TPYF - Salford Museums Project Highlights Refugee Heritage

By Richard Moss | 26 June 2008
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a photo of a map with routes marked out on it

Salford Routes is a board game developed with asylum seekers and refugees that explores the different routes people have taken to Salford over the centuries. © Salford City Council

An innovative project exploring the heritage of Salford as a place for asylum seekers and refugees came to fruition at the weekend when over 500 people attended an event called Small World in Salford at Salford Museum and Art Gallery.

Part of the second phase of the national learning programme Their Past Your Future, the scheme has seen volunteers working with local asylum seekers and members of the local community to produce an innovative board game that explores the story of migration in Salford over the last 700 years.

Called Salford Routes, because it’s all about the different routes people have taken to Salford over the centuries, the board game represents a map of Salford and each area is more or less a ward of the city – featuring a famous landmark in each one.

A locally based artist and project worker was enlisted to help produce the board game, which drew on existing research done by an MA placement student, Laura Dixon, in 2005-06. Project participants then concentrated on the creation and conceptualisation of the game. Last weekend was the time to put it to the test.

“The volunteers who participated in the project were running the board game with everybody from the mayor of Salford to a group of new arrivals in Salford who came here on the Gateway resettlement programme,” explained Bev Davies, who ran the project for Salford Museum and Art Gallery. “It was the first time to see so many people from so many different countries playing it and it was wonderful.”

“The next phase is to bring people from different generations and cultural backgrounds together and get them to work with some of the participants who made the game and brought the stories to it,” added Bev.

a photo of a map with routes marked out on it

The board game features landmarks from the city of Salford. © Salford City Council

Together with her band of volunteers Bev will now begin interviewing people in Salford who have experience of conflict - for example local people who have memories of the Blitz - and then start bringing those experience to a younger generation using the board game as spring board to get the memories going.

“The next phase will be very intergenerational,” said Bev, “We’ve also been asked to take it into care homes. I’m really excited about how this board game has the potential to reach across the generations and across the city as well.”

Launched in 2004, Their Past Your Future is an innovative national learning programme funded by the Big Lottery Fund that uses historical sources, sites, museums, veterans and eyewitnesses of war to increase people's understanding of history, commemoration, national identity and civic participation today.

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