On Friday 6th July we held our 3rd annual Community History Showcase at GMCVO St Thomas’s, Ardwick. A huge thanks once again to everyone who contributed; the event could not have happened without your input which is hugely valued and appreciated.
4 speakers shared the challenges and achievements of their projects through illustrated talks:
Women from Dynamic Support also mounted a wonderful display of printed and embroidered textiles. The group are currently in the planning stages of their own heritage project exploring African culture and traditions.
This year’s audience of 36 included heritage professionals from local museums and archives, as well as participants from at least 10 community projects. Louise Sutherland and Antonia Canal from the Heritage Lottery Fund also attended to offer advice and support on project ideas and to hear current participants’ experiences.
A group consultation exercise raised the following topics, amongst others: the difficulties of locating and applying for relevant project funds; the challenges of making research accessible (when it has been collected in a community language); the importance of recognising and challenging colonial narratives in museum and archive collections.
The [Forgotten Soldiers] project was a way of rechanneling my anger into something visible and structured. I was able to reclaim something of my Muslim heritage whilst also saying ‘This is what my family has contributed to British Society’.
Adil Mohammed Javid, Alchemy Arts
We were very pleased to welcome Mrs Fatima Begum to this year’s event. Fatima is the mother of Ahmed Iqbal Ullah, after whom the AIUET is named and founder of the Ahmed Iqbal Memorial High School in Bangladesh. She was delighted to hear about the variety of heritage projects currently taking place and the aim of ‘Coming In From The Cold’ to help raise their long-term visibility.
We also said a fond farewell to Jackie Ould, Director of the AIUET and founder of the annual community showcase event. Jackie retires this summer after almost 20 years of continuous involvement with the organisation. Thank you so much, Jackie for all the work you have done to champion BAME-heritage in Manchester.
We currently have two postgraduate students from the Institute for Cultural Practices (ICP) at the University of Manchester on a placement with us. They have been investigating the value of historic documents and how to encourage further deposits from local BAME communities as part of the CIFTC project. Today Naomi Weaver and Yang Li were busy interviewing our long-time friend and trustee, Nigel de Noronha in various locations around Central Library as part of a project to demystify the archive. Nigel was once a member of the Asian Youth Movement (AYM) and also contributed to the Macdonald Inquiry, so features prominently in a number of records we hold. He is now a Teaching Fellow in Sociology at the University of Warwick.
During his interview, Nigel reflected on both the experience of encountering representations of himself as a young activist and on the value of being able to examine such collections as an academic researcher.
By creating a short film with a range of contributors, Naomi and Yang hope to address basic questions about what’s in our collection, how it ended up here and to whom it might be of interest in future years. Watch this space for the final edit, which we hope to share with you soon…
We are delighted to announce that Phase Two of our project ‘Coming in from the Cold’ is now up and running. Over the next three years members of the CIFTC project team will support the development and delivery of BAME-focused heritage projects across Greater Manchester, with the aim of building a more comprehensive and representative archive collection. Please download our press release for further information.
If you are a community group thinking of undertaking or in the process of delivering a heritage project, please do get in touch. There are lots of ways we might be able to help you.
Yesterday Collections Access Officer Hannah Niblett and I presented a paper to around 60 delegates from the National Archives conference at The Lowry in Salford. Our paper was called Coming in From the Cold: Narrowing the Gap Between Community Engagement and Collection Development. In it we presented findings from the research phase of this project, together with ideas for a model of working based on our own experience of facilitating and archiving community history projects. Our main concern – and our aim for Phase Two going forward (should we receive the necessary grant funding) – is to address the key issue, that funding for BAME-related community-led heritage projects is increasing but their visibility is not. The content seemed well received by the audience who helped us to ponder issues of authorship, ownership and access during the ensuing discussion.
Daniella and Marzuqa open their leaving presents at a ‘goodbye’ lunch in Wagamamas
At the end of the summer we said ‘goodbye’ to two much-loved members of the project team. Marzuqa Iffat came to the end of her graduate internship and Daniella Carrington completed her post-graduate studies. Thanks to both of them for all their invaluable contributions; to Marzuqa, for the many hours that you spent on the telephone and computer, contacting organisations and individuals for the audit, then pouring over the resulting data; and to Daniella for establishing and maintaining this blog and for taking so many beautiful photographs along the way. Love and best wishes for the future.
We are finally ready to share the results of our audit, which summarises BAME related heritage projects and collections across Greater Manchester. Visit ‘Our Research’ page to access all of the background information for phase one.
We have used the audit results to develop an activity plan for phase two of the ‘Coming in from the Cold’ project. An application was submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund at the beginning of September, with a decision on funding expected by December 2017.
In the meantime, many thanks to all of the project team for their input and to all of those who assisted in research for the audit.
The Archive and Records Association (ARA) conference is currently underway at the Hilton Hotel in Manchester. Yesterday my colleague Hannah Niblett and I were invited to give a paper about our experiences of generating and archiving BAME-related heritage project work. It was our first chance to share findings from the CIFTC audit, as well as reflect on the successes and challenges of work on the erstwhile Legacy of Ahmed project. Some of the points we were able to make appeared to resonate with the audience, comprised of 60 professionals from the archive and local studies sector. Questions, claps and nods of agreement centred on discussions around the way that oral histories are collected and valued and the widespread disposal of much project-related material.