Heritage Corner: African and Transatlantic narratives with Yorkshire connections
Heritage Corner was on the the successful applicants of the Decolonising SOAS Public Engagement and Outreach Fund. Below is the report from them about the work they do.
Heritage Corner is a Leeds based public engagement project, founded in 2014 to disseminate African and Transatlantic narratives with Yorkshire connections. This is done through academia, research, arts, education and community projects by building strategic partnerships.
The impetus for this project is the award winning Leeds Black History Walk (LBHW), devised in 2009 to share information on African contributions to Leeds and Yorkshire, from ancient times to modern. Seven monthly public walks are delivered annually with the assistance of volunteers.
To mark our 10th anniversary we are increasing our reach, to include teacher training, which is successfully underway. We are also working with a broader range of community groups, specifically bringing them onto University campus to increase their engagement. Feedback for this is very positive and is leading to increased interest in what we do.
The work of Heritage Corner is aimed at improving the representation of Africans in a European context with a local focus, thus providing a more balanced historical narrative. This supports the development of community representation and targets: young people in socially deprived areas; community and arts groups and the furthering of teachers’ understanding of this subject matter.
Our goal is to address feelings of exclusion many young black and minority people experience, as well as fostering a greater understanding of the contributions black and minority people have made historically. We address the wider misunderstanding and misrepresentation within mainstream media education.
By providing a range of work such as teacher training, public walks and targeted youth work we hope that current generations of minority groups will feel empowered. By learning about the many contributions of the black community to British culture and beyond, based upon factual evidence, we foster a sense of belonging and positive identity.
One way we aim to make this self sustaining is through teacher training. By engaging teachers in decolonisation approaches we are hopeful that this will contribute to those who will shape the future – their students. Our vision is that future generations are armed with historical facts and knowledge to celebrate the hidden contributions of Africa.