Charlotte Ginsborg

Our future, our past, whisper it to me

Charlotte Ginsborg, Songs for the River (film still), 2021. Courtesy of the artist.

Charlotte Ginsborg has been commissioned to create a series of ambitious short films responding to the new garden city in Ebbsfleet, to launch in Autumn 2023.

Developed in collaboration with and featuring local residents, the films will combine spoken word poetry, performance, and documentary to create hybrid portraits investigating people’s sense of belonging, what home means to them, and their vision for the future of the area, with an emphasis on how they would like to use the developing ‘green’ spaces both physically and psychologically. 

Taking inspiration from the title of Ebenezer Howard’s book, Garden Cities of To-morrow, and Henry George’s utopian novel, Looking Backwards, the films will encompass the memories and future aspirations of both older residents and younger generations in order to meditate on the cultural history of the area and the impacts of the new development at a key moment of transition.

As Ebbsfleet emerges against the backdrop of Brexit, the effects of the pandemic, and the cost of living crisis, the project will explore how we negotiate the complexities of what constitutes a ‘home’ and the challenges inherent in the creation of public space. Prompting questions about where we want to pass time, how being in green space affects us, and what we want to prioritise in our future environments to create meaningful active communities.

By drawing on traditions of oral history and contemporary spoken word practice, and working with both younger and older generations from a diversity of backgrounds, the work seeks to foreground often marginalised voices and give participants creative agency to represent their vision for the future of Ebbsfleet.

The films will, at times, appear like a call and response between the generations, the rhythmical flow of their words being heard against the emerging architectural development and the ‘historical’ landscapes of marshland, chalk spines, gorges, old pleasure gardens, and views out across the Thames Estuary, as old meets new.

Our future, our past, whisper it to me has been commissioned as part of This Must Be the Place, a long-term project working with local people in Ebbsfleet to explore and shape the new garden city as it is built. This Must Be the Place is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, and by Ebbsfleet Development Corporation.

Join us at 19:00 on Wednesday 8 November for the launch and premier of Our future, our past, whisper it to me at The Woodville in Gravesend.

Book a place