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Black Heritage Matters Leicester  project secures National Lottery funding

Black Heritage Matters Leicester project secures National Lottery funding

A project which gives young people the chance to explore Leicester’s rich black heritage in a creative and positive way  has secured  funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Launched to coincide with Black History Month in October, Black Heritage Matters uses the performing arts to tell the stories of the Windrush generation and inspire younger age groups.

It is being delivered by Leicester-based social enterprise Iconic Music Drama and Dance Limited, with the support of the LCB depot and the East Midlands Oral History Archive.

Twenty Leicester 18- to 25-year-olds of African Caribbean descent will be invited to take part in  workshops run by Iconic in the city centre. Through researching and discussing stories from the past, they will be encouraged to talk about their own lived experiences of black heritage in today’s Leicester.

Young actors, musicians and dancers will then bring their stories to life, turning information gathered during the workshops into performance pieces to be shared on social media. Performers and participants will also have the opportunity to develop their skills in filming, directing  and editing. The produced performance pieces will be included in an interactive digital experience. This will serve as an educational and archival tool that can stay in the digital realm and keep on expanding as more material is produced. Irina Tsokova, an exhibition designer, and director of IRDT design will work with the young volunteers in turning their ideas into reality, while developing their heritage knowledge and creativity.

Curtis Matthew,  managing director of Iconic, said he was thrilled that the project was receiving support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and that it was launching during Black History month.

He said: “We are  extremely grateful to The National Lottery Fund and to the National Lottery players who have made this possible.

“Black Heritage Matters is an important cultural initiative which will inspire younger people in our diverse, multicultural city to explore content and information relating to the Windrush Generation, covering the period from 1948-1970. They will then have the opportunity to use the performing arts to create their own content – fuelling  wider interest in the Windrush Generation’s legacy. The project will also feature reggae music, recognising its far reaching influence on popular music globally.”

Iconic, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, uses the performing arts to  turn the spotlight on a wide range of social issues. By doing so it also  gives young performers a platform to showcase their talent. Its network is also made up of venues that champion live entertainment and providers with expertise in areas which include marketing,  business development, finance and administration.

As with its other initiatives, Iconic’s delivery partners will be on hand to provide support and mentoring to the young people taking part in the  Black Heritage project. The workshops and performances will be held in a number of different venues  around Leicester, with further details to be announced later.

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