Background of Living Archive MK - Creative Placemaking Since The 1970s
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 50 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.
The challenge – inspiring a sense of place
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 MK. It is a creative cultural and community development organisation that uses documentary arts work – inspired by people’s memories – to create a sense of place, history and belonging. It has developed its creative placemaking activities over the last 35 years and was formally established in 1984.
Creating community through creative arts
Using local lives, reminiscence 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 100 films; over 20 books; photographic exhibitions; radio and video documentaries; sculpture events; community textile projects; dance shows; webpage design and creation; and hundreds of 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, film making, creating websites and much more.
Using memories of MK, we bring people together, uniting our local community through creativity and helping them to make new memories and friendships that will last far into the future.