“It doesn’t count here”: super-diverse community experiences in a local history museum
thesisposted on 14.01.2022, 12:16 by Charlotte Barratt
This thesis looks at the experiences of super diverse communities in a local social history museum. Having spent two years working with English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Groups visiting the Newarke Houses Museum in Leicester, I have explored their sensory and emotional experiences in the space. In visiting the museum with 56 people across four ESOL groups and four families, I have been able to reflect on Leicester as a super-diverse city and how the local communities have developed and changed over time, the story that the local history museum tells does not always reflect its local communities. The process of discovery includes using photography to document the visits alongside more reflective artwork drawn from the resulting images and notes. This process of reflection provides an alternative method of exploring other people’s emotions and experiences. From the interactions with objects and stories, this thesis outlines a series of solutions for local history museums who are based in or looking forward at developing content that represents their super-diverse communities. The findings highlight areas where museums could tell more accurate narratives around their local communities to encourage belonging and sharing cultures. Decolonising the language around the museum alongside reducing the amount of text in exhibits would encourage further participation of people with English as an additional language. It also contributes to the literature around creative methods and building relationships with communities for research. “It doesn’t count here” was a quote from one of the people I visited the museum with, and it resonated across contexts from education, to contribution, to missing narratives.