We.Are.Derby – Working-class Histories

This week we were delighted to receive confirmation that Historic England, as part of its working-class histories initiative, has awarded a grant to Writing East Midlands to fund the We.Are.Derby project.

This means we can now go ahead with a year-long project to create a lasting remembrance of what Derby County means to us all.

RamsTrust were proud to work with Writing East Midlands and club poet Jamie Thrasivoulou in submitting the grant application and now to help to make the project a success. The project team will be meeting again shortly to plan out the next steps and engagement with all supporters to get involved.

The past year has been harrowing for all Derby fans, but it has also shown how much the club means to the fans and the city. The ‘My Derby Story’ initiative – where hundreds of supporters recorded what Derby County means to them and their memories of the club – has shown the potential for a bigger project.

The stories gathered by the creative process will form the basis for a shared experience which will be co-created by participants and made accessible through multimedia options that include live performance, news media, digital and social media, and public installations.

The threat to Derby’s existence has highlighted the importance of the club to many thousands of people across the world, who have realised what the club means to them in terms of heritage, identity, and well-being.

We want to capture people’s feelings and experiences around Derby County FC – around the theme ‘What does Derby County mean to me?’ This is in terms of their personal stories, feelings, how it brings people together (friends, family and total strangers), and how it affects their lives. For many people, the club is one of the most important things in their lives. It is embedded within their sense of identity and affects their emotions and feelings for their entire existence.

We want to use this project to bring people together to share those feelings and experiences and to capture them to show how important Derby County is to their communities.

Using the football club will motivate people who would never normally write, or draw, or paint, or talk to express themselves. All Derby fans are always eager to share their views and stories. Just by using the name of the club people will listen and take an interest when otherwise they would never be interested in this type of activity.

We can use the project to bring diverse groups of people together, and record and share what they have to say. As co-creation is at the heart of this project, the outputs will be led by those supporters, but may result in a book, an exhibition, a play, live literature evening, digital and social media sharing, or other interpretations.

RamsTrust will be reaching out to all supporters’ groups to get involved in the project and encourage their members to contribute. Jamie Thrasivolou will be running sessions to encourage and enthuse supporters to get involved and get creative. We will document what this club means to working-class people who give the club its identity.

The outputs and products will ultimately be the results of co-creation activity with participants and creative leads. We hope to produce an anthology of new written, creative and reminiscence work produced by participants and edited by the lead writers to be published by Writing East Midlands. This will be published via digital and broadcast media and distributed through the club, supporters’ groups and online channels. We also hope to produce local performances of literature and theatre.

We would expect to see new artwork accompanying the texts, in the form of visual or photographic presentations and montages. These will be displayed in public contexts important to the participants. We are keen on the development of an installation which will be on public view and lead to new community assets. All the above would be captured for digital archiving and dissemination via social and broadcast media to a worldwide audience.

This has the potential to be a fantastic project to involve all Derby fans in creating work that will show how important the club is to all supporters – and can prove to be an example to other clubs in future.

More details will be announced soon!