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Community collaborations

A group of people next to a globeThe Society’s Collections reveal the geographies and histories of different parts of the world. The Society’s Africa, Asian, Caribbean and Middle Eastern collections are particularly relevant to heritage projects being undertaken by Black and minority ethnic groups.

The Society welcomes collaborations with communities that initiate and develop new investigations into the collection from these perspectives. Groups we have worked with are listed below along with information about their projects and links to related materials where available. 

In addition, if you have a particular interest in African genealogy, you can download a guide developed by Patrick Vernon which highlights the relevance of our Collections to tracing African and Caribbean family histories (PDF).

Variety is a Redbridge Spice

  • October 2008 to January 2010
  • Muslim Women’s Welfare Association (MWWA), Ilford
  • Contact: Shahida Sarwar

Pakistani fashion, textiles and textile techniques of the 20th Century provided the focus for this project. Group members researched Pakistani clothing using our Collections and recreated costumes dating from 1900, 1950 and 2000 as part of a larger programme of activity that included recording oral testimonies and development of a school resource pack. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Links: Variety is a Redbridge Spice (PDF) – MWWA project information

Young Congolese Heritage and History

  • May to June 2011
  • Advice and Learning Bureau (ALB), Dagenham
  • Contact: Victor Bantu

Young Congolese volunteers explored our Collections to trace the changes to Congolese borders over the centuries and the influence this has had on languages spoken and cultural changes there and in London today. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Past

  • 2011-2012
  • African Heritage Education Centre
  • Contact: Philip  Dzirasa/Christine Borsah

Prompted by the development of the Olympic Park, this project aimed to preserve and share the memories of Caribbean, Ghanaian and Nigerian people that have lived and worked in the boroughs around this iconic site. As part of this oral history project, that features interviews with Olympic athlete Christine Ohurougu MBE, Diane Abbot MP and Lord Paul Boateng, the community volunteers visited the Society. They attended a series of workshops and used the Society’s Collections to understand the historical and geographical context of migrations to Britain from West Africa and the Caribbean. Volunteers also attended training sessions to equip them with curatorial and editorial skills to assist the development of a touring exhibition.

Links:  The Past

An Inheritance From Past Lives: Histories of British-Goans

  • September 2011-September 2013
  • The Goan Association (UK)
  • Contact: Clifford Pereira FRGS

The project aims  to record, collate and interpret the lives of the communities that hailed from Goa and formed a small but important function in the exploration, infrastructure, social development and administration of colonial and post-colonial Eastern Africa. During the Spring 2012, the group used  the RGS-IBG collections as a starting point to research and discuss their links to East Africa and the United Kingdom. The project also addresses the resettlement of Goans in the United Kingdom. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Links: An Inheritance From Past Lives: Histories of British-Goans

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