Windrush Generations: A Digital Community Learning Project

WINDRUSH GENERATIONS – A DIGITAL COMMUNITY LEARNING PROJECT

Students and community members are being invited to help celebrate the Windrush Generation in Bristol in a joint project working with the local community from UWE Bristol. The collaboration will involve students working alongside generations of Caribbean community members to record and document the stories related to their lives in Bristol and Britain.

The Windrush Generation refers to people arriving in the UK between 1948 and 1971 from Caribbean countries and their descendants who have contributed much to Bristol and British society. It refers to the ship MV Empire Windrush, which docked in Tilbury on 22 June 1948, bringing workers from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and other islands, to help fill post-war UK labour shortages.

This Project aims to explore, celebrate and document the contribution of the Windrush Generations in Bristol and British societies and across the African Diaspora. It provides an opportunity for UWE students to work in partnership with community members, historians and interested parties.

The project is being led by Roger Griffith, MBE, an associate lecturer in ACE, Alisha Airey, BAME Project Officer for HAS and Mian Ng Associate Head of Department at the International Creative Industries. UWE alumni students Millie Wood Downie, Benjamin James and Izzy Jack who will be working on the project through Creative Connex, delivering digital marketing resources and engagement via social media.

It will consist of a series of workshops including a series of mini-lectures from leading artistic and community leaders in Bristol. They will give some of the background to the lives of the Bristol Caribbean community in order to highlight the successes and challenges of adapting to life in Britain through the generations. It will culminate in students and community members delivering artistic expressions through stories, research, art, photographs, artefacts or poetry and a celebratory event to share learning on Windrush Day 22nd June 2021.

Roger said: ‘’The overall aim is to encourage an intergenerational collaborative project which develops the interpersonal, self-expression and creative skills of students and community members, It seeks to give voice to Caribbean elders’ experiences and their resilience and tenacity and highlights the amazing contribution they have made to the UK multicultural society and across the African Diaspora.”

Anyone who wishes to find out more please contact the Project Team members. Roger roger.griffith@uwe.ac.uk Alisha alisha.airey@uwe.ac.uk or Mian mian.ng@uwe.ac.uk

Here is a short video made by future guest lecturer Michael Jenkins of 8th Sense Media commissioned by My Future My Choice on which features the voices of Roy Hackett and Roger’s Mum Arabella https://bit.ly/WindrushAnimation


CARIBBEAN CULTURAL CONNEXIONS – JUNE – JULY 2020

This is a season to celebrate the region of the Caribbean to incorporate Windrush Day (22nd  June),  St Pauls Carnival (4th July) and the 72nd anniversary of NHS (5th July) and the cricket between England and West Indies. Together with our partners we are providing an online celebration via several projects, initiatives and digital artistic events to highlight the wonderful Caribbean.

LIST OF PARTNERS EVENTS AND PROJECTS – INDEX

  1. MY FUTURE MY CHOICE ANIMATED FILM (8TH SENSE MEDIA) POETRY ON SHIP BY POET MANU AND EDUCATION PROJECT ON MIGRATION  SHIP MV BALMORAL. See our wonderful short-animated film  celebrating the Windrsh Generation   https://bit.ly/WindrushAnimation   http://www.myfuturemychoice.co.uk/programmes/classroom-afloat-the-mv-balmoral-/celebrating-pioneers-of-the-windrush-generation-
  2. ST PAULS CARNIVAL ONLINE https://www.stpaulscarnival.net/  – SPIRIT UP! UNITED AT HOME – HOSTING THE FILM CARNIVAL.
  3. PAPER NATIONS, BATH SPA THE GREAT MARGIN WRITING PROJECT –http://papernations.org/the-great-margin-responding-to-the-pandemic/  
  4. UWE BRISTOL WINDRUSH LEGACY PROJECT WITH TIMELINE LAUNCHED AT UWE BRISTOL FESTIVAL OF LEARNING.
  5. ROGER GRIFFITH BOOK EXTRACTS WINDRUSH TO THE WHITE HOUSE
  6. UJIMA BROADCAST. BRISTOL’S BIG CONVERSATION RADIO PROGRAMME WITH PROFESSOR OLIVER OTELE   https://bit.ly/ProfOteleCarnival
  7. 72ND ANNIVERSARY OF NHS ON NHS DAY – CELEBRATING WINDRUSH NURSES.
  8. ENGLAND V WEST INDIES 3 TEST SERIES – 8th – 28th JULY

          

PREVIOUS PROJECTS

Why Black History Month Matters 

   ‘If a race has no History it has no worthwhile tradition. It becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.’  So said Dr Carter G Woodson who is the originator of Black History Month (BHM) across the African Diaspora. Woodson came from ultimate humble beginnings, being the son of enslaved parents. He embarked on a programme of self-education working by day and studying by night to become an educator and activist. Woodson argued that increasing social and professional opportunities between people of different backgrounds and races would help reduce racism. He also stated that black history was “overlooked, ignored, and even suppressed by the writers of history textbooks and the teachers who use them.’’ In this guest column to launch BHM 2019 I outline what BHM means to me.

For a variety of reasons BHM has had controversy attached to it. Many like myself bemoan the fact that black history is packaged into one month. To us it can feel like it is too neatly commodified and just like a Christmas tree put back into a box for the rest of the year. I have however reflected on several conversations over the years that have helped me to re-think its overall contribution.

The Case For Black History Month  

We are fortunate In Bristol to have a strong vibrant black community to supply events with networks built up over decades of contribution, connections and activism. However, many others new to the black experience or have felt on the edge of that experience are not so fortunate. For them BHM provides many platforms of entry.  A white parent who brought up a child alone pointed out to me that there was very little educational support to help bring up the child in a way that reflected the child’s heritage. Another young black man, who had grown up in a rural countryside also confided to me that BHM had helped him understand more about his identity, provided links of support and boosted his confidence. Not everyone has a deep-seated knowledge of their background. Social commentator and activist Patrick Vernon OBE says ‘BMH has influenced and inspired the equalities world to organised similar months, exposing the hidden and excluded histories.’ These include LGBTQ, Disabled and Women’s History Months.

Of course, we can’t confine anybody’s history let alone black history to one month and that argument should be obvious to all concerned. I respect anyone for taking a proverbial NFL knee and sitting out BHM, whilst they ensure black history is represented throughout the year. For me, in my activism there is a practical and pragmatic need to do both. To ensure that the culture that gives us so much pride and inspiration reaches as many influencers and audiences as possible. We need more than ever opportunities that bring us together. During these divisive times we can tackle new emerging themes of intersectionality and demographic changes within and beyond our communities.    

Tackling the Barriers of Exclusion with Education and Inclusion

The outcomes, gaps and barriers due to solely the colour of one’s skin are clear and exist across issues of education, employment, the criminal justice system, health and housing. BHM on its own isn’t going to change that, but over the month it does make a compelling case for achievement, celebration and putting these issues to the top of the agenda. All of this work helps to take forward local issues including one of the recommendations from the 2017 City Conversations to have a more inclusive curriculum which reflects the needs of more than 20% of its pupils. Champions like Alisha Thomas an Educator at City Academy, Sibusiso Tshabalala of Cognitive Paths are working with the Bristol One Curriculum Forum and making progress.

Education is always a central tenet of BHM and provides a range of opportunities to learn of the presence and contribution of people of colour in Bristol and Britain over centuries. I can’t wait to see fellow creative Black Bristolians such as Dionne Draper (DAWTA) and Lawrence Hoo (CARGO) who along with many others host contemporary challenging art that will enlighten and entertain.

Sure, we don’t have the numbers of state sanctioned police killings of unarmed black men and women as in America. That does not mean however we should wait for the bar to fall to those deplorable depths. Instead we must tackle the complacency, lack of action and continuing economic and social divides between Black Asian and Minority Ethnic communities and their white counterparts. A range of academic studies has shown that racism and inequality causes premature deaths, increases, mental health and directly affects the future life chances of our young.

Until that set of circumstances changes every action count and every opportunity must be tried and taken. This is why Black History Month matters to me. To build awareness and as an engagement campaign to fight against the daily injustices of racism…all year round.

Roger Griffith is an Author, UWE Bristol Lecturer, broadcaster and former CEO of Ujima Radio. Libraries West have just published his booklist of 19 books for 2019 https://www.librarieswest.org.uk/client/en_GB/default

For a full list of the 2019 Black History Month events go to https://issuu.com/cognitivepaths1/docs/black_history_month_magazine_online

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