Family Christmas Show & Tell – which presents might you keep forever?

Date: Saturday 12th December 2015

Session times: 11.30am -12.30pm and 1.30-2.30pm

Where: Dean Heritage Centre, Soudley, Forest of Dean, Glos. GL14 2UB

For: families of all ages – no more than 8 adults per session

Cost: FREE! you will need to book in advance because places are very limited

To book: Eventbrite address

At this time every year we give and receive gifts from friends and family. Of all the presents we’re given, there are some we choose to keep forever. What have you kept? Where do you keep it? How long have you had it? Who gave it to you? Why do you keep it?

Your family is invited to come along to a show and tell session with Carolyn Black of Flow Contemporary Arts, held at the Dean Heritage Centre on Saturday 12th December. She’d love to see what you have kept from previous Christmases, and hear the story you have to tell about it. Over some seasonal refreshments you’ll be invited to talk about the things you love and encourage your children to think carefully about what we keep and why. Each session is for 4 families and runs for 1 hour, 11.30am-12.30pm or 1.30pm-2.30pm. It’s a chance to share some stories together in a supportive environment.

Here’s Carolyn’s story about her memories of her Christmas keepsake:

“My father loved Christmas and always chose festive crackers with great care. One year he bought some with little ceramic animals in them and my children, then very young, loved them. Sadly he died when they were only two and four, but I kept this one and it has stayed with me for nearly 30 years. It’s very tiny, as you can see in the photo – sitting on a 50 pence piece. It disappears deep into drawers and boxes, but inevitably it pops up again and I can’t bring myself to throw it away.”

christmas tortoise

Carolyn believes that we are connected to other people and places via the things we hold close to our heart. She lives in Newnham on Severn in Gloucestershire and is doing some research to try and understand why we keep some objects close to us. By hearing your stories about why you love the objects you keep, she hopes to identify a good way to capture them for sharing with family and friends forever. Items inherited through your family, a pebble picked up on a beach that tells a tale, a charity shop find, a special art object, anything goes – as long as you love it.

The world is full of ‘things’ that we are constantly discarding. Museums conserve selected objects, limited by their physical capacity, whilst many, many, more things are circulated without any understanding of what they are, who they belonged to, or where they have came from. Contemporary culture promotes the new and recycles the old. Uncountable objects exist in limbo, in the place in-between – inherited from relatives who have no appreciation of them, picked up in charity shops that know nothing of their previous existence. Orphaned objects.

Carolyn has secured Arts Council England Funding to begin the discovery phase of research by conducting some workshops, supported by contemporary archaeologist Dr James Dixon of MOLA and advised by Jo Reid of Calvium, in Bristol.

There’s a YouTube playlist, where you can watch people tell stories about their loved objects through 30-second videos. The Story of Objects playlist is a collection of 30-second video clips of people telling the Story of THEIR Objects. Do join in – follow the Facebook page. You are also welcome to post pictures of objects you care about on there, and add their story.



Published by carolyn black

I'm an artist and also commission contemporary art in unusual locations. As a producer, I fundraise, curate, project manage and deliver projects. I'm also a writer and film-maker.

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