A history project focusing on the development of Leicester’s famous Diwali celebrations has been awarded a £45,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund….reports Asian Lite News
The project, called the Leicester Diwali Heritage and Archive Project, will tell the story of how the city’s Diwali festivities emerged in the 1950s and 1960s, eventually developing into one of the largest Diwali celebrations outside of India.
The project is a joint venture between a local Asian arts organisation, Navrang, and Leicester City Council’s arts and museums service.
Navrang is an arts organisation dedicated to raising the profile of Indian art and heritage and providing individuals, communities and artists with access to participatory and exhibition opportunities.
Navrang’s main activities have included delivering heritage projects as well as devising artist-led projects that incorporate education opportunities for the artists and for the community. Since its establishment in 1996, Navrang has delivered many successful projects working in partnership with community and statutory organisations.
Project staff and volunteers will seek out memories and memorabilia from across the city that will culminate in a touring exhibition for Diwali 2016.
A document archive will also be created and left with the record office for future generations to use.
The project will include a programme of exciting events, talks and workshops, as well as new pages on the Story of Leicester website.
Bharat Pandya, chair of Navrang, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this project to research and celebrate the development of Diwali in Leicester, and hope that people will take the opportunity to become involved.
“Navrang is grateful for the support of the council’s arts and museums service and the award from the Heritage Lottery Fund.”
Cllr Piara Singh Clair, assistant city mayor responsible for culture, leisure and sport, said: “I’m very pleased we have been able to support Navrang in their bid for a Heritage Lottery Fund grant.
“Leicester’s Diwali celebrations have grown over the past few decades to become one of the most successful outside of India. It is wonderful that we will be able to record their development and capture the stories for future generations.
“We look forward to working with Navrang to produce an exciting exhibition and events for people to participate in.”
Jonathan Platt, head of Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands, said: “Diwali in Leicester is one of the highlights of the year with thousands of people coming together to celebrate the festival of lights.
“Exploring how these celebrations have developed since the 1950s can tell us a lot about people’s lives, culture and identity and we encourage everyone who enjoys the festival to get involved in telling its story.”
People can get involved with the project by emailing their memories of the development of Diwali in Leicester to firstname.lastname@example.org