We are really excited to announce that Free Radical, part of the Beatfreeks Collective has won £696,700 to run The Radical Heritage Project as part of The Heritage Lottery fund’s £10 million Kick the Dust fund. The Radical History Project is a landmark opportunity for young people in Birmingham and The Black Country to decolonize the history of the region by connecting them to the stories of the areas the live in. RHP will also support young people in taking their seat at the table and having a say in how heritage organisations work.
Birmingham tells its story all the time, Brummies are always talking about how many canals we have, and there are gold statues in honour of men who started the industrial revolution here. We also have a Gun Makers Quarter and the Black Country Flag has a big chain on it. All of these things celebrate the world changing advances of technology that happened here and helped Birmingham and the Black Country grow during the industrial revolution. That growth brought people from communities all around the world to come and live and work here and make the region their home.
The sad truth is that those canals were used to carry guns from the Gun Quarter and chains from the Black Country to the UK’s ports, and then to African and American colonies to subjugate slaves and oppress peoples. We need the city’s heritage organisations to tell all of these stories to make sure that the history they are presenting, represents everyone who lives here.
This project carries on the work we started with #AtWhatCost exploring the exploring the political, social and economic conditions surrounding the era of Brown’s work at Warwick Castle particularly focussing on the impact of the transatlantic slave trade. #AtWhatCost project worked with 6 artists; some visual and some poets Jose Cifuentes & Myah Jeffers, Ruvimbo Gumbochuma & Kamil Kamikazi and Jordanne Cameron & Letisha Stewart-Green. This project was produced and delivered by freelance artist and producer Aliyah Hasinah. These artists, along with our previous co-creator groups for Vintage Trains (Zeddie Lawal, Rochae Stephens-Morrison, Aliyah Denton, Joe Cook, Sipho Eric Dube, Edith Nelson, Olivia Brown, Oakley Flanagan, Aliyah Hasinah) , HLF's Routes2Roots campaign (Raza Hussain, Aliyah Denton, Jasmin Morrison, Rochae Stephens-Morrison, Zeddie Lawal, Fadumo Ahmed, Chantel Regnart, Nadia Hafedh, Adisa, Justyn Cooper) and Canal & River Trust (Paige Jackson, Maniba Zariat, Nikhwat Marawat, Hannah Swingler and Tia Campbell), have been monumentally influential in developing the groundwork for this work. These artists and producers, alongside many other people within this field, are doing incredibly important work in the city and nationally in this space.
Over three years, we will work with Birmingham Museums Trust and Chance Glassworks Heritage Trust to get young people involved in governance at every level to really ensure that young people have a say in how those organisations tell their stories.
We will also be working with the Heritage Futures, Arts and Humanities Research Council and academic partners the Black Studies Research Cluster at Birmingham City University to support young people in answering questions about what heritage is, and who it’s for, and who it will be for in the future. With the help of our partners we will develop thinking and recommendations for other heritage organisations to learn from, empowering young people to take their place as guardians of their heritage around the whole country.
Anisa Haghdadi, our CEO says:
“We are ecstatic that we are able to continue the great work into decolonising heritage we began with our #AtWhatCost project to support young people to shape narratives which are inclusive, progressive and representative of all of the communities making up our great city. This project allows young people to take their rightful role as custodians of heritage and will create a significant impact in our heritage institutions from governance to project curation. We are utterly committed to this work so the investment from HLF is greatly welcomed by us and our partners. We'd especially like to thank the young people who've been involved in getting us here including the artists, producers and co-creators we've worked with on heritage projects in the past.”
Kick the Dust is an amazing fund from the Heritage Lottery, and it shows real commitment to empowering young people and engaging them in the rich heritage of the UK.
We’d love to extend a massive congratulations to other award winners. We are honoured to be amongst the forward thinking organisations starting out on projects in the coming months and really look forward to the changes we’ll see to the heritage sector.
The work kicks off really soon, and we’ll be beginning to look for young people to get involved in the coming months. If you’re interested get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.
**This press release was edited on Monday 7th August 2017 to include reference to the artists and producers involved in #AtWhatCost, Routes2Roots, Vintage Trains and Canal and River Trust and to include a wider thank you to all of the young people engaged in previous and current heritage projects. This press release was edited in consultation with friends and partners and we will continue to review it for further edits.