Coventry's Caribbean history explored in new exhibition at St Mary's Guildhall - The Coventry Observer

Coventry's Caribbean history explored in new exhibition at St Mary's Guildhall

Holly Clement 18th Jun, 2024   0

IN A scheme to uncover and celebrate the history of Coventry’s Caribbean community, three young researchers have dedicated the past six months to delving into various aspects of the cultural heritage.

The results of their efforts will be showcased at one of the city’s oldest institutions, St Mary’s Guildhall, until June 29.

The Coventry Caribbean Community History Project (CCCHP) is supported by St Mary’s Guildhall’s community engagement programme.

The project seeks to highlight the historical significance of the Caribbean community in Coventry throughout the twentieth century.

Launched by the ArawaK Community Trust to mark the 75th anniversary of the arrival of HMT Windrush, the CCCHP also aims to equip young Black people in Coventry with research and curation skills to document and preserve their community’s history.

Iqra Abdi, Akasha Daley, and Jade McFarlane focused on three key areas of the Caribbean experience in Coventry.

Abdi explored the history of the Osaba Women’s Centre, Daley examined the fight against educational marginalisation in post-Windrush Coventry, and McFarlane researched the experiences of Rastafari women in the city.

In addition to their research, they were invited to tour De Montfort University’s Special Collections archive and its Stephen Lawrence Research Centre.

These visits offered them valuable insights into the importance of archives in reflecting and preserving Black history.

The exhibition will also make an appearance at the Caribbean Reggae Fever event at War Memorial Park from July 20 to 21, providing a wider audience the opportunity to engage with Coventry’s Caribbean heritage.

Holly Cooper, project coordinator and a DPhil student in History at the University of Oxford, said: “I am so proud of Iqra, Akasha, and Jade for all their hard work and commitment over the last six months; undertaking meaningful community-based historical recovery is not easy.

“Coventry’s Caribbean community history is one of resistance, strength, and unity. A story we can all learn so much from.”


Niamh Carton, community engagement manager at St Mary’s Guildhall, which is operated by No Ordinary Hospitality, said: “This has been a really important and rewarding piece of work to be involved with and represents what our community programmes are all about – helping more people engage with their history.

“Holly and the team have been absolutely brilliant to work with and we are delighted to share their work with members of the public as part of a three-week exhibition before it heads to War Memorial Park.”

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