The Quaid-e Azam Sunday Cricket League (QeAL) in Bradford was the first Asian cricket league in Yorkshire.
Young people took leading roles in the From Parks to Pavilions project, gathering interviews with players and spectators, and for the first time documenting the history and significance of early cricket leagues.
The project engaged 11 young people aged 11-18 who were new to heritage. Through collecting memorabilia such as photos, scorecards and cricket bats, and interviewing early players, young people were able to capture the history of the QeAL for the first time.
Following training from the Oral History Society, the participants recorded 26 new oral histories. The interviews focused on cricket but also explored the challenges of being a new arrival in Britain in the 1960s and 1970s.
Young people said they gained more from the project than they had thought, developing new skills and, importantly, understanding their own community better. The project prompted them to talk to their grandparents to hear their stories.
Participants shared their learning with peers, older members of the South Asian community and a wider audience, producing a documentary, a photography exhibition and a website. The mobile exhibition was displayed at an England v. Pakistan One Day match in Headingley and at a range of local libraries.
As a result, the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation recruited a heritage manager with plans to develop an Asian collection.
- Be realistic about the timescales and resources required for a project that involved filming and producing a documentary.
- When working with young people, the time needed to build trust and embed learning is substantial. Having a variety of activities helps to keep them motivated and engaged. They liked seeing the project to though to the end, and took pride in their work being displayed in public.
- Project leads noted that the Asian communities they worked with had not tended to keep things from the past (especially after someone passes away). Therefore, oral histories are a vital way of keeping the heritage alive; this also acknowledges the strong oral tradition that exists in the community.