Black Country Visual Arts (BCVA) received a grant in 2016 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for an exciting project, Apna Heritage Archive, in Wolverhampton. Over a period of two years (2016-2018) BCVA brought together a collection of over 2000 historic photographs and memorabilia relating to Punjabi migration to Wolverhampton from 1960 to 1989 and curated a very popular exhibition (Jan2018-March2018) at Wolverhampton Art Gallery which was extended by the City Council. Anand Chhabra Director of BCVA initiated and found the relevant project partners with a focus on ‘city wide agglomeration’ on the project which includes: Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara, St Luke’s Primary School, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton City Archives and the University of Wolverhampton.  75 present day portraits from within the Punjabi community were created by two photographers. The collection is housed in a dedicated archive space at the Guru Teg Bahadur Gurdwara in Upper Villiers Street, Blakenhall, Wolverhampton and will remain for a period of 5 years. A digital collection of the archive will be provided to Wolverhampton City Archives so that future generations will have access to the archive.

Community volunteers will have learnt and continue to learn about the value of heritage and develop skills to create and maintain the visual archive. A creative learning and heritage project with St Luke’s Primary School will run alongside the project. Year 6 school children will learn and develop heritage research skills and create their own archive of the school and local Blakenhall community.

BCVA are looking for volunteers and participants to be part of the Apna Heritage Archive. If you have a collection of old photographs/memorabilia or would like to be a project volunteer, please contact BCVA for further information.  

Click on the galleries to browse through our ongoing collection of archived photographs and portraits