This project is designed to develop your research skills. If you haven’t yet begun to generate some ideas for possible approaches to Assignment Three, then this exercise could be a good starting point.
Using the internet, local library, museum or any other resources at your disposal, conduct a short investigation into a historical aspect of the area in which you live or are currently based. This could relate to industry or other narratives in the distant past, or a more recent event. Don’t spend more than half a day.
Gather some primary sources such as copies of photographs, illustrations, maps, written/oral accounts, and write a brief account (around 300 words) describing what you’ve researched and any ideas you have about how this subject might be photographed today in a project such as Assignment Three.
For this local history assignment – which was only supposed to take half a day – I started by doing an internet search – starting with a Google search on ‘Chesterton history’. I have lived in Cambridge since I came here as a student in 1972, and moved to East Chesterton in 1984. Witnessing very many changes. I have also selected different places on the River Cam where I walk everyday as the subject for Assignments 5 and 6.
I did not expect the internet search to be very enlightening – when I looked a couple of years ago there had not been much. But this time there is quite a lot – it seems that local history is a growing interest as people become more linked up through Facebook. This is now a new area of interest for me – I find it fascinating to find out more about the place where I live and when and why things have changed.
My general findings are draft edited in the following pdf, though there is a lot more I can follow up:
From my initial search I then followed up on the many links to specific areas, buildings and topics.
I started to Grassy Corner where there seemed to be quite a lot of information as the topic for Assignment 3. I found a book with old photos and there are even separate Facebook pages for places like the traveller caravan park.
I am planning now to incorporate local history research into my photographic submission for Assignment 5 : Bench and Assignment 6 Transitions: Bridge. I think this can be done in a number of ways:
- Using local history as a framework for choosing particular places – their history significance to local people
- Giving an insight on particular photographs and places already chosen – a backdrop to my own images, feelings and interpretation in order to contextualise my images