From Birth till Death: Scrolled Life Stories

An immersive installation created with members of St. Christopher’s Hospice, Arts Network, Three Cs, and an Asylum Seekers Hostel . Participants designed a series of symbols representing highs and lows in their life that retell a narrative from beginning to end, revealing the lived experience into an imagined future and ideal death.

Painted on papyrus and sewn into scrolls that are surrounded by a soundscape, the work is exhibited at the Horniman Museum & Gardens, placing current life stories within an anthropological collection about who we are, while inviting audiences to explore their own life stories.

The exhibition audience entering this immersive environment are invited to a central table and given an activity resource that encourages them to reflect upon and design their own life scrolls in response to considering others. Both the participants who created the exhibited scrolls and the audience who participate in designing theirs at the table are encouraged to consider the legacy of their lives and how we retell our personal mythology.

The collected life scrolls are a testament to and platform for the community of South London whose stories are underrepresented in museums in terms of visibility in exhibitions and visitor demographics. This exhibition also aimed to diversify the Horniman’s contemporary collection thereby attracting new visitors, while inviting the audience to consider their own place in the narrative.

Did you visit the exhibition and would like to feedback? Visit the Culture Counts survey

Walk through exhibition tour.                                                Narrative tour with life stories

Scroll through and read the life stories:

Scroll through and explore the virtual hang

Listen to the immersive soundtrack:

Audio Description

Watch the life stories come to life:




Print this DIY scroll and be creative designing your own life story.  Follow the helpful Step-by-Step guide.

Visitors to the exhibition are invited to sit around a central table and participate in this activity.

Now you can try it at home with this activity page.

Read the project evaluation

Nominated for UK Exhibition of the Year