We have begun the selection process of archive material to show the two groups of young people from Four Dwellings High School and Waverley School when they come in to the archives in two weeks time to kick start the Young People’s Archive part of Children’s Lives. This project has been long in the planning…..so both Izzy and I are itching to get started, to meet the young people we’re going to be working with and start talking to them about the project.
Looking at the material with Nicola today felt exciting and affirming of the young people’s part of the project; there are some fantastic archives of children’s lives in Birmingham Central Library Archives, beautiful images which tell you much and raise many questions, funny, quirky and sad accounts of children’s lives from school records to instructional manuals to youths on how to stay healthy: “Every morning take a cold bath……”1 But, as you would expect, the voice of the child is very quiet. And, that’s hopefully where the young people come in…
In our first workshop we are looking back at the lives of children in Birmingham through official records, through memories in oral histories; through photos, manuals, reports and newscuttings. There are rich and diverse collections that tell many stories. The Young People’s Archive part of the project will add to these collections in an important way, especially by helping to include more young people’s voices.
We are starting the project knowing that that this is only a beginning. We are excited to be adding to a collection in the words of young people – and equally important is that the young people themselves record these stories and experiences. These stories will form part of the Young People’s Archive, which will be found at the Library of Birmingham.