An invitation to see and share the extraordinary in the ordinary.
How much do people know about the places you love, and how fast do they change? At HODs we love to champion the everyday heritage that surrounds us so when we heard of C4Urselves's work in a town over the festival we had to find out more. Here's lifelong traveller, Federcio Moscogiuri, to tell us how you can add to a global record of local places.
History is all around us, all the time. Sometimes it is obvious and imposing, like a castle or a building, usually with something like a blue plaque indicating that this is indeed a place of historical significance, and telling us what’s interesting about it.
But more often it is subtle, inconspicuous, even hidden from normal view. Often there is no blue plaque, and we walk right past without taking any notice. In some places, history is in the very stones we walk on, without giving them a second thought: the extraordinary ordinary, invisible to all but those who make the time to notice.
History permeates the present, and it helps us understand our present, and the place we live in, in a different way. It can change the way we look at our entire world. My own sense of who I am is much richer as a result of understanding more of the history of my birthplace, Florence, Italy. But travelling and living in different places, and learning about their own history, is in itself hugely enriching. Every place has a story, and every story has beauty, and value, in it.
That’s a big part of why I set up C4Urselves: to help capture and share our experience of the world as it is today, with all its visible and its hidden history, before it changes again, and in doing so weave a thread across past, present and future, through the testimony of all of us who tread these paths today.
As a human race, our entire history is in large part a story of technological advancement. Today, technology has genuinely surpassed geographical boundaries, and can unite people from across the globe, instantly, in a way that was previously unthinkable. Just like the Renaissance or the Enlightenment, we are fortunate to be living in an age of huge transformation - the Digital Revolution. Unlike previous revolutions, though, the digital revolution is uniquely empowering, because technology is literally in the hands of each of us, allowing us all to actively shape what comes next. To do so, we need to harness the huge potential of this technology, and we need to use it for good. One of the ways in which we can do this is precisely by capturing and sharing our experience of the world, as seen through our eyes, with other people all over the globe – and experiencing it through theirs. We can all be the eyes and ears of others, through digital technology.
The Hertford Living History Challenge aims to do just that.
Take the challenge
Hertford is one of those places that’s surprisingly full of history: among other things, it was the seat of Parliament during the plague of 1563, and boasts the world’s oldest Quaker Meeting House, the first paper mill in Britain, and one of the former sites of Christ’s Hospital, a 16th century school and charitable instutition looking after homeless boys and girls. And there’s a handy Heritage Trail which tells you all about it.
The Living History Challenge invites all those who are either resident in or are visiting Hertford to spend some time discovering its heritage landmarks, and taking and sharing a video of what the place actually looks like today, for anyone else to experience almost as if they were there. The competition runs between now and the end of September, and there are prizes as well as special offers from participating local businesses (primarily bars and cafes).
If you’re going to be in the area at all during this time, please do consider uploading a video or two on our website. Registration is free, we only ask for basic personal information, and unlike most online platforms, we won’t spam you or harvest your personal data. Authenticity is key, which is why we’re asking for no commentary, just sights and sounds, as if the viewer was walking alongside you.
Even if you don’t think you’ll win a prize, or you don’t plan to stop in a café to claim your special offer, what you’ll be doing is showing everyone who will one day Google “Hertford heritage” what Hertford’s heritage actually looks like in reality, and in so doing helping to create an online repository of cultural and historical heritage for the future, accessible to the whole world.
And hopefully have some fun in the process. That’s a good thing, too!