The VMC Research Group at Northumbria provides a dynamic hub for researchers and students engaged with the historical and theoretical analysis of art, culture, design, museums and architecture. The group acts as a forum to bring together researchers across the university and offers an annual programme of events relating to current issues in visual and material culture research
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Susan Ashley

PI AHRC Engagement and Impact Follow-On: “Multi)Cultural Organisational Archives” 2020-2021

Archives are a vital part of cultural heritage, offering users a sense of history, place, identity and relationships. The aim of this project is to collect and publicise the dispersed archives of Black and ethnic organisations involved in cultural and community development in the North East of England, featuring Sangini, Vamos and NEEACA, the North East of England African Community Association, and partners Everyday Muslim Heritage & Archive, and the Angelou Centre

The project was inspired during Northumbria’s AHRC-funded research ‘(Multi)Cultural Heritage’, a partnership with several minority-led organisations in Newcastle-Gateshead and Manchester who have long held essential leadership positions within minority communities. Partners raised the problem of the lack of an historical record of Black and minority ethnic organisers’ work and activism to achieve equality in the culture and society of the region. The creation of a living archive of past activities recognises the histories of Black organisational achievements within the cultural ecology of the North East. It is an important foundation for future generations of community volunteers and professionals: a ‘heritage’ worthy of preservation.

Advisory Board at Black Cultural Archives, Brixton. Credit Nik Barrera

PI ‘(Multi)Cultural Heritage: New Perspectives on Public Culture, Identity and Citizenship’—2017-2019
AHRC Leadership Fellowship (AH/P008984/1)

(Multi)Cultural Heritage is an AHRC-supported research project lead by Dr Susan Ashley, Department of Arts. The project seeks to understand engagements with heritage and identity by Black and minority ethnic organisations in the Northeast of England. Cultural heritage is understood here as traditions, characteristics and ways of thinking drawn from the past.
The aim of the project is to understand the motivations and activities of the organisations involved in this work; facilitate ideas and exchanges among practitioners, and contribute to social justice considerations by foregrounding multicultural voices and public activities in UK society.

(Multi)Cultural Heritage workshop 3 on Impacting. Darius Setsoafia photo