urbansuburban; searching for St Ebbe’s in the suburbs
The Urbansuburban book was commissioned by Modus Operandi as part of the Westgate public art programme. This research project on the site of the new Westgate development looked at the area of St Ebbe’s in living memory and connections between St Ebbe’s before demolition and the new suburbs of Oxford. An artist’s book bringing together research was exhibited at the Museum of Oxford.
At the start of this project I hoped I would be able to trace some people living in Oxford who had memories of St Ebbe’s from before the demolitions of the 1950’s and 60’s. I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who have come forward to share their stories and memories. The material in this book represents just a small part of what has been gathered.
It has been particularly interesting to see how people have retained a connection with St Ebbe’s through collections of objects, ephemera, images and memories, each person approaching this in a unique way. The collections have become a focal point for this book, with memories transcribed alongside.
The beginnings of my own responses to this material are included in the book. Working with archive images of demolition and construction I have been exploring the tensions between old and new. The approach to the 1950’s and 60’s demolition seems primitive and surprisingly chaotic given that it was paving the way for infrastructure that would bring Oxford into the modern world.
You can see a digital copy of the book work here.