Celebrating Research on BAM! Sistahood Heritage Project

Rosie and Lilianne presenting

There were many successes to be celebrated on 31st January 2014, when volunteers and staff from the Angelou Centre reflected on the completion of their research and development phase for the BAM! Sistahood heritage project. Over the last 5 months, researchers from the SIDE project, have been working with the Angelou Centre to develop a sustainable digital infrastructure that will support the delivery of the project over the next two years. This has included developing a digital archive that showcases 70 years of black, asian, minority ethnic and refugee women’s heritage in the North East of England (http://www.bamsistahoodproject.org.uk ). The event was hosted in Culture Lab and brought together volunteers and staff who have been working on the project to share their insights with museum professionals from Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums, community heritage professionals, Heritage Lottery Fund and researchers from Newcastle University.

So far the project has reached over 120 BME women in the North East of England providing training and resources for digital filmmaking, photography, blogging and social networking. The researchers have been working closely with staff and volunteers to explore the future potential of technologies for sharing photographs, while developing other more speculative ideas around interactive digital maps, e-textiles to share women’s textile ‘herstories’ and wearables.

Discussions focused on sustainability of community owned archives, how to encourage more BME women to participate in heritage projects and the future role of technologies in sharing community heritage. While some museum professionals were skeptical about the role of technology in enhancing experiences of heritage, volunteers argued the project had offered exciting opportunities. Volunteers felt they have been encouraged to creatively experiment, increasing skill and confidence and were inspired to share their heritage in new and interesting ways. Most importantly volunteers felt they had had the opportunity to influence the work of interaction designers from Culture Lab, encouraging them to consider other perspectives on technology design.

Rosie Lewis, the Research & Development Coordinator for the project commented:

‘The BAM! Sistahood! Project has a lot to thank Culture Lab for in terms of the technical, facilitative and creative support that the Researchers and Directors have given. The partnership between the Angelou Centre and Culture Lab has proven to be truly reciprocal and has generated a lot of additional leverage and research opportunities for the project. Culture Lab have continually welcomed the participants to take part in activities on site at the university, giving women who are usually excluded from the digital economy the chance to gain confidence and a greater understanding of digital civics in a welcoming environment.’  

The completed bid will be submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund in March 2014 with a decision and continuation due to start in July 2014.

Photo: Rosie Lewis; BAM! Sistahood project coordinator at the Angelou Centre and Liliane Lengoleme, coordinator of Mamas Rise Up and support worker present feedback on how BME women can be encouraged to participate in heritage projects.

 

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Photo: Rosie Lewis; BAM! Sistahood project coordinator at the Angelou Centre and Liliane Lengoleme, coordinator of Mamas Rise Up and support worker present feedback on how BME women can be encouraged to participate in heritage projects.