- Lady Kitt
- Heritage & Culture Warwickshire
- Arts Council England
In 2021 Warwickshire County Record Office commissioned artist Lady Kitt to produce an artwork in response to their site as part of our Meeting Point programme.
Lady Kitt said:
“I’ve been absolutely blown away by the thoughtfulness and generosity with which Warwickshire County Record Office staff approach the stories in their care. I’m dead excited to spend the next year learning more about their approaches and working alongside communities of local people to explore and celebrate the rich, fascinating, and unusual stuff we find in the archive.”
For the commission, Lady Kitt worked alongside staff and volunteers at Warwickshire County Record Office, as well as members of the Warwickshire Pride-run youth group, Proud Youth. This, our hive of voices was the resulting work: a new art installation sharing untold stories of LGBTQ+ communities in Warwickshire that was on display at Leamington Spa Library and Information Centre.
Previously a digital-only artwork available via www.ourwarwickshire.org.uk, This, our hive of voices at Leamington Spa Library and Information Centre was the first time audiences could experience the installation in person.
Visitors were invited to explore a colourful wooden cabinet where local people had added stories and histories that shone a light on LGBTQ+ themes and issues, as well as broader topics impacting people’s lives.
Visitors were also able to add to the installation by sharing their own writing, drawing, and photography.
Artist, Lady Kitt, said:
“This will be the first time audiences can physically interact with the artwork and handpick some of story scrolls that contain powerful, poignant and hilarious examples of LGBTQ+ lives in Warwickshire.
“The idea behind creating a hive of stories came from my visits to Warwickshire County Record Office, which reminded me of beehive; with local histories flying in to be cared for by the staff and then back out into the community!
“The group we’ve worked with to develop our cabinet of stories have communicated their experiences in a wonderful variety of creative ways, including making Bi Biscuits (cookies celebrating bi / pansexual people from the county – including William Shakespeare) and an illustrated recipe for the ‘perfect girlfriend’, The Burger of Expectation.
“We also want people to add to the hive by sharing their own stories and experiences.”
Inspired by the content within Warwickshire County Record Office, This, our hive of voices aimed to rebalance the existing archive collections, and ensure more LGBTQ+ history was included in the archives for future generations to access.
Contributions left by members of the public expanded the stories within the hive, and within Warwickshire County Record Office.
A&H commissioned a ‘making of film’ for This, our hive of voices, capturing the artist’s process.
Warwickshire County Record Office is part of Heritage and Culture Warwickshire (HCW), which provides a range of services that support local communities, schools and visitors to connect and engage with their local heritage. Its aim is to collect, preserve and make available the historic records of Warwickshire and its people to everyone.
Alongside the Record Office, HCW has 2 Museum sites (Market Hall Museum and St John’s Museum; Market Hall being the flagship in the centre of Warwick) and a small staff team that specialise in Arts Development, Archives, Collections, Learning and Engagement, and Volunteering. Heritage and Culture Warwickshire is part of Warwickshire County Council.
Warwickshire County Record Office (WCRO), situated in Priory Park, is a purpose built premises providing safe and controlled accommodation for over 3 miles of archives. The record office was extended in 2003 and now provides services and facilities for up to 80 visitors per day. WCRO’s archive collections date back to the 12th century and contain information about all aspects of life and work in Warwickshire.
Although a modern building, the site contains a scheduled monument being the remains of a 12th century priory and traces of a former mansion house. The service commenced in the 1930s as a place to preserve the records of the County Council and the quarter sessions but has continually evolved since then to collect a far wider range of the County’s historic records.
Lady Kitt is a paper sculptor, researcher and drag king, based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Kitt describes their work as “Mess Making as Social Glue, driven by insatiable curiosity to explore, share and (gently) incite the social functions of stuff that gets called art.”
Kitt is a trustee of Crafts Council, founding member of disabled artist-led consortium Disconsortia & North East co-lead of Social Art Network UK.
Kitt has recently shown work at Atlanta Contemporary (USA), Saatchi Gallery London (UK) and is currently Maker in Residence at Durham University. In 2020-21 Kitt is one of nine “Constellations” artists with UP Projects and Flat Time House.
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