Black and Asian women to be celebrated in Tower Hamlets

Pic: Garry Knight


Women of black and Asian origin in Tower Hamlets are to be celebrated with a specially curated exhibition – the first of its kind in the borough.

Due to open in 2014, the exhibition will be curated by a trainee recruited specifically for the project, with organisers encouraging people local to the area to apply.

“The ‘Opening Up Archives’ training programme has been developed to help diversify the archives and heritage sector by providing training opportunities for those with non-traditional backgrounds,” states the National Archives website, who oversee the project.

It will be the third annual trainee scheme to be based at the Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives, though it is the first time women have been the focus of the resulting exhibition.

Susan Mulligan, spokesperson for Tower Hamlets Council, said: “In the first and second years we focused on engaging the local Bengali and Somali communities whose heritage is underrepresented in the council’s archives. We found that capturing stories from men from these communities was straightforward, but women were harder to reach.

Tower Hamlets has one of the most diverse demographics in England, with almost half of its residents coming from a non-white background. The second half of the twentieth century saw a great influx of people from Africa and Asia, with the Bangladeshi community making up the largest minority group at 34% of the borough’s population.

“There’s no way one year-long project can capture everything of relevance,” Mulligan added, “But we hope to make sustainable connections, find and preserve important stories of Tower Hamlets life from women of a range of cultural backgrounds.”

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