Members of the youth academy were concerned by the negative portrayal of migrants in the media, so their youth board designed a project to uncover and share the contributions of Birmingham’s diverse communities.
“We discovered how much interest there was in this little explored heritage and also how enthusiastic the young participants were to take the lead on the new project themselves.” Keith Smith, CEO of 7 E Youth Academy Ltd.
Working with professional historians at Soho House and the Black Cultural Archives, 93 young people were trained in archive skills to explore how immigration to Britain actually dates back hundreds of years.
They discovered how Britain was once ruled by a black Roman emperor, Septimius Severus, and how ‘English’ people descend from Anglo-Saxon migrants from Germany.
The young people built their confidence to reach out and interview older people about their experiences. To share their findings they helped create a documentary, book and an online teaching resource. This was featured at a teacher training workshop in Germany.