Hastings living diary for Root 1066 International Festival

Polly Gifford, Liz Gilmore, Cllrs Peter Chowney and Dawn Poole at the festival's launch last November
Polly Gifford, Liz Gilmore, Cllrs Peter Chowney and Dawn Poole at the festival's launch last November

The whole town is being invited to complete a living diary of everyday life in Hastings as part of a commemorative project.

Hastings Speaks plans to run the project on Thursday, May 12, using words, images, digital media and conversations to create a modern Domesday record, as part of the Root 1066 International Festival.

The festival itself is inspired by the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings and funded by Hastings Borough Council and Arts Council England.

Project coordinators, Chris Sanders and Bev Jenkins, said: “We see the day as an exciting opportunity to start conversations about the way we live. It’s about sharing stories and breaking down barriers between different groups of people; it’s about saying: ‘this is my life, this is what I like, this is what I want to change…how about you?’”

More than 200 people and 25 community groups have already signed up to take part, including schools, colleges, hospices, homeless and wildlife groups, youth services and non-English speaking groups. Hastings Speaks will be using secret postcard diaries, written templates, photos, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and recording conversations.

On May 12, organisers will be at Hastings station to catch early morning commuters, then moving on to Sussex Coast College, to the council’s offices, and into the town centre in the afternoon with conversations in the Pop Up Castle.

The project is prompted by the work of the Mass Observations Archive which set its first national diary day on May 12, 1937 to record the ‘common man’s view’ of King George VI’s coronation.

The Root 1066 International Festival starts in September. Events include a light and sound installation, iy_project by world-renowned Chris Levine, Foregan: Blacksmiths on the Beach, a collaboration with blacksmith Leigh Dyer and the British Artist Blacksmith Association which will produce a huge piece of public art in a live blacksmithing event, as well as a major exhibition of works by English artist and painter Marcus Harvey at the Jerwood Gallery.

If anyone would like to know more about Hastings Speaks or get involved call Chris on 07738 763161 or Bev on 07901 916288 or email Hastingspeaks@gmail.com.

For information about the festival visit www.1066contemporary.com.

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