2. Assignment 2 Submission

Assignment 2 submission : The Archive


Produce a series of related images that use a readily available online archive (or archives) as their starting point or subject.
Make a small book containing a minimum of 12 double pages for this project, using proprietary software, to be viewable online.
Provide a link to where my tutor can view the book
Also provide a few double-page spreads as still images as part of my learning log.

My Assignment Proposal (see here)  centred on my personal archive of specific letters from my father to me and photographs from the mid to late 1940’s.  At the time I only knew my excitement of having the letters read out to me. My other personal memories of that time are more like a faded video that stops and starts, occasionally sticking on more vivid events such as my father coming home on leave bringing Turkish delight, sugared almonds, some perfume in a blue bottle, and watching him make me a sledge for me.  With the letters and photographs as primary evidence I decided to do some research to gain more sense of the background context  During preparation for the Assignment, in addition to relevant books, I also accessed some online archives of Sheffield during WWII and other websites containing recollections from those living in Sheffield and/or serving in the Armed Forces in Egypt.  – what was it like for people in Sheffield in those times just before and after the end of the war; what was it like being in an Army camp somewhere out in the desert and far away from home? I also hoped that the research would give me some ‘distance’ from items that are precious to me, to overcome my inhibitions about disturbing my memories in some way so that I could be more objective about their meaning – an anxiety I wrote about here. It wasn’t that I would necessarily utilize the information in a practical sense but that my imagination, empathy – call it what you will – would be enhanced on the one hand, yet, alongside this, I hoped I would also be able to gain more detachment within a ‘researcher’ role.

The more I looked at the letters the more I realised that those loving sentences also contained some clear messages as to what ‘being a good girl’ meant which could only have been doubly reinforced by listening to my mother’s voice as she read them to me.  There are no letters existing from my mother to my father. I’m presuming she wrote some because my father makes references to being told about what was happening. I’m wondering what happened to them. The photographs she sent to him usually have a very brief note on the back .  I was, therefore, left with some queries and gaps and I hope that the way I have sequenced the book may provide some narrative on this. In this sense I guess I could be called ‘an unreliable narrator’  (although I prefer the term ‘fallible narrator’) – there are facts but the truth is my truth.  At this point in time I have ended the book with myself and some words that have resonated with me all my life. It is a punctuation point really as I’m viewing the book as a work in progress pending feedback from my tutor and student colleagues.  The book’s title is an interim one for the same reasons.  A further post will outline my process creating the book (with some critical self-analysis) and provide some contextual background and references.

Letters Home

PDF of book   LettersHome

or it can be accessed on the Blurb site :



Some double page spreads as jpegs

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