be interesting as a case study for my dissertation, which aims at analysing users’ comments and responses to historical themes shared in online platforms.

Describe an average day for you as a Historypin Intern
Beside general tasks such as choosing the Pin of the Day and helping in organising images and videos uploaded by users, most of the time I was following a particular project, Putting Art on the Map, a project which invites the public to solve mysteries about the collection of paintings held at the Imperial War Museum. I’ve been creating some of the mysteries and collating and publishing the answers provided by the participants to the live events organised by Rebekkah and Alex, as well as keeping at the same time track of the content posted through social media.
What do you do when you’re not at Historypin?
I love Art in all its forms…films, music, dance, figurative arts, and London offers so much in terms of cultural events. When I have a day off I like visiting museums and going to the theatre.

What’s been your best moment here?
I had the opportunity to take part in a live event at the Gordon Museum, where some medical professionals provided information about a selection of IWM paintings with a medical subject. I was amazed by the engagement of the participants, they analysed the paintings discussing in group and they came out with some great responses.

What is the oddest job you’ve been asked to do in the name of Historypin?
Nothing really odd, but I may have developed new deciphering skills, as while transcribing the comments written by participants to the live events, I was trying to understand the sometime illegible calligraphy of some of them…!


What excites you the most about Historypin?
I think that the opportunity to pin the photos on the Street View is an excellent idea, visually intriguing and fun to do.

Can you show us a photo you have personally pinned on Historypin?
Not a photo but a painting, ”Con: Camp’ – Genoa’ by Olive Mudie-Cooke, from the IWM collection. It was exciting to discover that this corner of Genoa has barely changed since 1919: and also to find so many paintings depicting Italian landscapes, including some near my hometown, in the north of Italy. Now I’ll have to go to see them at the museum!

"'Con: Camp' - Genoa' by Olive Mudie-Cooke, shared by IWM

What’s your favourite photo that has been pinned to the Historypin map and why?I chose this photo as Pin of The Day, and I love it because I think it shows so well the contrasts and liveness of London, in the 60s as well as nowadays.

Carnaby Street, 1960, shared by robertloch

What kind of content would you like to see more of on Historypin?
I would be very happy to see more videos uploaded, especially black and white footage from the old days.

Why do you think people should add their photos and stories to Historypin?
I think one can see the intersection between family and national stories as something we all have in common as human beings and citizens. Historypin offers an online space where anyone can participate, making them appreciate the history and culture of the place where they live.

What do you think the future of Historypin is?
It would be great to see the project developing also in new countries: I think Historypin has a great potential in connecting people from different generations and backgrounds, and can also be increasingly used in schools to engage students with their past.

Contact:  wilmastefani.wordpress.com

wilmastefani@gmail.com

Remembering the Baa-Baas

Nick Stanhope, Tigers fan since the 1980s chats with Peter Reeves, a fan since the 1940s

Last week the Historypin Team was in Leicester with Soft Touch Arts and the University of Leicester collecting sporting memories from Leicester Tigers fans. We ran a drop in event, inviting fans to come bring in their memorabilia and share their memories about the annual rugby match between the Tigers and the Barbarians.

Before the event we’d already had some fun memories shared on Facebook, including the identification of Pete Curtis, famous for getting drunk and climbing things from cross bars to lamposts – anyone remember him? The hunt is still on for a photo of one of his escapades.

We also found out the story behind this image:

Fans at the Barbarians Game, Dec 1988 (Image courtesy of Leicester Mercury at the University of Leicester)

Word of mouth spread the photo through a chain of Tigers fans and reunited this photo to with the gentleman depicted, Bob Nicholas, who was able to shed light on the ridiculous hats:

A friend has sent me the link to the Tigers website and the Leicester Mercury photo of my family at the match in the 1980’s.  I no longer live in UK but have very fond memories of the matches during the latter part of the amateur era.  The photo was probably from 1987 and came about because, in those days, if you dressed up in something extraordinary there was every chance the press would record it for posterity!  I wore a “Rudolph-the-Red-Nosed-Reindeer” hat and my children wore Moosehats I had found on a trip to the USA.  The policeman who was patrolling the touchline before kick-off stopped as he passed us by and I asked him if, as it was Christmas, he wanted to swap his party hat for mine.  His response was “I’m not sure which one of us would look more stupid, Sir” and just at that moment a photographer took the picture. 

My theory of getting press coverage did work.  Rugby Special showed recorded highlights of the match and panned onto us in the crowd.  On another occasion we were interviewed by Jonathan Agnew who had recently joined Radio Leicester, just because we were wearing the hats, and after the match he broadcast that it was his first visit to a BaaBaas match and the first time he’d met Rudolph-the-Red-Nosed-Reindeer.  I’ve dined out on the story a few times, but still miss the sheer joy of watching two sides playing for the pure love of the game. 

It was definitely worth waiting in the queue for the gates to open in order to get a good position in the front of the Enclosure – all before season tickets were introduced.

At the event we were joined by people from across the Tiger family, including fans, retired players, the club historian, ex-captains and volunteers who had run the catering. They brought in a wealth of memorabilia – ticket stubs, newspaper articles, programmes and even a sock signed by David Campese!

Sock signed by Barbarians player David Campese, brought in by Angela Murphy who volunteered with the catering dept at Welford Rd (Image courtesy of LFC)

Rob Ross also brought in his impressive collection of Tigers vs Barbarian programmes which included every one since World War Two and one from 1910:

Tigers vs Barbarians Programme, 1910 shared by Rob Ross (Image courtesy of LFC)

And as luck would have it, Mike Harrison, Tigers player from 1962-1971 and captain from 1964, was on hand to sign the 1964 programme.

Mike Harrison, retired Tigers captain, signs Rob Cross' programme

You can listen here to Mike speaking about how special the annual Barbarians game was and the unique atmosphere of the ground and watch here to see former Tigers player and match commentator Bleddyn Jones speak about how he joined the Tigers team after casually joining their training one evening.

It was a great event with loads of materials and memories shared and some great stories unearthed. You can see everything that was gathered, alongside 100s of photos from the Leicester Mercury newspaper archive here. And if you’d like to know more about our work with Leicester Tigers, or have materials and memories to share, email historypin@wearewhatwedo.org.

Programme Tigers vs Barbarians 1960 (Image courtesy of LFC)

Remembering the Baa-Baas Games

Fans at the Barbarians Game, Dec 1988 (Image courtesy of Leicester Mercury at the University of Leicester)

Are you a Tigers fan with memories, photos, films and memorabilia of the annual Barbarians game? Did you go to the game every year with your family? Or work at Welford Road when it was played?

We need your help!

We are creating a digital time capsule of the Tigers vs Barbarians games and want to gather as many recollections and materials as possible. Come along to our workshops, where you can:

  • Explore the history of the Baa Baas game with other Tigers fans

  • See historical photos from the Leicester Mercury archive and help enrich them with stories and information

  • Bring your photos, films and memorabilia to be recorded, digitised and added to the time capsule

We are running three casual drop-in workshops – pop into whichever one you can make for however long you can stay.

Date: Tuesday 18th March 2014

Times:  12pm – 2pm; 4pm – 6pm; 6.30pm – 8.30pm

Location: Soft Touch Arts Centre, 50 New Walk, Leicester LE1 6TF

Refreshments will be provided.

If you have your own personal collection of photos, films or memorabilia about the Baa Baas, do bring it along to share.

If you have any queries, please email historypin@wearewhatwedo.org.

The pilot project has been delivered through the Collaborative Arts Triple Helix Project, a research project by the University of Birmingham in partnership with University of Leicester. The Collaborative Arts Triple Helix Project has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as pat of their Creative Economy Knowledge Exchange programme.

Putting Art on the Map gets competitive

Deep focus as everyone strives to be the lead mystery-solver

On 26th February 2014 Putting Art on the Map got competitive, setting a group of UCL Digital Humanities the task of solving as many mysteries as possible in an hour. The blog below is a guest post by WiIma Stefani, Historypin intern and Digital Humanities student at King’s College London who has been helping out with our Putting Art on the Map Live Events.

We were hosted by Simon Mahony, Senior Teaching Fellow in Digital Humanities at the Centre for Digital Humanities at UCL, in the UCL computer lab. 10 students joined us and we challenged them to solve as many mysteries as possible – despite a fire drill interrupting things, in just half an hour we had 50 solved!

We had an international group and many students found paintings showing cities of their home country and were able to identify the locations. The competition got everyone motivated and there was some speedy re-pinning, with Starvi Ioannidou solving 7 mysteries and Christina solving 8. But the winner was cy3__ who solved an amazingly impressive 17!

The students showed their research skills by accurately pinning the location of the chosen painting, using Google, and in particular Google Maps; for many of the mysteries the title of the painting was the main clue, specifying the location of the scene depicted; but some of them were more tricky, such as in the case of Kephalos Bay, depicted in this painting by Herbert Hillier, and nowadays known as Kefalos Plaji, as a Greek student explained.

The same person proposed more specific dates about the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917, depicted in this artwork by William T Wood, as she had the opportunity to study this event in detail while studying at Thessaloniki’s University.

Sadly the evening had to end but many of the students continued to solve mysteries over the following days. You can do the same by visiting Putting Art on the Map, and following the project on IWM’s Twitter, Facebook and Google+ pages.

A big thank you to UCL for hosting us, and Simon and all the students for making it happen: see you on Historypin!