Hull’s Caribbean Stories – a city wide project for Windrush Day and beyond by Museumand, The National Caribbean Heritage Museum

Posted: 21st June 2021

Humber Museums Partnership - Hull’s Caribbean Stories – a city wide project for Windrush Day and beyond by Museumand, The National Caribbean Heritage Museum

We are Museumand, The National Caribbean Heritage Museum – a social history and community museum celebrating and commemorating the Caribbean contribution to the UK.

We work across the UK and beyond to uncover, discover, capture and share Caribbean stories. Some of these stories are well-known, others are new discoveries about the experiences of the Windrush Generation as they settled into a new country and became part of its communities, culture, and social history. At times, these experiences were positive and life-changing, at others they are painful reminiscences that people still find difficult to relate, but all are invaluable life lessons for everyone.

We honour all the stories we are told by presenting them in ways that make visitors sit up and take notice – through art, music, performance and more. You will rarely find a traditional museum glass case in our exhibitions.

Our journey to Hull

Working in Hull with the city’s organisations, communities and local people will be an exhilarating experience for the Museumand team and we hope that many of you will join us to tell the story of Hull’s Caribbean and black communities. The plans we have for sharing Caribbean heritage, from Windrush Day on 22 June, right through to the end of the year, will showcase the amazing talent in the region and Museumand’s signature approach – fun, learning and a passion for heritage.

Just like the story of the Windrush Generation which began with an invitation to Caribbeans to help rebuild Britain after World War 2, the story of this project began with an invitation. It came in 2020 from Karen Okra, who has lived in Hull for 59 years. Karen got in touch with Black History Month UK, an online magazine and guide to the events and people who make Black History Month such an extravaganza of heritage and cultural festivities every October. Catherine and I are editors at Black History Month UK and Karen invited us to come to Hull and bring some of our Museumand magic and our inspiring, engaging approach to storytelling.

Through Karen, we organised a meeting with community and heritage leaders in Hull and quickly established the Hull Caribbean Stories Steering Group. We don’t hang about when there are things to be done! We got the project up and running in partnership with Hull City Council, Hull Libraries, Hull Museums, the University of Hull, the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation and Visit Hull and East Yorkshire and together, we have not looked back or stopped since.

About the project

By working in collaboration with one another and local people, we want to tell the story of the Windrush Generation and the Caribbean and black presence in Hull. We want to show the common thread in the stories of all the different people that have made their home in the city and how that links everyone in Hull together. We want to present stories that resonate with all cultures and communities and have everyone say when they visit the project’s exhibition-events – “We are all connected!” with an accompanying wide smile!

The arrival of the Windrush Generation from 1948 onwards has led to over 70 years of a new vibrancy in the UK, as towns and cities became more diverse and enriched by new communities and cultures. This project explores and celebrates that from the unique perspective of Hull, including the contribution and legacy of the Windrush Generation then and now.

It has been a fantastic partnership and project plans are well underway. We can promise you a great programme of exhibitions, events, and activities – starting with Windrush Day on 22 June.

To mark the occasion, we’re bringing our project ’70 Objeks & Tings – Celebrating 70 Years of Caribbeans in the UK’ to Hull. The title is a nod to patois, a traditional language and way of speaking among many Caribbeans, and Objeks and Tings refer to the things that Caribbeans in the UK, especially those of the Windrush Generation, hold dear and feel are important.

Our book, ’70 Objeks & Tings – Celebrating 70 Years of Caribbeans in the UK’ will be available for free in libraries across Hull. You’ll find lots of fun facts, insights and stories in five chapters exploring Caribbean Food, Caribbean Contributions to the UK, Caribbean Homes in the UK, Caribbean Hair, Beauty & Dress, and Caribbean Culture.

By the time you’ve read the book and had a go at the activities, you’ll be ready for our ‘70 Objeks & Tings – Celebrating 70 Years of Caribbeans in the UK’ exhibition later in the year. Hosted by Hull Museums and the Caribbean Stories Steering Group in partnership with Museumand, the exhibition will bring the book to life and bring you up close and personal to some of the objeks and tings featured in each chapter. So look out for an exciting schedule of events and activities as we tour pop-up displays across Hull and entice everyone to engage with heritage and culture in a new way!

Help us create ‘amazing’

And it doesn’t stop there. We need YOU for what may prove to be the most exciting part of the project. On Windrush Day on 22 June, we’re launching a brand new book from a project we will be doing that explores, discovers and records Caribbean culture in Hull and we’re inviting local people to help us create it, together with an interactive culture trail that will provide deeper insights into the Caribbean and black presence in Hull and beyond.

Do you fancy being a contributor, a researcher, a collector of artefacts, or a culture trail guide? If so, then please get in touch. The new book and culture trail will also contribute to an online version of the project, that will provide a lasting-legacy for local people and new generations to enjoy.

Find out more and get involved:

Call: 0746 918 9550
Follow us on social media – Instagram: Museumand, Twitter: Museumand_, Facebook: Museumand

Use the project hashtag #HullWindrush and @ us in your posts to ask questions and keep the conversation going.

Did you know?

Windrush Day was launched in 2018 by former Prime Minister Theresa May, during the furore of the Windrush Scandal. The scandal saw some members of the Windrush Generation unfairly detained and deported, deprived of their right to remain in the UK despite having contributed so much, because through no fault of their own they couldn’t produce the official documents and records required after changes to the immigration laws. Many people couldn’t produce the cast-iron documentation needed, because they’d never previously needed it, or because the documents had been destroyed by earlier governments.

As you can imagine, the Windrush Scandal is still a very big issue for Caribbeans, with many of those affected still waiting for an apology and compensation, and we’ll be bringing you another blog very soon, focusing on the issues involved.

The date, 22 June 2018, was also significant because it was the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the SS Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks, which brought many of the first Caribbeans to the UK in 1948.

Windrush Day is now a national day observed every year to celebrate the Caribbean contribution to the UK. By recognising and honouring the pioneering Windrush Generation and their descendants, we are also honouring and valuing the diversity of Britain’s people and our shared British history.