Manchester Museum celebrates South Asian Heritage Month with new gallery in the works

Manchester Museum celebrates South Asian Heritage Month with new gallery in the works

Manchester Museum, part of the University of Manchester, will celebrate South Asian Heritage Month from this weekend until August 17, with a series of virtual activities, including book discussions focusing on post-colonial banter and a poetry workshop responding to prompts around decolonising public statues.

There will also be an online screening of two works created in the galleries of Manchester Museum by artists from the South Asia Gallery Collective, followed by a discussion focusing on research and collaboration. Families can discover the magic of Vedic Maths in an online workshop too, where children will learn to calculate sums super quickly and beat their calculators. The museum said the events have been curated by members of Our Shared Cultural Heritage.

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Dr Sadia Habib, Our Shared Cultural Heritage City Coordinator, said: “Working with Our Shared Culture Heritage is significant – it’s very important to amplify the voices of young people across the city and beyond, and empower them in leading on activities they deem relevant and useful to their heritage and histories.

“The poetry workshop, for example, provides a powerful opportunity to explore the contested nature of statues of empire and colonialism in a safe and supportive environment.”

This is a three-year collaboration with 11-25 year olds across the city, exploring the shared cultures and histories of the UK and South Asia, in partnership with the British Council. This work is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Kick the Dust programme and aims to involve more young people in heritage.

South Asian Heritage Month takes place annually to celebrate and raise awareness of British South Asian heritage and history in the UK through education, arts, culture and commemoration. Events will be taking place across the UK, and patrons include British Indian broadcaster Anita Rani.

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The month begins on July 18, the date that the Indian Independence Act 1947 gained royal assent from King George VI, and ends on the 17 August, the date that the Radcliffe Line was published in 1947, which set out where the border between India, West Pakistan and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) would be.

Manchester Museum is currently being transformed into “hello future”, a £13.5-million project that aims to build understanding between cultures.

When hello future opens in late 2022 it will include the new South Asia Gallery, a beautiful 350m2 space and the first permanent exhibition dedicated to exploring the stories, experiences, cultures and contributions of South Asian communities in the UK.

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