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Exploring hidden stories

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

We wanted to use our commission to explore and reflect some of the hidden stories from the pandemic. To provide a platform for communities whose voices, we felt, were missing from the rhetoric and narratives currently surrounding COVID-19. We identified two groups we were interested in working with - 'lockdown mums' and adults with learning difficulties.

We decided to build on a project we initially established in 2020, The Exchange, which had captured Cheshire children’s experience of the pandemic. Inspired by an old telephone exchange, The Exchange is a touring audio installation that houses conversations around a certain theme. The process for collecting audio recordings starts with the delivery of a series of workshops and provocations to better understand people’s experiences of the pandemic, and to uncover some overriding themes within which the conversations might sit.

Following an initial period of research and development we started delivery of the workshops. All workshops were delivered at Winsford Library, as we wanted to focus on a single geographical area of the borough. These artist-led sessions consisted of games and activities designed to build trust and confidence, as well as activities aimed at exploring experiences during the pandemic and preparing people for the recording sessions themselves. The workshops have been delivered in partnership with Winsford Library, Vivo Care Choices and Novel Bite.

The next stage of the process will see us working with a sound designer to edit the recordings around a series of themes and add compositional elements to them. We are also looking to augment the recordings by having further conversations.

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