One of the wonderful things about Birmingham is its cultural diversity – a mix of so many communities, each with their own fascinating stories to tell.
Since the Library of Birmingham opened, one of the cultures we have been celebrating is the Chinese community. Exhibitions included Triple Exposure in spring 2014, highlighting the work of Felice Beato, one of the first photographers to produce images of China (from the 1860s), and in May 2015 we hosted the Guangzhou Library Exhibition where we had the opportunity to foster links with libraries around the world.
Closer to home, the Chinese community in Birmingham have also been making their voices heard through the British Chinese Heritage Project: Chinese Lives in Birmingham. The project, which was created to capture the hidden histories of Birmingham’s Chinese community, also looks at the lives of individual migrants and British-born Chinese. With funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the project has produced a wonderful booklet showing the development of the community in Birmingham and this is now available online through the project website. The Lion Dance Celebration was hosted at the Library of Birmingham in April this year to launch the project display, which was on show in the Library foyer over Easter, celebrating the 15 month project which saw its completion a few months earlier.
The value of projects such as these are priceless – capturing and preserving the living memory of communities for younger generations to explore. Records of the project have been deposited with Archives, Heritage and Photography as MS 4738 and include oral history recordings created during the project. If you would like further information about accessing the collection, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.