Honiton Blog June 2024

Celebrating Cultural Diversity

Celebrating Cultural Diversity

It was great to discover that May now has a whole day dedicated to celebrating cultural diversity, and to honour it we have been working with Honiton Library to create a display of inspiring books that tell the story of England’s multicultural history.

You’ll find a selection of books for people of all ages from illustrated children’s books about the Windrush, to poetry and prose, history, biographies and fictional stories.

Anne Lane (TOSFOR Research Volunteer – left), Linda Issacson (Honiton Library Manager – centre), Jess Huffman (Project Coordinator for Honiton – right).

We hope our display of books will encourage people to explore the diverse history of Britain, to read something they may not otherwise have come across or to learn something new. We hope our display will make those using the library feel welcome and included and that everyone’s heritage is a part of our story.

Taking Over the Airwaves

Two weeks ago we went live on Radio Devon & Radio Cornwall with presenter Anoushka Williams. Volunteers Mary and Charlie joined Jess, Honiton’s Project Coordinator, to talk about the aims of the project, some of the research and why we chose to get involved. It was a great opportunity to talk about some of the other amazing work and projects of Devon Development Education. You can listen here 23 mins to 47 minutes in.

Radio Devon & Cornwall’s Anoushka Williams

Pride and Prejudice

Our Telling Our Stories, Finding Our Roots volunteer researchers here in Honiton meet once a month to share with each other the stories they are discovering about Honiton’s multicultural heritage. Whether it’s Spanish refugees, European post-war settlers, or wealthy Indian businessmen, it inevitably sparks conversations about how these stories will help to shape the reputation of the place we live.

What makes you proud of the place you live?

Many of the stories make us feel proud to live here, they create an image of a town worthy of stopping and settling in. Having become a place of refuge for many it says something about it being safe and the people that live here as welcoming.

This led us on to conversations about those often simple gestures that make you feel welcome to a place, such as a neighbour offering you a friendly welcome tea.

What role does prejudice play in making people feel unwelcome?

We touched on the different types of discrimination and prejudice that can occur within a community. Some of our volunteers have experienced or witnessed this themselves. Prejudice against another person can take many forms, and you may find yourself a target because of your race, a disability, your gender, age, sexual orientation, or your religion.

We reflected on the things that make us feel rooted, that make us feel we belong to a place, and more importantly welcome. These things vary significantly from person to person.

Our volunteers like the idea that this project and all its stories will enable everyone to feel as if they too could live and belong here, whoever they are, whatever their circumstances, their heritage or background.

You can join us to be a part of the story for a more inclusive future. Help share the stories we unearth. Together we can reach a wider audience, create a larger ripple in the changing narrative and amplify the voice of those whose stories are being told.

If you have a story to tell that connects you to Honiton’s past and present multicultural heritage please don’t hesitate to contact us.

For links to Honiton contact Jess Huffman

For links to Ilfracombe contact Abi Obene

To keep up to date with project stories, news, events and opportunities visit  our Telling Our Stories Project website or our FaceBook Group TellingOurStoriesDevon