As a part of the Train Projects process, sound designer, friend and Train Project Funder, Luke Robinson came with me to Exeter St Davids to begin the initial planning for the project. During our time at the station, Luke had brought with him some beautiful photographic images on postcards which he had told me his mother, Annette Robinson, who is a photographer, had taken a few decades before at that station. In his own words Luke recaptures the meaning of this image and its recreation as a personal response to his mothers work.
“It’s an image that has really stuck in my mind of the work my mum was doing when I was growing up. Being a kid I mostly thought that it was a pretty comical shot and that made my mum cool, but now a slightly larger kid, I think it is a great example of her eye for people and place and it still makes her cool. For years when I went through Exeter St Davids station I would have a look for the ‘Two Nuns’ on the platform and had this image of Exeter as the ‘Vatican City’ of England. Recently I went to visit her as she was selling her place and packing away her stuff to go into storage. She jokingly asked if there was anything I could do with a load of postcards of the ‘Two Nuns’ she had printed for galleries a couple of decades back. I took a load of them, thinking I might send them to friends as an alternative to facebook! A few weeks back chatting to Ria and planning a photo shoot for the train project (a wee jaunt to Exeter St Davids and back) I remembered the postcards and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to do something with them. The plan of action was to find the spot of the photo, and recreate it (and using myself as the subject in the image, minus the habit!) and distribute the postcards in ideal locations. Approaching a very helpful Man (which I would like to refer to as a British Rail worker but can’t) pointed out exactly where he figured the original picture was taken. He was also keen, to take some of the postcards and pin them up in the stations offices. I imagine they have some rather amusing captions scrawled over them. After planting postcards in various places including phone boxes and vending machines, we ventured to the spot and recaptured the image that my mum had taken all those years before”.
The completion of this little sister act is that with my £20 fund for The Train Project, Ria Hartley will deliver framed copies of the original postcard and this new image to Annette Robinson at Gloucester Train Station on Wednesday 14th September. It’s only a little thing but it’s a unique thing that’s been made possible through The Train Project.
To see more of Annettes work please visit: http://www.fotonette.co.uk/
Luke Robinson: http://www.wix.com/mercenarysounds/mercenarysounds
This amulet was conceived and gifted to me by artist Rachel Dobbs (LOW PROFILE) in the aid of helping me stay focused on my objective of raising the funding to make the Train Project a reality. Because this period prior to the project launch has required a lot of energy, I feel that this amulet has certainly aided me on my quest. Its values go beyond the amount of money I have been trying to raise, although it is a constant reminder of how to break down practically the money I have needed to raise, it also re-enforces the value of networks and community support and friendship, without which, this project would mean very little. I will wear this amulet during the two weeks of my travel across the UK by train and tell my story of how the amulet came to be and what it means to me.
To view more of Rachels amulets, please visit Rachels 100 days here: http://rachel100days.blogspot.com/
LOW PROFILE are Rachel Dobbs and Hannah Jones and have been working in collaboration to make live art since 2003. They are currently based in Plymouth, UK. See there website here: http://we-are-low-profile.com/
During the next three weeks I will be welcoming people home at local stations in the South-West where I am based to spread the word about the Train Project face-to-face. If you would like to meet with me or speak to me, please do not hesitate to get in touch me. My details are on the CONTACT tab on this site.
On the 1st January 1948 the British Transport commission came into operation nationalising the railways under its brand name British Rail. In June that year the SS Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury with its 492 unaided Jamaican immigrants, marking the beginning of mass immigration in the UK.My Grandparents, Hubert and Matilda Douglas arrived in Manchester England in 1962 after the expansion of the British economy had created substantial shortages of labour, particularly in the relatively stagnant sectors of the economy, where low pay, long hours and shift work made the jobs unattractive to British workers. Both my Grandparents, from Jamaica, were employed by British Rail, and they worked hard to provide for their children and maintain a home and stability for their family to grow.
My Uncle Alphonso’s British Rail Pass. Alphoso was the youngest of my Grandparents five children. This pass is from around 1973
I was born in Manchester, England in 1983, the youngest of the seven grandchildren, here we all learned of our family history and heritage as we were growing up. We all have a story and a personal journey in life, and the train project explores this.
The train project is about connecting people and places, through chance encounters and personal exchanges and celebrates the diversity of the people who make up our country. We live in a time where connectivity has sped up, and new mobile technologies allow us to become closer regardless of distance. I will spend two weeks travelling continuously across the UK by train, only leaving the carriages to change platforms and direction, but never leaving the stations. Each day I will be speaking to the people I meet on my journey and talk to them about what places they come from and where they are going.
There are two strands to this project which will run simultaneously. The first is the physical journey; this is the interactions I will have with people face-to-face. The second is the virtual journey; this is the interactions I will have with people through interface using popular online social media sites (facebook, Twitter etc). These two methods of connectivity aim to cross over and tie together the people online with the people I meet face-to-face, by asking those in physical space to join the online site and those online to meet up in physical space expanding a network of people and places.
I have travelled across the UK by train for most of my life. As a young adult I began travelling alone. There was a short period in 1999 where I began jumping trains as a hobby to fill up my world with chance and spontaneity at a time when I didn’t know where to go in my life. Being lost and in unknown places was exciting, and during this time I met with many people who opened up a world of ideas and shared knowledge with me. This was an extraordinary experience, and it allowed me to understand that anywhere is a potential place to call home, full of people who could be friends that I just hadn’t met yet.