UNSEEN HISTORIES: A festival of art exploring Black British history throughout September 2021

Unseen Histories was a month-long festival, running throughout September, of artworks and events exploring Black British history in Leeds. The festival was curated by Black artists in and around the city, with support from Heritage Corner, pioneers of the Leeds Black History Walk and Assembly House, an artist studios and project space in Armley, Leeds. 

The festival included six Black artist commisions.

SATURDAY 4TH AUGUST 2021
Film Screening: Burning An Illusion (Menelik Shabazz)
14:30
Leeds University Union

To mark the recent passing of prolific filmmaker Menelik Shabazz, we presented a screening of his pioneering first feature Burning an Illusion (1981). Shot around the Notting Hill and Ladbroke Grove communities, this film is about transformation and identity, a love story that traces the emotional and political growth of a young Black couple in Thatcher’s London. It is significant as the first British film to give a central voice to a Black woman, completely centering the female experience and interrogating gender violence, racism, activism, class and much more.

This screening was organised by Hyde Park Picture House in support of the Unseen Histories Festival.

Orbituary: Menelik Shabazz obituary: Film-maker and campaigner who chronicled the struggles and experiences of Black people in Britain

 

SUNDAY 5TH SEPTEMBER 2021
Four BFI Film Shorts - 2 screenings available
13.30-14.30  & 15:00-16:00 
Leeds Industrial Museum



Audiences enjoyed a very special screening in the little known Heritage Cinema nestled in the Leeds Industrial Museum. This event was supported by The Black Cinema Project who selected four BFI short films for screening. These include; Flight of the Swan (1992) dir. Ngozi Onwurah; Home Away from Home (1993) dir. Maureen Blackwood and Springtime in an English Village (1944) dir. Not given,  plus a surprise screening on the day.

Although not centred in Leeds, these beautiful films explore universal themes of the adult world of migration, belonging and communities, through the eyes of children. They range from an exploration of the barriers in ballet, Windrush arrival in post war London and the significance of culture to our identity. 

 

SATURDAY 11TH SEPTEMBER 2021
Gotts Park Black history walk and creative workshop
10.30 - 13.30




Audiences joined Heritage Corner's Joe Williams as he delivered a bite sized Black History Walk in Gott's Park connecting industrial growth to untold histories of the African diaspora. This is a specially created walk for the Unseen Histories festival and took audiences from the ground we stand on through 6000 years of black history.

Afterwards Garry Barker, Artist and Academic from Chapeltown, led a creative workshop in two art forms responding to the walk. Firstly, Garry will showed participants how to use unconventional materials, such as coffee, sticks and spices, to capture interesting landscapes of the walk. Secondly, making collaged maps of new trade routes, participants collectively explore contemporary issues surrounding trade and the way people are used as commodities.


SUNDAY 19TH SEPTEMBER 2021
Four BFI Film Shorts - 2 film screenings available
13.30-14.30  & 15:00-16:00 
Leeds Industrial Museum


Enjoy a very special screening in the little known Heritage Cinema nestled in the Leeds Industrial Museum. This event is supported by The Black Cinema Project who have selected four BFI short films for screening. These include; Flight of the Swan (1992) dir. Ngozi Onwurah; Home Away from Home (1993) dir. Maureen Blackwood and Springtime in an English Village (1944) dir. Not given,  plus a surprise screening on the day.

Although not centred in Leeds, these beautiful films explore universal themes of the adult world of migration, belonging and communities, through the eyes of children. They range from an exploration of the barriers in ballet, Windrush arrival in post war London and the significance of culture to our identity. 

Choose from two scheduled screenings, the event is a repeat of September 5th. The event is free of charge with purchase of museum ticket.

Tickets online from https://www.assemblyhouse.art/whats-on

 

TUESDAY 21ST SEPTEMBER
Film screening: We Are Poets (2012)
19:00
City Varieties

With our other screenings exploring the female experience, children and family, for this event we turned our attention to the youth voice and learnt how one group of young people have made themselves heard. We Are Poets is a documentary film which follows six young poets from Leeds Young Authors performance poetry group in Leeds on their visit to the international Poetry Slam Competition in Washington D.C., United States. The screening was accompanied by live poetry readings. 

This screening was organised by Hyde Park Picture House in support of the Unseen Histories Festival.

Review: We are Poets: This refreshing documentary about a Leeds performance poetry group off to the U.S defies the reality-TV talent formula

Tickets online from: https://www.hydeparkpicturehouse.co.uk/film/we-are-poets?screeningID=2638

 

SATURDAY 25TH SEPTEMBER
HOLBECK WALK, BUS TOUR, EXHIBITION, CELEBRATION

10.30 - 22.00

HOLBECK AND ARMLEY

Audiences joined us for a jam-packed day-long finalé of our Unseen Histories festival, bringing together Heritage Corner's pioneering Black history walks, but this time jumping on a open top bus, and donning head-phones, for a whistle-stop tour of Leeds that has never been seen or heard before.

The first part of the event included a short walk around Holbeck. The bus tour was hour long curated trip taking in key places of historical interest and links to Black British history. The bus tour ended at the Leeds Industrial Museum in Armley, a short walk from  Assembly House.

We invited audiences to both Leeds Industrial Museum and Assembly House for sculpture, dance, poetry, photography and more, by 6 bold and brilliant Black artists. Each artist created something brand-new exploring their own life experiences, Black communities in Leeds and Leeds' rich black history. There will also be food, drinks and music.


A Storm at Harewood (various dates from June to August 2021)

Joe Vanessa Heritage Corner Harewood House

Joe & Vanessa as Mr & Mrs Pablo Fanque, this summer at Harewood House (Photo: Tom Arber)

We are delighted to have been invited to Harewood for a series of walks around the House and Grounds.

In 1847, during a performance at Harewood, a storm interrupts Pablo Fanque’s Circus Royal. Join Britain’s favourite circus owner of African heritage and wife, Mrs Pablo, on this 90-minute guided walk. Hear their amazing story as Heritage Corner transport you from the grounds to the house, revealing hidden narratives of African and West Indian connections to Harewood’s history.

Dates (Summer 2021)

12 June, 26 June, 8 July, 24 July, 5 August, 14 August

Pablo Fanque Heritage Corner


Coming Up for Air (July 2021)

David Oluwale HCL 2019

David Oluwale’s Leeds with Heritage Corner's Joe Williams and poets Ian Duhig, Asher Jael and Abdullah Adekola.

Learn about African civilisation, colonial history, and to walk Leeds city centre and see the locations where, from 1949 to 1953, David Oluwale would have a drink and dance at The Mecca with his West African friends. You'll see some of the doorways in which he slept in the 1960s after he was let out of High Royds Psychiatric Hospital. And we'll look at the spot near Leeds Bridge where we believe Inspector Ellerker and Sergeant Kitching caused him to drown in the River Aire on 18th April 1969.

First produced for the David Oluwale Memorial Association in 2019 - when there was a waitng list for places - Covid regulations right now mean we can only have 30.


Aire to There, summer 2021

Aire to There Heritage Corner

Pick the route, select the stories, perform the audio for tours launched to the public in the summer with an outdoor event and exhibition.

Led by Heritage Corner and supported by historical researchers and Aire Ambassadors, learn the local and international history of the Leeds Waterfront, uncover hidden stories and use your voice to guide others by creating audio tracks for walking and boat tours.

Presented in partnership with Ignite Yorkshire, IVE, Heritage Corner, Canal Connections and the Geraldine Connor Foundation.


Holbeck Tales with Heritage Corner, May 2021

Joe Williams Holbeck Tales

Heritage Corner explores hidden narratives of diversity in Holbeck’s fascinating history.

Joe Williams, award-winning founder of Leeds Black History Walks reveals Yorkshire’s surprising connections to Africa. On this Holbeck Tales headphone walk in and around Holbeck, he brings his expertise to highlight significant and meaningful research of a shared heritage.

Presented in partnership with Slung Low and The Holbeck, Jenkinson Lawn, Holbeck, Leeds.


Represent, October 2020

'Fifteen young people aged 16-24 spent four days exploring neglected industrial narratives of people of colour at Leeds Industrial Museum. At the end of the week, the participants worked together to create proposals for public artworks that engage with these neglected stories, which were then presented to a range of industry professionals.' 

Read Blog

Part of Ignite Yorkshire and delivered by the Geraldine Connor Foundation and Heritage Corner.

 


 

Children's Black Heritage Walk, August 2020

UDM Event Heritage Corner

Led by Ansell Broderick of Kuffdem Arts and Joe Williams of Heritage Corner, experience a fun filled day exploring the African influences around the Leeds University site.

Presented in partnership with Unity Does MAATer, Kuffdem Arts and Leeds Inspired.


Sweet Chariot - Thomas Rutling and the Road to Freedom, July 2015

Thomas Rutling Heritage Corner

Performed to mark the centenary of the death of former slave and Fisk Jubilee Singer, Thomas Rutling, who settled in Harrogate in 1891 and lived in the town until his death in 1915. This collaboration with Gerladine Connor Foundation and Leeds-based Diasporian Stories Research Group was part of the prestigious Harrogate International Festival programme. Held in the beautifully restored Royal Hall, the evening featured Ronald Samm (star of Carnival Messiah and Verdi’s Otello), a gospel choir, and Heritage Corner's Joe Williams who presented extracts from Thomas Rutling’s autobiography.

Ronald Samm on Thomas Rutling's legacy here.


Lost Children: The Black Atlantic and Northern Britain, May 2015

Presented in association with the Bronte Parsonage Museum Haworth, the Institute for Black Atlantic Research at the University of Lancaster hosted a three-day interdisciplinary symposium tied in with the launch of Caryl Phillips new novel The Lost Child, a prequel to Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. Echoing the book's historical context and themes, the aim of the symposium was to discuss black presences across generations in the North from the 1770s to the present. As part of the event, Joe Williams performed his solo play The Fishes of Isis, an insightful portrait of Pablo Fanque, the British-born Victorian circus owner of African origin.


Roseville, 2014

This site specific performance piece, created by A Quiet Word, celebrated the life and history of Roseville Road in Leeds through the stories of the people who live and work there. Heritage Corner contributed a short performance piece. The project took place in and around businesses - shops, storage units, a pub, a restaurant and on the street - over the course of one week in 2014. 


 

Samuel Coleridge Taylor Heritage Corner

What people are saying...

  • Really worthwhile and full of information. Love the use of performance to portray characters and bring history to life.
  • A brilliant walk which shares (African) history in a well-researched, knowledgeable way. We need more of this input in our schools.
  • This is the second time I've attended the walk and feel there is so much more to learn. Joe’s knowledge, creativity and enthusiasm mean I could easily stay for the whole day.
Top ↑