Sharing Stories: The Film

The Sharing Stories project paired 11- to 14- year-olds with older residents of Telegraph Hill and New Cross Gate, with the resulting conversations being filmed by the young people on their smartphones.

Sharing Stories: The Film

Sharing Stories was created as part of the 2016 Telegraph Hill Festival, with generous support from Goldsmiths.

The idea:

We wanted to look at history as something that was alive.   We wanted to draw from the lived experiences of people from our community.

How we did it:

  • The Sharing Stories project paired 11- to 14- year-olds with older residents of Telegraph Hill and New Cross Gate
  • Young people taking part were encouraged to devise questions which opened up discussion about life in the area, and enabled to film the conversation on their smartphones
  • The film has created a lasting record of the memories and stories of older residents, from their earliest memories of their home life and school days, to their knowledge of, and connections with the local area, their recollections of the second world war and their dreams and ambitions.

Local Goldsmiths BA Anthropology (2016) film-maker, Emily Bennington, worked with the Telegraph Hill Festival team and the local community to create the final film.   All the participants were invited to a screening at Curzon Goldsmiths, where Sharing Stories was part of a festival of film shorts, Gold on Film.

Sharing Stories at Curzon Goldsmiths

Switch your phones off please – moments before the screening

As one audience member put it:

Sharing Stories was a highlight. Poignant and uplifting. Oral history, inter-generational exchange and participatory creation in engaging harmony. Great work!

The production of this emotive and heart-warming film provided learning opportunities for the young people involved as well as an opportunity for the older people to engage with young people in their community, perhaps picking up a few handy tips along the way such as how to make films on a mobile phone and the basics of using the internet.

  • Telegraph Hill resident Kay Grimshaw recounts the chilling tale of how her grandfather and 167 others were killed in Britain’s worst V2 attack in November 1944 when a rocket hit the site on New Cross Road where Iceland is now (previously a thriving Woolworths store).   Kay was speaking with Felix and Jasper Wanandeya;
  • John De’Ath, filmed in one of the last prefabricated houses in Lewisham, recalled his life growing up as one of 14 children in Deptford and moving to a prefab on Telegraph Hill in 1948.   John’s vivid accounts of life in South East London were captured by Arlo Challis and Emily. Thanks to Sarah Carter for introducing us to John and his fascinating accounts. Regrettably John has since died, but his vivid stories live on in this film and in the memories of those who had the privilege to know him;
  • Durgesh Srivastava recounts her early life growing up in Lucknow, India, and how she finally completed her education and rebuilt her life following illness.   Thanks to Ivo-Wasdell Harris and Emily we are able to share her inspirational story as part of this project;
  • Denis Albert Stocker talked about how he moved to Telegraph Hill 60 years ago when he married his sweetheart and moved into her parents’ house on Pepys Road.   Sharing Stories is dedicated to Denis Albert Stocker (1927-2016), one of the interviewees in this film who died during its making, but whose story of how he came to be here continues to light up and inspire us.   Huge thanks to Alex Kelly and Wiz for capturing his story as part of this project.

Watch Sharing Stories: