As part of the OSCH/Kick the Dust project, Manchester Museum recruited three Digital Producers (Hawwa Alam, Roheema Yasmin, and Shafia Fiaz) to work on the first official celebration of South Asian Heritage Month in the UK. The roles required a variety of skills and work including web design, social media marketing, graphic design, video editing, copywriting and public speaking.
Over the month-long festivities and for many months after summer - all online due to COVID-19 - the three producers evaluated submissions of interest by young people from across Greater Manchester to explore an element of their South Asian identity in a creative way, selected the final proposals, and supported their development and publication. The final outputs included a fashion lookbook, a series of discussions exploring hidden histories, identity and belonging in education with two high school teachers, a series of cooking videos, a workshop on the Birangona & the Bangladesh Liberation War, creative workshops on colourism, an online poetry night, a podcast on belonging, video monologues exploring South Asian nuanced identities, and much more.
In addition, the three producers represented Manchester Museum in the media, speaking live on the BBC Asian Network about the importance of celebration and commemorating South Asian history and heritage. Moreover, one young producer was offered the opportunity to manage six work experience students during her role, whilst another wrote a poem about their relationship with South Asian history and museum spaces which was then picked up by a number of high schools in London and Manchester and used in history classrooms and school diversity training sessions.
"I definitely think 15-year-old Roheema would be very proud of this particular moment, knowing that I helped contribute to the first ever SAHM in the UK and being able to have my voice heard on BBC Radio! I don’t think I have stopped learning since day one in terms of training, knowledge, experience and skills. When I thought I knew one part of history, my role would allow me to explore this further and develop deeper into alternative narratives and gain a full picture of historical context which is always fascinating to read and learn."
"For once in my life, being part of a space completely made up of people of colour, led by people of colour, felt so freeing. It meant I could discuss topics or comment on subjects that would have never even been a consideration, and I got to work on producing events and participating in workshops that I genuinely cared about, things that made me feel excited (which, within the museum industry and when related to non-Eurocentric narratives of history, is very rare)."