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Posts tagged with 'sankofa'

Behind the Scenes at Brazilica

11 July 2018 by Sarah

International Slavery Museum Young Ambassador, Lois South, had the opportunity to go behind the scenes at Liverpool Carnival Company and interview their Director Maeve Morris. Find out more about Lois’ experience here:

“Upon entering The Old Library on Lodge Lane, I was hit by a whirlwind of feathers, sequins and, of course, glitter! The once unused space has been transformed into what I can only describe as a factory of wonders, where founders Maeve and Roger Morris, churn out costumes and floats in every conceivable colour, with the help of a dedicated team of volunteers.

“As a young ambassador for International Slavery Museum, I was able to get a chance to sit down with Maeve, to find out about her exciting life experiences which led her and her partner Roger to create the now iconic Brazilica Festival, back in 2008. This fantastic 3-day annual festival continues to bring all the amazing aspects of Brazilian culture to Liverpool – and yes, that does include the food!

International Slavery Museum Ambassador, Lois, with one of Maeve’s favourite headdresses

“While we were at the library, Maeve also gave us the inside scoop on the inner workings of Brazilica. I was able to have a closer look at the fabulous floats and displays that she and Roger had been building, along with their hardworking volunteers. The initial sight of feathers, glitter and sequins didn’t do any of their creations true justice. Maeve and Roger were extremely humble about their extraordinary achievement, in putting together the carnival.

“When I asked how long it took to create the Poseidon float, Roger merely shrugged and casually said “six weeks and five people”, as if this magnificent display of artwork and craftsmanship towering over me in all of its splendour was just light work.”

“From the bejewelled headdresses to the medusa float- it really was a sight to behold. As a non-native of Liverpool, who was previously unaware of Brazilica, I can safely say that I’ve been missing out.

“Our interview with Maeve is part of a series of interviews conducted for National Museums Liverpool’s Sankofa project and the ‘Seeds of Change’ Zine that myself and artist Seleena Daye have been working on about the incredible lives and works of 5 Liverpool women with the ability to inspire activism. I had the fantastic opportunity to learn how to record oral testimonies when we met Maeve, working alongside an incredible team including Seleena Daye (Artist), Christine Holt (Oral Historian), Stef Bradley (Education Manager) & Claire Stringer (Visual Minute Taker), to record our meeting with Maeve for the Sankofa Project.

An amazing feathered headpiece

“Whilst listening to the interviews I had a chance to reflect on what Sankofa means to me. The project not only explores Liverpool’s Black history, it also helps to provide a more well-rounded picture of the oldest Black community in England. A community which Maeve and Roger celebrate and bring together through their carnival and samba school. The ‘Seeds of Change’ Zine also aims to show that there many different ways to be active in your community. Activism isn’t just standing around with placards. Maeve actively works to bring Brazilian culture to everyone in Liverpool, young or old, male or female.

“This year, it’s more important than ever to reflect on the inspirational women in our communities. Whilst 2018, marks 100 Years since Women rightly gained the Right to Vote in the UK, it is important to consider the women in today’s world who will go on to progress the cause of women’s rights and take up space, both close to home and around the world. The fantastic work that Maeve does, could itself have a century-long legacy – and hopefully, Brazillica will still be going strong in 2118!”

Visual minutes of Maeve’s interview created by artist Claire Stringer (morethanminutes.co.uk)

About The Author

Lois is studying History at Liverpool John Moores University. She is a Young Ambassador for the International Slavery Museum and is currently working together with artist Seleena Daye to create a zine for the Sankofa project highlighting women activists in Liverpool. Lois is also a keen blogger on a variety of topic from carnivals to strange histories. You can check out more of her work at her blog The New Weird.

Our Sankofa ‘Seeds of Change’ zine will be available on International Slavery Remembrance Day this year so drop by International Slavery Museum then to find out more about the Sankofa project from our Sankofa team, Lois and project artist Seleena Daye. You can pick up a copy of the zine too!

Marilyn’s personal Sankofa journey across the Atlantic

23 October 2017 by Mitty

group photo of smiling people in a car

Marilyn with her activist artist friends

This summer I was fortunate to meet Marilyn Young, when she made her second visit to Liverpool. Marilyn is an independent researcher from the US, whose interest in Black diasporic communities has taken her all over the world.

In this guest blog, Marilyn describes how retracing cities along the Atlantic has led to her personal Sankofa journey.

“I was born in the state of Alabama so naturally I’m familiar with the topic of the transatlantic slave trade. But visiting Liverpool for the first time 10 years ago struck me and in many ways started my Sankofa journey.

I saw what my ancestors experienced from another side of the Atlantic and this piqued my interest to dig deeper.  Read more…

Black Blossoms exhibition in Liverpool

19 September 2017 by Mitty

traditional African design of a Sankofa bird

One of a series of carved laser cut panels based on the Ashanti Adinkra symbols by Artist Merissa Hylton

About a month ago I had the pleasure of meeting Bee Tajudeen and Cynthia Silveria when they were up visiting Liverpool and popped into the International Slavery Museum. Bee is the founder of Black Blossoms, she and tell us about the organisation and their incredible exhibition which is on until 30 September in the Royal Standard in Liverpool. Artist Merrissa Hylton also talks about her work which is featured as part of the display.

Black Blossoms, an organisation which aims to amplify the voices of Black women in the creative industries, have begun their art exhibition tour across the UK. Their first location is The Royal Standard Gallery in Liverpool. The exhibition explores socio-political issues, feminism and self love from the perspective of self identifying Black women artists, living in Britain in 2017.  Read more…

Tell your own story at our ‘how to archive’ workshop

12 September 2017 by Mitty

family photograph

Rare picture that all of my siblings and both parents are in as one of us would usually be taking the picture. I still can’t keep my eyes open in pictures!

Heritage consultant Heather Roberts will be leading our Tell your story- How to archive workshop on Saturday – the latest of our fantastic free Sankofa project events. You can book your place by following the link here.

Heather tells us about some of the really interesting work she’s been doing in Manchester to support communities uncovering their own hidden histories:

“On the Hidden Histories, Hidden Historians project with Manchester Histories, I am working with five community groups on a wonderful archive project. I am guiding them through the process of finding, valuing and displaying their history.

One such organisation is Oldham Youth Council. They wish to reveal the heritage and histories hidden in their members’ families to highlight how diversity makes for stronger teams with shared goals. Read more…

Sankofa news

24 July 2017 by Laura

Women on a stall

The team were at Africa Oye in June, spreading word about the project

Project Curator, Mitty Ramagavigan updates us on the latest news from the Sankofa project: Read more…

Mapping the past

9 June 2017 by Mitty

Photo from the early 1960s, Alvin with his siblings. Alvin is on the right.

Photo from the early 1960s, Alvin with his siblings. Alvin is on the right.

As part of the Sankofa project we’ve been thinking about the idea of mapping Black heritage in the city. Liverpool 8 is not the only place the Black communities have settled in the city but it has been long considered the most multi-cultural area of Liverpool. I was delighted to see Alvin Christie’s interactive Toxteth map which links old photos and some almost forgotten places. Alvin, who was born and grew up in Selborne Street, tells us why he decided to make this map:

“Growing up in Toxteth, it has always been deeply embedded in my psyche just how cosmopolitan and varied the local community was. With its abundance of characters and diverse ethnic mix, the south end of the city in the 1950s and 60s made for an energetic mixture of lifestyles.

Read more…

Betty and her cookery books

1 June 2017 by Mitty

Betty with part of her cook book collection

Betty with part of her cook book collection

Whilst having a stand at the Granby Street Market, I was lucky enough to meet Betty Vandy and try some of her amazing food. I told her about the Sankofa project and she told me all about her cook book collection. I’ll let Betty tell you more.

“My books are almost as important as the food I cook. I started collecting my now nearing three hundred strong cook book collection well over twenty two years ago.

I remember my first significant purchases, a set of seven vintage cook books published in the 1960s, I paid five pounds and they were and still are in excellent condition. But more importantly the recipes are detailed, accurate and they work!  Read more…

Activism shapes our collections

16 February 2017 by Mitty

Taking a closer look at our activism timeline at the Sankofa project launch event.

As part of the Sankofa Project we have started to explore Black activism in Liverpool. An activist is a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change. These words can definitely be used to describe Chief Bassey Duke Ephraim (also known as Bassey Orok Edem). I first became aware of him when speaking to the Zachary Kingdon , curator of African Collections. Zachary tells us more about Chief Bassey and his connections to Liverpool.  Read more…

Weaving herstory

23 January 2017 by Mitty

Susan’s grandmother Helen Akiwumi (nee Ocansey) and her family

The Sankofa project aims to highlight people’s amazing collections and offer advice about how these precious histories can be preserved for future generations. Passing down information to future generations can be done in lots of ways.  A brilliant example is Helen Renner’s and her daughter Susan Goligher’s incredibly vibrant collection of textiles. Helen and Susan came up with the idea of the company Afrograph in 1985 and have exhibited their collections across the country. Here’s Susan to tell us more:

“Afrograph’s textile collection encapsulates both an oral tradition and a women’s history. Many of the textiles have been passed down through five generations of women within the family. Read more…

An archive can be your story

16 January 2017 by Mitty

To celebrate Jamaican independence a Ball was organised in Liverpool. This photograph was donated to the collections by Tayo Aluko

The Sankofa project is looking to support local Black people and communities in highlighting their stories and protecting their histories for generations to come – and we want you to get involved! Heritage consultant Heather Roberts tells us why archives are so important and can be made by anyone:

“Archives aren’t just boxes of dusty paper in ye olde handwriting. Archives, basically, are just evidence. They are evidence of something or someone from the past, which you want to remember for the future.

Leaflets and posters of community activist groups and their events are certainly archives. As are minutes of meetings and annual reports of a community organisation. Newspaper clippings about local activism and activists certainly help shape the story, too.  Read more…

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