Black History Month 2017: University of Leicester lecturer turns spotlight on British country houses’ Caribbean and East Indian connections

Posted by pt91 at Oct 12, 2017 03:11 PM |
Public lecture on 22 October focuses on "Colonial Countryside" initiative led by the Centre for New Writing

Issued by University of Leicester on 12 October 2017

On 22 October 2017, starting at 6.30pm, Dr Corinne Fowler, director of the University of Leicester’s Centre for New Writing, will be giving a public lecture at the Secular Hall on Humberstone Gate about "Colonial Countryside", an initiative led by the Centre for New Writing that is working with child historians to develop new audiences for cutting-edge research about British country houses’ Caribbean and East Indian connections.

"Colonial Countryside" is a three-year collaborative project that aims to inspire a new generation of young advocates for black British history. The project will encourage schools to engage with country homes with the help of renowned writers and historians.

The project will also see Peepal Tree Press commission and publish new writing in this neglected aspect of British history.

Dr Fowler is giving the talk as part of the Leicester Secular Society's programme of events to mark Black History Month.

Dr Fowler said: “'Colonial Countryside' will be led by children, who will introduce other children, parents, teachers and country house visitors to the houses' colonial connections.

"Our team of historians will work closely with 10 schools and 10 country houses to explore the connections between stately homes, heritage furniture, black servants, and the colonial trade. Pupils will communicate their discoveries and personal responses through essays, creative writing, and social media campaigns.

"They will also participate in events at country houses across the UK."

The project will allow children to discover country houses’ global dimensions, and support them to gain a sense of belonging to the countryside.

Dr Fowler said: "We want to inspire a new generation of young historians who will advocate for these neglected aspects of British history. We will encourage the children to think of themselves as future leaders in the field. They will be supported by 10 renowned historians and 10 high-profile writers who will help them to craft, deliver and disseminate compelling new writing about this topic.

"We want to give the children the tools to narrate black history with their own voice."

The project will culminate in a kids’ conference that will be held at the Centre for New Writing in Leicester and will see children take part in panel discussions and present their essays and discoveries to a wide audience.

So far, "Colonial Countryside" has raised £1,919 and needs to raise £3,081 more which will pay for 20 children to visit country houses and related archives, produce a podcast narrated by the children, as well as fund the services of an historian and a writer: https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/uniofleicester/colonial-countryside

Ends

*Notes:

[1] For more information, contact:

Dr Corinne Fowler, Associate Professor of Postcolonial Literature, e. csf11@le.ac.uk

[2] For more information on "Colonial Countryside", see: https://colonialcountryside.wordpress.com/about-colonial-countryside/

[3] Black History Month is marked annually in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom for remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African, Caribbean and Asian diaspora. It is celebrated annually in the United States and Canada in February, and the United Kingdom in October: http://www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk

[4] The Leicester Secular Society is the world's oldest Secular Society. The society hosts a series of public lectures that are free and open to all. Past speakers at these lectures have included George Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russell, Tony Benn and Annie Besant.

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