Beyond the Frame highlights the many ways in which South Asians have contributed and influenced Britain's cultural, economic, political and social life, from 1858 to 1950
Beyond the Frame: Indian British Connections follows on from the major 3-year AHRC-funded cross-institutional interdisciplinary research project ‘Making Britain: South Asian Visions of Home and Abroad’ (2007-2010). The project extends the public reach and international impact of ‘Making Britain’.
Drawing on the proven success of the UK exhibition (2010-12), this follow-on project has delivered a diverse range of new activities to generate further dissemination of Making Britain’s findings in India and Britain. A revised and expanded exhibition ‘Beyond the Frame: India in Britain, 1858-1950’ for Indian audiences swivelled the lens to focus on India in Britain. This expanded exhibition was supported by a dedicated educational online web-space, developed concurrently on the award-winning British Library Learning website. Highlighting significant sites of Asian-British engagement, these resources focus on literature, arts and culture, intellectual life, sports and leisure, the World Wars, politics and activism. This collaborative follow-on project further highlights South Asian participation in intellectual and literary networks, art movements, and activist groupings during this under-explored period of Britain’s multicultural history. The profiling of this layered history, spanning almost ten decades from Queen Victoria’s 1858 Proclamation to the better-known era of migration post-World War II, underlines the lateral, transverse and often hidden traces of encounter which took place on British soil and their wider relevance in India and Britain which resonates to this day.
Featuring rich visual evidence as a powerful conduit to provoke dialogue on a history that has largely existed outside orthodox frames, we highlight new pathways to examine India’s role within Britain (rather than Britain’s well documented imperial influence in India). This expanded exhibition for audiences in India has traced a transverse lineage of Indian-British interactions across divisions of race, class and gender to draw public attention to the complex realities of both countries’ intertwined histories. The impact of the 12-panel display was enhanced further by a free catalogue, talks, workshops and learning materials. These activities have directed attention to the depth of research underpinning the project and the many stories of political, social and cultural consequence that Making Britain uncovered.
By its focus on specific Indian-British interactions which illustrate how these early South Asians shaped Britain’s cultural, political and economic life, Beyond the Frame complicates and adds graphic depth to contemporary understandings of ‘diaspora’ and ‘migration’
The research team has established professional affiliations with the British Council (India), British Museum, National Archives of India, RCUK (India), Southbank Centre (London) and Victoria and Albert Museum. The project also links a large network of internationally distinguished scholars, educationalists and curators, bringing new perspectives and insights to this material. For more on our established links, see Collaborations. Our aim is to fill a major gap in public knowledge of the significant contribution this population made to the formation of the UK’s long multicultural history and the makings of present-day post-colonial India and Britain.
The project has opened up new interpretative frames, and continues to generate on going international platforms for interdisciplinary dialogue and debate between Britain and India across academic/non-academic audiences. Through a wide variety of public engagement activities designed to enhance access to South Asian cultural, intellectual and political history in Britain, the project continues its mission to highlight vital historic antecedents which remain crucially relevant to present-day relations between and within both countries.
© British Library Board [Photo 472/25(110)]
© British Library Board [P.P.7611.]
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