Gathering History with Geoff Broadway

For the duration of our project our Heritage Lottery Funding has allowed us to work towards gathering as much information as we can about the rich history of Boundary Way. One of the main ways that we have been doing this is in collaboration with filmmaker and photographer, Geoff Broadway. Geoff has been working with us on the site over the past few months to collate oral histories and put together a film all about Boundary Way, to make sense of the the way it is now by looking back into our past. Today we are going to share with you how we have been collecting these histories and how we have used them to build up the story of the Allotments and Community Garden to gain a better understanding of where we came from.

The backdrop for the interviews (Photograph by Geoff Broadway)

The backdrop for the interviews (Photograph by Geoff Broadway)

In terms of collecting oral histories, Geoff has been busy interviewing plot holders, team members and people of the local community to gain a sense of the past and the future of Boundary Way. It has been a truly insightful exercise that has allowed us to gain a deeper understanding not only of the facts and figures but of what Boundary Way means, and has meant, to so many people. Everyone that Geoff has interviewed has had something to bring to the research and our contextual understanding of the allotment has increased tenfold thanks to the fascinating stories of the people around us. Like they say, if you don’t ask then you will never know. Well, we have asked and been rewarded with such a rich commentary of the community that Boundary Way has always been.

Each interview was recorded & filmed by Geoff and will be interwoven with footage he has taken of daily life on the Allotments & in the Community Garden. He has also filmed many of the events and workshops that have taken place over the past year and they will be included in the multifaceted film alongside past photographs. This will create a work that truly captures the essence of Boundary Way, both past & present. We are so excited to share the film with you in June 2018 and we know there will be so much more for Geoff to capture between now & then as the site continues to evolve and change.

Plot holders after their interview (Photograph by Geoff Broadway)

Plot holders after their interview (Photograph by Geoff Broadway)

Alongside creating a film and gathering oral histories from across the site, Geoff has also been busy running photography workshops on our site for local school children. This has allowed us to engage the local community with the work that we are doing, as well as giving the children the opportunity to see nature and the world around them in a new way, as Geoff works with them on macro photography and taking pictures from new perspectives. All of the workshops went really well and the children went away with new skills and a better understanding of nature.

Geoff Broadway teaching Photography in a workshop

Geoff Broadway teaching Photography in a workshop

Gathering oral histories from our site has opened our eyes to the wealth of knowledge that everyone on the allotment has and Geoff certainly knows the historical value of gathering these stories. As well as continuing his amazing work here at Boundary Way, Geoff is about to embark on another oral history project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. He will work in the Black Country, with both the Sandwell Archives and the Dudley Archives, alongside Community Groups, to capture the stories behind people’s photography and we are so excited to see the results of what is set to be another brilliant project in the local area.

Geoff’s work with us is funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of a project which explores the social history and natural heritage of Boundary Way Allotments and Community Garden. If you would like to know more about our work surrounding the history of our site then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, our details are on our Contact Us page. Also if you would like to know more about the work Geoff does and his new project then you can visit his website by clicking here.

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