At the start of the month, Project Workers Joe, Arron and myself met up with our first cohort of participants for an introduction to the project and its themes, and to share ideas about what we understand by the terms 'heritage' and 'migration'.
We are excited to have such an enthusiastic and engaged group of participants made up of people of various ages and backgrounds, some of whom migrated to Birmingham as children themselves. The group includes artists, theatre students, those studying Human Geography, Anthropology, International Relations and Theology and Religion, and others. Its been great to have this wide range of knowledge and approaches to the project so far, and are really looking forward to working together on Children in Movement.
After introducing ourselves and the project, our first activity was to split into groups and map out everything that came to mind when we thought of the terms 'Heritage' and 'Migration'.
We then shared these back to the group and had some really interesting and important conversations about what we mean by or associate with these terms, and the relationship between the two.
Points that we particularly focused on were the role of the media in influencing how people see migration, the different reasons why people migrate, the role that the colonisation has played in causing migration, racism and xenophobia, how wide ranging our heritage can be, and whether or not we can pick and choose what our heritage is.
We all found a contribution from our Afghan participants particularly interesting - 'heritage' in their language translates as 'mirror'... the idea that we can see our past or our histories of how we got here reflected back to us within our contemporary culture.
I feel that the ideas and experiences we shared in this session were a great starting point for beginning to delve into the specific heritage of Birmingham, its history of migration and what we each hope to achieve through the project.