Wednesday, 29 May 2013

A trip to Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery

Stephanie Murfin, from the Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery very kindly showed the young people from the Manningham Youth Project around the South Asian Exhibition at the museum. She explained the history of the South Asian population of Blackburn and their experience of coming to Blackburn to work in the Mills (not too dissimilar to Bradford). She explained that the exhibition was well received by the South Asian community in Blackburn when it was opened about 20 years ago. She did emphasise that although the exhibition did need updating it was still relevant and well used.

As a special treat, she allowed the young people to look and touch the objects that were usually kept behind the glass cabinets. She also told them about the background of the objects and how they came to be in the museum.

The young people really enjoyed walking around the exhibition and taking pictures (especially of the buffalos!). They looked at and read the striking panels. In particular, many of the young people crowded around the large map of South Asia and pointed out where their families were originally from.

Interviews and photography at the Impressions Gallery

Two very different Bradfordians were interviewed and photographed at the session on Friday 23rd May. One was Mr Tarafdar, an elderly Bengali gentleman who is a retired teacher and Mrs Andleeb Hanif, the Co-owner and Managing Editor of ‘The Asian Express’ newspaper. Both were fascinating and insightful interviews. Hayley Sargent, a young New Focus member from the Impressions Gallery took photographs for the blog and commented, “he spoke beautifully of the different ethnicities in Bradford, describing how the world is like a garden, and that there should be many different kinds of flowers in it for it to grow. It was inspirational to hear him speak about his life in Bangladesh and coming to Bradford to work as a teacher”. 

 The young people from the Manningham Youth Project, Atheeb and Sameer enjoyed this challenging session. Atheeb was an excellent interviewer, asking probing and thoughtful questions and listening intently whilst keeping the interviewee comfortable and engaged in the interview (a difficult thing to do, but he did it well!). He mentioned that interviewing Andleeb was a good experience as he could see and understand how passionate she was about her work and Bradford, which was inspiring. Sameer got into the swing of taking portrait pictures guided by a professional photographer and got very creative! Everyone is looking forward to seeing the final portrait pictures for the the publication.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Interviews and portrait photography

The first interviewees were held at the Grange Interlink with the help of Shakila Hanif who works at the venue. Our first two ladies, Mrs Banu Mistry and Mrs Amba Patel were a little nervous about the interviews but Halima Hussain and Mariam Islam (the young interviewers) soon put them at ease and the interview went smoothly. They talked about their experiences of coming to Bradford and working in Bradford. The young people found the stories fascinating, especially when Amba talked about her early years in Bradford. She talked about running to catch a bus for work, in the snow, in a saree!

The young people also interviewed two elderly gentlemen (Mr Shah Mohammed Akbar and Mr Fateh Muhammed Malik) who provided insightful stories about what it was like to live in Bradford in the 1960's, what people were like and how they adapted to their new lives. The interviewees brought in old documentation such as work permits, clocking in cards, old photographs and pictures of places they worked at, such as the mills and the local school. The young people particularly liked looking at and talking about the old photographs.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Cameras at the ready! Photography training

Our second workshop kicked off with Bip Mistry, a professional photographer, teaching the young people how to take a 'good' portrait pictures. The young people were split into groups and given cameras. They were then asked to practice taking pictures of each other - which was effective learning and fun!

The photographs taken were uploaded on a computer and the young people then discussed what they thought looked good as a portrait photograph and what did not - the group found this very insightful and they were eager to start photographing the interviewees for the project!

Graphic Designer, Andy Edwards, then discussed design ideas of the final publication which will contain the portrait photographs and quotes from the interviews. The young people were given the opportunity to look at the example books and publications brought in by Andy. Amongst other things, they discussed publication cover material, design, content, colours and size. The group were excited to see the final product.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Getting started!

Our first workshop took place at the BEAP Centre in Manningham on Friday, 10th May 2013 and attracted 10 young people from the Manningham Youth Project and the Impression’s Gallery New Focus group. The event provided an important introduction to the project for the young members, who are going to be undertaking oral history interviews with a range of South Asian people from Bradford.

As well as learning about oral history interviewing techniques from workshop leader, Meena Jeewa, they debated the positive and negatives characteristics of Bradford, and came up with the names of really interesting South Asian people to interview. Celebrity names came high up the list – watch this space!!

Guest speaker was Ameena Mughal, from project partners, West Yorkshire Archive Service, Bradford. Ameena gave a fascinating presentation about the history of South Asian immigration in Bradford, based on her own academic studies.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Changing Bradford gets a New Focus!

The project got off to a great start at yesterday's introductory workshop with the New Focus group at Impressions Gallery. Thanks to the organiser, Gallery Assistant, Jen Sobol, the event was really well publicised and the turnout was fantastic. 14 young people came along to hear more about the Changing Bradford project. One even travelled all the way from Blackpool to make sure they didn't miss out!  It was really rewarding to see so many people interested in getting involved in exploring and documenting South Asian heritage in Bradford.

The New Focus group is Impressions Gallery's youth advisory panel and they have skills in photography, film and events management which will be a great asset to the project.They quickly demonstrated their confidence and skills with a portrait photo session!