Tag Archives: British Library

Connecting Stories, Our British Asian Heritage – Behind the scenes

Have you ever wondered why exhibition spaces are sometimes a little bit dark? Why objects are displayed in the way that they are? How an exhibition is even put together in the first place? Conservator Lucy Angus will explain the stages of preparing and installing our current exhibition ‘Connecting Stories.

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Six months ago I met the British Library Curator Penny Brook who had the difficult task of choosing over 100 objects from collections held at the British Library and Library of Birmingham which would help tell the story of our British Asian heritage. Once Penny had come up with her wish list of objects for inclusion for the exhibition, I was then presented with the objects which included a rare 19th century board game reflecting Britain’s trading interests in Asia, 1940s police reports on meetings of the Indian Workers Association and India League in Birmingham, photographs showing protests and counter-protests in 1960s and 1970s Britain amongst others.

Before and after conservation treatment
[MS 3147/5/ 616]

Upon looking at the objects I had to determine whether the objects were fit for display and what conditions would need to be in place to make sure that the objects were cared for and did not potentially suffer from being displayed. Some factors I considered were the condition of the objects, whether the objects were to be displayed in a case or framed and the potential exposure to light over the course of the exhibition.

Most objects I was shown were thankfully in a good condition and required no conservation treatment. Only a few objects required minor repair with a colour drawing of an Engine House for His Highness the Nabob Vizier of Oude (MS 3147/5/616) requiring the most conservation treatment which included surface cleaning, repair and filling in losses with a sympathetic paper to the original. Continue reading

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Connecting Stories: Our British Asian Heritage

To celebrate International Archives Day on 9th June 2017, with a theme this year of “Archives, Citizenship and Interculturalism”, we wanted to tell you about Utsav and our upcoming exhibition ‘Connecting Stories, Our British Asian Heritage’!

Throughout 2017 Birmingham will be celebrating ‘Utsav, South Asian Culture’ and the contribution that South Asian communities have made to the city. Utsav, meaning festival/celebration, was officially launched on 18 January 2017 and will feature a wide variety of professional and community events and activities throughout the year.
The Library of Birmingham and the British Library have won Heritage Lottery Fund support to stage a major exhibition and public programme celebrating South Asian culture, called ‘Connecting Stories, Our British Asian Heritage’, a partnership project celebrating the important role South Asian culture has played in forming Birmingham’s history and identity, and which will feature archives from the wonderfully rich collections held here in Archives & Collections at the Library of Birmingham and the British Library.
A selection of the material that will feature in the exhibition!

A selection of the material that will feature in the exhibition!

At the heart of the project is a major exhibition, Connecting Stories: Our British Asian Heritage, which will open on the 15th of July at the Library of Birmingham. This will explore Britain’s South Asian heritage, examining the contribution made by South Asian people to Birmingham and the UK, and featuring contributions from local communities as they are invited to share their stories in their own words.

Visitor to the Library of Birmingham being photographed for
BrumPeeps, a digital display presenting the people of Birmingham.

The exhibition will reflect on the political context of Britain’s long relationship with South Asia, recognising turbulent times in our shared history, as well as celebrating the contribution of South Asian culture to the UK’s heritage, with a particular focus on Birmingham. It will explore Britain’s enduring connections with South Asia, from historical trading links stretching back 400 years, to the impact of migration and settlement in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Connecting Stories will focus on the countries of present day India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The rich and intertwining history of South Asia and the Midlands will be illustrated by photographs, letters, posters, paintings, documents and ephemera, showing how libraries and archives can reveal untold and forgotten stories. Highlights include:

• The first list of subscribers in the earliest East India Company minute book, 1599, the starting point of close connections between Britain and South Asia.

• A letter signed by Mahatma Gandhi and a group of other South Asian people in Britain, pledging their support during World War I.

• Maps of South Asia dating back to the 17th Century.

• A rare 19th century game reflecting Britain’s trading interests in Asia and elsewhere.

• Pictures of South Asian people of all classes who came to Britain, including ayahs (nannies) a Suffragette princess and Sake Dean Mahomed who set up the Hindoostanee Coffee House in London and became Shampooing Surgeon to George IV.

• 1940s police reports on meetings of the Indian Workers Association and India League.

• Community publications and campaigning materials charting the history of South Asians in the UK in the twentieth century.

• Photographs showing protests and counter-protests in 1960s and 1970s Britain.

• Poetry and art of Nobel prize-winner Rabindranath Tagore who visited Birmingham in 1930, the year his work was exhibited at the City Museum and Art Gallery.
Help us to celebrate “Archives, Citizenship and Interculturalism” this year – come and see our exhibition!

Tom Epps, Cultural Partnerships Manager
Library of Birmingham

 

Humbly, sir, I thank you.

William

Here at the Iron Room, we are very happy to report that our pop -up exhibition to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and the opening of our new gallery exhibition was a huge success! 

Over 100 people came up to see us in the Wolfson Centre on Saturday to see some of the delightful (and unusual) references to the name Shakespeare across our collections. We were very honoured to have William Shakespeare himself stop by to say hello and listen to a bit of 20th century Shakespeare!

William Shakespeare - searching for ancestors in the Guild Book of Knowle

William Shakespeare – searching for ancestors in the Guild Book of Knowle

 

Old meets new. Listening to a radio ballad of Romeo and Juliet from the Charles Parker Archive [MS 4000]

Old meets new. Listening to a radio ballad of Romeo and Juliet from the Charles Parker Archive [MS 4000]

Thank you to everyone who came, it was a fantastic day!

If you missed our pop-up exhibition, you can catch up online through the Birmingham Images website.  A brand new exhibition Our Shakespeare in conjunction with the British Library is now open in the gallery on level 3 and runs until September. Admission is free so why not come along!

It’s almost here!

Our Shakespeare

To mark the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare, the Library of Birmingham will be hosting a family day of activities this Saturday, 23rd April.

A brand new exhibition Our Shakesepeare,  presented in partnership with the British Librarywill be opening on Friday, 22nd April, in the gallery on level 3 of the Library of Birmingham. The exhibition will be running until September and as part of the launch, there will be a range of activities in the Library on Saturday, including our own pop-up exhibition in the Wolfson Centre on level 4.

You can download the Our Shakespeare Family Day leaflet for details of events across the library.

“A hundred thousand welcomes!”