The Archive Project

The Archive Project

At Photosymbols we work with lots of different self-advocacy groups up and down the country. We see or hear about the gaps when a group closes, sometimes after five, ten or even twenty years. When we talk to group members and supporters about their groups, they tell us that lots of the work the group did was recorded on paper not on digital files that can be easily shared with other groups.

Supporters talk of boxes of paperwork sitting in their attics, or worse, ending up in recycling bins. The work done by many of these closed down groups is too important to forget or ignore. Pete’s now working with members and supporters from several self-advocacy groups that have closed down. He turns up with a bag of washing lines and blank cards and listens to people tell the important stories of their groups, and the work they’ve done. He then works out ways to digitise these ideas so they don’t get forgotten.

We’re trying to catch and record people’s memories, photos, important ideas and paperwork. We want to take them out of people’s attics and put them online. Other groups can learn from the hard work these groups and their supporters did. It’s early days and we’re working out the best ways to do things. But the final goal is to make all the experiences available online in an easy-to-access way.

We’re keen to hear people’s ideas and suggestions. You can get in touch with Pete by email at, or by phone on 07976 740977. You can also tweet Pete using @petelg on Twitter. If you’re in Self-Advocacy or Speaking Up group we’d love to hear from you.

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  • What a great project. I’m sitting here looking at boxes and boxes of paper gathered over 30+ years of our organisation. We aren’t closing, but we still need to find a way to save the important parts of our history. You’ve started me thinking…


    Jackie Softly on
  • Great to see the Archive project, Self Advocacy has such a a rich history around the country and should not be lost, the passion and innovation over the years is outstanding and deserves recognition. Thank you…Good Luck!

    Peter Keeves on
  • Thanks for the newsletter, I like that you can now upload your own photos of people or places that are familiar.
    Also really love the historical archive idea for self advocacy groups that have closed down, to capture all of that history.
    Many people with learning disabilities have no record of their own past that they can access. A programme to help someone create their own life story book would be great.

    Steph Baines on
  • This is brilliant work. Just so many groups gone – devastating for the people who were involved and some feel that all their work was a waste of time, as now they are ignored and forgotten. So valuing peoples’ experiences, and making a history of a part of their lives is fantastic. Thank you Pete. x

    joyce howarth on

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