An exhibition including a short film featuring the stories of six local British South Asians will be on display at North Herts Museum from 2 to 28 August, showcasing and celebrating Hitchin’s diverse heritage.
Mandeep, film creator and one of the people featured in the exhibition, explained: “A large part of why Hitchin is so warm and welcoming is because of its diversity which is linked to Hitchin’s migration story. In the 1960s, many South Asians moved to the UK and some, like my family, moved to Hitchin in the hopes of starting new lives. Their children, like myself, were the first to be born and raised in this country and I wanted to explore how other children of the diaspora, particularly women like me, shaped and navigated their hybrid identity as British Asians in Hertfordshire.
“My docu-film will tell our story and it’ll be the first time we’ve shared it. I felt it was important to not only chronicle the people in my community who experienced cultural conflict, but to also celebrate them and how they challenged the conventions of what it means to be brown in a small English town. Hopefully it will help people understand what it feels like to be different, particularly in a world which feels so divided. I want audiences to resonate and relate with the participants in this film, who paved the way for a new and multicultural definition of what it means to be a British Asian.”
Councillor Keith Hoskins, Executive Member for Enterprise and Arts, said: “We are very proud of our diverse community in Hitchin and the district as a whole, and this film will help tell the story of South Asians who migrated here and made it their home. Understanding and celebrating diversity is so important, especially at the current time with people from Ukraine fleeing the Russian invasion and seeking solace here.
“The museum recently hosted a very popular and successful coffee morning for Ukrainians and we will continue to welcome refugees and migrants from around the world to the district.”
North Herts Museum is located in Brand Street, Hitchin, open Tue-Sat 10.30am-4.30pm and Sun 11am-3pm, admission is free.