Participants studied photographs and film, costumes, boxing equipment and the cockney dialect to help reconstruct history and interpret their findings

Making a difference

How the project achieved HLF’s outcomes for heritage

  • 32 oral history interviews were recorded with older people from Cockney, Irish, Jewish, Bangladeshi, and African Caribbean backgrounds, including former fighters and fans of the sport.
  • Participants explained their boxing heritage through documentary films. These YouTube videos are available online.

How the project achieved HLF’s outcomes for people

  • Young people developed skills in oral history recording, archival research and interpretation, and filmmaking and editing.
  • Participants also gained transferable skills in team working, marketing through social networks, event management and delivering presentations.
  • People enjoyed the showcase event, featuring film screenings, stories from ex-fighters and boxing memorabilia, which was reported a huge success. The young people’s achievements were recognised with certificates and graphic prints awarded on stage in front of the audience.
  • Attendees at the showcase were inspired to return to the Bishopsgate Institute to explore the archives or attend their new reminiscence group.
  • Participants and audiences learnt about the history of boxing, and its connections to local youth clubs, entertainment and the social history of crime. 

How the project achieved HLF’s outcomes for communities

  • Over 30 young people who were not engaging with services and mainstream education participated in the project.
  • A wider range of people were introduced to the heritage partners. From our perspective, one of the best things about being involved in Tribal is that we were able to reach completely new audiences. Of the 150+ attendees at the final event, only a small percentage had ever visited the Institute before.” Partner organisation

Lessons learnt

  • The young people needed to be engaged without creating a formal education setting. Project partners found that hands-on learning suited them better. A successful method of engagement involved taking archive materials on the road to provide historical information while participants hung around on set during the recording of the project films.
  • The use of visual and auditory material, from film, photography, music and sound archives, and most importantly, elderly eye witnesses, proved to be powerful tools for making history come alive. 
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