Meet the team
A team of Community Curators, made up of local people, worked with Ipswich Museums on the original exhibition (which opened from 26th June to 24th October 2021) to create an exhibition which encouraged visitors to think about how storytelling can be used as a tool to unite or divide people. Their input shaped the displays and interpretation. Local community members will continue to help shape the exhibition as it tours Suffolk.
Photography by John Ferguson.
I came to Ipswich from the beautiful island of Barbados and attended school and college here. I am a retired primary assistant head teacher, Black History and EAL consultant. I am passionate about education, history and empowering the community to leave their legacy, consequently I have been supporting the Windrush project.
I became involved in the Power of Stories project because I am interested in the decolonising discourse and looking at practical ways of ensuring this becomes a reality. The Black Lives Matter movement has demonstrated the need for change and inclusion. Having watched Marvel Studios’ Black Panther, I was thrilled Ipswich was hosting a project which features some of the costumes. I wanted to ensure that the experience of the community would be included and reflected in the exhibition. As a primary teacher, I am passionate about developing literacy skills of pupils and using stories to motivate and engage them.
I hope that the exhibition will provide opportunities for others to experience how to decolonise museum displays, making them more relevant, inclusive, and engaging for previously unrepresented groups. I hope to see a wider range of people visiting the museum. Most of all I hope the community can feel included, and that their history, stories, and culture are valued. I want to make it an uplifting and educational experience for all and to say thank you for the museum for including us in their journey.
I have enjoyed working collaboratively with the museum staff and community members and appreciate the opportunity to be involved in this new and exciting initiative. The experience as a curator has been invaluable!
Hetepu (peace and many blessings)
I am Imani Sorhaindo and I have lived in Ipswich since 1976, when I came here with my family from the beautiful island of Dominica. I have worked as a community volunteer for over 40 years, and I am a business owner, qualified holistic health practitioner and teacher.
I have a very strong sense of self and a positive sense of identity as an African woman living in Suffolk. I feel I bring a creative and fresh look to the project, ensuring that an African perspective is embedded into it, and that there is a re-distribution of power in terms of the narrative within the Museum. I got involved because if we are not part of the solution, and part of shaping projects, there will always be a Euro-centric view directing Suffolk events. New ways are opening up for collaboration, unity and equality, instead of tokenistic consultations when BME communities are simply on the peripheries. I wanted to be part of a central body which creates change in Suffolk, and ART is very powerful in shaping and promoting false ideology or truthful ideologies. So here I am!
I sincerely hope that the exhibition impacts positively for all those who attend and go on this wonderful journey. Costumes from Marvel Studios’ Black Panther in Suffolk, who would have thought it! But to me, the important question is WHAT IMPACT will this have on Suffolk life? I hope people feel able to share their own stories about who they are, and their heritage and culture as a result of the exhibition. No more can we all stay silenced. It’s time to create a rich tapestry in Suffolk, and this can only happen when all people are free and have equal access to all areas of life activity.
It has been challenging process for me as a Black woman being involved as we can often feel so over-consulted, but I have enjoyed the rich and challenging discussions, shared perspectives, honest critique and laughter at the meetings. Thank you for the experience I had being a Community Curator.
My name is Glen Chisholm.
I’m a self-confessed “Comic Book Geek” and I’m also passionate about Social Justice – Comics have often paralleled or championed these struggles.
I am excited that this exhibition is coming to Ipswich and I see it as an opportunity for us to understand what we have in common through the power of stories.
Hey my name is Lāna’i.
I’m 19 years old and I have been volunteering at Volunteering Matters for the WASSUP (Women Against Sexual exploitation and violence Speak Up) project for 4 years. Being involved in that charity has changed my life in many positive ways but particularly the opportunities it has brought me – including getting to be a Community Curator for the Power of Stories exhibition.
It is a massive honour to be working alongside these other incredible and knowledgeable curators, and all those that have been involved in making this happen, from whom I have gained so much wisdom. It is also a privilege that they value my voice as I try to speak up for those that I believe aren’t yet being heard, but who will hopefully feel they can be throughout and after this exhibition.
Marvel Studios’ Black Panther was revolutionary for me, and I am sure I can speak on behalf of many people of African and Caribbean heritage when I say it was a source of empowerment for our strength, beauty and culture to be reflected in a mainstream light.
Ipswich is said to be one of the most diverse areas in the East of England and I believe our non-white British population has helped the County become a leader in change, producing greater equality, economic and cultural value in the region as a whole. We still have a long way to go but whilst statistically we may be a ‘minority’ group, our potential contribution to Ipswich and beyond is undoubtedly major. Just as Marvel Studios’ Black Panther appeals to all age groups and demographics, I think the greater value of our Black and minority communities will benefit everyone.
As the late great and beloved Chadwick Boseman said in his role as King T’Challa: “more connects us than separates us” – so I’ll be counting down the days till everyone’s welcomed to join this exciting possible potential for greater connection!
I’ve really enjoyed being part of the curation team for this exhibition – a group with great knowledge and experience. I was invited to take part in this project initially as publicity support because I work with artists and communities – I specialise in intercultural community art projects. When there was a broad invitation to join the project as a volunteer, I realised I was interested too!
I am Jewish and the third generation in my mother’s family to be born in the UK. My daughters are mixed heritage, their paternal heritage is from Senegal in West Africa. I have a keen interest in community as I was raised in Old Hall, an international community in Suffolk. For these reasons and more I’m interested in educating myself, making sure I raise my daughters with awareness and sharing what I have learnt so far.
Recognising the value of living in a country where exchange, friendship, love and marriage take place between all people is important to me. We have further to go in developing a truly equitable society, especially in the workplace and especially in the field of arts & culture. Museums play a central role in helping us to reckon with uncomfortable truths in our shared histories, being brave for a positive outcome – in order to enable true reconciliation, equality and redemption.