Helena Lee: ZP-087

I was introduced to Adopt a Slide through another archival project – The Anglo-Nordic Archive. Artist Sara Davies initiated this project, inviting Nordic artists living in North West England to explore how we experience our Nordic identity in our adopted home. Hot off the task of taking photos from our surroundings that remind us of our Nordic home, I went in to the Visual Resources Centre.

I approached the task of finding a slide with the same rules that I had adopted for The Anglo-Nordic Archive; to find something that moves me and something that has meaning both for me and for others (especially other Scandinavians). I had recently had this experience when I passed by the North West Film Archive (lots of archives here…). I stopped and realised that when I looked at the building an early visual memory of my Mum’s workplace in 1970s Stockholm had been brought to the surface. I took a photo and moved on.

When searching for slides to adopt, John brought me a series on Nordic architecture. I immediately recognised Stockholm’s Town Hall – one of my favourite buildings in the world; an elegant red brick building with minimal detail. Then my eye fell on the slide above. The visual memory files in my brain did a double take – is this my Mum’s workplace? Or the North West Film Archive? No, it’s actually a Danish University that I have never seen in real life, but as a modernist red brick building with overhanging ivy and large windows allowing for optimal light, it moved me just as all of these buildings seem to stir something in my heart and mind.

Helena Lee
Photographic artist



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