Rochdale's Cultural Tapestry: Cartwheel Arts Secures Funding for Major Heritage Project
Cartwheel Arts has been awarded a £92,340 grant by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to deliver Crafting Heritage – a two-year project which will explore and celebrate the heritage crafts of refugee and asylum seeker communities within Rochdale.
In collaboration with Rochdale Borough Council and a network of local partner organisations, including Touchstones Art Gallery, Deeplish Community Centre, Kashmir Youth Project (KYP), the New Pioneers project, Community Arts North West and national partner Heritage Crafts, Crafting Heritage aims to reimagine and share the unique heritage of these vibrant communities.
Crafting Heritage builds on Cartwheel Arts' ongoing activities and research with these communities, delving into traditional heritage crafts such as Ukrainian folk art, Islamic geometric patterns, Arabic calligraphy, and textiles, including weaving, sewing, and embroidery.
Outcomes from the project will be documented and archived at Touchstones Rochdale, ensuring long-term visibility of the communities that Cartwheel connects. There will also be a final celebration event at Touchstones in 2025.
The Crafting Heritage project itself will see Cartwheel Arts offer a fully paid eight-week training placement for four emerging craftspeople in the area who have experience of forced migration. These placements are designed to support them into self-employment by facilitating a number of heritage craft workshops, gaining the support, connections and experience needed to develop a career within Rochdale’s burgeoning cultural ecosystem.
The trainees will deliver a programme of crafting sessions within a number of local primary schools. These will be used to inform a comprehensive school learning resource which will be shared with every primary school in Rochdale, ensuring a future for aspects of the borough’s cultural heritage which might otherwise risk becoming endangered.
'Heritage is important because it is a part of me that I don't want to lose”…”thank you for doing such an important project that is needed’
(feedback from participants during project consultation)
'The process of settlement from being an asylum seeker to receiving refugee status, is usually isolating and stressful, dealing with different aspects of starting a life in the UK. That would cause the people to lose their confidence of sharing their expertise and knowledge, which ‘Crafting Heritage’ would create the path, that would allow people to not only share their culture and knowledge but also receive proper training, to go into higher levels.'
Mahboobeh Rajabi (Creative Practitioner and Creative Producer at CAN)
Helen Featherstone, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “We’re very proud to support Cartwheel Arts and their partners with this project to preserve the cultural traditions of migrant communities in Rochdale. It’s great to think that thanks to National Lottery players, craftspeople will be supported through career development while sharing their knowledge with local young people to learn the important skills of heritage crafts.”
‘We are delighted to have received funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for Crafting Heritage. We are passionate about preserving and disseminating the diverse heritage crafts of Rochdale’s migrant communities and are keen to provide an opportunity for the development and sharing of heritage crafts within local schools. Crafting Heritage not only represents a ground-breaking means of preserving and sharing these rich traditions within local schools but will also forge dynamic partnerships on both local and national fronts to bring this vision to life. We expect this project will leave an enduring and profound mark on all those who join us on this exciting journey’
Hebe Reilly (Director, Cartwheel Arts)
'The UK's heritage crafts are a wonderful tapestry of knowledge, skills and practices from all over the world, some originating here, but many brought to these shores through waves of migration and the ebb and flow of raw materials, techniques and products across geographical and political borders. We have always recognised the importance of intangible cultural heritage as a portable cultural asset, providing a vital sense of identity to families and individuals who need to create a home in a new country. We welcome this opportunity to nurture the newest heritage crafts to lay down roots in Rochdale.'
Daniel Carpenter (Executive Director, Heritage Crafts)
About The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Using money raised by The National Lottery, we inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.
Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund
Since The National Lottery began in 1994, National Lottery players have raised over £43 billion for projects and more than 635,000 grants have been awarded across the UK. More than £30 million raised each week goes to good causes across the UK.