Documentary charts Huddersfield Caribbean immigrant community

THE UK experiences of people of African-Caribbean descent over four generations are charted and explored in an ambitious new film that draws on more than 80 newly-recorded interviews with individuals whose ages range from 11 to well over 80.  It focusses on the African-Caribbean descent community in Huddersfield, and the town’s University – staff and students – contributed to the project’s diverse production team, with the project archive being made available at Heritage Quay.

Now, as part of Black History Month, the 70-minute documentary, titled Windrush: The Years After – A Community Legacy on Film, is to have two showings at the University of Huddersfield where it was first screened last summer.  A public screening in association with the University of Huddersfield Archives will take place in Heritage Quay as part of the Windrush Huddersfield Exhibition on Saturday 19 October (12 noon to 3pm).  This event includes a Q&A session with key community members and opportunities to look at extensive displays.  The Department of History is also to host a screening on Thursday 24 October (2.15pm to 4.15pm), in the Joseph Priestley Lecture Hall (room JPG/18) where there will further opportunities for discussion. 

The prime mover in the project is Milton Brown, the son of invited economic migrants who came to Huddersfield from different parts of the Caribbean in the post-war years.  He is now chief executive of Kirklees Local TV (KLTV) and is also studying for a PhD at the University of Huddersfield, so involving the University was an ideal way of linking research and community interests.  A key collaborator was the film historian Dr Heather Norris Nicholson, who has been a Senior Research Fellow at the University’s Centre for Visual and Oral History.​

“We needed to put this story together for a wider audience,” said Mr Brown.  “I was doing it purely to give the African-descent community a voice, rather than another generation dying out without being able to tell the story.”

As the interviews progressed, the constant theme was one of struggle, as newcomers from the Caribbean and their families, faced economic and social pressures, including day-to-day racism, continued Mr Brown.

“They had to take jobs that nobody else wanted and it was a question of ‘how do we overcome this?’.  They retreated from the mainstream of society and started to build social and economic dependence within their own community.  There was a quiet dignity among the majority who came here and they showed an ability not to quit, even though the odds were stacked against them.”

Funding for the film included £34,500 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.  The University of Huddersfield also provided financial support.  In addition, Professor Barry Doyle, who heads the Department of English, Linguistics and History, in discussion with Milton Brown, enabled PhD researcher Joe Hopkinson and a number of undergraduate students to contribute to the project as part of their own studies and work alongside volunteers and the 14-strong production team at KLTV.

“While a lot of the people involved in it are University people, they weren’t doing it for the University, but working within the community.  And there were people from a lot of different ethnic and social backgrounds involved,” said Professor Doyle.

Mr Brown added that having such a diverse team was a major aid in understanding the historical and cultural journey that was being recorded.  “We created a community within a community and learned a lot from each other.”

The team conducted 80 new interviews and the film includes footage from 45 of them.  All of the material – plus a research copy of Windrush: The Years After – is archived at Heritage Quay.

“Making the film was only one part of the project,” said Dr Norris Nicholson.  “Running alongside it was a process of creating educational resources, gathering papers, posters and memorabilia, and then cataloguing the material and depositing it at Heritage Quay, where it is available now.”

The team agree that the findings and the testimonies from the project have a relevance to all peoples who experienced migration, wherever they settled.  “But there are also dimensions that are specific to Huddersfield,” said Dr Norris Nicholson, citing the district’s industrial history and patterns of post-war re-development.

“Some people we interviewed talked about their journeys to the UK and how they reached Huddersfield.  Others reflected on their own lives as Yorkshire-born peoples of African-Caribbean descent.  We were conducting oral history and tracing individual life stories, so a lot of details came out about experiences and attitudes during different decades.  The film tells a story of national and international significance from a local perspective.”

Story originally published at https://www.hud.ac.uk/news/2019/october/windrush-the-years-after-huddersfield/

Collections week January 2019

During termtimes it can be hard for the team to carry out work on new collections which means that they are available for researchers to use.  During quiet periods, in common with many other archive services, we therefore close the research room usually for around a week and keep the time free of other activities such as teaching and meetings so that we can focus on big collections.  As well as having plenty of space to spread them out if a lot of physical work is needed.

During January 2019 we were closed from Wednesday 2nd – Friday 11th inclusive to work on two big collections: the Colin Challen (MP) Archive and the Sir Patrick Stewart Archive.

The Challen Archive had been boxed (around 80 boxes) on its arrival at Heritage Quay  but because of the quantity of material no other work had been done since it was transferred by Colin Challen in November 2017.  During Collections Week the team were able to survey the material and to sort it into key series, mostly corresponding with Challen’s various roles and offices as a member of the Labour Party.  The archive was also listed, and a small project identified for further detailed listing of the miscellaneous consitutency Labour parties in CHN/8 (planned for 2020). 

The catalogue is available on the Heritage Quay online catalogue at www.heritagequay.org/archives/chn and also on the Archives Hub/Archives Portal Europe.  This part of the work took around 18 person-days and involved 6 members of the team.  More details in a later post!

We had undertaken some work on the Patrick Stewart Archive in a previous collections week, and took 6 person-days this time to expand and complete some of the work previously started.  The catalogue for the Patrick Stewart Archive is at www.heritagequay.org/archives/psa/ – and again, more details to follow!

The British Music Collection is 50! #bmc50

On the 7th November 2017 the British Music Collection will celebrate its landmark 50th anniversary.

Custodians of the collection Sound and Music, the national charity for new music, are thrilled to launch 12 months of #BMC50 activity. This will range from live events to edit-a-thons, guest curators to composer showcases and much, much more….

“This amazing resource has been part of my career for half a century. I used it in the sixties to find out about new music and to meet other composers. In the seventies and eighties, as BMIC, it became a wonderful library and a place that hosted concerts as well. When I taught in London I often sent students there – the only place for discovering new scores. I have continued to use it, either online or in its superb archival spaces in Huddersfield.

I salute the 50th anniversary of the British Music Collection with delight.” – Professor Nicola LeFanu, composer

A year long celebration

To mark this significant date in British cultural history, Sound and Music will put composers in the British Music Collection at the heart of the celebrations, highlighting the heritage of extraordinary music created in the UK and the wider cultural impact of its creators, as well as drawing out more marginalised voices, including those of women, black and minority ethnic and disabled composers.

Throughout the #BMC50 year audiences will also be introduced to contemporary New Voices, a growing community of composers working with Sound and Music to create new music and sound across the country, whose work is featured in the British Music Collection as part of its commitment to the heritage of the future.

To find out more and support #BMC50, visit Sound and Music’s website.

Collections closure week, Monday 26th- Friday 30th June 2017

Please note that Heritage Quay will be closed from Monday 26th to Friday 30th June 2017 inclusive.
This is so that the team can carry out work on some of our collections which we are unable to do whilst we are open to the public. We have chosen this time of year as visitor numbers over the last 2 years have been comparatively low during June.
We plan to spend the week working on the extensive industrial archive of Hopkinsons Limited, the Huddersfield-based isolation and control valve manufacturer, and will post a blog charting our progress during the week: watch this space!
The Hopkinsons archive is one of the largest in our holdings, comprising around 420 boxes plus some oversize material including valves and display items.

This closure means that the research room will not be open on Monday 26th or Tuesday 27th June, and the exhibition space will be closed Monday – Friday inclusive.
Heritage Quay will be open as usual from Saturday 1st July when we will be hosting our History Festival.

Consultancy opportunity: Activity Planning consultant

The University of Huddersfield and West Yorkshire Archive Service wish to invite suitably qualified and experienced consultants to submit their proposals for the preparation of an Activity Plan during the development phase of their project West Yorkshire Archives Kirklees @ Heritage Quay.

The Plan will be a key strategic planning document for the project partners and will be used in support of applications for external funding, including a £1.9m Round 2 Heritage Grants application to be submitted in December 2017. Accordingly, the Activity Plan is to be prepared in accordance with the Heritage Lottery Fund’s current Activity Planning guidance.

Consultants wishing to submit a proposal must obtain the full consultancy brief and supporting documents from Sarah Wickham, Project Director, via s[dot]wickham@hud.ac.uk (replace the [dot])

Proposals should be submitted by email ONLY to reach Sarah Wickham by noon on Thursday 9th May 2017 at the latest.

Easter closure Friday 14th – Monday 17th April

Please note that we will be closed for the Easter weekend on Friday 14th April to Monday 17th April inclusive.
This means that the research room will not be open on Saturday 15th April or Monday 17th April, and there will be no “Through the Quay-hole” tour on Saturday 15th April.

The exhibition space will be open as usual until 8pm on Thursday 13th April, and will re-open at 8am on Tuesday 18th April.

West Yorkshire Archives Kirklees at Heritage Quay project

THE archives of Kirklees have received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the West Yorkshire Archives Kirklees at Heritage Quay project, it was announced today. The project aims to improve access to Kirklees’ archive collections, create opportunities for volunteering, formal and informal learning and exhibitions for the first time, and to radically improve the storage and physical conditions for the collections. This work will achieved through a partnership between Kirklees MBC, West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee and the University of Huddersfield.

Thanks to National Lottery players development funding of £80,100 has also been awarded to help the project partners progress their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date. If successful, the Kirklees archive collections will move to the multi-award winning facilities at Heritage Quay on the University campus in 2019. The move of West Yorkshire Archive Service Kirklees to the University site will not impact on the provision of the local history service in Huddersfield Library and offers a great opportunity to further strengthen the relationship between the Archives Service, University of Huddersfield and Kirklees Libraries.

Graham Turner and Val Slater The unique and irreplaceable archive collections cover the whole of the current Kirklees Metropolitan District including Batley, Cleckheaton, Dewsbury, Heckmondwike, Holmfirth, Huddersfield, Liversedge, Marsden and Mirfield. They fill more than 26,100 boxes (some 522 cubic metres) and are composed of parchment, paper, volumes, textile samples, photographic media including glass-plate negatives, transparencies and prints. Overall the collections are important because they are unique and key sources for understanding the place and the identity of communities who have helped shape it over 850 years. Whilst the collections cover most aspects of people’s lives there are particular strengths in textiles, canals, industry, trades’ unions, womens’ rights, culture and sport.

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Cllr Graham Turner, Cabinet Member Kirklees – Asset Strategy, Resources & Creative Kirklees (Arts) said: “This is a fantastic opportunity, to not only create a valuable resource, but to strengthen the relationship between the Archive Service, the University and Kirklees Libraries, which I believe is very important.”

Tim Thornton “At West Yorkshire Archive Service we are very proud to be home to the largest archive service outside of London, with nationally and internationally significant collections, spanning over 800 years” said Cllr Val Slater, Chair of the Archives, Archaeology and Trading Standards Sub-committee, West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee. “Our office at Kirklees plays an important role in preserving the unique written history of the area. But without new storage and access facilities the long-term survival of the collections could be in jeopardy after The National Archives identified our buildings as being unfit to store our irreplaceable archives. It’s great news that we have secured initial approval from HLF to seek funding to move to the university site, and it will represent a full house of new buildings for WYAS, and provide an unmissable opportunity for closer working with the University and much improved public access in existing, high quality facilities at Heritage Quay.”

Sue Bower Professor Tim Thornton, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, said: “We’re delighted to be able to develop our partnerships with Kirklees and the West Yorkshire Archive Service, building on the multi-award-winning success of Heritage Quay. This will allow us to propose new activities with new archive materials involving even wider audiences in the remarkable heritage of the communities of the Kirklees area.”

Sue Bowers, Deputy Director of Operations, Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “We are delighted that this project will unite these important physical archives, and keep them on one site, in Kirklees. This support from National Lottery players will create fantastic opportunities for volunteering and allow many more people to explore the collections, and we look forward to seeing the final proposals in the near future”.

Read the Press Release here

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Heritage Quay takes fifth national award in same year

Heritage Quay takes top honours in the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) Library Design Awards

SCONUL

AS the year drew to a close the University’s archive centre Heritage Quay celebrated by adding another win to their awards tally, making 2016 their most successful year to date with five national awards.

The University’s archive centre took the honours in the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) Library Design Awards in the Under 2,000 Square Meters category. The awards, which have been taking place every three years since 1973, recognise the best in the practical as well as the cutting-edge design of higher education libraries.

SCONUL represents all university libraries in the UK and Ireland, as well as national libraries and many of the UK’s colleges of higher education.

The panel of judges cited ‘the University of Huddersfield’s Heritage Quay is an excellent example of a repurposing of social space within a wider library and student services environment, in order to achieve some very clear institutionally led strategic objectives. In the case of Heritage Quay, these consist of enabling access and increasing visibility of the university’s archives, whilst broadening and developing the collection and securing them for the university and for the people of Huddersfield”.

The Director of Computing and Library Services Sue White said she is thrilled that Heritage Quay has been recognised in these latest library design awards.

“This award is richly deserved and recognises the transformative effect of Heritage Quay in bringing the collections to new audiences,” said Sue White. “This has been a remarkable year and great credit is due to the team, as well as everyone else across the University who has had input to the project.”

Heritage Quay – backed by an award of almost £1.6 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund – was opened in 2014 and has quickly gained a reputation as the most advanced and accessible in the sector. It is now regarded one of the most technologically-advanced archives in the UK and features a high-tech Exploration Space, enabling visitors to sample archival material via touch screens and gesture technology.

The service was Accredited by The National Archives at the beginning of 2016 and won the Buildings That Inspire category of the 2016 Guardian University Awards and was Outstanding Library Team in the 2016 Times Higher Education Leadership & Management Awards. The fourth title came over the summer when the University’s Archivist and Records Manager, Sarah Wickham, became Record-keeper of the Year, an award organised by the Archives and Records Association.

Story originally published on the University’s website.