Living Archaeology

The Living Archaeology of the Place is an intergenerational creative engagement programme that aims to develop a deeper understanding of the diverse cultures in the UK, challenge cultural stereotypes and lower cultural barriers. In particular, it strives to call attention to the rich cross-cultural heritage of communities living in Britain as a result of historical and contemporary forms of migration.  The programme was launched in the summer 2012 in conjunction with the video sound installation “Streets of…7 cities in 7 minutes”,  an 8 years in the making trans-media art project by artist Alda Terracciano, which explores the collective memory of seven cities around the world: Naples (Italy), Shanghai (China), Mumbai (India), Tangier (Morocco), Lisbon (Portugal), Salvador de Bahia (Brazil) and London (UK).

The Living Archaeology of the Place has been conceived by the artist to generate public engagement with her artwork, reaching out to members of the various communities portrayed and beyond. To this aim, between August and November 2012 a series of eight interactive memory sessions were carried out with members of the Brazilian, Chinese, Indian, Italian, Moroccan and Portuguese communities living in London who either come from or have direct knowledge of the cities featured in the video sound installation.

After experiencing the artist’s sensory recollection of the place, participants were asked to share feelings, thoughts and memories of the place.  The debate focussed on old traditions, everyday rituals and contemporary urban life, as well as personal notions of home and cultural identity. By exploring the body language, sounds, gestures and ceremonies unique to each city, it was possible to unearth the ancestral memories of the place as well as mapping out the trajectories of ancient and contemporary journeys linking together far away continents and cultures. The result is a unique tapestry of cross-cultural heritage of migration, which can be explored along thematic subjects  and geographical locations. To access video extracts from these conversations click here.

In addition to this, a school programme, a series of interactive screenings, and an online platform have been developed to create a legacy of the project as well as stimulate an international debate around issues of migration, ancestral memories, cultural identities and sensory cities.

To take part to the programme click here and find out more about submission of your videos, sounds, photographs and stories of places, people and movements representing your culture.

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