Dawinder Bansal and musician Martyn Ware - founder of The Human League and Heaven 17 - are joining forces to celebrate couples who found love in the 1980s.  

They are looking for couples to share their stories of falling in love in the 1980s and explore how they overcame obstacles to be together. These tales will feature in a new film and online archive to be debuted in October.

The stories will be collected together to build an online archive via Instagram and a selection of submissions will be featured in a short film by Dawinder Bansal with an accompanying soundscape created by 80s legend Martyn Ware.

The film has been developed as part of Waltham Forest’s Virtual Culture programme and will be shared during Leytonstone Loves Film, a celebration of film produced by the Barbican in collaboration with local filmmakers, artists and organizations.  The project will then continue as a social media project on Instagram, sharing the love stories of couples from the 80s with fabulous vintage images.

Whether it was a school romance or a meeting on a production line, introductions by parents or a relationship that went beyond community boundaries, a slowly evolving friendship or love at first sight, We Found Love In The 80s! wants to hear your stories of the 1980s and how you fought to be together.

Asian Image:

Dawinder Bansal and Martyn Ware, London. (Image: Dee Patel) 

Dawinder and Martyn will in particular be hoping to find couples who overcame obstacles - whether that be racism, homophobia or class prejudice - to build their lives together.

Dawinder said, “The 1980s was a memorable decade for so many reasons. Some of the most spectacular artists brought sensational music, film, art and fashion to people around the world. It was a decade where anything was possible. The 1980s has so much resonance to our current experiences and circumstances as a population. 

"We had a conservative government, industries were closing and we had high unemployment, we entered a recession, racism was rife, and the world was learning about a new deadly virus.

“But we still had love. People were falling in love and sometimes in secret, especially if they were gay or interracial relationships. As someone who has never found love myself, I am fascinated by stories of how people find love and stay in love.”

Martyn Ware said, “The chance to collaborate with Dawinder on this project is too good to miss. Our work with Illustrious is often concerned with evoking mood of a certain time and place, and we are happy that immersive 3D soundscaping will be a crucial part of this work.

"As an artist with Heaven 17 in the 80s, we were lucky to be a part of an iconic era for music, fashion, politics and a melting pot of multiculturalism. But it was a time of Conservative government, high unemployment and uncertainty and unfortunately, open racism.”

“Art acts as a conduit for empathy and feelings of all kinds, and our music has often been seen as a significant part of many people’s emotional journeys.”

Dawinder added, “During lockdown, a lot of people have used their time indoors to get digging in those boxes in the attic or the cellar, or that suitcase on top of the cupboard.

“We know how evocative a photo of a day out, a record sleeve, a nightclub flyer or even an old magazine can be, and we’d love people to share their mementos with us.”

Helen Juffs and Deirdre Figueiredo, who met in 1989, are among the first couples to offer their story for We Found Love In The 80s. Twenty five years after meeting, they were finally able to marry in 2014. 

Helen said, “We met at Nottingham Castle Museum where Deirdre worked in the Exhibitions team, and I was a volunteer.  Neither of us were 'out' or had had a relationship with a woman before.  It was all very tentative, starting with an unexpected embrace up a ladder! We only confided in two friends who were gay, to start with, then more friends and eventually family some years later.  We got married in 2014."

We Found Love In The 80s is the latest installment of Here and Now, a National Lottery funded project examining communities hopes and dreams that is running across 40 arts centres in England.

You can find out more about We Found Love In The 80s by clicking here or on Instagram