What do the objects we own tell us about who we are and what kind of memories and stories might we have about them? Shopkeepers of the World is a project uniting and celebrating the culture of shopping in St Leonards on Sea and Bexhill, exploring the charity shop as a vessel for memories of people and place. It is run by Quiet Down There (QDT), a Community Interest Company that specialises in amplifying the everyday.
We did some oral history training with staff from charity shops in the St Leonards and Bexhill area and we feel it’s such a great idea to begin to collect the stories attached to objects that people donate to charity shops. As part of the training the volunteers chose an object which brought back memories for them. We had some really interesting discussions about their work in the charity shops and the stories they sometimes hear when people bring in donations. We heard about one charity shop which had in its possession a blank wedding album and we all wondered about what kind of story might go along with it.
The objects and stories will inspire a series of art installations by artists Alinah Azadeh, Noemi Lakmaier, Albert Potrony and Hermione Allsopp which will be in situ in charity shops in September 2018 as part of Coastal Currents Arts Festival.