Telling our Stories, Finding our Roots: Exeter's Multi-coloured History

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This project has now finished and the resources it produced can be found on the website 

An exciting new project based at Exeter's Global Centre which seeks to find out more about people, famous or not, in Exeter's multi-coloured history. 

Pocahontas, Ignatius Sancho, Rabbi Lionel Blue and the Emperor Vespasian all passed through Exeter, and they all came here from a long way away. Likewise, many ordinary people from far and wide have lived here over the centuries, up to the present day.

 "Telling our Stories, Finding our Roots: Exeter's multi-coloured history" is a new project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), which brings together local people of all backgrounds, ages, ethnic groups and nationalities, to find out about the rich and varied past of Exeter.

The project is coordinated by Ghee Bowman who is excited by its potential: "People often think that Devon is all-white and always has been. That's not the case - this project aims to unearth some hidden stories of hidden people, slaves and servants and sailors, GIs and Roman legionaries and modern restaurateurs: folk from around the world who settled here or passed through. We aim to show that Exeter has been and continues to be a place that welcomes people of all skin colours and backgrounds."

 The project has brought together a group of 22 volunteer researchers from the community, from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds as well as White people. The volunteers will receive training in research skills, then go and interview Exeter residents from a variety of backgrounds, as well as carrying out research at local archives. Many organisations have been involved in the planning stages and are essential to making the project work, including Exeter University, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Devon Record Office and the City Council Redcoats.

 The project will culminate, by December 2013, in the production of a website with materials for schools, and a guided tour of the city, in partnership with the Tourist Information Centre and the Redcoats.

 Local resident Sandhya Dave said "It feels like in our world of technology we may be losing the art of talking and listening to each other's stories. I'm really excited to be part of this project, to help connect people from diverse backgrounds, sharing their stories with our younger generation. This is the richness of life."

Commenting on the grant award, HLF's acting Head of South West, Richard Bellamy, said: "Through our funding we aim to help people from all communities to identify, care for and share their own and other people's history and traditions. That is why we are delighted to support this project, which will allow people in Exeter from different backgrounds to work together to explore the city's diverse heritage and at the same time foster community cohesion and understanding."

The Global Centre is keen to involve as many people as possible in the project.  If you know somebody who might be good for the project to interview, or if you can suggest stories and leads for research, please  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  (01392 438811). 


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