This is a partnership project between the Voices of War & Peace Engagement Centre, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the African Community Heritage Hub.
Working closely with the voices of War & Peace Engagement Centre, the HLF and community partner the African Community Heritage Hub (ACHH), this research will first map existing academic, community and artistic projects which look at the unacknowledged black contributions to wars of European origins, with a focus on the Great War. Starting from the premise that the duplication of efforts undermines the impact of all WWI centenary commemoration activities and projects, we will invite representatives from these groups to join us in person when possible, or online, for a ‘Community Development Day’ where we discuss what’s been already done, build on each other’s experiences and share key learning outcomes.
Building on the hub’s networks within black, African and Caribbean communities in Birmingham and in the west Midlands, this research will then attempt to localize and with descendants and living relatives of black poppies who served in the 1914-18 war. We will support the hub to train 5-7 young volunteers as part of a Training of Trainers (ToT) programme photography, visual and digital storytelling techniques who will then document forgotten stories of these black servicemen through a series of interviews with their relatives, friends and connections in the UK and back home, both face-to-face and online. The first training toook place on June 23rd, 2016. These photographs and digital narratives will form the basis of an exhibition to be launched at an end of project ‘Black Community Day’ event which will take place in October 2016, to coincide with Black History Month.