Last year the WHALE Snappers was established as a group. Local participants meet up every month at WHALE Arts to improve their knowledge and practical skills in black and white photography. The group support each other to learn, express their creativity and make new friends. They examine many themes and forms from social history to relationships, architecture, nature and the beauty all around us.
Recently the group was awarded funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to document Wester Hailes past and present. WHALE Snappers was one of the first groups in the UK to receive a HLF All Our Stories grant. This exciting social history project documents Wester Hailes old and new. This could include portraits of local characters, how the physical landscape has transformed and what the area means to them personally. Wester Hailes is a community which is constantly adapting and changing. WHALE Snappers plan to document and celebrate that.
All Our Stories was developed last year by the HLF in support of BBC Two’s programme series last year “The Great British Story” and was designed as an opportunity for everyone to get involved in their heritage. With HLF funding and support, community groups were offered the opportunity to carry out activities that would help people explore, share and celebrate their local heritage. The popular series was presented by historian Michael Wood and supported by a programme of BBC Learning activities and events got thousands of us asking questions about our history and inspired us to look at our history in a different way through the eyes of ordinary people.
WHALE Arts has just celebrated its 20th Anniversary running art activities for the people of Wester Hailes and SW Edinburgh so this project is a chance for everyone to reflect and celebrate the evolution of Wester Hailes. As part of the project there will be workshops in photography, training available in citizen journalism and oral history, trips to archive collections and exhibitions of the group’s work. Social networking and media will be used to promote the accessibility of the work. The first part of the project is now available to view as the Snappers have an exhibition of their work at the Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council buildings at 14 Ashley Place from Monday 11th February until April 2013. Some Snappers also went to visit the Capital Collection at the Central Library on George IV Bridge last weekend. It’s a free collection of old photos, maps and artefacts open to everyone with very helpful and friendly staff to guide you through it. The Snappers recommend a visit!
TV presenter and historian Michael Wood said:
“We British love our history, and no wonder: few nations in the world, if any, have such riches on their doorstep, and so much of it accessible to all of us. It is really tremendous that the people of Wester Hailes have been inspired to get involved to tell their own story and to dig deeper into their own past. It’s brilliant that so many people are being given the chance to get involved through the All Our Stories grants. Having travelled the length and breadth of the British Isles this last year filming The Great British Story, I am certain that fascinating and moving stories will be uncovered which will not only bring to life the excitement of local history, but will illuminate and enrich every community’s connection with the national narrative.”
The WHALE Snappers is for everyone from beginners to skilled enthusiasts. If you would like to join the Snappers just come along to the next session which is on Wednesday 6th March 6pm- 9pm at WHALE Arts 30 Westburn Grove, or phone WHALE on 0131 458 3267.
We’re hoping to put some of the Snappers’ work in a future blog post.