In summer 2015, we met Dr Ellen Harris, a Handel scholar that took us on a tour of Mayfair and introduced us some of the characters that were the great composer’s friends and neighbours for an insightful video for Handel House Museum. The video was inspired by an exhibition on display in the museum at 25 Brook Street which was itself based on Dr Harris’s book: George Frideric Handel – A Life with Friends
Since filming, Handel House has changed its name to reflect its fuller history and new exhibitions. Handel and Hendrix in London now includes a full replica of Jimmy Hendrix’s apartment. Hendrix lived at 23 Brook Street in the late 1960s and the museum has expanded to incorporate a fuller musical history.
Every summer, the Horniman hosts a large outdoor event and, for the second year, we were invited to capture the community coming together in Forest Hill. This yeah, Africa was the theme for the whole of the summer in the museum and gardens inspired by their incredible African collections. Africarnival was the culmination of all the events and activities that had happened before it.
We were really struck by the scale of the event and the incredible atmosphere across the gardens as audiences watched acrobats, danced to live bands, paraded in the carnival, took dance workshops, ate Ghanian street foods and generally smiled from ear to ear. It was truly joyous to share in the experience with such a diverse crowd that could only be found in London.
This summer we had the pleasure of working with Chelsea Physic Garden to create a video exploring the many aspects that makes the garden such a lovely place to visit and support. Through insightful conversations with staff and volunteers, it was clear how much passion there is for this “hidden gem”. It was wonderful to have the garden and its history open up to us yet still leave us feeling like there is much more to discover.
The Horniman completed their on going project to review their collections earlier this year and we were invited to capture elements of their final theme, War and Peacemaking. We worked closely with curator Tom Crowley to film a number of incredible objects from the store and were introduced to contemporary cultural practice and art pieces that are directly linked to these objects. It was a revelation to hear how seriously museum professionals take the display of weaponry and indeed how loosely the the understanding of what makes a weapon may be in some cultures. There were a great many messages, ideas and events to capture for this film and yet we still only feel like we were scratching the surface of this complex topic.
I would encourage you to watch the film and leave your comments or visit the Horniman’s website for more information.
Earlier this year we were commissioned to by Heritage Lottery Fund to capture an evening of events discussing the involvement of the Empire in the First World War. The event was to draw attention to their funding stream encouraging people to investigate how their community was involved in the war. It was a completely fascinating event and we met an exciting range of people including veterans from the West Indies, currently serving officers, actors, historians, authors and interested secondary students.
The contribution to the war effort by soldiers from India, Africa and the West Indies was not something that I was at all familiar with and the more we learned the more fascinating we realised this hidden story was. Simple facts like there were more Indian soldiers fighting in the war than White British Stories to individual stories of young black men rising through the ranks to lead troupes made me question how such fascinating and emotional stories could be missing from the narrative of the First World War. One veteran of the Second World War, Sam King, who was also the first black Mayor of Southwark, told us of one example where this was case for him:
Please watch this video and then research some the background to these stories and find out how the Great War really was a world effort, hopefully more stories will emerge thanks to this funding stream from the HLF.
The Horniman runs a very inclusive volunteer programme providing public facing activities and experiences for their visitors helping them to engage with the museum and garden collections. Engage in nature, it is also Engage in name. The Engage Programme was started five years ago in 2009 and to mark this anniversary we were invited to make a short film explaining the work that was shown as part of the celebrations at an Afternoon Tea in the Pavilion of the Horniman Gardens.
With so much to cover we had a packed day giving is a real insight to the variety of opportunities available to volunteers. We were able to see, not only how much the visitors get out of their interactions with the hard working volunteers, but how much the volunteers get back by speaking to former volunteers who are now employed – both at the museum and in other organisations.
Luckily we had really beautiful weather which really helped capture the feeling and atmosphere of this successful addition to a wonderful museum.