Changing Stories: Connecting and Collecting with Exeter’s Communities

Two-year project consulting, recording, cataloguing and sharing local voices in RAMM’s collections.

Date of project: March 2024-November 2025

About Changing Stories

Changing Stories: Connecting and Collecting with Exeter’s Communities is a two-year project funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of their Dynamic Collections funding stream.

Over recent years, RAMM has begun to evolve into a more democratic space, regularly working in collaboration with community groups, using objects in the collection as a starting point for discussion. RAMM have invited people to add their thoughts, voices, and experiences to the collection in order to tell the story of objects from a variety of viewpoints and to better represent the city’s residents.

While recent community projects have been successful in opening a dialogue, RAMM have also learnt the importance that participants place on creating a ‘lasting legacy’, weaving community-generated content into the collection in a more visible way. Through this project we will experiment with approaches for creating museum interpretation that incorporates multiple voices and viewpoints.

The project also includes an ambitious ‘rewiring’ of the museum’s collections management infrastructure. This important ‘behind the scenes’ work will allow RAMM to more effectively and efficiently store and showcase digital content related to community projects, such as digital labels, film, audio clips and other mixed media.

Participants and partners

The community engagement strand of Changing Stories: Connecting and Collecting with Exeter’s Communities will be made up of two projects delivered in collaboration with community groups and creative practitioners. The projects aim to explore how objects can link us to a place and to one another.

The first of these, beginning in March 2024 will be on the theme of food. The overarching theme for the project is the connection between food, place and memory. We will work with participants from Hikmat to explore themes such as:

  • Food and celebrations (feasts, festivals, cultural celebrations)
  • Food and welcome (foods and traditions for welcoming guests)
  • Food and the great outdoors (picnic foods, food to take to the beach, favourite snacks)
  • Food and memories (childhood favourites, family traditions, family recipes)
  • Food and senses (key ingredients, how food transports us to a place)

The outcomes of the project will be an artwork, or series of artworks, which reflect conversations that have happened through the exploration of these themes. Documentation of the making process, comments and conversations themselves will also be collected and become part of the interpretation for food related objects in RAMM’s Making History galleries.

What next?

Quotes from participants will feature in digital labels in the Making History galleries, and on RAMM’s online database. These voices will provide plural perspectives on objects relating to food from RAMM’s collections.

Further information

Eleanor Coleman: [email protected]