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History and Heritage for British Asians: A Conversation


Dr Priya Atwal (TORCH Knowledge Exchange Fellow in History, University of Oxford)

Deepraj Singh (Dance artist, Akademi)

Anveer Sodhi (3rd year History student, University of Oxford)

This conversation and Q&A was recorded at the South Asian History Festival, held on 21st April at Oxford Spires Academy. This event was the first of its kind, and was hosted in conjunction with Dr Priya Atwal's Knowledge Exchange Fellowship project on 'The Indian Army in the First World War: an Oxfordshire perspective'.

Following a film screening of the moving war play, 'The Troth' (performed by the theatre troupe Akademi), Priya hosted a discussion about the importance and value of engaging with heritage and the arts for the British Asian community, using the legacy of the First World War as a central talking point. She was joined by Deepraj Singh (a cast member of 'The Troth') and Anveer Sodhi (a volunteer in the research and design team led by Priya, to co-curate the mini-exhibition, 'The Indian Army in the First World War: an Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire perspective').

Priya, Deepraj and Anveer shared their experiences of interpreting and presenting the history of the First World War to British and South Asian audiences through museum work and creative arts. They also reflected on the on-going need to increase public awareness of this history and to encourage the British Asian community to engage with this process more actively.

The 'Indian Army' mini-exhibition continues its tour across Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire museums: it is on display at the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum until 30 April (with a special Asian cultural activity day being held on Saturday 28 April) and then will be hosted by Abingdon Museum in November 2018.

Akademi's 'The Troth' can be viewed on Youtube, or to get tickets for a live performance of the play, visit the theatre group's website