Last Friday, our Artist in Resident Tom Marshman gave a talk about his project Move Over Darling, an exploration of Bristol’s LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) history. He is part way through his micro-residency here at he Studio, and the project has reached something of a crossroads. Tom shared his ideas and sparked up a conversation about how he might incorporate creative technology into the project, to help unite stories with their locations. Here are the five key points I took away:

1. That Tom has an amazing archive of stories from Bristol’s older LGBT community. At the beginning of the talk, Tom gave a short performance, where he described the ‘constellations’ of characters he has met in different districts of the city, and related captivating details of their stories. As a whole Tom’s performance created a fascinating picture of the city’s past and present communities. He also played us some wonderful sound bites that he had selected from recordings of his conversations with locals.

2. That people are interested in sensory triggers – touch in particular. This became apparent while we were discussing the different possibilities for ways in which Tom could use technology to tell stories. One of Tom’s ideas includes giving people a coat to wear on a walk around the city, and concealing objects in the pockets, that relate directly to (and possibly trigger) an audio narrative. Amy (half of Anagram) said that it was a fresh and romantic idea, and many people agreed. Tom mentioned that a lot of the memories that he has gathered refer to smell, touch or taste, so it would make sense to incorporate these things into the project.

3. That every city is a powerful and playful character, and when performing or creating an experience within one, you have to allow room for the city’s mood to weave in with the narrative. Tom explained that he loves to take risks and make space for serendipitous moments to occur when he is performing. He also mentioned that he would like Move Over Darling to be different for every audience, and for the personalities of those taking part to be reflected in their experience.

4. That sometimes, as a performer, you have to toy with the idea of taking yourself out of a performance. Tom is used to being present in the work that he creates, but he is excited by the idea that someone could immerse themselves in the stories that he has collected at any time of day, alone or in a group.

5. That it might be interesting to hold a hack at the Studio in the coming months, inviting some of the people whose stories Tom has included in the project to meet with creative technologists to prototype ideas and discuss how the project could evolve.

Tom will continue to develop Move Over Darling with support from the Studio. He has many ideas about how the project might take shape, including touring the project, exploring other cities and their pasts. Find out more about Move Over Darling and keep up to date with the developments of the project here.