Home Is Where the Heart Is was a collaborative project with artists Harriet Mena Hill and Hannah Cushion as part of creative collective Our Cube for Notting Hill Genesis originally envisaged as a face to face intergenerational project on the Aylesbury Estate connecting older and younger residents with the intention of exploring the challenges posed by relocation from their homes as part of the Estates ongoing regeneration program. The project was reimagined in the light of the Covid pandemic into a series of postcard exchanges supported by virtual weekly coffee mornings and after school clubs over an eight week period in April and May 2021.
The project was designed to use the collective and individual wisdom of the older community, who had undergone this process once before in their lifetime when they were relocated to the Aylesbury as children and young adults, to empower younger residents during this transition period. What started as a project about building resilience in a community facing upheaval brought about through regeneration became a microcosm of the necessity for connectivity, resilience and shared experience on a global scale.
All the older participants involved in the project are original tenants who were relocated to the Aylesbury from the surrounding streets as they were cleared back in the 1960’s, many of the younger participants have been born on the Estate. Our aim has been to use a weekly postcard exchange to facilitate the sharing of experience and knowledge. Each week a question was posed, discussed, dissected and the postcards written to a counterpart across the generations.
The responses reveal the extraordinary character of the community on the Aylesbury Estate - diverse, deeply connected both to the history that preceded its arrival on the estate and to the community now, celebrating the importance of family, neighbours and long and enduring friendships. A proud and pragmatic community with extraordinary resilience and positivity in the face of profound change.
HIWTHI marks the beginning of a powerful discussion and highlights the importance of connection with place and the power of shared experience. Many of the residents who took part expressed their wish for their voices to be heard and not to be spoken for. Throughout the project participants asked their own questions, thus extending the conversation. On the following pages you will find space to answer some of these questions yourself, adding your own experience to the conversation and creating a wider portrait of the thriving community within the Aylesbury Estate.