Together with the kind cooperation of Marc Riboud and Leeds City Museum, The Oral History Company has managed to rescue the oral history component of A Lasting Moment (2009) for posterity. It is one of the central aims of the OHC that such resources be preserved for the enjoyment and edification of one and all, despite a lack of funding provision and foresight. The existence of this important and exciting archive is due solely to the efforts and voluntary contributions of members of The Oral History Company.
This exhibition resulted from local historian Janet Douglas’s chance discovery of a lost body of work by eminent French photographer Marc Riboud. In 2008/9, Simon Bradley worked with Janet Douglas on behalf of Leeds City Museum on an oral history project based on people’s memories of the 1954 locations depicted in the photographs. Selections from the oral history interviews were incorporated in the exhibition. All the selections are included here alongside the relevant photographs; the full interviews are available to verified researchers upon request.
A Lasting Moment – extract from exhibition report (click link on right to download full report)
This project has been a huge achievement for us with particular successes in the culminating exhibition. ‘A Lasting Moment’ has had over 14000 visitors to date since opening on the 10th January and has been extended until the end of June due to its popularity. The Additional elements of the project have helped to feed in to this exhibition forging a number of partnerships across the City and taking the themes of the exhibition outside the museum walls. The dual aims of new audiences and new approaches have been met in ways predicted and new avenues of interaction not foreseen at the outset of this project.
The People Search: The ‘A Lasting Moment’ project began with the focus on the stories behind the photographs. The People Search aimed to find the people from the images as adults and hear their take on the photographs and the moment in history that was captured. The People Search in conjunction with local media including the Yorkshire Evening Post and the BBC located 5 individuals whose stories were recorded and made available next to the relevant images in the Exhibition.
This has been hugely rewarding. It has enhanced the experience for the general visitor bringing the work to life, rendering the two dimensional image interactive and thus more accessible. Since the exhibition has been open there have been a number of requests for copies of the transcripts to the audio tracks. This in itself is interesting and perhaps points to a future audio exhibition or event. In our visitor feedback forms one of the questions asks visitors if there is a good mix of text and interactive elements in the exhibition. 89% of visitors who filled in the form thought there was a good mix of text and interatives in the exhibition many of which added unsolicited comments describing their appreciation of the stories and Leeds accents in the gallery.
In addition the individuals involved in the people search took an active part in the making of the exhibition through their stories and their presence at the opening of the exhibition. They kept the preview crowd entertained for the entire evening with two of the boys from one photograph only reuniting that evening after 40years separation. This project has brought them and their families into the museum and back to Leeds when some had moved away from the area.