The Inheriting the Family Research Network has worked with independent filmmaker Lily Ford to produce four short films about inherited objects and their meanings for families. These films explore the emotions and memories that objects embody for the people who have inherited them and, collectively, capture the power of inherited objects in creating personal, family, and national identities. The films are freely and publicly available here on our website. We hope you enjoy watching them as much as we did making them.
The beautiful focus of this film is a quilt made in c.1890 in Swaledale and its journey through the generations of a family and on to the Quilters’ Guild collection in the early twenty-first century. It conveys how textiles hold powerful emotions for their makers and the relatives who have inherited them, and communicates the pleasures of hand quilting in the past and today. It also shows how inherited objects offer insights into our history, reflecting on the way inherited quilts provide insights into changing regional patterns of women’s work and lives. With Deborah McGuire and Joanne Begiato.
This film examines a less conventional inherited family object: hair and the range of emotions and memories that it can evoke. We show how people in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries preserved their loved one’s hair, weaving it into jewellery as mementoes or keeping locks as material memories. Today, even if we feel more ambivalent about hair, it still elicits strong feelings and so the film explores what we do with an object that only has meaning for a close loved one and around which it is more difficult to weave family stories and histories. With Katie Barclay, Leanne Calvert, Joanne Begiato, Laura Baldock, and Thalia Allington-Wood.
We talk to people who have inherited boxes and suitcases crammed full of photographs, albums, diaries, letters, passports, and paperwork to find out what it means to be the keeper of a family archive and make meaning from its contents. The film not only shows how these objects can help us see the world through our ancestors’ eyes, and share their feelings and worries, they provide powerful and sometimes troubling insights into a nation’s history and who it includes in its notions of citizenship. With Katie Barclay, Fiona Rew, Sheila Williams, and Kathryn Beatham.
Here we focus on more mundane household objects that we inherit from our relatives. Lots of us have wooden spoons, recipes, and kitchen utensils handed down across the generations. This film prompts us to think more closely about these things and what they can tell us about our families and their histories. By continuing to use them when we cook and prepare food, they bring us closer to relatives who used them. But they also tell wider stories of family lives shaped by migration, women’s work in the home, and the way one generation passes on expertise and traditions to the next through the memories and emotions they prompt. With Katie Barclay, Signe Ravn, Debbie Money, and Gloria Ford.