Below are a few words I put together for a PR launch of the Time Liners project.
Cathy has set up a new company, Make Space Create Ltd, and was invited by Culture Liverpool to contribute to Liverpool’s Light Night and the One Magnificent City celebrations of 175 years of Cunard.
I was invited to be part of this as an adjuct to my work as a Digital Storyteller. My task has been to sit and listen to stories this time. A real treat and the reverse of many of my days at work…
There is very powerful outcome of being listened to. I know that. I first experienced the ‘Oral History’ experience as part of the One & Other project. Twice I was invited to just talk. (You can find out about it here) I remember how cathartic it was. Being listened to. Slowly going deeper about the things you are prepared to say and share as your connection with the listener grows. An irony as the listener doesn’t say too much. They just nudge and steer.
One of the outcomes of these recordings will be a longform version in the Cunard Archive, held by the University of Liverpool. Therefore my voice should be at a minimum. I learned to resist the ‘hmm’s’ and ‘yes’s’ of typical conversations. So I have tried to explain and non verbally encourage as we go.
Each conversation has finished and the urge to say thank you a thousand times is strong. I have always connected to personal stories, well told. Stories shared when the teller loses themselves so much they go back to the moments they are sharing. I saw that in the eyes and faces of these good people who donated their time to this work. I read more autobiographies then I do fiction. I listen to more interview based podcasts then I do music radio.
At the moment I am editing. Editing. Editing.
I have pulled together similar audio items like this before, but not at this scale and not to this depth. (Pun, Cunard, depth. You see?)
Here is a very short taster with extracts from Joan, Mavis & Chris.
I have the bug. I want to listen more.
Tell me a story?
Written for the Echo:
‘Five different people.
Five different experiences.
Five different stories. One company.
It has been an extraordinary privilege to sit with and listen intently to the stories told by Chris, Joe, Mavis, Ian and Ernie.
Each of these may have crossed paths on the decks of the great Cunard cruise liners, the Queens or even the QE2.
They may have walked past each other on the marble floors of the iconic Cunard building itself.
Each person seeing this gigantic company from a different angle. From the desk, from a shared a cabin with 10 men who worked nights, from a small but important to Liverpool passenger ship, breaking the ice to drop off its ticket holders in Canada. From experiences of working on almost every floor in the Cunard building, to being integral to the design of some of its most famous assets. From serving the richest and the most glamorous people at the planet at that time to making sure that every gangway and alleyway was polished, buffed and clean.
Each person has spoken of their pride for working with Cunard in it’s hey day of the great Atlantic Crossing.
Each person painting pictures of Liverpool that was, on the River city connected to parts of the world but that beat a path so regularly to New York the ships would sometimes meet in the middle of the vast ocean.
Oral histories, shared stories, remembered moments, pride & happy memories.
Separately all five long conversations will enter the Cunard archive held by the University of Liverpool. But before that they will be combined, edited together so their stories and experiences blend, compare and contrast.’
You can find the article here.
The five edited stories will be intertwined with five designed spaces and can be experienced in the Cunard Ticket Hall, a magnificent space, on the 15th of May. This is part of the fantastic Light Night event. Come along!
Two podcasts I listen too and would really encourage you to do the same. Both from the BBC of course.
Short Cuts – Josie Long and the production team pull together these thematic gems. Wierd, wonderful, witty and wise. I have listened to these and laughed outloud and then had to turn my face on the train to wipe away a tear.
The Listening Project – Each Sunday an omnibus edition drops onto my iphone. Simple stories and again stories of great reasonance and connection. It’s like morally acceptable eavesdropping.
You can find out about the ‘One Magnificent City’ events here.
Also an offer. I love listening (and making) podcasts. If you are unsure of what they are and how to get hold of them tell me and I will try to explain and connect you!