Residents help gather 24-hour snapshot of Thetford

Hundreds of people have taken part in a unique art project aimed at creating a snapshot of life in Thetford over a 24-hour period.

Residents were called upon to take photographs, shoot video clips, write poetry and doodle drawings which held some significance to the town or what they were doing within the allotted time frame.

People had between midday on Friday and midday on Saturday to make their contributions, collected by internationally renowned artist Jai Redman and art collective Ultimate Holding Company, who based themselves at Ancient House Museum.

The final product from the project, entitled Twenty-Four Houred Thetford, will be a digital montage of images and sounds shedding light on residents’ different perspectives of the town and their community.

The scheme was commissioned by the Breckland Partnership as a way of capturing the diversity of people in the area.

Jai said: “It’s distinct from community art. We’re not making murals in hospitals, it’s about social relationships. Although it’s a physical portrait of people and things, it’s a portrait of the relationship between people and us as outsiders. What do they want to tell us about the place they live?”

He said more than 2,000 photographs had been taken by the team or submitted over the 24 hours.

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“Everyone has been embracing it and have got excited about it. It will present a portrait of a very open and welcoming town,” he added.

The project’s start was heralded by the bells of St Peter’s Church.

Among its contributors was Thetford Grammar School, which suspended lessons at 12.24pm and gave each pupil 24 minutes to create a small piece of work to donate.

Amanda Sherring, head of art at the school, said the youngsters, as well as staff, came up with a variety of work including drawings and poems, while some just wrote down what they were thinking or what their plans for the day were.

“I think it’s lovely to be involved in something that’s in the Thetford community and nice for the children to so something that’s going to go to a wider audience,” she added.

Others taking part included the Teenage History Club which created a board game based on their favourite incidents in Thetford’s past, while children from the Thetford Music Project’s Singing Group contributed a recording of The Ballad of Tom Paine which was written for the 2009 Paine bicentenary celebrations.

Adrian Stasiak, Breckland Council executive member for communities and benefits, said: “Thetford has seen considerable change over the centuries and this project aims to capture diversity of the town as it is today.”

The final digital portrait should be complete in about a month’s time. For updates on its progress, visit