The story of Keepsakes

The sensuous, sinuous intertwining of things with memories … How objects are handed on is all about story-telling …

Edmund de Waal, The Hare with Amber Eyes

Keepsakes is a display of personal items that keep memories of migration and identity alive. Museum collections represent society’s decisions about what objects are valuable enough to hand down to future generations. But museum objects matter less to most people than the objects their parents and grandparents chose to pass on to them, and which they hand on to their own children and grandchildren.

Working with communities and individuals, the Migration Museum Project, supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, explores the nature and importance of personal keepsakes in telling migration stories.

For more information, do read Sue McAlpine’s blog post, “A Keepsake is a very special thing”, for our curator’s insight into the exhibition and project.

Do you have a Keepsake with a migration story? When visiting the exhibition, use the Keepsakes postcards to tell us about objects that are special to you. You can also tweet us @MigrationUK #Keepsakes and upload your image to our 100 Images of Migration Flickr group #Keepsakes. Your Keepsake may end up being part of a future Keepsakes display!

Keepsakes at Southbank Centre

Our first Keepsakes display forms part of the Adopting Britain exhibition currently on at the Royal Festival Hall.

Adopting Britain is an interactive exhibition, curated by Southbank Centre in partnership with Counterpoints Arts, which aims to highlight personal stories of migrants and refugees, celebrate the contribution of migrant groups to Britain’s artistic landscape and open up discussion around one of the most politically sensitive and pertinent topics of this year’s election.The exhibition features Keepsakes and a wide-ranging selection of our 100 Images of Migration, as well as content from diverse partner organisations.

You can catch the exhibition on the Spirit Level of the Royal Festival Hall, open 10am – 10pm daily until 6 September 2015. For further details visit our Adopting Britain page.

With thanks to…

Sue McAlpine, Keepsakes Curator
Sue McAlpine is currently freelancing as a curator, working especially in community engagement in museums. She joined Hackney Museum in 2006 curating exhibitions, managing collections and working closely with Hackney’s communities. She worked in Notting Hill as a carnivalist, oral historian, exhibition designer and community historian. In 1990 she established an education service at Gunnersbury Park Museum and was Education Officer at the Museum of London from 1977. 

Camilla Greenwell, Keepsakes Photographer
Camilla Greenwell studied Fine Art at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, and then went on to complete a postgraduate in photography at the London College of Communication. Her work varies from constructed photography within her fine art practice, to portraiture and performance photography. She was invited by Ossian Ward to exhibit in the 2011 ING Discerning Eye Exhibition, and has won various competitions set by IdeasTap, as well as being selected to be part of the Young Photographers’ Alliance’s mentoring programme.

Twitter: @CamGreenwell

Paul Hamlyn FoundationPaul Hamlyn Foundation is an independent grant making body which funds organisations whose charitable activities help people to realise their potential and have a better quality of life.
We are grateful to Paul Hamlyn Foundation for supporting Keepsakes.

Paul Hamlyn Foundation is an independent grant making body which funds organisations whose charitable activities help people to realise their potential and have a better quality of life.