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Nyara School of Arts awarded Windrush project funding

After initially giving funding to a white-led organisation, Sheffield Council has instead awarded it to a Sheffield-based African diaspora arts and heritage organisation.

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Harrison Qi

Sheffield City Council has awarded £10,000 of funding to Nyara School of Arts to take on a Windrush Archives project that documents the stories of the Windrush generation in Sheffield.

The decision was made unanimously by a panel of local members of the African and Caribbean communities that Nyara School of Arts was the ideal organisation to properly showcase the voices of the Windrush generation through the proposed project, called ‘Passing the Baton: The Legacy of the Windrush Pioneers’.

Founded by performance poet and writer Danae Wellington, Nyara School of Arts is an arts organisation that aims to "bridge the gap between arts and cultural institutions and ethnically minoritised communities by curating a range of creative arts programmes and events for young people, adults and families."

‘Passing the Baton’ is an intergenerational project bringing together the Caribbean community in Sheffield, from all walks of life, to produce interviews and a film for Sheffield Archives.

The film’s focus will be on the legacy of the local Windrush generation and how it has shaped the city, with people from the Caribbean community being interviewed. Areas of focus will include the establishment of the New Testament Church in Sheffield and how it has influenced language, arts and culture in Sheffield and the wider Northern region.

The project will also include a written piece to accompany the film and its screenings during Black History Month, which will bring together community members with the goal of connecting them through the arts.

The announcement comes after Sheffield City Council initially awarded the funding to a white-led organisation, Ignite Imaginations, in June. Local activists were quick to point out that an organisation with white trustees and white staff wasn’t well placed to be responsible for archiving the stories from Black Caribbean communities.

Soon after, Ignite Imaginations pulled out of the project and returned the funding to the Council. Sheffield City Council ‘acknowledged’ the issue and put together a panel of members from African and Caribbean communities to decide where the funding would be allocated.

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