Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Urban Memories; Volunteers Are Being Sought for a New Study of How Ex-City Dwellers Think about Their Old Patch Once They've Moved out into the Countryside. IAN ROBSON Finds out More

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Urban Memories; Volunteers Are Being Sought for a New Study of How Ex-City Dwellers Think about Their Old Patch Once They've Moved out into the Countryside. IAN ROBSON Finds out More

Article excerpt

TAKING a walk down memory lane could earn you a place in history - and a permanent record of your past on show at Beamish Museum.

Researchers from Newcastle University have launched a study of ex-urbanites who now live in the Tyne Valley. Results from the study - both recorded and pictorial - could be incorporated into Beamish's massive collection of historic and archive material from the region.

The scheme is the brainchild of Professor Alastair Bonnett and Dr Catherine Alexander, of the School of Geography, who are appealing for about 50 people willing to share their stories.

The idea is to collect the memories of people who moved from a city or town environment to the Tyne Valley.

They hope to discover how memory and nostalgia affects how people feel when they move away from the places they remember from days gone by.

Prof Bonnett said: "It started off with the idea that memories of the city are important. It's something that has been overlooked by public planners.

"There's a sense of place, a feeling of connection, that changes as the city changes.

"It's about taking people's lives seriously. "For this study, we are talking about people who have left the city.

"You would think they would be less connected but moving can reconnect people with their childhood home.

"The findings of the research may be incorporated into collections held at Beamish Museum."

The team are looking for volunteers originally from Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside and South Tyneside. Typically they should now live in Hexham, Corbridge, or Prudhoe but Prof Bonnett and Dr Alexander say they are being flexible in their choice.

Dr Alexander said the real-life experiences of people are often unappreciated.

She said: "In academia, research of people's everyday experiences are not really valued, but this is something we want to bring to the forefront in this study.

"We will talk to people in their homes if they want or anywhere else they feel comfortable.

"We will interview them, record their memories, and look at their photographs.

"The other technique is to use mind-mapping which is often used with children to walk through how they visualise the area. …

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