Capturing the hidden BME history of Cardiff
Why the need for the project?
“BME communities in Cardiff and across Wales have indicated, in research, that they feel that their communities are invisible in Welsh history and heritage. They feel (we feel) disconnected from the heritage and culture of Wales, as we do not feel it reflects us and we find it hard to see our contributions”.
“BME people in Wales do not visit museums, archives or libraries or explore their heritage as frequently as white people do. Reasons for this include not feeling they are represented within Welsh history and collections or that references to the contributions of BME people are not a standard part of collections, but a hidden history”.
Cymal diversity report
This project set out to support Black Minority Ethnic (BME) people from across Cardiff in being actively engaged in exploring Welsh heritage, history and culture through visits to local museums.
During the visits they had the unique opportunity to learn about Welsh heritage from local professionals and experts at each of three main museums in South Wales. Through a series of workshops they investigated how their own experiences and memories of BME communities and history in Cardiff have contributed to the development and history of the city as a whole.
People in the visiting groups then contributed their own stories and experiences of their BME heritage and growing up or living in Cardiff through digital story recordings and story-telling events.
Heritage Lottery Fund
Hundreds of communities getting hands-on with heritage: from BME stories of Cardiff to Cambridge’s love of football and the lost pubs of Salford.
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has funded over 500 projects across the UK with a total investment of £4.5m to help people explore their community’s heritage, through its All Our Stories programme.
The grant programme – developed to coincide with BBC Two’s history series, The Great British Story: A People’s History – aims to get thousands more people involved in exploring the local history, customs and traditions that are important to them. Small grants have enabled people across the UK to find out more about their own local heritage, which is often complex, sometimes quirky but always fascinating, at a truly grass-roots level. A kaleidoscope of unusual stories of communities has emerged, such as why Nottingham is synonymous with bicycles, how people in Salford want to remember their lost pubs and how football has been a vital part of Cambridge’s identity for over a century.
All Our Stories, launched in April 2012, and was so popular that HLF quadrupled the amount it had originally set aside for the projects. Grants ranged from £3,000 up to £10,000 and have been awarded to all sorts of organisations, from small community groups, residents’ associations and local history groups to larger heritage organisations and charities. The grants have brought communities together to explore the past, as well as providing those people with the skills and expert advice – delivered by top academics – to delve into their local community’s history in a lasting and well-informed way.
Speaking at the All Our Stories project launch at the Museum of London, Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair of HLF, said: “These grants seem to have struck a chord, perhaps it reflects the wonderful community spirit of the Olympics, but clearly people of all ages and backgrounds and lottery players themselves want to look into and celebrate what has shaped their communities over the years. We have been bowled over by the response and the great news is that we have been able to find the money to support so many fascinating projects. We’re looking forward to hearing more about the colourful stories that emerge; they will create a unique picture of these islands at an important time in our history.”
Historian Michael Wood presented The Great British Story which was broadcast in 2012 and encouraged people to get more personally involved with the heritage in their own backyard. He said: “We British love our history, and no wonder: few nations in the world, if any, have such riches on their doorstep, and so much of it accessible to all of us. It is fantastic that so many people have been inspired to get involved, both from The Great British Story series, and HLF’s All Our Stories. Thanks to lottery players people can now dig deeper into their own past and I’m certain many surprising stories will be uncovered which will not only bring to life the excitement of local history, but will illuminate every community’s connection with the national narrative.”
Some successful applicants include:
- The Raleigh – a workers’ history of an iconic Nottingham bicycle factory
- Experiences of the first Chinese immigrants in Swansea and the surrounding area
- The Fenland in Roman Times, the Fenlands
- The Lost Pubs of Chapel Street, Salford
- ‘When I was Younger I Remember’ – 50 years of being an Area of Outstanding Beauty on the Isle of Wight
- Potteries Tile Trail – Stoke, West Midlands
- Living Along the Cut: Canal Memories – Pontycysyllte, North Wales
- BME Stories of Wales
For more information about the project or other funding opportunities, please visit: www.hlf.org.uk