26 Memory Maps

“Where are you from?”

It’s a simple conversation starter. A one-word answer is usually enough. Which is a bit of a shame, really. Because this is a question with the potential to reveal so much.

The 26 Memory Maps project invited members of the writing organisation 26 to answer “Where are you from?” in a more creative way.

We asked them to explore a place and time from their past by playing with a process of image-making and word-shaping.

Perhaps they would make some interesting discoveries? Not only about where they are from, but about who they used to be, and who they have become.

So here’s the challenge we set:

First, create a “Memory Map” of the place you are from. It might be a rubbish pencil sketch with little artistic merit. Or a beautifully crafted topographical masterwork. Either way, it will be fascinating – because it is uniquely yours.

Second, write a “memoir” about that place. To provide a focusing constraint, it must be exactly 150 words. Many of the writers also recorded a reading of their work.

Third, tell us about your creation journey. How did you find the map-making and memoir-writing process? This must be exactly 100 words.

And as a creative variation…. if you like, sit with someone else and make their map instead. Then write their memoir.

51 writers took part. 8 editors helped them to shape their work. You can enjoy the results on this website.

Special thanks to the team of editors who made this project possible: Elen Lewis, Hester Thomas, Sabine Harnau, Nick Parker, Francesca Baker, Lucy Beevor, Pip Trentham and Ashley Hoyland. And thanks to Rachel Marshall for creating this wonderful website.

Neil Baker
Creator, 26 Memory Maps

View the project here.

#26MemoryMaps

Latest 26 images

Disused pub in Hoxton by Andy York
Photo by Lucy Beevor
Image by Tony Linkson
Found on the island of Giglio, Italy by Chris Bird.
26 Screenshot by Lara Muth
I live at number 26, and this is my bin!  Rebecca Thomas
Captured in Venice by Elen Lewis
26-jane
Distance markers on a disused railway in East Sussex. The Cuckoo Line.  By Tony Linkson
Distance markers on a disused railway in East Sussex. The Cuckoo Line.  By Tony Linkson
Distance markers on a disused railway in East Sussex. The Cuckoo Line.  By Tony Linkson
Spotted by Marin Lee at the Serpentine in Hyde Park
Spotted in Copenhagen by Helen MacKinven.
Spotted on the airfield of Tivat airport in Montenegro by Martin Lee
I took this picture in a fabulous vegan and raw food restaurant in Turin - Ezri Carlebach
Spotted in Capri by Laura Hunter
Woods near Jouqueviel, Midi-Pyrenees, 10 minutes after I had told my walking group about 26. They gave me a funny look. By David Mathews
Image by Ed Pritchard
Image by Lydia Thornley in Krakow
Spotted in Belfast by Jonathan Holt
From Christmas travels in Krakow by Lydia Thornley
Night time lamp from Christmas travels in Krakow by  Lydia Thornley
Daytime lamp from Christmas travels in Krakow by  Lydia Thornley