Events & Activities · Project Updates · Youth Panel

10 Objects I can’t live without….

Today we’re catching up with the activities of our Whitehall Youth Panel, which was set up in collaboration with Nonsuch High School for Girls as part of the Whitehall NLHF project. The group’s main focus over the last year has been to curate an exhibition around the theme of: ’10 objects I can’t live without’. The aim of this theme is to explore how people live today and what their most essential objects tell us about them and the world we currently live in.  Integral to the project is a contrast of the Youth Panel’s views with those of an older generation, and we were delighted that members from the Sutton South Hello group kindly agreed to participate in this respect – we’ve collaborated a number of times with Sutton South Hello, including this exhibition in 2020.

The 10 Objects… exhibition is scheduled to open in our temporary exhibition space at Whitehall from April to June this year. Despite the challenges the wider Covid situation has thrown the group (and us!) we have continued to work towards this deadline. Although the situation of exactly when we will reopen is not 100% clear at present, we plough on with fingers crossed that we’ll be able to share the exhibition with visitors as planned in the next few months. In the meantime, as the Youth Panel finalise the content for the exhibition, we’ll be sharing a few posts from them over the coming weeks, with updates on how they’re getting on and reflections on the project so far. Today’s first post comes from Kathleen O’Sullivan (Yr. 9), with additional contribution from Maahi Patil (Yr. 9) and Arushi Khemani (Yr. 11).

Whitehall Youth Panel – Exhibition Update #1

We have been very busy working on the 10 objects I can’t live without project and I am pleased to say COVID has not dampened anyone’s enthusiasm! The exhibition will showcase objects that members of the Nonsuch High School for Girls Whitehall Youth Panel group and members of Sutton South Hello Group value. The object choices are currently being finalised and it has been a brilliant way of finding similarities between the younger and older generation. As we have discovered, the likeness between the lists of objects compiled by each member of both committees is striking. Many from both groups have chosen objects that can be divided into two main categories: practical and sentimental. There have been some tear-jerking stories shared and some vital practical objects that everyone agreed on. One being chocolate, not surprisingly, but also forms of technology were a recurring feature on all lists, a large reason being how they helped (and are helping) us all get through lockdown(s)!  Many shared stories of objects passed down from grandparents or gifts from significant others. The virtual meetings, where we have these discussions, have been taking place on Tuesdays, usually every fortnight. We’ve had the pleasure of working with Siobhan and Jane (two very knowledgeable women on Whitehall and museum exhibitions) as well as Philip (the man behind helping to bring our ideas for the exhibition to life). Also, big thanks to our teacher Mr Burton, who first alerted us about this opportunity and has been coordinating the meetings.

The virtual meetings have been lively and there has been much discussion. We’ve had our fair share of technical difficulties, failed recordings and glitchy speaking but we’ve pulled through and our meetings definitely run more smoothly now! Presently, we have begun to create the final list, the Sutton South Hello group and the Nonsuch girls have met (virtually)! Ideas have been discussed on how to execute the final exhibition, ranging from Grayson Perry(esque) and slightly disorderly to slick and futuristic. Despite not being able to meet in person and the challenges COVID has thrown in our path, I believe all of us can agree that we’ve made excellent progress and are thoroughly enjoying the project!

For this post I asked two of my fellow group members to share their thoughts on one of their ten objects. See below for images of their objects along with what they told me.

My favourite object is my music, both CDs and Vinyl. I adore music and my dad introduced me to it at a young age. It’s also a link to my heritage, music is extremely prominent in Ireland. I found and fell in love with Arctic Monkeys but also constantly listen to The Jam, who my dad introduced me to. Despite this being ‘The Modern World’ I’m not a rap lover, I much prefer the soft tones of Lana Del Rey or feel-good songs of The Jam.

Kathleen O’Sullivan (Yr. 9)

Maahi speaks about her chosen object of Playing Cards: “I chose the playing cards as one of my objects that I can’t live without, because it has sentimental value to me. Whenever my parents and I visited India, I always sat down with my grandparents to play a game of Rummy – a card game in which you sort cards into different sets. Anytime I see the deck of cards that my grandparents gave me, it reminds me of all the fun memories of times before COVID and how I looked forward to seeing all of my grandparents every year.”

One of Arushi’s objects is chewing gum. I asked her why, these are her words: ‘’I view chewing gum almost as an instrument of union. It can be offered readily, doesn’t break the bank to procure and generally leaves both people involved in the transaction of friendship or momentary hope with a distinct curve on their faces. I think it has great practicality in managing stress and staying focused when revising and is in general a nice treat to unwind.”

10 Objects I Can’t Live Without is due to open at Whitehall in April, follow us @SuttonHeritage on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for further news about the exact opening date, or sign up to the Sutton Cultural Services Newsletter to keep up to date with all activities and events (sign up here).


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