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Posts tagged with 'sankofa'

Helen Woolstencroft: from migration to me

30 October 2018 by Stephen Carl-Lokko

Dress with family photographs printed on the fabric

Detail of Helen’s dress ‘Eva’.

In this guest blog for the Sankofa project and as part of Black History Month, artist Helen Woolstencroft reveals how family and history play an important role in her sense of identity as an artist. In this moving tribute to her grandparents,  Helen tells us about the source of inspiration for her work:

“From a young age, I was always curious about my family. Being of mixed race heritage, I always wanted to know where I fit into the world. I was captivated by my Grandad Lionel, and always wondered what his life was like in Barbados before he came to England during the Second World War.  Read more…

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.  Read more…

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…



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We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.