The second in a planned series of embedding diversity projects developed by our Collections Community Panel, following on from 2022’s Here&Queer, which explored our Collections through an LGBTQ+ lens. This time the focus is on Class and Identity.
Our identities are made up of a multitude of inherited characteristics, personality traits, beliefs and life experiences. The traditional British class system is a confusing one. Current survey trends indicate that class can be determined by our caregivers job status when we were aged 14. However, in truth it is much more complex and harder to define than this. It can encompass a range of financial, social and cultural circumstances.
Education is often associated with social mobility, and therefore there is an ongoing perception that working class people must be illiterate and uneducated. Working class lives are rarely celebrated. Class is not a protected characteristic, but many feel that it should be. Privilege is a divisive word, but slowly we are getting better at identifying and acknowledging where our own privileges lie.
We have chosen to associate class in this project with a number of different factors, stemming from the panel’s own lived experiences. It may be for example the notion of being treated as a second class citizen, due to race, disability or sexuality. We explored aspects of working class lives, such as the occupation of specific public spaces. We also could not avoid addressing the current cost of living crisis and its effect on society with growing poverty and a rise in the need for food banks. Panel members also reflected on whether true wealth and value in society can actually be determined by monetary riches.
Some topics explored are universal, some personal, but hopefully allow the opportunity to pause for thought and reflect on your own experiences and core values, and what makes up your true self.
As well as a virtual tour of the new projects, there will be an opportunity to meet members of our panel and find out more about this co-produced project, which has been supported by the National Lottery Heritage Dynamic Collections Fund.
For more information about the project, or joining our Collections Community Panel, email firstname.lastname@example.org