Text-Collecting involves standing around on street corners, in parks, shop doorways, doctor’s surgeries, libraries and special events and collecting the memories and visions of passers by.
The text is written in felt tip on flip charts so everyone can see what has been written and agree it is what they said.
The material is then left in its unedited form or converted into a poem. It is then displayed in a public place to be added to or put on a poster or leaflet. It is entirely up to the client.
Recent collections have included a project with Pembrokeshire library service organized by the county arts development officer, collecting favourite moments in Tenby* and a day outside a run down youth club in St.Albans entitled “If I Ruled This Acre”.
Past projects have included ‘Sunday Memories’* to celebrate the opening of Suffolk’s libraries on Sundays, ‘Ganges Memories’ collected as part of the centenary celebrations for HMS Ganges and projects for Adult Learners Week and the Time Travelling project with Suffolk Record’s Office. Downham Market, Chelmsford, Alrewas , March and Sandwell are among the towns and villages where memory collecting projects have taken place.
Friction Arts in Birmingham used ‘If I Ruled’, a vision collecting technique in their leaflet ‘Your Streets, Your Voices’. This was part of their project ‘Neighbour Hood Watch’ addressing gun and gang crime in some parts of Birmingham. John worked with Ed Henderson an Afro-American poet from Chicago on this.
Text-Collecting was also used as part of the ‘Clockin’ It’ project in Southend when John worked with photographer Bob Clayton on ‘Being Here’ for Momentum Arts.