Background of Living Archive
Milton Keynes, fifty miles north of London is the United Kingdom’s fastest growing new town. Change has been a way of life for more than 40 years. A rural population has watched its old landmarks disappear. Newcomers have left their family and friendship support networks behind as they have moved to brand-new housing estates.
How do you help the old-time residents retain pride in their lives and histories that seem to be being destroyed in the name of progress? How do you give the new arrivals the experience of coming into a place which has a past as well as a future? These were the challenges which led to the establishment of Living Archive. It is a creative cultural and community development organisation whose Documentary Arts work is inspired by people’s memories. It has developed its activities over the last 35 years and was formally established in 1984.
Lives inspiring art and education
Using local lives and events as their starting point, Living Archive has created the most powerful expression of Milton Keynes’ social history: 11 large-scale musical documentary plays; over 70 films; over 20 books based on local reminiscence; photographic exhibitions; radio and video documentaries; sculpture events; community textile projects; dance shows; webpage design and creation; and digital stories. Local people of all ages and backgrounds have been actively involved in all stages of this work – in interviewing, research, in writing, performing, creating songs and music, sewing textiles, making costumes and stage props, organising exhibitions, editing books, and creating websites.