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Messages from Devon

With adults and young people from all over Devon / April – September 2011
Funded by Devon Record Office, Double Elephant Print Workshop, International Womens Arts

Double Elephant and Devon Record Office (DRO) created a unique project using archives, printmaking and stitchwork to engage the diverse communities in Devon. The project supported the 2011 National Archive Awareness Campaign theme Culture and Diversity: What’s Your Story.

As well as various community and youth groups, the public were enlisted to help capture the history of the county in the form of hand printed and stitched flags. The project used archival photographs from Devon’s past to prompt discussion and further stories were gathered from participants. They used their own tales as inspiration for images for their flags.

Project organisers, Catherine Cartwright and Nicci Wonnacott, described the project at the time, “We have been working with local community groups encouraging them to tell us how they came to be in Devon and what Devon means to them.

“Some people have told us about their favourite landmarks or places to visit. Others have told us quite sad tales from their past but have found that sharing their stories through the project has been helpful.

“The common thread is that they have all chosen to make their home in Devon and take pleasure in living here. They have enjoyed depicting the things that make Devon special to them through creating artwork for the flags.”

Local groups involved included Newton St Cyres Youth Group, Rejuvenation Exeter – a support group for international adults dealing with physical and/or mental health difficulties, Workers Educational Association – a South West charity that supports adult learning and a refugee support group for female Afghan refugees.

Over 100 flags were created and hung together to represent some of today’s communities in Devon. They were exhibited at Respect Festival, Exeter Respect Festival, Exeter Fringe Festival and DRO. The flags are now stored at the Record Office forming part of the archive about Devon in 2011.

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