A reflection on History Day 2020: New Approaches to Local and Community History
On the 19th of November, I attended a seminar as a panellist on History Day 2020. This event centred on the panellists presenting their relative projects embodied in an object in a show and tell format. I introduced myself and the current work of YHP and explained how I had wanted to join YHP because of the significance their projects have in the black community. After the introduction, I did a short presentation explaining what YHP does and our current project on African women in the British healthcare system.
This session was about local and community history and so I explained how even though YHP covers the entire UK it draws from and is contributing to the wider Black British community. I then brought up an image of Adwoa, a woman that YHP interviewed about her experiences in Britain. Born in the UK to Ghanaian parents, Adwoa works as a nurse and has also worked as the General Secretary of the Ghana Nurses Association (GNA), an organisation that provides support and community for Ghanaian nurses. In the picture, you can see Adwoa in the original uniform from her nursing training in the 1990s when she was working in a care home. During her interview, Adwoa shared with YHP members the significance of uniforms in nursing history, and how they've changed over the years. I highlighted the look of pride on her face when wearing her original uniform and how that represents our current project. I chose this picture because for me it showed the longstanding presence and importance of African women in British healthcare. This resonated with some participants in the talk who had also worked in the NHS. I stressed that Black British history, particularly the history of African women, is often neglected, how important it is to promote it, and make it accessible.
Other panellists presented their organisations and show and tell objects, and then the session ended with questions from the attendees. A question put towards me was how to encourage young people to engage with history and join organisations. Drawing from my own thought process when joining YHP, I believe that making sure what you’re doing as an organisation is relevant and impactful today is important so that young people feel that they are making a difference. This event was the first time I have represented YHP and it was a great experience, with the panellists and attendees praising the work of YHP. Talking to all of the attendees made me realise the new skills in video editing and research I have gained because of how everyone in YHP encouraged me to play an active part throughout the project.