Yorktopia expanded on our work with My Future York, delving deeper into their research. We were invited to create an exhibition that presented My Future York’s research project in an interactive setting, developing richer understandings of the city’s pasts and to inspire new alternative visions for housing in York.
The exhibition drew heavily on Van Wilson’s oral histories of the area– we found that people’s memories were bound up with its distinctive sights, sounds and smells. In designing our exhibition for the Yorktopia event we used the sensory landscape of early 20th century York to prompt us all to consider what we’d like York in ten years’ time to look like, sounds like, smell like and feel like.
The exhibits featured archival research from the past and used an interactive element to draw out visions of the future from people at the event. The main feature was a house installation with a window inviting participants to draw their visions for ‘What would you like to see and smell outside your window in 2066?’. The house also featured oral accounts of smells in the 19th century alongside images of the Hungate area to evoke sensory and poetic visions of York.
Responses to the exhibits included:
‘Fresh coffee, cinnamon, the first raindrops on aspelt, incense, pine trees, sometimes fresh paint and petrol, freshly baked bread, apple pie’.
‘A place to sit and breathe, an exciting city with a buzz, safe but edgy.’
‘Clean, safe, soft, like crunchy leaves under your feet and fresh drew in the air…warm, comfortable like sinking into an arm chair by the fire’.