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Parade at the Brick Lane mela 2011. Photo copyright Mohiuddin Siddique, Eye CultureThere are approximately 300,000 Bengalis currently living in the UK. Not much history of those Bengalis who settled in the UK currently exists (except two books written by Caroline Adams & Yousuf Chowdhury). Many of the first settlers are now elderly (sadly some have already passed away) and their memories and experiences are being lost as their testimonies have not been recorded and preserved. Many young Bengalis do not know the history of their elders and cannot easily access information related to Bengali community. The project aims to preserve the memories and experiences of the elders before this loss.

The project will offer unique opportunity to Bengali young people to research, document and celebrate Bengali heritage & history by recording the experience of three generation Bengalis in the UK. Interviews (interviews will be translated into Bengali or vice versa) will be recorded on audio (and if possible on video), materials (including photographs) will be used for exhibition, publication (including learning packs for schools) and website. Original material will be held with the Swadhinata Trust (for its proposed Bengali Resource Centre) and CRONEM but copies will be deposited in the Tower Hamlets Local History Library and other institutions Swadhinata Trust works with in partnership.

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