Archives for posts with tag: Oral History

OHspring2Last week I was lucky to be one of 24 students attending an Oral History Spring School at the Institute for Historical Research, the University of London.  It was an intense few days, jam-packed with interesting case studies, ethical questions and differing approaches to collection and analysis. I really enjoyed meeting people from all walks of life – including sociologists, artists, historians and academics – employing the medium of oral history to inspire and further their work. (In particular Paul Thompson, the founding father of Oral History.) The course has renewed my enthusiasm for a subject that’s fascinated me since I was an undergraduate. Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to work on OH projects about a huge range of subjects including Sheffield’s cutlery industry, migration, Yemeni heritage, Salford Quays, military memories, artist’s lives and race relations. Here’s to many more!


On Saturday, I facilitated a workshop to engage young people from the Manchester Bangladeshi Women’s Organisation with the Legacy of Ahmed project. After a look at some posters from the Race Relations Resource Centre archive and an interesting discussion about their own experiences of racism participants produced some amazing posters. Thanks to staff at Longsight Library and to artists Jo Ford and Natalie Linney for leading the screen printing class. Thanks too to Archives+ for funding the activity.

I learnt about Ahmed and the courageous initiatives of his family. It made me think how we ‘evolved’ today and that we should always make others aware of racism. Teenage participant

The best day of my life!  Amelia, age 5


Fri 14th Oct would have been Ahmed Iqbal Ullah’s 44th birthday. The Legacy project marked the occasion by launching a commemorative exhibition at Manchester Central Library.  In spite of restrictions that meant we couldn’t mark the walls in the Library’s Performance Space, so had to come up with inventive ways to mount and dismantle exhibition material in just one day, we got there! Displays for the event included window panels, banners, cases of archive material, text panels and a book. Around 120 guests attended the event, with speeches delivered by Councillor Lufther Rahman, Selina Ullah and Professor Lou Kushnick.

A smaller display continues in the Lower Ground floor community exhibition space until Jan 2017. To find out more about the Legacy project and The Ahmed Iqbal Education Trust click here.

CommunityShowcase2016-4We’ve had an interesting week, with lots of events taking place at the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre as part of the Manchester Histories Festival. Look out for our stall at the Town Hall this Saturday…


I’ve been working with ladies from Community on Solid Ground in Whalley Range, in preparation for their heritage project ‘Traditional Best Times’. The project will capture the childhood memories of first generation South Asian women who settled in Manchester during the 1970s.

In an initial training session at Central Library, we explored the value and possible application of archive material as well as completing basic training in oral history. In a second session about creative reminiscence, I demonstrated how to use objects, photos, maps and documents to introduce themes and start a group conversation. We then explored a range of fun activities to record participant’s memories and share them with a wider audience.


In September I was appointed manager of a further project at the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Education Trust. The aim is to reflect on the legacy of Ahmed’s death, 30 years after he was killed in a racist attack in a local school playground.  I’ve already gathered a number of oral history interviews and am also working closely with The Bangladeshi Women’s Association (Ananna) in Longsight, to document the development of this community over the same period. Click here to find out more.

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This week we began sorting and collating Ananna’s archive. We made a good start tidying the archive room, sifting through 26 years of collected ephemera (as you can see from these ‘before’ and ‘after pictures) though we haven’t even opened the filing cabinets yet! Rubber gloves and dust masks to the ready. I think it’s going to be a long haul…

On Tuesday this week I delivered a training session for Creative Hands Foundation, who are embarking upon their first oral history project. Over the course of 12 months the project will document the relationship between textile manufacturing and consumption both here in Manchester and in Ghana, Africa. Creative Hands have already uncovered a treasure trove of archival material at ABC Wax, the last remaining design company based in the region. It’s going to be amazing!