Know Your Roots
Participants will embark on a super, kinky, curly exploration of the connections between heritage and hair. They will be given the opportunity to sharpen their creative skills and produce a vibrant online exhibition that celebrates the beauty of afro hair. They will also record their personal hair journeys for the London Metropolitan Archives and thereby, become part of London’s living history!
Why are we doing the project?
Young people from diverse ethnic groups have expressed an interest in learning more about the geography of hair and how the texture evolved as a protective factor against harsh UV rays. Young, white British women talked about wanting to be able to understand more about the hair of family members who have African ancestry. By definition members of a Diaspora are unrooted; this project will provide an opportunity for young people to feel more grounded in themselves by developing a greater level of knowledge about their heritage and ancestry.
How does the project work?
Participants will work with visiting tutors to explore the connections for them between their heritage and their hair. They will then be introduced to a range of different artists and supported to create their own art work. Artists referred to for inspiration will include the work of Carol Rossetti. The material generated will be curated into an online exhibition. The work will help raise the self-esteem of other young black women and men and raise awareness with a wider audience about links between culture and identity.
This project has also been developed in recognition that all young people need to learn about their identity to promote healthy emotional well-being.
“The positive experience was a vital part of our on-going mission – tackling issues related to self-esteem, identity and cultural understanding. It was wonderful to see the beautiful art work, the filmed discussions and the enthusiasm. It was also great to see students from a range of backgrounds learning from each other and developing their empathetic skills.” – Headteacher, UCL Academy
“Pick three words that describe beautiful hair to you”
“Black, Beautiful ( in it’s own way) Unique”. – Pupil.
Flashpoint Play Group (Epic CIC)
Youth Action Alliance/Unity Centre
Sion Manning School
London Metropolitan Archives
Ilaria Di Fiore
Russell John Haynes
Project Coordination and Administrative Support