Arts Derbyshire


Alternative Archive project to give South Asian communities new voice at Derby Museums

Derby Museums, in partnership with Black Country Visual Arts, has been successful in gaining funding for an Alternative Archive in Derby; a new photographic archive, which aims to document the experiences of south Asian communities in Derby between the 1950s and 1980s.


The generous award from The National Lottery Heritage Fund has been made possible thanks to National Lottery players and will enable an archive of historic images to be created over a period of 18 months, alongside new oral history recordings and portrait photographs.


The project aims to uncover untold stories from the south Asian communities of Derby, building an archive that enriches the heritage record of the city and the shared history of its residents. The archive will be accessible online and through an exhibition in 2024.


Laura Phillips, Head of Interpretation and Display at Derby Museums, said:

“Through this project, we aim to build strong relationships and understand the needs of our communities to better reflect their diverse heritage. Creating this archive will enable Derby Museums to deepen its collections knowledge and bring new voices and perspectives into museum interpretation.


“The project will connect us with people who have lived experience of south Asian heritage in the city, and enable us to tell stories that are often missing from our museums. We are grateful to National Lottery players for making this project possible.”


Anand Chhabra, Director of Black Country Visual Arts, said:


“Black Country Visual Arts is immensely proud to partner with Derby Museums on this amazing opportunity to record the heritage of the south Asian communities that have settled in Derby. We will invite local people to contribute, learn and develop skills as we look to record participants’ first-hand experiences of migrating to the city.”


“We look forward to working with various partner organisations and local community groups who have already committed to helping us deliver this project over the next two years.”


“Our aim to co-produce their untold stories as oral histories, and through the digitisation of family photographs, will enable us to share the positive impact these communities have had during their time settling in the city. We look forward to displaying the findings of our research in exciting ways that will act as a co-created archive and a source of pride for future generations in the city of Derby.“ 

Derby Museums is currently working with multiple partners across the city to develop Alternative Archive Derby, and is pleased to have the support of the Derby Asian Strategic Partnership (DASP) and W.W. Winter, the longest running photography business in Britain.

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