I commenced working on the heritage project 'Untold Stories ' about 2 years ago having attended a free briefing offered by the Heritage Lottery Fund in Birmingham. After submitting a joint application for funding by Birmingham Adult Education Service and Libraries & Archives Service we successfully secured in the region of £38K.
'Unlocked' - focuses upon the heritage and social history of women and women’s experiences. The project explores, documents, records and celebrates the everyday experiences, contributions and challenges overcome by women throughout more recent history. The topics and themes covered are: Equality, Diversity, Faith, Creativity, Independence, Action, Relationships, Aspirations & Challenge.
Most importantly 'Untold Stories' records the experiences of women within an inter-generational context: the project refers to the stories and experiences of women as passed through the different generations from mother to daughter and from grand mother to grand-daughter.
We felt that whilst there have been efforts to understand the achievements of women in the grander aspects of history, for example, with regards to the suffragettes, we have seen considerably less with regards to how women, in ordinary, everyday life have come to help to establish their families and their communities. Women have played a vital role in daily life, whether in a family context, or community, or in a work and professional context.
Through photographs, sound, the written word and objects, ‘Unlocked’ brings to life the challenges, achievements and aspirations of women from many different backgrounds living in the City through a period of momentous change.
Izzy Mohammed, Nikki Thorpe from the Library of Birmingham, Gudrun Limbrick, (book writer) & Valerie Coco (Project Assistant) and Kuldeep Heera, Project Manager have been undertaking oral history training and have gathered in excess of 35 oral history recordings from women.
The oral history recordings capture the individual memories and stories of women in Birmingham. As part of the project we have engaged with many women and groups. Some of the groups we have engaged with include; -
* Bold mere Adult Education Centre's - Creative Writing Group
* Northfield Library's Pensioners Group
* Kings Norton Library - Writing Group
* Welford Primary School, Hands worth
* King standing Youth Centre, 610 Centre, King standing
* Bangladeshi Women's Association, Coventry Road
As part of the project participants have undertaken a range of research, including accessing local and wider Library and Archive Services, interviewing colleagues and family members to obtain memories/stories. The participants have also contributed towards the creation of a project archive, postcard, photographs, collages and a book written by Gudrun Limbrick.
A launch event will be taking place in early October, 2013 - where participants will be talking about their learning experiences and the skills they gained. The launch event will be taking place in the community gallery in the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.
A colourful landmark in Birmingham’s Digbeth is a mural artwork which sits between the Irish Centre and the Coach Station. Proudly bearing the inscription ‘From the shadow of Ben Bulben to the streets of Brum’, this is the latest in a series on this site to commemorate the enduring connections of the Feeney family with Sligo and Birmingham.