Attendance at Conferences: On 29 October 2011, Sarah Garrod and Remi Harris gave a presentation on the George Padmore Supplementary School at the Archives for London (AfL) conference, held at UCL. Sarah spoke about the school’s foundations and Remi focused on her time as a student and teacher during the 1980s-1990s. It was a subject most attendees knew nothing about and, as such, the presentations generated a lot of interest. On 29 November 2011, Sarah Garrod, Sarah White and Kate Duncan attended the Annual Conference of the British Records Association (BRA), titled Beyond the Fringe: archives of pressure groups, which was held at the Bishopsgate Institute. For more information on this, see the Beyond the Fringe blog.
The 2-year 'Dig my Archives’ schools project: This exciting project began in October 2011 and is a central part of the HLF-funded Dream to Change the World Project. Sessions were led by education facilitator Sarita Mamseri and ran as after-school history clubs at South Harringay Junior School and at Stroud Green Primary School for a total of 12 weeks. During the project, the children became 'history detectives'. Their mission was to use original archival material, including photographs, letters, postcards, maps, posters and film, to search for clues about John La Rose. At South Harringay, the children used the knowledge they'd acquired to create drawings and prints that illustrated John's life and work chronologically. They presented their findings to years 4-6 and to their parents and teachers at an assembly on 15th November 2011, which was a great success. A number of parents came up after the assembly to congratulate the children and to find out more about the George Padmore Institute. One mum had connections to black supplementary schools and was excited to hear the children's presentations on this subject. At Stroud Green, the children had the chance to visit the George Padmore Institute towards the end of their project, where they viewed original posters extracted from the archives, had a tour of the archive repository with archivist Sarah Garrod and interviewed Sarah White about her involvement with New Beacon Books and the GPI. The children's detective skills were by then well-honed and there was no shortage of questions! The endpiece at Stroud Green was a film in which the children were interviewed about the project. Their comments were largely very positive. Here's some of the things they had to say:
"I love history and finding out about people"; "The club was too short"; "I will remember that it was the first time I saw an archive"; "John La Rose taught children when others didn't know how to"; "John La Rose liked carnivals and helped black children in their education"; "An archive is building where important information is kept from the past like letters."
As part of the schools project, Sarita Mamseri and Sarah Garrod also led an Adult Learning Workshop at Stroud Green Library on 18th November 2011, which was attended by the Deputy Head of South Harringay Juniors, Lilia Mirtchev, along with seven mothers and one grandmother from the school. Sarah did a short presentation about the nature of archives, in which she emphasised the importance of local archives for everyone and their accessibility. The women were then given facts on strips about John La Rose's life, which they had to first put in chronological order and then match to various items brought in from the archive. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the session, which was very relaxed and informal, and to welcome the chance to handle a wide range of archival material and to discover about an inspiring local figure and local archive . The session generated very interesting discussions not only about John La Rose and his achievements but also about the importance of archives, life as an immigrant in Britain, the black British experience and about Caribbean and black British history. For one attendee, the material brought back personal memories of the New Cross fire.
For more information, see also Dig My Archives Blog.