The 10 Living Legends have been chosen and the exhibition at the Rooftop Arts Centre is only a few weeks away. We gave the task of documenting the story of each legend to writer Becci Sharrock and photographer Laura Dicken. Becci and Laura are now in the process of visiting the 10 Living Legends to capture their extraordinary stories and what makes them excel in what they do for others.
As the two artists are busy finding out about our local Legends, we thought it would be fun to find out about them! So, we put Becci and Laura on the spot with a few questions:
What attracted you to the Living Legends Project?
LD: I love to work on community-based projects. Spending time with people who live in an area gives me the chance to really get to know a town. I think the Living Legends is a wonderful way to celebrate ordinary people that do extraordinary things for their community. It’s a pleasure to be a part of a project that gives back to these everyday heroes.
Who is your own Living Legend?
BS: It’s cliché but it would have to be my mum. She’s a strong, intelligent woman; the sort of person that people go to when they have a problem as she’s a great listener. She’s done brilliant work inspiring young people and completed a post-graduate teacher training course after my sister and I left home. She’s a multi-talented woman – a definite Legend in my eyes.
Have you ever been involved in a similar project to Living Legends?
LD: Yes, last year I was commissioned by a fantastic arts organisation called ‘Creative Black Country’ to make the portraits for their ‘100 Masters’ project. I got to visit 15 artists and makers in their studios and work-spaces. It was fantastic.
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your career?
BS: The thing that has been the biggest influence on my career and work is seeing other people doing really well and especially seeing other women succeed. Victoria Wood is a bit of an idol of mine, for her ability to create great characters and brilliant dialogue. I would consider it a great achievement if I could have even a tenth of her success.
When did you realise you wanted to make photography your career?
LD: When I was studying illustration, one of my MA tutors particularly liked the collages that I had made. When he found out that I was using my own photographs he really encouraged me to take photography seriously. I soon realised that deep down, photography is what I always wanted to do.
Will you work side by side with the other artist on each Legend’s story?
BS: Yes, whenever possible Laura and I have visited some Legends together and that’s been a great opportunity to bounce our ideas off each other. If we cannot visit at the same time we share experiences afterwards. We both feel we want to get to know each Legend, so we can reflect them in our work and give the project a sense of authenticity. I’m excited to see how the text and visuals will come together for the exhibition.
Is it difficult to avoid choosing a personal favourite from the many inspiring stories?
LD: Yes, of course! But then on a project like Living Legends: Hidden Histories, everyone is so wonderful, and they have done so much for the local community, they all end up becoming favourites.
What do you hope is the legacy of the Living Legends Project?
BS: Living Legends is a great project, shining the light on people who are doing great things in the community. In terms of legacy, it would be lovely if some of their stories inspired others to realise that they can make a real difference. I can see great things happening in Corby as a result of some goodwill and hard work.
What happens next?
The resulting photography and stories will be displayed in an exhibition at the Rooftop Arts Centre from 2nd May. You can follow the event for exhibition updates here. Also, a book featuring the ten wonderful stories behind each Living Legend will be on sale at the exhibition and each Legend will be presented with the book as a keepsake.
Thanks to National Lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund and local business sponsors, we are able to provide this project to the people of Corby and our legendary locals.