14 February 2017
Last week the Legacy of Ahmed project came ‘runner up’ in the heritage category of the Manchester BME Network awards. Jackie and Jennie from the AIU Education Trust attended the prize-giving ceremony, together with friends from Ananna and MRSN (both of whom scooped awards too). Thanks once again to everyone who took part in the Legacy project – it couldn’t have happened without you.
09 January 2017
Testimonies from the Ahmed Iqbal Memorial High School
On the last day of work before the Christmas break, Jackie managed to finish writing summary documents of the audio recordings made on the recent trip to Sylhet, Bangladesh. All of the material that Jackie and Sam collected during their visit will be made available via the archive, to researchers. The voices of teachers, students, graduates and the head teacher, Shyamal Chandra Das powerfully testify to the importance and achievements of the Ahmed Iqbal Memorial High School. Listen to a sample interview excerpt here
14 December 2016
Engaging with the Legacy project
15 young people from Ananna have created their own screen printed posters, in response to the Legacy of Ahmed exhibition. After visiting a temporary, touring display (currently on show at Longsight Library) they learnt about the anti-racism rally of 1986, inspired by Ahmed’s murder. They also viewed historic campaign posters from the Race Relations Resource Centre, then had a go at designing their own with the help of artists Jo Ford and Natalie Linney. Thanks to Archives+ for funding the activity.
“I learnt about Ahmed and the courageous initiatives of his family. It made me think how we ‘evolved’ today and that we should always make others aware of racism.” Teenage participant
“The best day of my life!” Amelia, age 5
09 November 2016
Hot off the press
‘Ahmed was so much more than a murder victim – he was a teenager full of energy and potential.’
The Legacy of Ahmed project has produced a commemorative booklet with a selection of fabulous photographs, moving and memorable quotations from interviewees and information about the Ahmed Iqbal Memorial High School in Sylhet Bangladesh, a place that left both Jackie and Sam inspired. A special feature is Sam’s personal reflection on his trip to Bangladesh and the resonance with his Sri Lankan heritage. Please get in touch if you would like a copy or call in to see the exhibition and collect a copy while you’re here.
14 October 2016
The Legacy of Ahmed project launch
Friday 14 October would have been Ahmed Iqbal Ullah’s 44th birthday. To mark the occasion, family, friends and those affected by his death attended a special commemorative event and project launch at Manchester Central Library.
Over 100 people gathered for a preview of the ‘Legacy of Ahmed’ exhibition, featuring a range of oral history interview excerpts, photographs and archive material. They also listened to a programme of speeches delivered by Councillor Lufther Rahman (Executive Member for Culture and Leisure), Selina Ullah (founder of the Intercultural Communication and Leadership School, and Ahmed’s sister) and Prof Lou Kushnick (founder of the AIU Race Relations Resource Centre). The event included refreshments made by members of the Manchester Bangladeshi Women’s Organisation and a special screening of the project film created by producer Karen Gabay.
“A very touching event.”
“This project has given me a deeper understanding of race, my own race and my place within this city and country.”
“Mrs Fatima Begum [Ahmed’s mother and founder of the Ahmed Iqbal Memorial High School] is a true inspiration to all women, all over the world.”
“I think that Manchester secondary schools should teach their students about Ahmed’s life and legacy.”
Ahmed was murdered by a fellow pupil in the school playground, after defending younger Asian boys from bullying. 2016 marks the 30th anniversary of his death. For the past 12 months The Legacy of Ahmed project has been gathering oral history interviews and archive material to document both the impact of his death and the wide range of positive initiatives inspired by his memory.
The exhibition continues at Central Library until the beginning of January 2017.
29 September 2016
Visit to the Ahmed Iqbal Memorial High School, Sylhet
Sam and I had a wonderful and inspiring trip to the high school set up by Fatima Nehar Begum (Mrs Ullah) last week. We were warmly welcomed by the head teacher – Mr Shamal Chandra Das, his staff and school management committee.
School students were curious, intrigued by these foreign visitors to their institution and very friendly. Sam and I have never before appeared in so many selfies! We noticed an impressive commitment to education among these students who are very aware of the value of their schooling to their own future.
We also met a large group of former students, including two who were from the very first intake in 1995 and had been taught under the branches of the mango tree while the original school rooms were being built. These students emphasised the importance of this school to the district. Living in a poor rural area, few had the opportunity to attend High School before the building of the Ahmed Iqbal Memorial High and they wanted us to know how much the school had changed their lives by enabling them to go on to higher education and better careers.
Fatima and her extended family showed us amazing hospitality, providing many delicious meals and making sure we were comfortable in spite of the heat (32degrees and 81 percent humidity). Sam found many aspects of life in this area of Bangladesh resonated with his Sri Lankan heritage and this – and cricket – became a frequent talking point.
We enjoyed travelling through the beautiful landscape, with its infinite variety of greens and were even lucky enough to spot two working elephants on one of our journeys.
28 September 2016
Visiting the school
Jackie and Sam recently visited the Ahmed Iqbal Memorial High School in Sylhet, Bangladesh and came back inspired.
The AIUET exhibition ‘The Legacy of Ahmed’ will be on display on the Lower Ground Floor of Manchester Central Library from October 10 till the end of December.
14 July 2016
“An overwhelmingly positive legacy”
Lamisa joined us for a work experience placement, and had this to say about her time with us:
I am currently doing my A-Levels in History, English Literature and Geography at Altrincham Grammar School for Girls. On the 11th July 2016 I began a week-long Work Experience placement at the Race Relations Resource Centre at Central Library.
My time at the Centre has been thoroughly enjoyable, more importantly however; I have gained invaluable experience and knowledge through my work, which was primarily based upon ‘The Legacy of Ahmed Iqbal Ullah’ project. Despite carrying out numerous activities during my placement, the highlights of my week had to be attending a meeting with the Steering Group for the Project, looking through archives from the Macdonald Inquiry as well as logging and creating digitised versions of new archive materials, to name a few!
Most poignant, in my opinion, was a photograph we discovered of an anti-racist demonstration following Ahmed’s death; the photograph depicted a march in which one boy held a banner reading ‘Black People Defend Yourselves’. For me, this image illustrated the gravity of Ahmed’s death and the relevance which it still holds to this day, and the lessons which might be learned from it.
Perhaps somewhat expectedly, I have learnt a lot about the logistics of the activities involved in running the Centre but what I didn’t anticipate was how the experience would enrich me as a person.
As a young, third-generation Bangladeshi immigrant, in a similar way to many others in my demographic, I never gave much thought to race-relations at the time of my grandparents’ migration to the UK in the 1950s. However through exploring oral interviews and the immense archives I have been able to understand the tensions, both political and social, which arose as a result of commonwealth migration, many of which were exemplified by the death of Ahmed Iqbal Ullah. Consequently, I feel a growing sense of pride in the City of Manchester, the BME community and my own ethnic heritage as well.
Working on ‘The Legacy of Ahmed Iqbal Ullah’ has been saddening and poignant, yet somehow also offers hope. Looking at how Ahmed’s devastating death has had such remarkable impacts locally in the form of the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre; nationwide in terms of the Macdonald Inquiry and subsequent investigations into anti-racist legislation, and even globally with the Ahmed Iqbal Memorial High School in Bangladesh, is an overwhelmingly positive legacy which remains in the wake of such a tragic event.
16 June 2016
Community groups showcase their heritage projects.
The Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre hosted a showcase of BME community group heritage projects for the Manchester Histories Festival on June 7th. The groups included Manchester Aid to Kosovo, Creative Hands Foundation, Manchester Refugee Support Network, Warmhut, Afristar, Southern Voices, Millenium Powerhouse and Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Education Trust. All exhibited and talked about the projects they’ve recently finished or are still delivering. Mostly funded by grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the projects are very diverse, ranging across collecting oral history testimonies from refugee and migrant groups; fashion in Moss Side; to the role of the British Empire in the First World War. The showcase provided a welcome opportunity to meet and talk with other groups about their experience of delivering a heritage project and to share with members of the public. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and showed there is a need for events like this.
We prepared a display for the showcase, reflecting key project themes: Who was Ahmed Iqbal Ullah? What are the positive initiatives that have emerged following Ahmed’s tragic death? What do people think of Manchester’s diversity today?
28 April 2016
Learning from the Longsight Sylhet Link (LSL)
On Friday 15 April, placement students Rebecca and Theo, met Ros Paito. Ros is Inclusion Learning Co-ordination and designated Special Educational Needs Coordinator at The Co-operative Academy in Blackley and attended the Longsight-Sylhet Link trip to Bangladesh in 2003. Ros has worked in education in Manchester since 1989 and her oral history interview reflected changes and continuities in the city’s schools.
Ros started working for the Ethnic Minority Achievement Service (EMAS) in 1991, has worked for the Diversity and Inclusion Team and continues to strive for community cohesion in her current job. Following the 2003 LSL trip, Ros worked with fellow teachers and group-members to develop school resources inspired by their experiences. These continue to enhance her work with minority ethnic pupils today.
During the interview Ros shared her memories of school visits made during the LSL trip. In particular she was struck by the Ahmed Iqbal Memorial High School:
‘Well I suppose it was knowing the reason why the school had been established and knowing that this one family was doing so much…’
Ros also believes that Ahmed’s death had a huge impact on the work undertaken by EMAS:
‘I think that context, that history, it drove, it fired up the work that was going on, to make the curriculum more engaging, more accessible, more reflecting children’s backgrounds. That was a huge part of the work; people making resources that reflected the backgrounds of the children in the schools.’
Ros explained several factors that she has found key to challenging racism and achieving community cohesion; chiefly recognising and encouraging the value of bilingualism, and ensuring meaningful conversation between pupils, teachers and parents.
12 April 2016
Remembering With Rev. Bob Day
On the 3rd of March, Rev. Bob Day met with Rebecca and Theo, two placement students from the University of Manchester helping with ‘The Legacy of Ahmed Iqbal Ullah’ project. Bob attended the Longsight-Sylhet Link reunion and reminiscence meeting in November. Rebecca and Theo met with him again to discuss in greater detail his work in the community and his memories of Bangladesh.
Bob is Reverend at the Roby United Reformed Church on Dickenson Road in Longsight and is Chair of the Faith Network in Manchester. He has also played an important role throughout the years at The Roby, a preventative mental health mentalhealthupdate.com project which functions in the same space as the Roby Church. Bob emphasised the importance of community cohesion – “having a place where people felt safe and could come and just be and explore themselves and skills and what was happening to them”. He discussed how community cohesion has changed in Longsight over the years and how his experiences in Bangladesh affected his work in Longsight.
Bob visited Bangladesh in 2002, prior to the 2003 Longsight-Sylhet Link trip, and talked to Rebecca and Theo about his experiences in Bangladesh and Longsight. He explained that his first trip was part of a sabbatical – “visiting as many mosques and community placements as I could in Longsight, meeting people … then two and a bit weeks in Bangladesh”. Bob sought to gain an insight into the Bangladeshi experience of Longsight, he wanted to understand how it felt to be part of a minority culture in a community – “I was just trying to sort of explore how it was for them coming into Longsight.” Bob recalled being part of the Christian minority whilst in Bangladesh and explained that being unable to proselytise meant that Christians serve their faith through service. Bob remembered the Church’s involvement in community development in a predominantly Muslim community. He recalled how Micro-credit functioned and the prominence of women in community projects – “It was women who got together and did the Microcredit, it was women who were interested in health things and nutrition and community gardens”.
Bob recalled a realisation of the connectedness of people and places whilst in Bangladesh. He recalled seeing the work of English charities such as the “Tudor Trust” and NGOs and remembered that a woman in a village “had a Singer sewing machine like I had at home.”
Bob emphasised that “relationships are very important” and whilst discussing his memories of Longsight and Bangladesh recalled the philosopher Martin Buber’s quote: “All real living is meeting”.
23 March 2016
On Board with Oral History
In November, two students from the University of Manchester joined ‘The Legacy of Ahmed Iqbal Ullah’project as placement students. Below they introduce themselves and reflect on their involvement in oral history so far:
Rebecca: “I’m currently doing my Masters in ‘Religions and Theology’at The University of Manchester and have loved being involved in ‘The Legacy of Ahmed’project so far. Theo and I have created an index and summary for the oral history recordings taken at the Longsight-Sylhet Link reminiscence session and at an additional meeting with group members Lois Miles and Jo Fee. I’m really enjoying learning how to conduct interviews, reminiscence sessions and record oral history and I’m excited to see the fruits of the project in the exhibition on the 14th October (Ahmed’s birthday) commemorating his life!”
Theo: “I’m also studying at The University of Manchester for my Masters in ‘Religions and Theology’. The placement experience so far has broadened my knowledge of race relations in Manchester and I have enjoyed listening to memories about how things have changed throughout the years. I’m looking forward to recording further interviews and collaborating with others to capture video footage for the project.
Creating the indexes and summaries for the oral history recordings of those who were involved in the Longsight-Sylhet Link trip has been very interesting! Listening to the memories of Bangladesh and Longsight has led us to arrange further interviews, in order to collect greater details for the project.”
Group members in both recordings recalled a mango tree at the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Memorial School and its unifying atmosphere. We consider it to be an important symbol of ‘The Legacy of Ahmed Iqbal Ullah’project:
As members of the 2003 Longsight Sylhet Link trip to Bangladesh recalled:
That’s where the school started wasn’t it? Teaching under that tree. [Barry Johnson, community activist]
The first lessons started under that tree. [Mutasim Billah, community worker]
And maybe it’s symbolic of what you were describing earlier, that it can somehow embrace a vast number of different cultures and people and religions. [Bob Day, URC Minister]
13 March 2016
A day to remember
Around 35 women gathered at Ananna this weekend to share their memories of Longsight and the Manchester Bangladeshi Women’s Organisation (MBWO). MBWO was established in 1989 and is based on Dickenson Road in Longsight. During its 27 year history the organisation has helped hundreds of women to develop life skills, access services and overcome isolation. For its founder members, Ahmed Iqbal Ullah’s death was a catalyst that brought community members together, highlighting the need for greater cooperation and an organised response to discrimination.
1 March 2016
This week, members of Ananna’s Monday lunch club took time out to recall memories of their childhood. 20 women plus management committee members and staff enjoyed playing with nostalgic toys including a skipping rope, cup and ball, spinning top and marbles.
“Skipping makes you grow taller.”
“We called the spinning top a lateem. It had a nail in the bottom and you’d set it going with a string. We had races to see whose lateem would spin the longest.”
6 January 2016
Gerald Kaufman MP
Sir Gerald Kaufman is the Member of Parliament for Gorton. His constituency includes the district of Longsight where both the Greater Manchester Bangladeshi Association and The Manchester Bangladeshi Women’s Organisation (known as Ananna) are based.
10 December 2015
On November 11, we held a reunion and reminiscence meeting for members of the Longsight-Sylhet Link group.
8 December 2015
Last week at Ananna, 13 women (including 2 members of the management committee) and 5 staff took part in a reminiscence session looking back at 30 years of development within the Manchester Bangladeshi community.
11 November 2015
Interviews update – Professor Lou Kushnick
3 November 2015
Charting the history of Ananna – a report from Jennie
I’ve already spent 2 days in Ananna’s archive room with Afreena (project archive research intern), clearing and sorting through piles of bags and boxes. We haven’t yet started to look through the filing cabinets, jammed to capacity with records charting the organisation’s 26 year history. It’s going to take a long time to sort and rationalise the contents.
The room also doubles as a storage space, so our first job was to identify and salvage stationery and catering equipment in sealed packets. We cleared and cleaned (eventually taking six bin liners full of rubbish to the tip), then bought large, transparent containers to ensure that the remaining stock is clearly visible and accessible.
We then began sorting folders into piles under subject headings – personnel, finance, grant funding, services, children and young people and so on…Some of the folders contain many documents that will need further analysis. Others contained blank sheets or sole documents. Many contain names, addresses and phone numbers, so will need to be disposed of carefully in accordance with the data protection act.
One particular file we opened was like a time capsule from the 1980s, containing worksheets and books used in to teach ESOL, plus a set of letter stencils for creating posters and a pair of reading glasses in their original case.
Another box of printed material included items such as annual reports, surveys and publicity documents relating to parallel and partnership BME organisations from the 1980s onwards. It also contained Manchester City Council publicity on housing, careers, health services etc. All of potential interest to future researchers and therefore, the Race Relations Resource Centre.
Together as a project team, we will need to decide what to keep and what dispose of. We’ll also need to develop a rough catalogue of archive contents and their location, as well as a strategy for collecting and managing documents in the future.
The building occupied by Ananna is a large, Victorian terrace in need of updating. In one corner of the archive room severe damp has caused the wallpaper to peel. There is also evidence of mice on the premises. At some point the organisation will need to consider how to safeguard their archive and its contents for the longer term.
21 October 2015
There is now a new section in the Legacy of Ahmed area of the website for audio clips (within the Exhibition section). New clips and transcripts will be added as the interviews are carried out. Listen to a snippet of Joe Flynn’s interview.
23 September 2015
The Legacy of Ahmed project Steering Group had its first meeting this week. We had useful conversations about the project themes and actions over the next couple of months. Steering Group members are:
Selina Ullah and Mutassim Billah of the Ullah family; Dr Safina Islam and Mrs Nurjahan Ahmad of Ananna; Joe Flynn of the AIU Memorial Trust; Professor Emeritus Lou Kushnick and Catharine Rew of the AIU Education Trust.
17 September 2015
New Project Manager
We are pleased that Jennifer Vickers has joined the Trust as the Project Manager for the Legacy of Ahmed project. Jennie has a fantastic cv and has delivered a large number of oral history projects across Greater Manchester.
In only her second week with us, Jennie did her first interview, gathering the memories of Joe Flynn. Joe was a member of the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Memorial fund-raising group back in the 80s/90s. He spent several hours sharing his memories of that work and recalling the impact of Ahmed’s death on Manchester’s schools. He also gave the project archive documents relating to the Memorial Trust and the school in Bangladesh. This has got the project interviewing off to a very good start. Thanks Joe!
20 August 2015
Memories of Burnage
How much has Burnage changed over the decades since Ahmed’s death? How much has it stayed the same? We want to hear from people who grew up in Burnage, or who have memories (and pictures, if possible!) of the area in the 80s.
28 July 2015
Building the school
Mrs Fatima Ullah, Ahmed’s mother, was determined to make something good happen from the tragedy of Ahmed’s death. A fund-raising campaign group in Manchester worked to raise money to build a school in the Ullah family’s home village, Bongoan, in Bangladesh .
16 July 2015
The Legacy of Ahmed project wins Heritage Lottery Fund support
2016 marks the 30th anniversary of the death of 13 year old Ahmed Iqbal Ullah, murdered in Manchester in 1986 after defending younger Bangladeshi boys from racist bullying. The Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Education Trust is delighted to have been awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for this project exploring ‘The Legacy of Ahmed’.
Our project will commemorate Ahmed in an exhibition event to be held in Manchester Central Library on his birthday on 14 October 2016. Through building an oral history and documentary archive, we want to share the history of the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Memorial School built by Ahmed’s mother in their home village in Bangladesh and of the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre at the University of Manchester. Our project will also trace the history of the South Manchester Bangladeshi community, particularly exploring the lives of women involved in the Bangladeshi Women’s Organisation, ‘Ananna’, which is also nearing its 30th anniversary. We aim to provide an opportunity for the many people who remember Ahmed to reflect on his life, to ensure his memory is sustained and to record, archive and share the positive efforts made in his name in Manchester and in Bangladesh.
Ahmed’s mother was delighted with the HLF decision, saying “Ahmed gave his life for pride, honour and dignity and I would like people to remember him.”
About the Heritage Lottery Fund
From the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife, we use National Lottery players’ money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about. www.hlf.org.uk.