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Introduction to the Project

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History, Her Story, Their Story, Our Story

“When was the first time you saw a black person?” What would the oldest person in your family say in answer to this question? Is your answer the same? Is it the same as your next door neighbour or the people living in the next street?

In this exciting new project, Gloucestershire Archives is working jointly with Fresh Air Foundations and renowned photographer Vanley Burke as well as local artists, schools and members of the community to use community answers to this question to build our black history archive and inspire creativity. By collecting stories and oral histories and inspiring creative responses by local artists and communities, this project will be an important step in further enabling Gloucestershire Archives to meet the needs of the wider community and continue to grow the trust we have built amongst local people. We know from our previous art projects that the arts can be a very successful way of involving communities in their heritage. Reciprocal mentoring with Gloucestershire Archives and Fresh Air Foundations will help address barriers and lead to better representation of BAME communities in cultural and heritage management.

The project launched during The Gloucester History Festival Spring Weekend with an interview with Vanley Burke and local creative Rider Shafique who is one of the artists involved in the project. Culminating in both physical and online exhibitions as well as a Spoken Word event, the project participants will collaborate in the creation of a series of artworks which explore Gloucester’s communities.

The project is co-curated by Jacqui Grange and Raston Williams and involves four Gloucester artists - Rider Shafique, Thembe Mvula, JPDL and Phil Campbell who will be mentored by Vanley Burke. The artists will then lead school workshops at Sir Thomas Rich’s School and Denmark Road High School and community workshops at The Venture: White City before creating their own work. In addition, each artist will choose a piece from Vanley Burke’s iconic portfolio that relates to their practice, and contributes to the final exhibition & event. The resulting artworks will be shared in community and heritage locations as part of City Voices, during the September 2021 Gloucester History Festival.

History, Her Story, Their Story, Our Story is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England

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