On Friday 9th February we ran our first ‘Love Letter to Oldham’ event as part of the town’s Illuminate night. We’ve been commissioned by Gallery Oldham / Oldham Borough Council to engage people from across the town in a 2 year community writing project as part of the development of a new Heritage Centre in the town.
We arrived at Gallery Oldham in the Cultural Quarter of the town on Friday afternoon and set about putting up our ‘dome’ and decorating it with lights… our contribution to this light night celebration in the dead of winter. At 6pm the doors of the Gallery and library complex opened, and hundreds of people swarmed in to take part in activities, see performances and bring the town alive!
That night the town was buzzing with 3 hours of street parades, music, lanterns, giant puppets and a fire garden right outside the Gallery.
It was the best start to our project imaginable – over 150 people of all ages visited our dome, read the letters that had been written, wrote their own, talked and laughed. Most importantly people were simply generous and open with their feelings about the town and happy to share them with us.
Here are some of the beautiful things written that evening….
Place of my birth
Birthplace of my girls
I love all you represent
Hardworking, honest, shy, confident
Huge heart and a great sense of humour
I shall never forget that time in 1997 when our eyes met across the park
The sunlight poked its marmalade fingers through the trees and anything seemed possible…
We can’t wait for our next event at the height of summer, at Oldham Flower Festival in July. More details of the project can be found at www.lovelettertooldham.wordpress.com
by Jacqui Wood, Arc artistic director