Celebrating South Asian Heritage Month at Manchester Museum

Manchester Museum, part of The University of Manchester, is celebrating South Asian Heritage Month from 18 July – 17 August, with a number of online activities.

Activities include two online book discussions focusing on Postcolonial Banter by Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan, and a poetry workshop responding to prompts around decolonising public statues. There’s also an online screening of two works created in the galleries of Manchester Museum by artists from the South Asia Gallery Collective, followed by a discussion focusing on research and collaboration.

Families are able to discover the magic of Vedic Maths in an online workshop too, where children will learnt to calculate sums super quickly and beat their calculators!

The events were curated by members of Our Shared Cultural Heritage. This is a three year collaboration with 11 – 25 year olds across the city, exploring the shared cultures and histories of the UK and South Asia, in partnership with the British Council. This work is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Kick the Dust programme and aims to involve more young people in heritage.

South Asian Heritage Month takes place annually to celebrate and raise awareness of British South Asian heritage and history in the UK through education, arts, culture and commemoration. Events take place across the UK, and patrons include Broadcaster Anita Rani.

The month began on 18 July, the date that the Indian Independence Act 1947 gained royal assent from King George VI, and will end on the 17 August, the date that the Radcliffe Line was published in 1947, which set out where the border between India, West Pakistan and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) would be.

Manchester Museum is currently being transformed into hello future, a £13.5million project that aims to build understand between cultures. When hello future opens in late 2022 it will include the new South Asia Gallery, a beautiful 350m2 space and the first permanent exhibition dedicated to exploring the stories, experiences, cultures and contributions of South Asian communities in the UK.

Dr Sadia Habib, Our Shared Cultural Heritage City Coordinator, said: “Working with Our Shared Culture Heritage is significant – it’s very important to amplify the voices of young people across the city and beyond, and empower them in leading on activities they deem relevant and useful to their heritage and histories. The poetry workshop, for example, provides a powerful opportunity to explore the contested nature of statues of empire and colonialism in a safe and supportive environment.”