'Our Story – Our Leicester' Coming To Your Community Soon!

By Richard Moss | 29 September 2004
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shows a colour photograph of two Indian deities

'Our Story - Our Leicester' allows community groups from a wide range of faiths to devise their own exhibits. © Leicester Museums.

Leicester Museums have joined forces with community groups across the city to launch an innovative travelling exhibition called ‘Our Story – Our Leicester’.

Six cases of artefacts will tour community centres and schools in different neighbourhoods over a period of three years – each showing the varied traditions of Leicester’s many heritages, cultures and religions. Themes explored by the cases and their contents include New Year, Carnival and Colour, Marriage, Faith and Light.

Speaking to the 24 Hour Museum Saima Kaurs, Outreach worker at Leicester Museums, explained the rationale behind the project. “There has been community consultation right across all the different communities and faiths in the city and the cases will feature a range of items that reflect this diversity.”

“The case for Light will feature items to do with Diwali, a photograph of the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar, a Jewish Hanukah candelabra and there will also be items that relate to Christmas and Easter,” added Saima. “There has been community consultation across all different faiths and lots of different groups have got involved.”

shows a photograph of various items relating to different beliefs

each case reveals the varied traditions of Leicester’s many heritages, cultures and religions. © Leicester Museums

A further case will be left empty for communities to fill with items that are important to them and that reflect their collective heritage. As the project moves to different areas of the city the travelling exhibition will coincide with festival celebrations that take in different faiths and beliefs.

To kick-start the project a team of outreach workers from Leicester Museums have been working with community members and schoolchildren in the city’s Belgrave Ward.

Pupils from Year Six at Abbey Primary School are working with Leicester Museums staff and a storyteller to develop a play that explores the meaning of Diwali. An older Gujurati women’s group from the Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre on Rothley Street are also working on a traditional Diwali Dance.

shows a photograph of various items relating to different beliefs

different festivals - from Christmas to Baisakhi to Easter are represented by the cases. © Leicester Museums

An intergenerational element has been introduced to the project with the older Gujurati Lady’s group demonstrating craft traditions such as garland making to the schoolchildren as part of a series of planned workshops.

The first part of the ‘Our Story – Our Leicester’ project will launch at the Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre on Friday October 22. All the cases of artefacts will be present, including the one filled by local community members. Children from Abbey Primary School will perform their play and there will be singing, dancing and traditional food.

The project will then move onto the Belmont Lees area of the city before arriving at the Coleman and Charnwood ward.

“With each place we are looking at coinciding with different festivals - from Christmas to Baisakhi to Easter with the Polish Community,” added Saima. “It’s all about forging links and making connections across different faiths across the city.”

The project has been funded by the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund. For more information about the project and the launch party on October 22, telephone Leicester Museums Outreach on 0116 225 4929.

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