Without role models that they can relate to, young people from BAME backgrounds can be deterred from training as architects, believing it is ‘not for people like me’. Wwant to inspire young people from BAME backgrounds and give them the confidence that a career in architecture is for people like them.
Frustratingly, although England is the birthplace and home of many internationally renowned architects and iconic buildings, the work of architects from black and minority ethnic backgrounds is often less well known.
Our Connecting People and Places project, funded by Historic England, celebrates Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic architects and their architecture. It supports Historic England’s work to enrich our understanding of the buildings and places that are important to our national history, highlighting the histories and places that are important to people from diverse backgrounds.
We believe that by researching, documenting and celebrating their work, not only will it will make our understanding of the historic environment more diverse, but it will inspire a new generation of architects from BAME backgrounds.
In the first phase of the project, currently in progress, we have recruited a team of aspiring architects from BAME backgrounds, underpinned by guidance and support from qualified architects. The team are currently exploring and documenting case studies in England’s six regions (the North West, North East & Yorkshire, the Midlands, East of England, South West and London & the South East). This includes researching and visiting the architects, buildings and places of historic interest that have been designed by or are important to people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. The team are finding out as much as they can about their stories, how they have shaped history, and their value within our communities today.
The second phase will be a touring exhibition, and finally findings from the project are expected be published in 2020, creating a permanent and accessible public record. Not only will this help to ensure that these historic buildings and places are protected for future generations, but it will showcase the positive impact BAME communities have had on the environment we live in, and inspire more young people to take an interest in and get involved with their local heritage.
For a taste of the fascinating stories we have already collected on our project, visit our Soundcloud page.