Friday 24 February 2012

Showing off School Archives

Last week Greg James from Radio 1 asked his listeners to try out 'stop showing off' -  'the ultimate put down'.  Many listeners responded with stories of how people responded to Mum's favourite phrase to keep Greg in his place.  I don't remember my Mum saying this, but as I was planning a workshop, based on Katy Aquaye-Tonge's suitcase workshop, it made me worry I was just 'showing off'.

When I met James Irwin, I thought was Buzz Aldrin

The purpose of my workshop is to explore what an archive is, and what exactly belongs in a school community archive.  I've collected a few things of my own and will ask the children what they think.  All of these things are personal and I think say a lot about the childhood I had, although I will be interested to see how the children respond.

As I was selecting items, I did try to select items relevant to children now - some memorabilia from the Queen's silver Jubilee, a signed photo of Irwin on the moon, a couple of my action men, alongside other items which may be a little alien or exotic to them - letters to my Dad, a signed picture of Cathy Secker, or a camera script for Songs of Praise.  As I selected items, I wondered if what I was planning was right.  If I was showing them about my childhood, was I just 'showing off''?

Maybe, but if that's how I feel, imagine how it feels to be 9, 10 11 years old, talking about yourself?  Maybe for Greg this 'put down' stung so much because he felt what he had to say was unimportant and that his opinions mattered less than adults.

I don't want to present my mini archive as 'the definitive' school archive collection, but I don't want to be embarrassed to show people what I thought and did as a child.  I want to encourage children to start showing off.

To end with a quote used by Nelson Mandela, from Maryanne Williamson:

Who are you to not let your light shine?...when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others

Here's some of my stuff:

Old boys badge

A letter to my Dad detailing shoe inspection

Selection of school photos, including boys shining shoes

School photos from Queen's silver jubilee
Coins from Silver Jubilee and Charles and Di's wedding

My Action men

Mum coming last in egg and spoon race, again (but not dropping egg once).

The wonderful Cathy Secker

My school uniform

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