Title: "Legacy Threads: Talking Postcards, Standing in This Place, and the Jamaican Connection"

Co-creation of talking postcards for the 'Standing In This Place' project

Lisa Jackson

1/25/20243 min read

In the rich tapestry of the Legacy Makers research family, my heart brims with joy and gratitude. The privilege of working alongside these dedicated individuals is not lost on me, and it's a profound honour to share this space with the resilient black African Caribbean women who embody the spirit of my Jamaican grandmother, Mam, Rita Hope.
Mam, now resting beside her beloved husband Winston, my grandfather shared vivid tales of our Jamaican homeland—the fertile soil, the abundant trees laden with mangos and breadfruit. These memories serve as a comforting link to my roots. In Mam's presence, I used to divulge my newfound knowledge, and she, in turn, guided me through glimpses of our untold family history. Though I miss Mam dearly, the remarkable women in the Legacy Makers family are a powerful reminder of my identity.
The Legacy Makers program, steered by Lisa Robinson of Bright Ideas, is an exhaustive historical investigative project focusing on the ‘Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage sites, including the former Darley Abbey mill and St Matthews church in Derbyshire built by the Evans family. The Legacy Makers documentary film provides a deeper understanding of this program.
Inspired by the 2014 program ‘Slave Trade Legacies,' Lisa collaborates with researchers and historians from Nottingham University, including the esteemed Dr Helen Bates and Professor Sarah Seymour from 'The Global Cotton Connections’ at the School of Geography, University of Nottingham.

Before the statue's unveiling, Rachel and the Legacy Makers family are actively engaged in raising awareness and funds for the project. My role involved recording six talking postcards, each featuring a portrait of a legacy maker. These postcards offer a unique experience—pointing a smartphone towards the portrait reveals the voice and story of each legacy maker. The recordings took place in Nottingham's new central library, a significant location as it stands opposite where the statue is soon to be located, providing a vantage view of the garden.

The grand unveiling of these postcards is set for the launch of the exhibition 'Standing In This Place - Speak Her Name' at ArtCore in Derby on January 26th. Curated by Rachel Carter, this dynamic exhibition showcases art and stories celebrating women, with much of the work created through free workshops conducted by Rachel, Ismail Khokon, and Anisha Parmar. Together, they present a stunning art installation titled 'Speak Her Name,' featuring the names of 100 historic women connected to the story of cotton—a testament to sorrow, strength, and resilience.
As the exhibition unfolds, I eagerly anticipate immersing myself in the art, absorbing the stories, and obtaining my copy of the talking postcards. While I can no longer share these postcards with Mam, the memories of her and our ancestors bring a sense of warmth and connection that transcends time. It's a beautiful, safe keeping of our shared legacy—one that I am proud to be a part of and excited to celebrate with the Legacy Makers research family. Join us at the exhibition, pick up your copy, and let's honour and celebrate these remarkable women together.
'Standing In This Place' is a collaborative endeavour led by sculptor Rachel Carter in conjunction with the Legacy Makers. Inspired by her volunteer work on the Legacy Makers project 2017-19, Rachel elaborates on her experiences on the pages of a dedicated website. This monumental sculpture envisions the strength and contributions of two women—an enslaved cotton picker and a mill worker. Scheduled for unveiling in the heart of Nottingham's new Green Heart Garden in July 2024, the sculpture symbolises the resilience of these women.