Black Heritage London
In November 2021 the museum launched its brand new programme for budding creative producers – Black Heritage London.
In November 2021 the museum launched its brand new programme for budding creative producers – Black Heritage London. In partnership with Numbi Arts we invited Black Londoners aged between 18-24 years old to explore and celebrate the varied heritage of Black communities in London. This creative producers programme is designed to help young Londoners to find their own place in the collective story of London and support them to develop the skills they need to move into the next step in their career. The project is a first for the Museum of London.
We invited young emerging creatives to take part in a series of sessions hosted by Numbi Arts exploring Black heritage and identity. They visited our museum sites at London Wall and Docklands and took part in a placemaking walk around Poplar, participated in workshops exploring archiving through film and text with filmmaker Imruh Bakari, heard from Black voices in the museums and heritage sectors and visited the museum’s London, Sugar and Slavery gallery, meeting Museum of London curators and community participation and engagement staff.
Since January 2022 we have been working with four Black Heritage London Producers – Amina Ali, Mercedes Baptiste-Halliday, Kia Fullerton and Jabir Mohamed. Inspired by their time in the programme the Producers have each designed and delivered their own individual projects. Find out more about their projects below.
A Week in Our Ends, a photography project by Amina Ali
Working in partnership with Photofusion, Brixton this contemporary archiving project seeks to collect different stories of what life entails for young people in the capital, particularly after the transformative past two years. Amina is working with a small cohort of 12 – 15-year-olds to document everyday life as it is for them and explore what heritage means in the context of their lives. Participants have been provided with disposable cameras to document a ‘week in their lives’, based on a series of prompts and are being invited back to the museum to see their work on display.
Amina is an aspiring archivist who is primarily interested in exploring (hi)stories of the Black diaspora.
"The most enjoyable part of the programme so far has been meeting Aleema Gray (the Museum of London’s Community History Curator and Curator of Feeding Black: Community, Power & Place) and understanding the key questions that should guide our work as well as the role of cultural producers.
Black Archaeo by Mercedes Baptiste Halliday
Today, less than 1% of British archaeologists identify as people of colour and even less than that identify as Black (Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, 2020). Black Archaeo seeks to combat this under-representation by engaging young Black Londoners with Archaeology, Museums and heritage. Through two workshops, the project aims to broaden young people’s understandings of Black heritage, and to explore alternative ways of learning and career possibilities.
In the first workshop, the Human Osteology Curator Dr. Rebecca Redfern will present her research around the long-term presence of Black people in London to a group of 15 to 18-year-olds. The young people will also handle prehistoric and Roman archaeological artefacts from the Museum’s handling collection.
The second workshop takes place at the Museum of London’s Archaeological Archive. Students from three London schools will be given a tour around the archive, and take part in a mock excavation, involving real archaeological material.
Mercedes has recently completed her final year of her Archaeology and Anthropology degree at UCL, and is particularly interested in public archaeology.
“I really appreciate the space that the project has created, in which Black Heritage and creativity is valued. I hope to use the knowledge I have learnt from our brilliant mentors to create more opportunities for Black Londoners to engage with archaeology, history and nature.”
Caribbean Oral History by Kia Fullerton
Language is an integral part of connecting with our history and identifying who we are as individuals. Caribbean Oral History takes visitors on a historical and linguistic journey through time. Kia’s research has explored Indigenous languages of the Caribbean, the transition from Pidgin to Creole and a look into how Caribbean dialects interconnect with the English Language. Kia hopes the display will provide visitors with rich knowledge on the vibrant communities that make-up the Caribbean diaspora and inspire those of Caribbean descent to look further into the wonders of their oral history.
Kia is a Journalist and Producer. Her work centres on storytelling through visual art and giving underrepresented communities their moment to be heard. Kia currently works in TV production and is pursuing her career in Factual Entertainment and docuseries.
“I’ve really enjoyed meeting and networking with creatives and having in-depth conversations about our cultural heritage and identity in London. I’ve also loved hearing from industry professionals about their work and the projects they have been working on, which has opened many doors for me, in terms of the potential jobs I can take on in the future. I hope this project inspires others and make them realise the importance of storytelling, particularly those of African/Caribbean descent.“
Oral Historiography by Jabir Mohamed
Oral Historiography explores what Black heritage could be and how it could be presented. Visitors are invited to engage in a physical listening booth which will capture a moment in time, adding heritage to the place where it is situated. It will provide a 1:1 experience for the visitor to respond to questions and prompts and outside of the booth there will be a momentary display of the recording, which after playing will disappear forever. The essence of heritage is telling stories and so the project will enable new forms of storytelling.
Jabir is a recently graduated architecture student who is interested in human approaches to architecture and the conservation of heritage.
“Joining the placemaking workshops and meeting my peers and the amazing guests and facilitators was always a day I looked forward to in my week. Black Heritage London has been a great opportunity to document the now, learn from the past and speculate the future, and to gain knowledge from different thinkers that I otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet. Black Heritage London has helped me to develop my own research and tools I use to translate my ideas into tangible things.”
Black Heritage London Takeover!
On 9 July 2022, the Black Heritage London Producers came together to take over the museum’s Talking Point gallery with a series of displays and activities showcasing their individual projects, and celebrating Black heritage. Visitors were able to take part in object handling, listen to archive material and explore a display of photography created by young Londoners, as well as hear from the Producers themselves.
Black Heritage London is the museum’s brand new programme for budding creative producers and is supported with public funding by Arts Council England.