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Hidden histories seminar - diverse stories in Plymouth & beyond

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Over 80 people attended the diversity seminar held at Plymouth University on 29th and 30th November 2016.

The seminar was organised by Reach South West (a partnership between the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter and Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery as Major Partner Museums) and hosted in conjunction with Plymouth University, with funding from Arts Council England.

It showcased exemplar projects of previously hidden aspects of diverse histories, including black history, LGBT, faith, and learning and mental health disabilities. Nationally acclaimed speakers included writer and educator S.I Martin, Research Fellow from University of London Justin Bengry, and award winning novelist Joanna Traynor.

The Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and Vital Sparks gave presentations which focussed on why diversity is an important element of heritage and arts projects, and held funding surgeries where delegates explored their project ideas.

There were arts performances in between the presentations including poetry, dance and drama. Two exhibitions exploring hidden histories Legacies of British Slave ownership in Exeter and the far South WestandPride in Our Pastwere also on display.

A mixture of delegates from different sectors and areas of the community attended, including community representatives, independent researchers and those working in the heritage sector.

Feedback included, inspiring, challenging, thought provoking; transformative; challenging, accessible, stimulating, and varied. One delegate commented, It was excellent informative, inspiring, sharing good practice, networking, hearing about successes and top tipsThe event showed the importance and value of the cultural and heritage sector in peoples lives or the potential for thisIt reconnected me with my own culture and heritage, and it made me want to contribute.

A full evaluation report will be shared in 2017, and the Plymouth University History Faculty will publish material from the case studies on a website which will showcase footage of the seminar and continuing legacy work.

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