Children have fun and look into their heritage at Sampad’s Drama Summer School
“ The children really touched my heart with what they shared and how this taught them so much about Birmingham, their own heritage, others heritage and also about society in general.”Grandparent
Our Story, Our City, took place at Mac Birmingham for a week in August 2021 with drama sessions influenced by images from the Dyche Collection. The collection contains historic photographs of people who migrated to Birmingham from South Asia, The Caribbean and Ireland and is archived in the Library of Birmingham.
The children were aged 7 to 11 and throughout the week we had discussions about the experiences of the people who came to Birmingham after WW2. The children’s ideas to promote engagement and understanding of this piece of history was used to write a play which we shared on the last day with their parents and guardians. We encouraged the children to use any languages that they spoke in addition to English.
After the group listened to oral histories of migration experiences, our conversations included considerations of the various difficulties and discrimination the people who came to Birmingham may have faced. We shared with the children some of the ways in which those people may have taken direct action to protest against racism and challenge discrimination. They each made an anti-racism poster to use in a protest scene in their play.
The children were asked to talk with their families and find out who the first person to come to Birmingham in their family was, where they came from, why they moved and what they left behind. How would the children feel about being parted from loved ones in a world without the internet or mobile phones? We discussed our favourite things of living in multi-cultural Birmingham now, and what we were proud of in our heritage.
In response to the question: Please write a sentence explaining why you would or would not like to do something like this again, children said:
“I get to learn new things about people.”
“I would because it was fun learning about the history of Birmingham.”
“At the start I thought I was not going to like it, but I loved it. I liked doing the acting with the other people.”
In response to the question: Please tell us what you found most interesting or memorable about your experience today, adults said:
“It was lovely to see all the children’s reactions to their own heritage stories.”
“It was moving to see the kinds engaged in such a powerful performance. I remembered the case I arrived with in Stanstead airport in 1975!”
“A wonderful array of knowledge and ideas passed to the next generation.”
The Dyche Collection is the focus of the exhibition From City of Empire to City of Diversity: A Visual Journey which opens in March 2022.
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#Dyche2022 From City of Empire to City of Diversity: A Visual Journey is supported by: