A creative reponse to OSCH by Fahim Faisal

Our OSCH Journey

In the heart of the OSCH project's embrace,
Thirty youths from different paths did trace,
Culture and heritage, their guiding grace,
A tale of unity and love, they forever chase.

In the beginning of the OSCH project, the mysterious word "OSCH" served as the catalyst for change. A thread weaved by the British Council that connects 30 young souls. After that, CCD Bangladesh, The Varendra Research Museum and The Uronto Artist Community got together to create a vibrant mosaic of cultural discovery.

This was not a typical journey. There were some restrictions, like the different backgrounds of everyone and the COVID-19 pandemic. The endeavour first appeared to be a puzzle without an answer. However, out of these difficulties came a string of seminars and workshops, each of which gave us our common goal.

The canvas of my imagination was blank. I used to think of heritage as a structure. I used to think that cultural heritage is the legacy of physical artifacts. But my whole perception got changed in this journey. OSCH showed that heritage can be a language. Heritage can be a lifestyle.

The OSCH project had some boundaries at first. But after a series of seminars, we went through a transformation. We got a clear idea what to do. A bunch of seminars taught us about creative writing and baseline surveys. We learnt how to use mobile phones to do documentary filming and mobile photography to explore different cultures. The age of digital technology saw a reinvention of storytelling through the storytelling workshop. However, our canvas extended well beyond these creative pursuits. We digitised puthi to preserve the culture. The efforts to preserve language also became essential, giving vitality to dialects and linguistic diversity .

The journey chronicled by OSCH is a testament to the power of collaboration and the resilience of the youth spirit. It's inspiring to me that how the diverse group of 30 individuals came together despite some challenges, overcoming differences and adapting to the constraints of a pandemic. Our collective efforts, creativity and dedication shine through in every aspects of our work, from heritage preservation to cultural exploration. I learned to work together throughout this journey.

The OSCH project sprang into the spotlight when a few of our young people had the privilege of showcasing our works at the esteemed Dhaka Lit Fest 2023. Guided tours led by youth board members created immersive experiences. We also filmed documentaries, hosted live radio shows, and brought cultural narratives to life in site-specific locations.

Amidst these vibrant activities, letter writing added a touch of magic. As the youth of Bangladesh exchanged words with the UK Bangladeshi community, ancient customs found new wings in the modern world, revitalizing the spirit of culture.

I, on behalf of the youth board, got a chance to visit Glasgow and represent our works. My Glasgow journey is a captivating adventure spanning culture and discovery. From the start at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery sector day, we delved into thought-provoking discussions and presentations. I really enjoyed the weekend celebration at Kelvingrove Museum, offering talks, activities and creativity. I joined a fond farewell dinner with a lot of cultural people in Glasgow. My journey concluded with visits to the Burrell Collection and GOMA. I made friends and I departed with cherished memories of my Scottish journey.

Heritage Festival was the last celebration of the OSCH journey. It was a vibrant celebration of cultural heritage. It introduced attendees to OSCH. The exhibition showcased heritage through photography, painting, language, and Bangladesh-UK collaborations, both indoors and outdoors. Audience interaction was encouraged through diverse workshops and a memorable marketplace featuring local traditional items. Thought-provoking panel discussions delved into youth, museum and food in relation to heritage. The event culminated with captivating performances and a touching Mango song.

The crescendo of the project was the Heritage Festival, but OSCH was reluctant to bid farewell. This journey was more about the lessons learned than the obstacles overcome, a masterclass in working with diverse minds, skills development, and forging connections with international organisations. Our hearts beat with a desire to nurture our long-standing love, to connect more youth, and to script more chapters in the story of heritage and culture, to paint another vibrant stroke on the ever-evolving canvas of their nation's identity.