Making stories is a way to explore new unimagined possibilities. Stories can help us remember the past and inspire a better future together; they make sense of our experiences. Yet, many Black and Global majority groups do not see themselves, their communities and their cultures reflected in the stories around them. That’s why we have created a story space to explore the aspirations and the hopes of our city’s children and the people that inspire them. This digital, interactive arts-based story has been co created with artists across the city for children ages 7-11 years. Within this story space, which we have called a Museum of Legends, children from Ujima in Chapeltown Leeds will be curating a ‘living’ museum based on their community and aspirations. They have called themselves ‘justice seekers’ within the story who seek to tell the stories of their legends and represent their values of ‘creativity, team- work, adaptability, kindness, perseverance’. They will also make new stories together for us to learn from. The story making project is inspired by the life of
Gertrude Paul, the first black headteacher in Leeds, and the vibrant stories that she Inspired through her activism and work and brought to Chapeltown.
This project grant was awarded by The National Lottery Community Fund and is a collaboration between Ujima education, Story Makers Company and the Centre for Race, Education and Decoloniality at Leeds Beckett University. As a result of systemic racism, Black youngsters are still one of the lowest attaining groups in education and are more likely to be affected by socioeconomic issues. Ujima Education, led by Marina Benjamin, seeks to develop Black youngsters’ confidence and self-esteem through providing out-of-school educational support for them to achieve high outcomes and improved life chances.
The Museum of Legends was created by Story Makers Company and provides an aspirational and empowering story experience for children to see themselves as agents of change alongside other people who they admire. The project includes interactive story experiences crafted by local artists Khadijah Ibrahiim, Rheima Robinson, Malika Booker, Abdullah Adekola, with support from Tim Taylor and cutting-edge technology from Tom Jordan at Interplay Theatre. It is a story weave. Most importantly, the story has been created alongside children and they will continue to curate the space with their imaginations. In these COVID times the project seeks to create a virtual creative community, bringing children, families, artists and communities together at a time of unprecedented social isolation.
Over the next few weeks, the Museum of Legends will become an active, virtual space for decolonising the curriculum and an aspirational space to celebrate the creativity of Black and Global majority children from Chapeltown children, their ideas and the new stories they create. Join us for the online launch on Tuesday 2nd March and to celebrate children’s curation of the museum on Friday 12th March. Stories have the power to bring us together.