The Locals

What is the project about?

The Locals was launched as an oral history project in 2018, as part of the Saving Whitehall NLHF project. The aim was to capture the more recent changes that may have happened within the borough over the last century, and to record local voices and experiences that we were yet to hear. Over 2020, the project evolved to a wider contemporary collecting initiative, encouraging locals to contribute in different ways through a series of themed ‘mini-projects’.

By collecting the personal stories and experiences of people living and working in the borough of Sutton today, The Locals initiative aims to inform how we develop the Borough’s collections to be inclusive, relevant and representative of all voices within the borough. We want to hear from local community groups and organisations, and are open to discuss future projects and ways of contributing.

You can view a report of the project HERE

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What has been collected so far?

Between 2018 and 2019, our volunteers supported us in recording 20 oral history interviews, exploring how the borough of Sutton has changed over the past decades. Contributors to the project, all working or living in Sutton, came from diverse backgrounds; each reflected on their own impactful life stories and connections to the local area.

In March 2020, the project was adapted to allow for remote participation relevant to the Covid-19 outbreak. For The Locals: Diaries, people living and working in Sutton were invited to participate by sharing their experiences, thoughts and feelings during this period. We have received about 100 submissions including writing, poetry, photography and art among other media.

In October, we launched The Locals: Object_ive. This iteration of the project asks the African and Caribbean communities living or working in the borough, to answer the following question: ‘What one object or item in your family represents something meaningful or important to you about your cultural heritage?‘ Participants are then asked to send us a photograph of their chosen object along with some words describing its significance to them.

From November 2020 onwards, we are extending the call for The Locals: Object_ive to include all communities within the Borough.

The Locals concluded in September 2022.