Agenda item

Roots and Futures / Welcoming Cultures Presentation

Presentation by Dr Lizzy Craig-Atkins (Senior Lecturer in Human Osteology) and Terezia Rostas (Founder of Care for Young People’s Future)



Lizzy Craig-Atkins, Lecturer in Human Osteology at the University of Sheffield and Terezia Rostas, Founder of Care for Young People’s Future were in attendance for this item.




Lizzy Craig-Atkins explained that two Sheffield projects had collaborated to explore culture and heritage stories; these were ‘Roots and Futures’ and ‘Welcoming Cultures’. Roots and Futures was a collaborative research project that explored stories and histories with communities across the city, seeking to understand people’s needs and priorities for input into Sheffield’s heritage strategy and to better reflect what people’s needs. A key element was to understand people’s passions and enthusiasms. They had talked to groups, collected data and reflected on people’s views. Some funding had been received from the Arts and Humanities Research Council  and this had funded work with community partners, including SADACCA, Zest  Centre, Care for Young Peoples Future, to try and find ways of connecting communities needs and desires into a heritage policy. It was hoped to implement change and see a difference in communities, with a focus on delivering policy and strategy that was already in place. The focus was also on recommendation five of the Race Equality Commission. Their work fed back into communities to share voices, feed into policy and produce toolkits on how to work together more effectively. She outlined the key actions that aimed to grow the project in the future; create space for more diverse voices, enhance belonging and visibility, build on strong partnerships, share a successful consultation approach and use academic funding for the benefit of Sheffield’s underserved communities.




Terezia Rostas explained that Care for Young People’s Futures (CYPF) was an organisation that looked at non-formal education and aimed to empower underserved communities to speak out. She referred to her culture and background and how she believed freedom of choice for her community to be important. She added that minoritised communities often felt that their heritage was misunderstood in official cultural heritage institutions, such as museums, festivals and social media, and that it was often delivered by academic leaders rather than communities that had actual lived experiences. She noted that there was a lack of resources available to support the recognition of lived experiences and cultural knowledge held within communities, and that some communities felt under-represented, mis-represented and under-valued in institutions and education across Sheffield. Lottery Funding had provided investment into training, and along with support from the Roots and Futures team, had led to the Welcoming Cultures project. She explained that the main areas of focus were creating a strong partnership with institutions and communities, developing a multi-cultural museum, and increasing staff workforce in the community. On a personal level, she believed that Sheffield would feel like an anti-racist city once she felt comfortable to wear traditional Roma clothing and still be treated equally. She referred to those that had made her feel welcome within Sheffield, and noted that she had been given opportunities, unlike previous generations of her family. However she still felt that that the knowledge and experience from her heritage was under-valued. She added that CYPF aimed to have a positive impact on communities and partners, by increasing the visibility of voices from Roma backgrounds, collaborating with partners, and helping to adapt existing policies to better accommodate the needs of the Roma community.




The Chair thanked Lizzy Craig-Atkins and Terezia Rostas for attending the meeting.