Members of FAD’s Heritage Lottery Funded Black Icons project had the chance to share the inspiring stories of the Black British trailblazers they researched for their Black Icons of the
Young people from London have collaborated on this multi faceted project to produce a free new magazine, celebrating Black Icons of the British Jazz Age in the 1920s and 30s.
The project sees iconic black figures such as entertainer Rita Cann, boxer Len Johnson and broadcaster Una Marson brought to life, empowering black youth and inspiring young people from all backgrounds with their shared heritage.
This unique project encouraged the young people involved to conduct hands-on archive research with original source material. Volunteers also heard lectures from some of the UK’s most respected historians, such as Stephen Bourne, to inform their work. The young volunteers explored London’s rich archives, before designing and creating textiles inspired by traditional East African Kanga cloth, to celebrate their chosen Black Icons. These cloths were then modelled by the young people themselves, providing the images that compliment the life stories explored in the magazine.
The group stepped away from Google and into the archives of London. They sifted through ephemera and photographs. They heard lectures and recordings. Using their new found skills and knowledge they used original source material to uncover the untold stories of the black brits of the Jazz Age.
The young people identified thirteen inspirational individuals – our Black Icons. Inspired by East African Kanga cloths, they designed and screen printed textiles which pay tribute to 13 incredible life stories.