Evidence from the Edge

Evidence from the Edge: Local volunteers needed for Shoreditch Park history project

MOLA team

Evidence from the Edge is a new MOLA project to explore the archaeology and history of housing and wealth inequality in Hoxton, London. The project is led by MOLA in partnership with Volunteer Centre Hackney and will support a team of local people and archaeologists to work together to plan and carry out a research project and share the results. 

What are we going to do? 

We’ll be working with a group of volunteers with different backgrounds and life experiences, recruited through Volunteer Centre Hackney, to research housing and wealth inequality in Hoxton and Shoreditch Park in the 19th-21st century.  

This is a co-creation project, which means that everyone who takes part (participants and MOLA archaeologists) will work together as a team to decide the research questions, plan and carry out the fieldwork and share the results. We believe that all participants have something to contribute. Everyone involved will be able to help shape the project and decide what we’re going to do, whatever their background or experience. 

The project aims to try out new and different ways for local people, community organisations and archaeologists to work together. We hope we’ll be able to use the ideas and what we’ve learnt to do a larger project in the future. 

What do we hope to achieve? 

The project has several aims. As a team, we hope to:  

  • Explore how Hoxton and the area of Shoreditch Park has changed over time, and what’s caused that change 

  • Understand how wealth inequality, housing inequality, and the use of temporary accommodation in the 19th – 21st centuries has influenced the development of the local area and communities 

  • Empower local people and people with different experiences of housing, social housing, vulnerable accommodation and homelessness, to shape and conduct research with support from archaeologists at MOLA 

  • Get ideas for future archaeology projects working with local community organisations and learn what works best and what can be improved 

  • Share our work with the local community and other archaeology and community organisations 

How are we going to do it? 

We’re running six weekly sessions for team members to build their research skills and plan the fieldwork, starting on 26 May 2021. The exact content of the sessions will be decided by the team members, depending on the research question we are investigating.  They could include photography, building recording, artefact recording, map and documents research, or oral history, and the sessions will be delivered by MOLA archaeologists. 

We’ll finish with an end of project event at the beginning of July to celebrate the project and share what we’ve learnt.  

We’ll also share our results using film, photography, audio recordings and written reports – as decided by the team members. Throughout the project we’ll be keeping track of our progress and what we’re learning through blogs on the MOLA website. 

Who’s involved? 

The project is funded by UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) and is one of several projects around the country which are piloting place-based public engagement partnerships and activities. The project is a partnership led by MOLA with Volunteer Centre Hackney.

If you’re a local resident, you can get involved by applying through Volunteer Centre Hackney.  

If you’d like to know more about the project, please contact Helen Johnston, Project Officer: hjohnston@mola.org.uk.