TPYF - New Their Past Your Future Projects Bring Generations Together

By Richard Moss | 06 October 2008
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a composite photo of two girls superimposed onto a black white photo showing bomb damage on a street

Many TPYF projects are intergenerational - a project in the North East has involved groups of people young and old, looking at Sunderland in the Blitz. Courtesy Sunderland City Council

The year two grants of the innovative learning programme, Their Past Your Future have been finalised with many new library, archive and museum projects already beginning throughout the UK.

Launched in 2004, Their Past Your Future (TPYF) is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and uses historical sources, sites, museums, veterans and eyewitnesses of war to increase young people's understanding of history, commemoration, national identity and civic participation today. To date 82 initiatives have received funding from the scheme.

Among the new projects to benefit from the grants in 2008 is the University of Huddersfield’s Two Minutes Silence, which will be looking at the evolution and continuing relevance of the two minutes silence in today's society.

The project will involve pupils at two Huddersfield schools, their family elders, and a day care centre or community group. Together they will explore the conflicts, and the people, remembered during that time.

a photograph of a seated soldier in battledress, kilt and glengarry cap

In Kent members of the public are being invited to help identify soldiers of the Great War. Stanford Evan Young of the Royal Highlanders of Canada was born in Sevenoaks.© The Centre for Kentish Studies

In London a scheme will look afresh at Hackney’s built environment by investigating experiences during and after World War Two and the conflict’s relevance to community identities that exist in Hackney today.

Using the Royal Institute of British Architect’s archive A Home of One’s Own will see archives and library staff work with local schools and communities to access the rich archive sources, and to collect and share personal narratives about local experiences of the Post-War built environment. The aim is to ensure that people, archives and places are better connected.

“We are really pleased that we have been able to fund so many projects again this year and there is a strong emphasis this time on intergenerational work,” said Eve Pattinson, TPYF Programme Manager. “This year’s projects really represent a diverse approach to the programme aims.”

Many of the TPYF funded initiatives use innovative approaches that open up archives and bring different generations together to find out what they have in common.

At North Yorkshire Libraries a bold project called Conflict and Change will look at the effect of World War Two on the local fishing industry. This intergenerational community based scheme aims to find ways of breaking down barriers and overcoming mutual mistrust.

a photograph of an elderly woman in a chair

In Sunderland they have been working with Age Concern to gather their memories and thoughts about Sunderland in the Blitz. Courtesy Sunderland City Council / Infinite Arts

Working with ‘at risk’ young people, retired fishermen and their families and volunteers from the Scarborough Maritime Heritage group, the project will use local library resources and other archive material to explore Scarborough’s history and culture through its fishing industry. The focus will be to look specifically at the impact of WWII and the experiences of those involved and their families.

TPYF has a strong tack record for producing innovative schemes that have an often surprising impact. Last year North Allerton Archives worked with inmates of the local Young Offenders Institute on a project exploring the nature of crime and punishment in the past using materials held in the local record office.

The result was a moving exhibition developed and curated by the young inmates who learned new skills and developed a sense of their own worth through developing materials, researching and making a presentation. The exhibition, called Changes in Society, is now touring libraries throughout North Yorkshire until the end of August 2009.

a photograph of a young man speaking in front of a display board

Karl presents his poster on Edmund du Cane and his prison regime part of a TPYF programme in North Allerton. © Digifish Media Productions

The second phase of TPYF (2007-2010) is being delivered through a partnership of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, Imperial War Museum, Museums and Galleries Scotland, Northern Ireland Museums Council and the National Library of Wales.

Culture24 is also working to promote TPYF activities and a website will be launched in November 2008 where participants and members of the public can find out more about all of the funded projects.

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:

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