Day 15 #16DaysOfActivism 2023
Join us for #16DaysOfActivism from across the Parallel Lives Network.
I’ll be interviewing network members about their particular take on activism and what it means to their cause.
The programme runs from Saturday 25th November – International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women – through to Human Rights Day on Sunday 10th December.
For Day 15 I’ll focus on the kind of activism that ensures the memory of people, places and events survive.
The dedication of individuals and small groups in preserving community stories is vital to highlight little-known contributions to our society. These would, almost certainly, be missed by the mainstream media and the official histories held as public records.
On 10th February 2024, at the next Saturday Heritage Fair, we will be formally launching the new Independent Heritage Network (IHN). This will aim to support individuals and small groups who are asking themselves one of the following 3 questions:
- Are you or your community group in the early stages of developing a heritage collection?
- Are you thinking about growing an existing collection?
- Are you considering turning your collection into a registered small independent museum?
Here are 3 heritage projects that demonstrate what we are working towards with the IHN:
People – At Risk War Memorial Project
The Project’s primary aims and objectives can be summarised as follows:
- the rescue of war memorials at risk of loss or damage from closed or deserted buildings e.g. churches, factories, clubs or schools;
- the relocation of rescued memorials to a suitable new location in the original community;
- if relocation is not possible then the memorials to be moved to a safe site for the purpose of repair, conservation, safe-keeping and display; and
- to encourage individuals, schools, community groups etc. to become involved in the Project’s work and to research, record and learn about the history behind the names on the memorials, the communities they came from and how to conserve memorials in their own communities.
The short film below was made by the documentary filmmaking unit of the Documentary Media Centre called DocXplorers Productions.
Places – Hansom Hall
The Documentary Media Centre is working with the Leicester Adult Education Service to open Hansom Hall to the public with a special event next September. This will be the first time Hansom Hall has been opened in this way. The special heritage fair will draw heavily on Kerry Gray’s (Adult Education, Head of Service) growing collection of images and documents on this wonderful building, and include many contributions from learners past and present. We will be formally launching this project on 10th February 2024 at the 3rd Saturday Heritage Fair.
Heritage Open Days (6th – 15th September 2024) is England’s largest grassroots heritage festival involving over 40,000 volunteers and 5,000 events.
Events – Special Olympics
I wrote the article below for the Podcasts@Sporting Heritage Newsletter and it was published last month (November 2023).
New Series of Heritage Events Launched in Leicester [email protected].By John Coster The Saturday Heritage Fairs have been set up by the Documentary Media Centre to support and encourage individuals or community groups in the early stages of developing a heritage collection, growing an existing one or maybe becoming a registered small independent museum. The exhibitors at the first event on Saturday 28th October certainly represented an eclectic mix of heritage projects from the individual with his first-ever table display, through to the family research volunteers gearing up for their 25th year. With more Saturday Heritage Fairs in the pipeline, one of the first things that needed doing was the establishment of a new support network for everyone. This has led to the Independent Heritage Network with over 50 individuals and small community heritage projects joining in. With a focus on any heritage project that represents People, Place and Events we are planning several complimentary exhibitions and celebration events. One of these takes place on Thursday 25th July 2024. This date marks 15 years to the day of the opening ceremony of the Leicester-hosted Special Olympics in 2009. As an enthusiastic citizen reporter and editor of the Leicester Citizens Eye community news agency (2008-14) at the time, the Special Olympics for us represented a major sporting event in our city. With a radio licence in partnership with Panj Pani Radio, we set about covering all the venues and sports across the city. Each radio show was 4 hours long and included phone updates from an enthusiastic team of community reporters, all with their own take on what they saw and who was watching. Local sporting celebrities, dignitaries, local community members, and families there to watch their loved ones giving their all as competitors in this major sports event. One of my over-riding memories is the athletes and families, who made Leicester their home and completely transformed our city that summer when we hosted our own Olympics. It was ours. People waved at every colour-filled coach of competitors from across Great Britain. The opening and closing ceremonies with music and dance and crowds packing the venues to cheer on these athletes. When London delivered Super Saturday’s 3 years later, Leicester knew what that felt like. Did everyone wave at coaches, of course not. Did some people not care, of course. But no one can fail to remember that something was happening and people were a little friendlier because sport, for all its issues, is still one of the rare things that bring us ALL together. On February 10th 2024, the Saturday Heritage Fair will be officially launching its call-out for the volunteers, athletes, family members and members of the public who remember those sunny days in the summer of 2009 to get in touch and participate in the exhibition and opening ceremony celebration event. For more information, email: