Launching 26 October 2020: Animal Stories

Discover an untold tale of London Borough of Hounslow

This new project from Creative People and Places Hounslow’s Visual Arts Programme offers an exciting way to delve into Hounslow’s rich and colourful history.

From the rare species of snails found in Isleworth Ait, to the thousands of animals entering the UK through Heathrow Airport’s Animal Reception Centre from across the world, this intriguing story is told through the recollections of local people and research of historical records and archives. Travel through time from the Chiswick House Menagerie of the 18th century to the present day to see how our relationship to animals has shaped Hounslow and the communities that live and work here.

The project features a series of new stories extensively researched and written by Alistair Cartwright, and colourful images and stop motion animations by illustrator Amber Cooper-Davies, both of whom were selected by a curatorial panel of community members. Alistair Cartwright is a writer and historian. His research focuses on the experience, representation, and regulation of postwar London’s ‘rented rooms’. Amber Cooper-Davies is an illustrator and animator based in London. Her work is characterised by her love of materials, mixing colour and texture with intricate cutting and composition. Amber’s works in traditional print media, digital as well as live performance and augmented reality.

The project includes an online presentation of the stories and illustrations, an innovative, interactive exhibition that will tour London Borough of Hounslow Libraries, and a printed publication, launching from October 2020. The project will be enhanced with workshops for members of the Hounslow community to tell their own animal stories, and explore ways to creatively engage with local history.

This unique, interactive project has been devised and curated by members of the local community in collaboration with CPP Hounslow’s Visual Arts Programme, which presents new and original exhibitions in libraries and cafes across the borough. CPP Hounslow is a community engagement project led by Watermans.

Amber is currently working on the illustrations that will be exhibited alongside the stories. See her rough drawings below: