For the past three years I have been project managing ‘Represent’, a community heritage project exploring the impact of gaining the vote and WW1 on the lives of Birmingham’s people.
Delayed by Covid-19 lockdown measures and our inability to connect with community participants or access Birmingham’s archives, the People’s Heritage Co-operative were thrilled to eventually launch our exhibition and learning guide in October 2021.
The exhibition and downloadable learning guide delve into the period following the Representation of the People Act 1918, exploring issues around political representation and organisation and parallels today. They feature banners created by community participants from Saheli Hub and elders from Edgbaston Community Centre, alongside stories of how people have historically made change in their communities, in our city and farther afield.
As we find ourselves in a period of political upheaval, tentatively emerging from a pandemic with questions around inequality, discrimination, our climate, racial and gender violence and our economy coming to the forefront, voices from the past have an important role to play in helping us reflect and consider how we can effect change ourselves.
I am currently developing a digital game to accompany the project, thanks to a ‘Thrive’ bursary from Arts Connect WM. It will take players through the 1918 ‘Representation of the People Act’, prompting them to consider issues around political representation and how we can effect change in the world today.
Represent was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.